Bold and theatrical, yet polished and refined all the same; Tammy Tay's home is an elegant example of modern opulence - a rare gem in today's sea of minimalist and Scandinavian homes.
Yet, amidst the dramatic accents and French trimmings, the Imagine by SK 66 designer's dual-key apartment is surprisingly unpretentious, filled with modest, cosy accents that instantly leave one at ease (in the mind and in the wallet!). What’s the story behind this wonderful home of contrasts? We ask the blogger and mummy of two as she opens up to us about her personal renovation experience.
Qanvast (Q): What was the main idea behind your home's design?
Tammy (T): I didn't have a specific idea in mind, but there were two things I really wanted in my house. I love the colours black and white, so a monochrome scheme was a must-have. I also liked the idea of having a classic, French-style interior, classic mouldings and all. As a result, I incorporated those elements into my feature wall and furniture choices.
(T): But I didn't want things to end up looking too gaudy or cluttered. To put a modern spin to things, I kept the fittings and carpentry clean, and added mirrors all around to provide dimension to the space.
(Q): Did you do any research before coming up with the design?
(T): None at all actually! I felt that the idea (if there even was one) just naturally developed as I started working with clients and I slowly built up a concept I wanted. I took snippets of inspiration with every job I did along the way. Over time things just came together, resulting in the look you see today.
(Q): As an interior designer yourself, was it easier to design and renovate your own home?
(T): It's definitely easier when you've got most of your resources (like materials or labour) within reach. But more so, it's a different experience. Unlike the usual renovation process, where you have to create a 3D render, follow through deadlines, and stick to a given design brief, managing my own home was the complete opposite - total freedom and flexibility. I could tweak things here and there, as and when I liked, and that really helped to shape out a home that was perfect for my tastes.
(Q): So, what were some of the changes you made along the way?
(T): Surprisingly, as I worked on executing my designs, I felt that many areas were too plain, and were missing something. For example, I decided to add a pair of unicorn mounts on the sides of the TV console, as I realised the mouldings alone were too boring for a statement piece. Initially I also installed a clear glass console cabinet, but that came off a little dull, so I decided to switch things up with a mirrored finish.
(Q): Is your home's style similar to what you often do for clients?
(T): Sadly, no! I personally like this modern rendition of Victorian/French interiors, but most homeowners in Singapore still prefer a clean and minimalist aesthetic for their new home. It's popular, but it means that I have less room for improving versatility. So being able to design my home was a good opportunity to practice my design chops!
(Q): Your accessories and furniture look ultra lavish, where did you get them from?
(T): Aha, that's the catch! They look and feel expensive, but they don't cost much at all. Most of the furniture, like the coffee table, sofa and chairs come from a shop called PARISHOME. In fact the coffee table, which is made from real leather, only costed me $800 or so, after a discount. As for the unicorn wall mount? That's actually from Typo!
(T): While I appreciate the aesthetics of designer furniture, I'm still a practical person. Especially with two young kids (Elroy and Ellie) running about, it's not worth splurging thousands of dollars on a designer piece; I’d settle for something affordable that won't cost much to replace.
(Q): Are Elroy and Ellie's rooms similar in style too?
(T) No, I decided not to fix a style for both their rooms, as they are pretty young, and their rooms will constantly be in transition as they grow. I opted for less built-in carpentry and more loose furniture instead. When they are a bit older and know the look they want, perhaps I'd consider redoing their rooms.
(Q): Which part of the home is your favourite and why?
(T): I'd say the bar counter, mainly because of the marble used. Instead of the popular black-and-white Calacatta marble, I went for a faint, thinner grain called Volakas. This type of marble is usually installed on floors, but I wanted to change things up differently and they look great on countertops, so why not?
(Q): What's one piece of advice for new homeowners about decorating their home?
(T): Your home is always a work in progress, so make an effort to constantly add, improve or redecorate! Remember that an interior designer merely provides a basic canvas when it comes to a home renovation. Ultimately, it all boils down to how you put a personal, individualised spin to things - that's when a house truly becomes one-of-a-kind.
For more details, check out Imagine By SK66's project here.Is Tammy Tay's Parisian-style abode giving you serious home envy? Here's how you can get her look - with just a simple click! Drop in a free quote request, and we'll match you up with 5 interior designers, based on your style and budget. All recommendations made by Qanvast will be covered under the Qanvast Guarantee, up to $50,000.