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An Out-of-This-World Resale, Inspired By Sci-Fi… and Plants?

August 6, 2018
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Plants and spaceships. Many of us wouldn’t put these two things in the same sentence, but in Ryan and Shermeen’s resale HDB - they set the overarching theme to their quirky-cool flat.

“I love science, physics and outer space, and she loves plants (when she can keep them alive). As such, we wanted to bring those elements into our space to reflect both our characters,” says Ryan.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

With a seasoned eye for aesthetics, the two designers (who also work together in their creative agency OuterEdit) dealt with this challenge in stride, creating a space that’s bright, fun and most of all – coherent. Retro-futuristic pieces sit alongside modern furniture, balanced with natural elements like wooden furniture, dried flowers and indoor greenery for a touch of earthy cosiness.

Consider us blown away – here, the duo tells us more about how they managed to pull off their home’s different look:


Tell us about yourselves:

Ryan (R): I’m Ryan; I’m a designer. Shermeen’s a designer too and we work together.

On finding the right property:

Shermeen (S): We saw 21 apartments in a month - which was both nuts and great, because it sharpens the clarity on what the both of us wanted.

R: One of our main considerations was location, but we finally settled on this location because we would be close to family. And Holland Village is a great place to be - we actually started off our search nearby, and it’s funny how we ended up just a few blocks away!

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

Sketchup model by Ryan and Shermeen

S: We were also looking for a neighbourhood with distinctive character. At Holland Village, you can find a mix of restaurants, cafes and bars within easy reach, as well as hawker centres and market stalls.

On purchasing a 40-year-old resale flat:

R: The relatively mature age of our home was definitely something we had to consider. The thought of potentially outliving it is a particularly sobering one, but after seeing as many properties as we did (some in even more mature estates than this), we made the decision knowing that we’d love living in this great neighbourhood, as well as being able to stay close to family.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

One word to describe your home:

R: If we had to frame the entire place in one word, it would be ‘AstroBotanica’ – that was the theme for our wedding as well. I love science, physics and the vastness of space, and she loves plants.

S: When our friends visited us for the first time, they shared that they could really feel the blend of our characters together in one place. There are individual elements that each of us personally enjoy, but at the same time our entire home is a holistic representation of what we’re like together.

On the home’s theme and look:

S: We wanted the space to be as airy as possible, and allow enough sunlight in; one of the very first office spaces we worked together in at OuterEdit didn’t allow for much daylight. As much as we liked the space, we found it wasn't the most conducive for creative work.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

R: Overall, we weren’t going for any particular trend. We just picked out stuff that resonated with us. Working in the creative industry, we specialise in brand strategy, graphic design, and brand experiences. So I suppose by adopting a familiar design process and profiling ourselves as the end-user we were able to form an overarching narrative and design direction that we knew would work for the both of us, and which we would enjoy journeying towards together.

S: Yeah, that said, we did have certain guidelines. We wanted a space that had more textures, so if you look at the floor, you’ll see we kept the original parquet, but at the same time, we mixed it up with different floor tile shapes, colours, patterns and finishes.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

On picking tiles:

S: [Laughs] This guy is intense; I don’t know how long we spent in the tile shop but it was definitely not the normal amount of time that someone should spend picking tiles. We must have shopped for tiles for like 2 to 3 weeks.

R: Haha it was a good thing was our office was near Hafary at the time.

On working out conflicting preferences:

S: We work together so we’re familiar with running into and managing conflicts. When there are creative opinions onboard, you are going to have conflicts - and if you don’t, there’s usually something wrong also because in creative differences there's the opportunity to push harder and make the outcome that much sweeter. It also comes down to us being in a partnership as equals as well. We’re building this place together so therefore we have his robot toys displayed and he lets me put up all the illustrations I want.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

R: I think that’s what ‘AstroBotanica’ means to us, right? It’s a fluffy word that we made up, but it’s about our two lives merging into one lane and creating a new and better identity together. It’s a celebration of disparate components coming together. You can see that I love Star Wars, but at the same time there’s lots of greenery and dried plants around.

On furniture:

S: Ryan found this great sofa from IKEA. It’s a sofa bed that lets you reposition its backrests as you see fit. It also has a useful storage component underneath it. Our bed frame and dining table are from IKEA too, and are all equipped with concealed storage compartments. There’s also a few choice items from Grafunkt.

R: We wanted each space to be reconfigurable and multi-functional, so we went for modular furniture pieces - things that can change character between day and night. IKEA has this new line of furniture with Tom Dixon - it’s called ‘Delaktig’ and it’s designed to grow with you as you live your life. We were really inspired by that.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

S: Ryan found this great sofa from IKEA. It’s a sofa bed that lets you reposition its backrests as you see fit. It also has a useful storage component underneath it. Our bed frame and dining table are from IKEA too, and are all equipped with concealed storage compartments. There’s also a few choice items from Grafunkt.

Items you got for a bargain:

R: The Verner Panton lamp was a very rare find. We bought it on Carousell at a second-hand price, but it had never been opened. Otherwise, we’d never be able to afford something like that. It’s a fairly old model but it’s still a classic and a dream to have in our home.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

S: Our wash basins were also a bargain. The only coloured, ceramic washbasins we could find in Singapore in the design we had in mind were priced way above our budget. So we started looking abroad for alternatives and were thankful to stumble upon the exact washbasins we were gunning for at a much more affordable price.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

Advice to other homeowners:

R: The ID is here to design, to recommend, to consult and the contractors are there to build, but the owners are the ones who have to live with it - and it could be for the rest of your life! So know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask or bring things up if there’s something that really bothers you or want to find out more about.

Ryan and Shermaine OuterEdit Home Feature

S: Even if it’s something that other people might not consider fitting with the house, if it’s something that resonates with you, and brings you joy, then you should just put it in your home.

R: Yeah, don’t be afraid to create your own groove. We definitely have a lot of quirky things around this space that has no place whatsoever in any style guide, but it makes us happy - we love that it’s there. For us, it’s about collecting ideas, moments and memories that resonate with us on a much deeper level than any aesthetic appeal.

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