A Bold Mix of Colours & Shapes for a Family Home in Penang
A combination of contrast colours lends this three-bedroom apartment in Penang designed by EMPT Studio a playful air. We spoke to Jamie Kok, the interior designer of EMPT Studio to find out about the inspiration behind this home design.
Qanvast (Q): Tell us more about the design brief: what was the homeowner’s request for their home?
Jamie Kok (J): This 1,200 sq.ft. apartment is owned by a newly married couple with a young son. The couple runs a bakery shop and initially, we ran a proposal to renovate their bakery, but, they end up requesting to renovate their home instead.
The homeowner like colourful designs, but are not into too many wood elements which is why we choose non-wooden white cabinetry with red and blue accents in the living area. Apart from that, they also requested gold detailing in their home - which is why the coffee table, the dining chair’s legs, the pendant lamps, and the floor lamps incorporate gold details for a touch of luxury.
Q: The home is very Instagrammable. Was this intentional?
J: Yes, they are a young couple in their early 30s and wanted a home that looks aesthetically pleasing.
Q: Can you describe to us the design of this apartment?
J: The design is quite straightforward and minimal as we play with forms and colours. Initially, the homeowner requested a matching colour combination of blue and red (feminine and masculine colour) and from there, we came up with a similar colour contrast for the living room.
Even in the home office, we combine both feminine and masculine colour to balance out the space.
Meanwhile, in the kid’s playing area, we choose to incorporate fun colours such as yellow and red to radiate happiness and cheer.
We also design based on the homeowner’s lifestyle and usage of the space. For example, as you enter the apartment, you will notice a full stretch of cabinets. This is used as a storage extension for the kitchen and the living area. Behind the full stretch of white cabinets is where the master bedroom is.
As their son is still young, the homeowner requested to not have a conventional living space that centres around a TV. So we proposed the sofa to be positioned in the opposite direction of the TV facing area making the room become more spacious.
Q: What was the main inspiration behind this design concept?
J: Our main inspiration is from a Russian Interior Designer, Daria Zinovatnaya, who enjoys playing with colours and geometric shapes to create extraordinary mid-century projects. Based on her design inspiration, we apply the rich layering of textures, colours and forms into this house.
Q: What were the design challenges that you faced during the renovation process?
J: Initially, our client planned to design the entire apartment, but they allocated a budget of RM120,000 which is not sufficient with the structural changes and on the small design language details that we have applied to this home design. Hence we decided to only focus on the living room, dining room, kitchen and the master bedroom.
Q: What kind of structural changes were made to the apartment?
J: Originally, there’s a wall that separates the entrance and the kitchen area. We decided to hack down the wall to create an open concept kitchen and make the area more spacious.
Aside from that, we also made structural changes to the floors and the ceiling. The original flooring was a standard 2X2 tiles and we had it replaced with a floorboard throughout the home for a more modern update. As the kitchen area is not suitable to install floorboard, so we choose to go with blue pattern tiles to compliment the dark blue kitchen cabinets and island.
We also introduce arches and round edges throughout the home to somehow blur the lines between the wall and the ceiling. To further emphasise on the round edges, we painted the walls slightly upwards to make it look like the wall is floating.
Q: Were there any last-minute changes made during the renovation process?
J: No, it all went according to plan. The overall design turns out to be similar to what we proposed on the 3D drawings and the outcome is great!
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