This apartment’s country cottage-meets-industrial style is a reflection of both the homeowners and the interior designer.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

This apartment’s country cottage-meets-industrial style is a reflection of both the homeowners and the interior designer.

The timber ceiling beams are useful for mounting lights and concealing wiring.

WHO A couple and their teenage son

HOME A four-bedroom condominium in Tampines

SIZE 1,500sqf

My Reading Room

Pigeonholes provide visual connection between the study and living room.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room

The proximity to and a view overlooking the nearby quarry were what led the family to purchase this home.

My Reading Room

The hexagonal motifs in the home tie the interior design scheme together and add a pop of colour.

Homeowners Lawrenz and Phyllis Sim knew from the start that they wanted a country cottage style for their new home. For that, they looked to senior designer Alvin Ang from Prozfile Design, who came highly recommended by Lawrenz’s cousin, a previous client. The sports administrator-lecturer couple felt that the rapport they had with Alvin was a sign. “We met another interior designer whose style we liked, but we just could not click. With Alvin, we formed an instant connection,” says Phyllis.

Alvin admitted to being slightly apprehensive at first. “As a designer, I am more inclined towards black elements and I often work with the industrial style as it is a common request from clients,” he says. He took some time to think the proposal through so as not to overdo the country cottage theme and end up with something kitschy.

Alvin identified a few key elements and colours that would establish the style without going over the top. Instead of the usual false ceiling, he added timber beams across the living and dining room ceiling that give the apartment the rustic quality of barn-inspired homes. The dining room wall directly facing the main entrance has been cladded in red brick to create a visual focus that reinforces the country theme upon entering the home. Alvin contemplated various colour schemes and eventually settled for a timeless shade of muted green. “It also ties in with the country look and complements the red brick wall,” he elaborates.

The long corridor leading to the bedrooms, utility and yard used to be claustrophobic and utilitarian. Alvin suggested hacking the walls to one bedroom on the left, and the utility and yard area to the right so that these previously isolated rooms collectively become one open-concept space that is well-integrated into the home. As the Sim family wanted an area for work and play, the bedroom that was opened up was turned into a study-cum-music space. “Phyllis and I tend to bring work home so we do need a study area,” says Lawrenz. “And we love music, so it is nice to have somewhere to put all our instruments, and where my son and I can jam together.”

On the opposite side of the corridor facing the study and music room is the storage and laundry area. The original utility room and yard were cramped and closed-off, making mundane household chores even more unpleasant. Alvin reconfigured the layout and removed the wall separating the corridor and the utility room. He also introduced built-in L-shaped cabinets that provide additional storage, a ceiling-mounted drying rack for air-drying clothes, as well as a counter top where the family can sort their laundry. By relocating the washing machine from the yard and integrating it with the cabinets upfront, whoever is on laundry duty can still interact with the rest of the family in the house. This is an example where small tweaks can not only make a space more functional and efficient, but also more conducive.

Alvin did away with the wardrobe doors in the master bedroom so as to free up the space and to make it feel more like a walk-in wardrobe, with the addition of a sliding door with a full-height mirror. As the room is rather wide, there was sufficient space for an additional bank of wardrobes, which also serves as a partition that enhances the privacy of the sleeping area.

The son’s room deliberately departs from the country theme. Alvin was all too happy to accommodate the teenager’s preference for an industrial style. He took advantage of the 2.75m ceiling height and inserted a loft bed that gives the room an adventurous streak befitting an adolescent. The common bath was reconfigured into an attached bathroom for the son by shifting the original bedroom door out towards the corridor.

You know that a project has ended well when the homeowners admit to having “withdrawal symptoms” from no longer meeting the interior designer on a regular basis. “We used to see Alvin very often to discuss the design, construction progress and we even went shopping for furniture together. When the home was completed, we felt as if something was missing,” jokes Phyllis.

For Alvin, he is pleased with the results. “It is the country cottage that the homeowners wanted, with some of my industrial influences,” he sums up.

My Reading Room

Cabinet laminates with a weathered wood effect were selected to complement the country style.

My Reading Room

The design of the headboard feature was inspired by an image of a violin that Alvin came across. It also resembles vinyl records. “The family loves music so a musical theme couldn’t be more appropriate,” says Alvin.

My Reading Room

The designer managed to create a loft bed with a 1.85m-tall space below the platform to accommodate a wardrobe and a chill-out space for the teenager.

My Reading Room

This light-filled, study-cum-music room is the family’s favourite hangout spot, be it for some serious desk work or casual jamming.


Prozfile Design,

Text LYNN TAN Photography VERNON WONG Art Direction YEW XIN YIseparating