Luxe meets smart

Clever designs hide tech wizardry in this apartment decked out with the opulence of a hotel

The nightspots along Mohamed Sultan Road used to be among Mr Edmund Chan's favourite hangouts when he was growing up.

So, when he and his wife were looking for a new home, they decided to explore the River Valley area.

Mr Chan, who is in his 40s and is a director of home automation builder Livingworks, says: "It has a very 'other worldliness' about it and I like the restaurants in the vicinity."

When the couple found a unit - a three-bedroom condominium apartment in River Valley Road - they liked, they decided to have the interior gutted to start from scratch.

"The renovation was so extensive that only two of the existing walls were left standing," recalls Mr Chan.

They turned to Laank for its design expertise.

The home-grown boutique practice is the creative genius behind culinary doyenne Violet Oon's concepts and came highly recommended by her daughter Tay Su-Lyn, who is a classmate of Mr Chan's wife.

Ms Cherin Tan, creative director and founder of Laank, began by understanding the couple's aesthetic preferences.

Mr Chan says: "My wife put together a collection of images illustrating the looks we liked and Cherin made sense of them, piecing them together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

"I also played around with SketchUp, a 3D modelling software, which I felt facilitated the discussion with Cherin."

As Mr Chan is in the home automation business, it comes as no surprise that he wanted to integrate smart technology for the 1,459 sq ft home during the six-month renovation that cost $200,000. The couple and their children, aged 10 and 12, moved in in May last year.

The challenge for Laank was to address the client's brief for a home that possesses the comfort and opulence of a luxury hotel, and combine it with the convenience and ease of technology.

Ms Tan says: "The goal was to balance technological savviness with the ingenuity of architectural detailing to create a space where function meets aesthetics."

A voice prompt alerts the home owners when there are visitors, who are greeted by a travertine feature wall as they cross the threshold into the entrance foyer.

Ms Tan adds: "Glass panels in the wall allow glimpses of the interior, while a metal tray forms a ledge for decorative items or keys."

To the left of the entrance foyer is a series of concealed cabinets, within which is the "nerve centre" that controls the smart features of the home, along with an automated shoe carousel.

A customised black marble dining table paired with dining chairs upholstered in a rich, velvety green conveys a luxurious setting that is accentuated by the choice of brass hardware, echoed by the pendant lights above.

A study area has been carved out from the original living area. This is where Mr Chan can play his keyboard, which has been ingeniously integrated with his desk using a movable lift-up panel.

He and Ms Tan even addressed minute details, such as incorporating the circuitry so that when the panel is lifted, the keyboard and amplifier are automatically turned on without the need for separate switches.

The master bedroom and bathroom also feature smart features.

The television set in the master bedroom is concealed in a console and automated to rise from it. Another screen has been built into the bathroom mirror, so that the couple can get their morning news while going about their routine.

Mr Chan had the ceiling speakers set into a recess. "The speakers are round, but I did not want to see a circular element, so I ensured the speakers were recessed into the ceiling, and fabricated square covers that are flush with the ceiling," he says.

The home owners worked closely with Ms Tan to ensure that every aspect of the home is well-integrated.

For Ms Tan, the project's success lies in being able to "achieve something that has good aesthetics, with good materials, and without sacrificing functionality and efficiency".

• This article first appeared in the March issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.

• Get the April and latest issue of Home & Decor (left) now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2019, with the headline 'Luxe meets smart'. Print Edition | Subscribe