This couple wanted their home to mirror their artistic sensibilities. Jacqueline Tan walks through their gallery-inspired home.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The furniture in the different spaces of this penthouse has been carefully selected to echo the bright shades reflected in the artworks on the walls. The dining set, for example, incorporates a burst of yellow. 


A doctor and his wife, who’s a lawyer and art historian

HOME Three-bedroom penthouse at Duchess Manor

SIZE 1,600 sq ft (built-in); 2,799 sq ft (including roof terrace) 

Music, art and food – the finer things in life – were huge considerations when interior design company Collective Designs worked on this three-bedroom penthouse. Renovated and furnished at slightly over $350,000, precious artworks dress the walls.

The wife was an art historian and worked in a few art galleries before switching to law as a second career. Between them, they have a sizeable collection of art, sculptures and unique furniture pieces, and wanted to showcase them in a classically simple, well-lit space.

A white finish on the cabinetry keeps the space streamlined, while storage options house a collection of unique flatware, cutlery and pottery amassed from their travels. “We also changed the direction the kitchen faced, closing the original entrance that was off the living room, and opening a door on the wall nearest the dining room instead,” says Selina Tay, founder and principal designer of Collective Designs. “This created a better flow between the cooking and dining areas. We also extended the dining room into the small balcony to accommodate an eight-seater table. Now, there’s also a bar with plenty of storage for wine, a coffee machine and accessories, plus a wine chiller.”   

My Reading Room

The living room and corridors are light and airy with concealed storage spaces to maintain neatness. Brightly-hued furniture adds contrast. 

My Reading Room

The study has a Murphy wall bed for when visitors from overseas come to stay. 

My Reading Room

Being music aficionados, the couple has a dedicated music room to house their vast collection of CDs and vinyls, and her cello. 

The living room’s bay window, which wraps around its perimeter, is now used for displays. It also serves as a ledge for extra seating when guests come over. The cushy, L-shaped sofa softens the space. The owners also wanted some of the furniture to reflect a vibrant statement hue from the paintings. after much contemplation, yellow won. “It is fun and serves as a great contrast to the classic blue-grey walls!” says Selina.

“Overall, we’ve ensured the home gets plenty of natural light by using light-coloured, perforated blinds instead of heavy drapes, and retaining many of the windows for natural cross ventilation. There is also lots of concealed storage space so the place stays as neat as possible,” adds Selina. 

My Reading Room

The rooftop garden offers a tranquil view of the Bukit Timah precinct, and is great for entertaining in the evening. 

My Reading Room

The living room’s bay window wraps around its perimeter, and serves as a display area and a ledge for extra seating. The L-shaped sofa softens the space. 

My Reading Room

Clad in mod wooden tones, the master bathroom was extended to accommodate a full-length tub, as requested by the couple. 

As both husband and wife, who plays the cello, are also music aficionados with a vast collection of CDs and vinyls, Selina turned one bedroom into a music room. She had the floor carpeted while the floor-to-ceiling, built-in cabinetry and heavy drapes helped soundproof it.

Compared to the rest of the home, the master bedroom has a cosy, more personable tone. The lushly textured wallpaper and elegant purple hues actually distract the eye from the fact that it is not a large space.

Finally, a big hit with guests is the rooftop garden with its table for 12. accessible by an outdoor staircase, the open-air sanctuary, with a tranquil view of the Bukit Timah precinct, serves as an entertainment and barbecue area for larger gatherings in the evening. “The layout and design were deliberately kept simple to minimise maintenance,” says Selina. 

My Reading Room

The master bedroom has a cosy, more personable tone as compared to the rest of the house.