"The plaster above the tile line is ﬂushed with the hexagonal marble mosaic wall tiles, in order to prevent dust from collecting."
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland marble mosaic ollecting. begins with Alice being bored by a book that her sister is reading to her. She gets distracted by a white rabbit and, while following him, falls down the infamous rabbit hole, after which begins a series of adventures in a fantasy world.
Likewise, when doctor-lawyer couple Lin Diyan and Desiree Tan were shortlisting interior designers for their home, they sat through some run-of-the-mill presentations, until Liew Kok Fong from Studio Super Safari came along with some very novel and interesting proposals. “It was his ideas and also his sincerity that won us over,” says Diyan.
During the course of the project, the couple had many ideas. “It was Kok Fong who helped distil this hotchpotch of ideas and bring everything together,” Desiree recalls. Unconventional and bold design decisions were made because they addressed the homeowners’ brief requirements and lifestyle needs. “The scheme is not style driven but, rather, it is generated by the clients’ personalities, which should come through in the interior design,” emphasises Kok Fong, who is also an architect.
Here are some intriguing aspects of the home that may just make visitors feel like Alice in Wonderland.
UP, UP AND AWAY
Just as Alice grew after taking a bite of a special cake, and again after drinking a mystery cordial, the apartment also “grew” vertically. While stripping away the ceiling boards, the renovation team uncovered an additional metre of space that housed the air-conditioning ducts and various pipes. “It was a pleasant surprise and the extra headroom makes the space feel more spacious,” says Desiree.
The pipes were subsequently concealed within the walls and they did away with the central ducted airconditioning system. “We wanted to retain the exposed red brick wall above the original ceiling, but was concerned that it may be too overpowering, so we cleaned up the gaps and painted it white instead. This helps to tone down the effect, while retaining a sense of authenticity and connection to the home’s past,” explains Kok Fong.
Inspired by the discovery of the additional ceiling space, Kok Fong introduced a loft in the study. A platform was erected to create the loft, with a 2.1m space below. A study desk was constructed beneath the platform, and pedestal shelves double as steps leading up to the loft. The structure, which Kok Fong likens to “a tree house made of built-in furniture”, injects an element of fun and playfulness in a typically serious study environment.
The loft can be used for storage purposes or as a quiet corner for reading or chilling out. It also provides access to a “secret chamber”, which is actually additional storage space hidden in the ceiling directly above the corridor leading to the rooms. A pull-out shoe rack is integrated into the shallower section, while the other section is deep enough to accommodate suitcases and other larger items.
THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS
The bedroom wall had to be moved inwards to carve out more space for the walk-in wardrobe. As the homeowners do not spend much time in the bedroom, except when it’s bedtime, preferring to hang out in the living room or dining area, they were fine with the smaller bedroom. “It is all about priorities,” Kok Fong points out.
A sliding door installed at one end of the corridor facing the living and dining rooms allows the walk-in wardrobe to be closed off, in order to create one large private suite including the bedroom, study and bathrooms.
The mirrored wardrobe doors conjure up the effect of a visual mirror maze, a Hall of Mirrors so to speak. What has been created in this apartment is not just sturdy functionality but also fixtures and elements that have a touch of whimsy. Who says storybook interiors have to be absurd?
The living room extends out to a balcony surrounded by greenery, where one can hear the sound of falling water from the condominium’s water feature. The oversized rug measuring 3m in diameter was custom-made by a friend of the homeowners.
Diyan and Desiree love hanging out in the dining area. They took a long time over the selection of the American Walnut dining table from Etch&bolts, and the dining bench was a showpiece that was custommade for St Patrick’s Chapel.
"Bold design decisions were made because they addressed the homeowners’ lifestyle needs.
" WHO LIVES HERE
A couple in their 30s HOME A two-bedroom condominium apartment in River Valley SIZE 1,324sqf
"Red-and-blue Peranakan tiles were used only on the ﬂoor and shower wall, not the entire master bathroom, so as to create a focal point."
"An additional suspended post was added to one side of the cantilevered platform for extra support."
Kok Fong loves doubling the functionality of things. The corridor is a walk-in wardrobe, the kitchen’s sliding glass door serves as the glass front for a display shelf, and the study shelves are also steps leading to the loft.
The common bath was kept simple, with Japanese-style tiles and white honed marble.
photography VEE CHIN art direction LIM YI LING