"The wall separating the living room and kitchen was demolished and replaced by a bar counter to open up the two spaces."
Well-travelled homeowners Ronald Wan and Rachel Ong were inspired by the many stylish Airbnb apartments they stayed at during their trips to Paris, London, New York and Bangkok. Those homes were chic, simple and inviting – something the married couple believed could be achieved in their own home by using the timeless palette of black and white.
“For us, the feeling of being home has to do with a space that is constant and consistent, and the black-and-white colour scheme makes a good base for this. It’s easy to match, and coloured decor pops nicely against it. To keep to our budget, Ronald and I planned our own mood board, while Gay Zhengcai from The Merry Men Interiors helped us realise it,” says Rachel.
We find out what went into the $46,000 renovation, which included transforming one bedroom into an open study and combining the two remaining bedrooms into a master suite with a walk-in wardrobe.
W HO LIVES HERE
A young couple and their two cats HOME Four-room HDB apartment in Tampines SIZE 980 sq ft
To create a restful and elegant ambience in the bedroom, the couple kept to an all-white palette – starting with a light wood-look vinyl by Evorich Flooring Group and white storage bed from Ikea – complemented by marble-look side tables and wardrobe doors. “The bohemian-style wire lamp was inspired by a similar designer piece, but the latter is quite pricey. We bought this first to see if the style – a fabric that may trap dust easily – works for us before buying the original piece,” says Rachel.
“We engaged a separate closet designer for our wardrobe. We wanted a built-in look without paying the built-in price, so what we did was to place our customised shelves and racks against the existing wall – then we simply fitted a sliding door system in front of it!” explains Rachel. This clever idea saved them about $1,000.
The couple recreated the chic look of their favourite Airbnb apartment by sourcing black, vintage-style fittings online, as they could not find anything similar in local stores. The marble and subway-tile theme continues in the bathroom, too.
HISTORY OF US
The couple each have a shelf to express their personal interests. Ronald, who used to be an entertainment writer, has a black bookshelf filled with film and travel memorabilia. The items showcase his diverse tastes, from a DVD of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and the Harry Potter books to a snow globe of the Empire State Building.
Rachel’s work as a stylist in the fashion industry, as well as Ronald’s love for pop culture, influenced the four-room flat’s interior. The result is a tasteful space designed with restraint, yet packed with detail. Among the choices they made were selecting a cushy suede chesterfield and pairing it with a minimalist coffee table, as well as opting for a projector instead of a television to recreate an old-school cinematic experience.
“WE DON’T EVEN NEED A HOOD AS WE MOSTLY BAKE, STEAM AND AIR-FRY. IF IT DOES GET SMOKY, WE TURN ON THE AIR PURIFIER AND OPEN THE WINDOWS – NO BIG DEAL, AND IT ENCOURAGES US TO EAT HEALTHY.”
– RONALD WAN
PHOTOGRAPHY VERONICA TAY ART DIRECTION KRISTY