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The Secret to a Luxuriously Dark Home? It’s the Details

May 13, 2019
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Monochromatic palette aside, this family home, designed by Summerhaus D’zign, also features real wood and stone finishes as well as a 4m high ceiling.


Ask Larry Lim what’s the most challenging part of designing a home with a consistent look throughout, and he’ll tell you that it’s keeping things interesting.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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Interior Firm: Summerhaus D’zign

Says the co-founder of local design firm Summerhaus D’zign about his team’s work on this downtown family home at The Equatorial: “The dark colours are certainly dramatic, but we were concerned about the whole feel being too unexciting, too simple, because the same elements were used throughout.”

These concerns were, however, put to rest by introducing a variety of richly subtle features into the space, giving it a classy look that’s straight out of a luxury magazine. To find out more about this makeover, we caught up with Larry to ask about what took place behind the scenes.


About the design brief

Larry (L): For the owners, what they wanted most was an element of authenticity; so we’re talking about real, natural materials, things like stone and wood, which would give their home a cosy, contemporary look. For instance, they chose to clad their cabinets and displays with real wood veneer, instead of using laminates.

Practicality-wise, they requested to have plenty of efficient, but stylish storage solutions because there are 6 other people living in the house. And if I recall correctly, there’s a cat too!

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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On the creative process

L: I must say that the discussions that we had with the owners were quite interesting, and mostly because it was a journey of discovery for them.

When the owners first approached us, they expressed a preference for all-white, minimalist interiors, but after some discussion, we found out that what they really wanted was something that leaned closer to subtle opulence.

We only came to realise this after one of them showed us pictures of several hotels and public spaces featuring strong modern-contemporary elements like dark colours and polished surfaces.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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About new features

L: At the start of the renovation, one of the things that the owners requested was for a loft structure to be constructed in the living room, which has a ceiling height of approximately 4 meters.

However, we dissuaded them from going ahead with this plan as the loft’s platform would end up concealing the full height of their living room.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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Instead, we suggested building in tall shelves (for a collection of vintage whiskeys) – this would help to keep the original look and feel of the space intact while satisfying the owners’ need for storage.

Also, if you were to take a closer look, each of the shelf units are partitioned by wood strips and backed by mirrors, which add depth, detail, and a touch of class to the entire structure. It’s for the same reason that we installed full-height mirrors along the front of the living room.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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Another key highlight of the communal space is the dining table. It’s about 3.2 meters long and can seat the entire family; we had it carved out from a slab of Dekton, which is an ultra-compact quartz surface from Cosentino.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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There are a total of three bathrooms in the house – two en suites and a common toilet – which we decorated in the same fashion using white and black marble.

In addition to that, we also used marble to build bespoke shelves in the bathroom instead of using the standard variety of wood cabinets. We did it by cladding concrete slabs of a suitable size in marble before mounting them into position.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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There was more work was done in the master bathroom because the owners wanted to a pair of double-leaf doors, similar to those in a hotel that they had been to. As part of the change, the entrance was also shifted to face the wardrobe to give it the feel of a walk-in space.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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Last but not least is the kitchen, which offers a good view of the forested area around.

If you notice, the kitchen has a different aesthetic from the other spaces, and that’s because the female homeowner wanted to put her own spin on it. The colours in this space are mostly gentle neutrals, so they wouldn’t end up clashing with the rest of the house visually.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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On renovation challenges

L: We didn’t encounter any technical challenges or obstacles during the renovation process, but we were concerned about the overall look. We were afraid that using the same materials, such as veneers and marble, would end up making the house look too boring, but it turned out to be more seamless and unique than monotonous.

The Equatorial by Summerhaus D’zign
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To sum up

L: The final result turned out better than we expected, that’s for sure. What the owners and us really like is the grandiose sense of space that the interior has. Stepping indoors and seeing a 4m tall ceiling as well as equally tall features really drives in the point about how much vertical room there is in here.


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