This 3-Bedder Condo Got a NYC-Inspired, Monochrome Makeover
A home that comes with a beautiful view – almost perfect except for its dated interiors and awkward corners.
There are two key factors that make for a pretty great home – the first is a generous square footage and the second is a gorgeous view. While both of these perks are present in this 3-bedder condominium, the home also features an unconventional layout, one that is filled with sharp corners.
Interior Firm: Lemonfridge Studio
Still, Shirlyn and her family were not deterred by the awkward angles in the slightest. “I think it’s just right for our family – it has a great view, it’s roomy enough and there’s tons of natural light,” shared the sunny homeowner. “We just needed to find ways to design around its configuration.”
Scroll on to find out how she and her family reworked the space and gave it a modish upgrade.
Shirlyn (S): Hi, I’m Shirlyn and I live here with my husband plus our daughter. We’re both working full-time, at an oil company and US firm respectively, while our daughter is still studying.
I think that this home ticked many boxes for us; it’s not only near both our workplaces but is also the right size for our family of three.
About the home’s concept
S: Honestly speaking, the home’s interiors were fairly dated – the condominium has been around for a solid 20 years or more. Seeing as it was never reworked during this period, it was in dire need of reconfiguration.
The home’s layout, post-renovation. Red circle indicates where a glass wall was built in. Blue circle indicates where a wall was torn down to achieve an open-concept kitchen. Green circle indicates where the daughter’s bedroom wall (Bedroom 03) was slightly pushed back into the walk-in wardrobe for more space.
We relied on Qanvast a fair bit during the renovation – we used the recommendation service and attended the Hangout events – and drew inspiration from magazines, HGTV, and other countries that we travelled to. That was the starting point, and it evolved into this monochromatic look we have got going now. It’s quite reminiscent of the New Yorkian minimalist theme, I would say.
On changes made
S: This is actually our fourth home. Going through three renovations before this really taught us what works, what doesn’t, and what is better to invest in like loose furnishings for instance. Since carpentry is customised to one set design, you’ll have to spend more every time you want a change – it’s why we chose to work with mainly standalone pieces when it came to styling our communal spaces.
Before (left) and after (right). While most of the flooring is left intact, the family changed the condominium’s skirting. “The original skirting was around 8cm tall, and in this light wood tone,” shared Shirlyn. “The ID proposed that we change it to a black to call back to the home’s overall style.”
S: We kept the original marble and parquet flooring in the communal areas and bedrooms; and because we didn’t want the style of each area to deviate too much from the overall look, most of our newer fittings were chosen to match our palette of black, white and wood, such as the black skirting in the living room and the chevron, wood-look flooring in the kitchen.
The kitchen, pre-renovation.
S: Our old place had an open-concept kitchen, something that I wanted to recreate in this new home. To achieve it, we knocked down the wall to make room for the kitchen island.
Because Shirlyn works at home on occasion, she wanted the kitchen island to be of a comfortable height. “It even doubles as a space for us to mingle and entertain our guests at,” shared Shirlyn.
Seeing as we don’t cook regularly, I wanted to use marble for the countertop but was eventually dissuaded by my interior designers, Victoria and Jeffery, who told me that it would be hard to maintain. So, I went out to look for a lookalike and found this quartz alternative.
The family also fashioned a backsplash out of subway tiles. “I’ve always wanted to use them since I’m a huge fan of the clean look,” said Shirlyn. “We paired it with black grout to better match the home’s overall black, white and wood aesthetic.”
S: The wall separating the bedroom from the living and kitchen area used to be fully opaque, but we felt that it made the walkway feel a little tight. So, we tore it down and replaced it with a glass wall, a move that surprised a lot of friends and family members since it made our master bedroom visible from our communal areas. But, we find that this one change really ‘opened’ up the space – besides, installing blinds easily fixed the privacy issue.
Inspired by the likes of P.S. Café, the new wall is comprised of both ribbed and clear glass. “I find that full clear glass is a bit boring, the combination gives a bit more texture to the space,” she said.
S: Our master bedroom had white walls originally and it looked too sterile. There were two ways we could reintroduce a pop of colour – either by painting or using wallpaper. Truthfully, painting is a hassle, which was why we settled on the wallpaper; it’s just easier to update later on if we ever want a change.
However, finding the right wallpaper took some time. It was only installed three to four months after the family had moved in.
S: We had open-concept wardrobes in the previous house, but it was quite impractical. I found myself needing to dust at least once every week. So, the IDs proposed these customised wardrobes for the walk-in – the glass panels keep the dust out but allow me to look in, so that’s a bonus in my eyes.
The wardrobe also features open shelving at the top to give Shirlyn easy access to her bags and comes outfitted with a vanity. “The vanity was a must-have for me because there’s no space in the bathrooms for a dual-sink and I needed a space where I can get ready,” shared the homeowner.
S: Our bathrooms aren’t the most spacious, which was why we outfitted the built-ins that we installed with lights. By brightening up the area, we managed to create the illusion of a bigger space.
To double the effect, we decided to use the white subway tiles again in our daughter’s bathroom but switched it out for matte hexagonal marble tiles in the master en suite.
On furnishing her home
S: My big-ticket items are mostly bought locally, from Castlery and King Living. However, our accent lights were mostly from Malaysia.
We tried shopping for the lights in Singapore at first, but it was fruitless because none of them seriously appealed to us. That’s when my husband’s friend told us that some stores in JB offer customised lighting options – the pendant light that’s hanging above my kitchen island is an in-house design. It’s a hexagonal shape, and we can actually dismantle and assemble/reformat to a shape that we fancy!
On working with LemonFridge Studio, Victoria and Jeffrey
Top: Victoria and Jeffrey. Bottom: Shirlyn, her daughter and husband.
S: Although there are many well-established names in the interior industry, I didn’t want a cookie-cutter design for my home. That’s when I began looking at smaller boutique firms, particularly LemonFridge Studio.
After which, I sent in a quote request via Qanvast and met up with the 5 designers who were shortlisted for me. It just so happened that LemonFridge Studio was one of them! When we met with them, their concept was the closest to what we envisioned, and they offered plenty of fresh ideas.
There’s no doubt that renovation can be a very frustrating experience, but Victoria and Jeffrey were really prompt in answering my queries. Plus, they are always around if I have an issue (laughs)! Even then, rectification (even after renovation) was really quick too, which says a lot – many ID companies don’t offer such great after-sales service.
To sum up
S: Knowing what you want helps. Sometimes, you can’t help but deviate from the original vision as you renovate. However, if you convey that to your ID, they can help to remind and keep you on track.
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