Taking inspiration from retro, Mid-Century Modern, Peranakan and traditional Chinese styles, colour is king in this adventurous home.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Taking inspiration from retro, Mid-Century Modern, Peranakan and traditional Chinese styles, colour is king in this adventurous home.

WHOA couple and their two young daughters

HOME A two-storey house with a basement and an attic, in Kovan

SIZE 3,000sqf (built-in)

Photography VERNON WONG art direction DON TAN & KAFFY TAN
Photography VERNON WONG art direction DON TAN & KAFFY TAN

The couple’s home is a riot of colour and design. Styles such as retro and Mid- Century Modern sit happily alongside Peranakan and contemporary designs. Items on coffee table from Teak & Mahogany. Sofa throw from Foundry.

My Reading Room

The rug in the lounge, from Hipvan, has all the colours Sharon wanted in her home. The curved sofa from Lorgan’s mirrors the wavy lines of the wall feature. Cushion from Teak & Mahogany. Sofa throw from Foundry.

My Reading Room

Sharon loved Raymond’s idea of using ventilation bricks to build a
feature wall. He found these ones with a floral pattern to complement
the Peranakan tiles.

My Reading Room

The Peranakan mirror was from Sharon’s previous home. The brick wall, as well as the Peranakan tiles, enhance the style’s oldworld theme.

My Reading Room

The kitchen is a celebration of colour and pattern. Red and yellow
feature heavily here, and the tiles behind the stove add a contemporary
element to the space.

My Reading Room

The study on the lower level of the house is separated from the children’s playroom by sliding doors inlaid with Peranakan-inspired embossed glass. The custom-made desks are from Lorgan’s.

The idea might sound like a recipe for disaster, but the mix of floral and hexagon motifs, with a mint, turquoise, yellow and orange colour scheme, actually works!

My Reading Room

Every bathroom in the home looks different, thanks to the tiles.

My Reading Room

Sharon loves her dressing room – the hand-painted tiles from Vietnam are one of her favourite features in the home. Yellow and green boxes from Teak & Mahogany.

My Reading Room

The spiral staircase leads up to a spacious attic area that was previously unused roof space.

My Reading Room

The light-filled attic space above the master suite has an industrial
feel. Sharon left this area undecorated as she loves the pared-down, raw
feel of it.

My Reading Room

In the master suite, the sideboard has Chinese characters on it which
symbolise marriage. Sharon’s father used to sell Chinese antiques, and
she wanted to use such pieces in her home.

My Reading Room

Coloured and embossed glass panels are set into the front door of the home.

My Reading Room

Raymond’s signature use of mosaics, as well as a red, orange and yellow colour scheme, can be seen in the garden. Table, chairs, basket and side table, all from Teak & Mahogany.

My Reading Room

The exterior steps at the side of the house are clad in traditional hand-painted Peranakan tiles, juxtaposed with a contemporary mosaic wall.

It was already 20 years old when they bought it, and “it hadn’t been updated in the two decades since it was built,” says Sharon, of her house. She shares the property with her husband Alan, and their daughters, aged four and eight months. Now, after a major transformation, the house looks brand-new. The dull black, grey and white hues have been replaced with vibrant red, orange, yellow, turquoise and mint; some internal walls were removed, ceilings were heightened and lighting improved, in this extreme makeover done with interior designer Raymond Seow from Free Space Intent.

“I chose Raymond because he’s not afraid to use colour. I love colour, in particular turquoise and mint. He loves mustard and oranges. These colours worked brilliantly together,” says Sharon.

How would you describe your home?

It’s a mix of East meets West, and a fabulous combination of styles. There are lovely traditional Chinese elements, as well as Peranakan, and Western styles such as Danish and retro. It is also partly Mediterranean and partly Indian.

What was your design inspiration?

It’s all about colours and textures – I wanted it to be fun. I didn’t want it to look like a hotel. Bathrooms, for example, are usually simple, and all white. So, we decided to use bright, fun, colourful mosaic tiles in all our bathrooms – the opposite of that all-white look.

How did you work with Raymond on the design?

Raymond and I worked very well together. We have the same design tastes and philosophy. I love waves and he designed a wave motif for the feature wall of the lounge, as well as the mosaic-tiled wall in the backyard. Even the couch has a wave-like shape. He also had so many great, unusual ideas, such as using bricks in the dining area to tie in with the old-world feel of the Peranakan tiles; installing the fabulous ventilation bricks in the lounge room as a feature wall; and suggesting an incredible variety of wall and floor tiles to be used throughout the house. Every room uses a different tile.

What is the key to using colour?

Don’t be afraid to try something daring, but keep the colours uniform. Although we used a lot of colours in the design – orange, red, yellow, mint and turquoise – they are repeated throughout the house so there is a sense of uniformity. For example, the same colours and patterns appear in the modern geometric print rug, as well as the floral-patterned Peranakan tiles.

What do you love most about your home?

It’s so eclectic. The master suite is one of my favourite rooms. There are no oriental elements on the first floor, so I wanted a Chinese feel for this room. Raymond designed the beautiful bedhead which, to me, has a classic Chinese look. I love what he has done with the master suite – the use of burnt orange and textured wallpaper, the clear polycarbonate “ceiling” above our bed, as well as the wonderful attic space which I plan to use for dancing. I also wanted to have my own walk-in wardrobe, and dressing room. It is such a luxurious and romantic space! The Swarovski crystal chandelier is my little indulgence and I adore the beautiful wall tiles in there that were hand-painted in Vietnam.

What’s the best decorating advice?

Be daring when it comes to using texture and colour. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles and do something a little different. Work with an interior designer who has the same vision as you to help you tie it all together.


Free Space Intent, TEL: 6392-8885