As designer couple Ivan Lin and Katherine Chong can attest to, it’s never too late to pursue your (home) dreams. Their newly-revamped resale flat at Edgefield Plains, which possesses an airy, minimalist aesthetic, was a personal project that was years in the making.
And so, when they finally got the keys to their new flat, Katherine wasted no time on transforming it into her dream home. Aiding her was Ivan, who also put his experience as Aart Boxx Interior’s Design Director to good use. “Katherine handled the looks, (while) I handled the technical aspects,” says Ivan.
The result? A fancy, but ultimately practical home, inspired by both modern trends and classic colonial decor.
Qanvast: Before going into detail about your renovation journey, could you tell us first more about yourselves?
Ivan (I): Katherine and I are both interior designers at Aart Boxx Interior, which has been around for almost 5 years.
Qanvast: Tell us more about your home’s new look.
Katherine (K): The new look is mostly based on my idea of a dream home, it’s classy, yet not over-the-top.
With respect to that, one of the decor details that we included, and paid great attention to, was the inclusion of gold accents, both in the form of cabinet handles and decorative accessories.
We chose the colour because of its association with luxury, but at the same time, we were careful to keep its inclusion to a minimum to prevent the house from looking too gaudy. The same applies for the wall trimmings that are in the living room and bedroom.
Qanvast: Being in the home renovation line, what was the experience of designing your own house like?
I: To be honest, there was some confusion at the start and we had to sit down for discussions to decide our priorities. I guess it was probably because we had gotten too used to listening to requirements from our clients, so much so that finding our own direction became a bit of a challenge. [laughs]
But nonetheless, the conclusion was clear: the final result had to be something that we both liked.
Qanvast: What were some of the practical requirements that you had for the renovation?
I: I wanted to include smart switches throughout the house. They are convenient smart home add-ons, which allow me to control how things work at home, even when I am away at the office.
These devices have proven to be pretty convenient, on a daily basis. For instance, I have configured the door sensors to turn on the living room fans and lights automatically, whenever we enter the house. They are also great for automating other home appliances like our robot vacuum cleaner.
K: I have plenty of shoes, so a shoe cabinet was a must. There is also the settee with tufted cushions at the entrance, which doubles as my Instagram corner. [laughs]
We had very specific requirements for the design of this particular corner, especially the choice of (seat) fabric, which is in a shade of grey that took us some time to find.
Qanvast: Was the layout of your home changed? If so, how?
I: Yes, it was changed quite extensively. The kitchen was originally covered up, so we had to hack away two walls to create an open-concept cooking/dining area. The position of the common bathroom’s entrance was also changed so that we could create a deeper space.
The master bedroom and a junior bedroom were also merged into a single space. The original master bedroom became our current walk-in wardrobe, and it is separated from the sleeping area by a sliding door that we built in for practical reasons.
Qanvast: Did you encounter any challenges along the way?
I: Because the kitchen floor was slightly lower than the living room, we had to level it before we could create an open-concept zone. The result is great as it now looks as though we have a huge living area.
K: We also had an issue with a small corner in the kitchen, right next to the washing machine and fridge. Initially, we wanted to build in a storage cabinet there, but we would have to downsize our appliances to make everything fit. In the end, we decided to ‘waste’ the space by leaving it empty.
Qanvast: If you had to name one, which spot in your new home do you like most?
I: My favourite spot is the living room. It is where I come home to relax after work, I enjoy listening to music here.
Sometimes, we have dinner here too, even though there is a proper island dining table close by. It’s just more convenient. [laughs] Also, because we don’t usually turn on the air-conditioning, this is the coolest spot because of the ceiling fan that we have mounted above.
K: I love the walk-in wardrobe. I had always wanted one, along with a dresser, and it feels great to finally have my wish fulfilled.
The built-ins here are also customised to our needs, for instance, there is a dedicated drawer with electrical plugs installed inside for my hair curler and dryer. We also have an open wardrobe compartment that is pretty handy for storing and accessing clothes that we wear often.