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This ‘Homely-Hotel’ Family Apartment Has Never Looked Better

Proof that neutrals, good flow and a reworked lighting scheme can go a long way.

For Sam and Julia Kim renovating their new home at Lloyd Road meant more than just turning it into a space that they would want to return to. “We wanted it to feel more like a hotel than a home, but at the same time we wanted it to feel like home too,” says Julia. “You get what I mean? [laughs]”

The Botanic on Lloyd by Schemacraft
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The Botanic on Lloyd by Schemacraft
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While Sam and Julia’s apartment incorporates furniture and décor from their previous homes, it also has some new additions, such as a 2.4-metre-long dining table as well as a customised coffee table that both feature KompacPlus surfaces.

Taking a look around the couple’s 170 sqm condo apartment, which they share with their two daughters and pet dog, it’s easy to understand what Julia wished to convey.

Light-filled, high-ceilinged spaces – including a practical, warm living room and a pristine kitchen – characterise the look and feel of the Kims’ home, which is best described as "classy, but not over-the-top fancy".

The Botanic on Lloyd by Schemacraft
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Helping put all of these features together was Schemacraft’s managing director Martin Ngo, who was also reworked the apartment’s foyer and patio, which are linked to the outdoors.

“One of the things that Sam and Julia wanted to have was an ‘inside-outside’ feel, and that’s why the transition into the main living space had to be almost visually seamless,” says Martin.

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The entryway and patio, prior to the renovation

To accomplish that, the veteran designer expanded the view from the patio’s deck by getting rid of a bulky planter box (along with its obstructive foliage) and overlaying it with composite wood decking. Similarly, the once semi-outdoor foyer was reworked with a brand-new glass window that allows the sunlight in, but at the same time, keeps the elements out.

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The kitchen, mid-renovation.

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Equal attention was paid to the home’s storage options, which were essential for replicating the spaciousness and tidiness of the Kims’ previous homes in the U.S. and Japan.

In the kitchen, a bar counter was replaced with an L-shaped cabinet run and a streamlined fridge-storage wall combination, whereas in the living room, a TV storage wall filled with personal photos and memorabilia occupies the front of the space.

“We didn’t want a feature wall in the living room, because that trend just didn’t make sense to us,” says Sam. “Instead, we requested for something that could serve as a media centre and also our family history wall.”

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The floor plan of Sam and Julia’s home

The Botanic on Lloyd by Schemacraft
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Likewise, for the master bedroom, storage was an essential part of the boudoir’s new design, particularly the walk-in closet that shares the same space. Originally a regular wardrobe, Sam and Julia’s closet now features extra space after the wall between their sleeping quarters and the adjacent study was knocked down.

“Although the old one (walk-in closet) we had in the U.S. was much larger in comparison, it’s enough for storing all of our clothes, bags, winter clothing, and everything else that we have,” says Julia. “This was the biggest change in our house, aside from the patio, and also one of the most useful ones.”

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Storage aside, lighting was yet another major player in creating the ‘homely-hotel’ look that Sam and Julia wanted – and it’s the reason why the master en suite received a makeover that involved more than just an upgrade of its fittings and fixtures.

Aside from replacing the existing step-down bathtub (“we didn’t need it,” says Sam) with a more compact shower niche, decorative cove lights were also installed around a newly-built double vanity to provide a soft contrast to the functional downlights shining from above.

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Previously a spare master bedroom, the study is now a smaller, but more useful area following the addition of a built-in workstation with sufficient space and storage for two.

Creating the perfect lighting plan for not just the home’s private spaces, but also the living room where natural and artificial illumination meet, took plenty of (well-spent) time on Sam and Julia’s part.

“I think lighting is really important to create the feeling of home, so we really put in the effort to figure it out with Martin. In our previous place, we didn’t use the living room much because it was too big and too dark – it didn’t feel like a place where you’d want to hang out in,” shares Sam. “But now? It’s where we spend most of our family time together.”


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