Downsizing is always challenging, especially when it comes to storage. LYNN TAN finds out how Joey Khu not only made room for this couple and their dog, but also the homeowner’s extensive toy collection.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Real estate agent, Victor Seah, and his analyst wife, Joey Wong, initially purchased this Beach Road apartment with the intention of renting it out. However, they both fell in love with the Kampong Glam neighbourhood and decided to make this their home. They moved in in mid-2019, after a three-month renovation period.

Moving from a 1,400 sq ft maisonette, one can imagine the gargantuan task of creating sufficient storage within an apartment that is slightly more than a third of the maisonette’s floor area. It is like trying to fit the contents of a suitcase into a shoebox. Needless to say, this was one of the top priorities in their brief to Joey Khu, director of Joey Khu Interior Design Pte Ltd. One of the homegrown designer’s projects that were featured in Home and Decor first caught the couple’s eye. “We like his style and the way he mixes-and-matches various elements and colours. We also share similar tastes, including love for toys,” says Victor.

Most designers would instinctively go for a lighter colour palette to make the small interior feel more spacious. Never one to conform to the norm, however, Joey did just the opposite. This was partly in response to the homeowner’s preference for darker colours, but it was also a deliberate play of contrasts.

“I wanted to heighten the experience of entering into, and moving through a dark space, which subsequently opens out to a bright balcony with views of the city beyond,” Joey explains. “The key to working with dark interiors is to play with different textures to make the space feel cosier. A few statement pieces and accent colours also help to enhance the interior,” he elaborates.

The main entrance leads to an open kitchen that has been entirely redone. The existing kitchen counter has been replaced with a quartz top. Even the shelves above the counter were fabricated from quartz, which was chosen for its durability.

Joey designed full-height, built-in storage that extends from the main door across the kitchen all the way to the living room, terminating just before the balcony. These include not only kitchen cabinets above and below the countertop, cabinets that conceal the refrigerator and washing machine, but also open shelves for displaying Victor’s toy collection.

Joey designed another set of floor-to-ceiling storage along the wall facing the kitchen. It also doubles up as a pantry cum display for more toys. Together with the kitchen counter and cabinets, they form a sort of galley layout that is well-organised and makes efficient use of limited space.

Much thought has been put into the small but tastefully put together living room. A Won design sofa in royal blue with a plush, velvety texture adds a pop of colour, along with a rose-coloured rug. “The unusual shape of the rug was intended to break away from the rectilinear layout of the space and soften the overall effect,” Joey points out.

The master bedroom exudes an understated elegance, which forms the perfect backdrop for an artwork by none other than Joey himself. The multi-talented designer sometimes takes to the canvas to create art pieces for his clients. This particular piece is a collage that drew inspiration from another artwork along the hallway by Jesus Perez.

“I took reference from his colour and style. I avoided colours that are too strong because it is to be hung in front of the bed,” Joey shares.

The renovation cost between $80,000 to $90,000 and most of the original built-in furniture and fixtures were stripped out. The loft platform in the second bedroom was retained. As the couple has no need for an additional bedroom, the platform can serve as extra storage. Even the steps leading up to the loft can double up as storage and display for more toys.

In the hands of a skilful designer, this small apartment has been transformed into a cosy, efficient and well-organised space that epitomises city living.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

A wall lamp with circular shapes is also an interesting piece of art.


The new kitchen cabinets extend out further than the existing ones in order to conceal the washing machine.


Homeowner, Victor, appreciates Joey’s attention to the little things. For Joey, it is the little things that give the home a soul.

Every piece of art that adorns the walls of the home was carefully selected by Joey to complement the interior.
My Reading Room
A couple and their pet dog HOME A two-bedroom condominium at Beach Road SIZE 560 sq ft
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Some of Victor’s toys are casually displayed around the apartment to convey a relaxed ambience.


The balcony serves as a dining-cumwork pace. Even the clothes hanger resembles an art installation.

The use of large format wall and floor tiles gives the bathroom a luxurious touch.
My Reading Room

An existing door in the second bedroom was sealed up as there was no need for too many alternative circulation routes within a small partment.

photography VEE CHIN art direction KRISTY QUAH