STRIKING A BALANCE

This couple’s first home marries two of their favourite styles – with plenty of personalisation to match.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

This couple’s first home marries two of their favourite styles – with plenty of personalisation to match.

The homeowners kept loose furniture, such as these seats from Comfort Design, to a minimum. They prefer to fill their home with knick-knacks and decorative details.
The homeowners kept loose furniture, such as these seats from Comfort Design, to a minimum. They prefer to fill their home with knick-knacks and decorative details.
My Reading Room

The timeless appeal of the utilitarian industrial look and minimalist Scandinavian style has made these two decor themes popular among homeowners. As fans of both, husband and wife Aaron and Angela Koh decided to combine the styles in their new Housing Board flat. They approached interior designer Diana Yeo of Design Channel with this brief, resulting in a $50,000 renovation (without furnishing). For a homely feel, a balance between the two looks had to be achieved. Pairing industrial-style aesthetics such as exposed piping and glass embedded with wire mesh, with Scandinavian elements such as light wood, and furniture with clean organic curves, helped create a cosy, lived-in ambience. They also had to find the right balance for the colour palette, says Diana. For instance, the white brick wall Angela requested for the dining area was paired with wooden ceiling beams in a natural golden hue, and not a darker shade of wood, which would have looked too industrial.

Diana and her team fashioned the suspended table in the balcony out of solid teak, and coiled rope around the hanging metal rods for a softer touch.
Diana and her team fashioned the suspended table in the balcony out of solid teak, and coiled rope around the hanging metal rods for a softer touch.
Tillandsias, also known as air plants, are one of many species in Aaron’s garden.
Tillandsias, also known as air plants, are one of many species in Aaron’s garden.
The balcony is an ideal place for both pets and plants, as there is plenty of fresh air.
The balcony is an ideal place for both pets and plants, as there is plenty of fresh air.
Patterned tiles were used with concrete-lookalike ones, for a softer look. Walls painted with blackboard paint mark out the exercise area in the living room.
Patterned tiles were used with concrete-lookalike ones, for a softer look. Walls painted with blackboard paint mark out the exercise area in the living room.

Similarly, the master bedroom’s lavender grey walls work better with a dark-hued floor and platform bed; a lighter shade would have resulted in a sweet, feminine vibe instead of the dim and cosy room the couple wanted. Their love for suspended furniture pieces adds a unique, personalised touch to the five-room flat, such as the suspended two-sided mirror, and surround-sound speakers in the living room. The rods which the speakers are suspended from are covered with rope, a detail which is also echoed in the hanging table in the balcony. “I appreciate workmanship; and things that you cannot buy off the shelf,” says Aaron.

Taobao was the couple’s go-to place for decor items, such as the recycled glass bottle pendant lamps in the dining area.
Taobao was the couple’s go-to place for decor items, such as the recycled glass bottle pendant lamps in the dining area.
The study room’s wood-and-metal bookcase, which goes perfectly with the black, jagged brick wall, is from online shopping site Taobao.
The study room’s wood-and-metal bookcase, which goes perfectly with the black, jagged brick wall, is from online shopping site Taobao.
Fashioned from an authentic fire sprinkler pipe, the overhead lamps – as well as vintage bakelite switches and shipyard lamps – are from local decor store 2by2.
Fashioned from an authentic fire sprinkler pipe, the overhead lamps – as well as vintage bakelite switches and shipyard lamps – are from local decor store 2by2.

The spacious balcony is another space that the duo exercised their creativity in. Here, Aaron and Angela have eight pet cages, and a diverse range of plants. “These Spanish moss plants (hanging from the lamps) prevent rain from splashing into the home, by collecting rain water and letting it drip downwards. When mature, it will look like and act as a curtain,” says Aaron, a hobbyist gardener, adding that a vegetable and fruit garden is in the works as well.

For extra storage, the platform bed features pullout drawers.
For extra storage, the platform bed features pullout drawers.
The boutique-style display cabinet, created by Diana’s team, was inspired by a suspended kitchen cabinet they saw while looking for ideas.
The boutique-style display cabinet, created by Diana’s team, was inspired by a suspended kitchen cabinet they saw while looking for ideas.
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