This terrace home underwent a major makeover, with strong wood accents standing in contrast to clean-lined design features.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

This terrace home underwent a major makeover, with strong wood accents standing in contrast to clean-lined design features. Jacqueline Tan finds out more from the interior designer.

Go heavy on wood and what comes to mind is a dim interior with perhaps an overbearing feel, or one with a country-house atmosphere. But this 30-year-old two-storey terrace house’s stunning transformation proves otherwise.

From the owner’s retro and vintage furniture collection to the interior backdrop, dark wooden tones dominate. But a smart living room and kitchen layout, sleek design features and some clever mix-and-match furniture choices by Museworks’ interior designer, Shawn Shum, give the space – renovated at an estimated cost of $30,000 including carpentry – an elegant, contemporary look.

Emphasis was placed on the kitchen design, given the owner’s fondness for cooking. The original big column in the middle of the space was torn down to allow natural light to flood in from the living room. The fully functional kitchen boasts a professional industrial hob, and also a breakfast/ tasting table next to the island countertop. Shawn also created a small garden on the property, which is visible from the kitchen, so that the owner gets a view of greenery when having breakfast or engaging in culinary prep work.

The “glossy” kitchen is in contrast to the large expanse of heavy walnut-toned wood laminate applied across the wall opposite the hob – the entire panel is actually a row of three “doors”, hiding the launderette, the owner’s mother’s room and the domestic helper’s room (the owner plans to have her mother and helper move in shortly). The protruding frames serve as door handles to the rooms.

Wood also features significantly in the living and dining rooms where the owner’s personal collection of wooden antique and vintage pieces take pride of place alongside contemporary pieces and colours. echoing the retro touches that permeate the home is the customised black metal railings of the staircase. and tucked elegantly below the stairs is a wine showcase and cellar.

On the second floor, the master bedroom boasts a sliding glass door with aluminium frames powder-coated in black. Blinds lend privacy. a glass partition was chosen as it brightens up the space, as opposed to keeping the wall that once separated the master bedroom from the rest of the rooms. The room is also decorated with the owner’s collection, and antique panels were embedded into a false wall to create the headboard. Details matter to Shawn, so he chose black tiles embossed with motifs for the bathroom in the master bedroom. under bright light, the designs etched on the tiles “pop up” and shimmer against a black backdrop.

Shawn also reconfigured the layout on the second floor, and moved the common bathroom to just outside the master bedroom, with the study area taking over the former spot of the bathroom.

A “third storey” was also added to the structure – an area just beneath the pitched roof that now serves as the attic and entertainment room. During the day, light streams in through the roof all the way to the common bathroom on the second floor – just one of the ways that natural light is introduced into the different corners of the home, for a brighter, more spacious interior.

My Reading Room

Antique oriental wooden screens anchor the look in the main living and dining spaces.

The interior designer toned down the heavy feel of the wooden pieces using contemporary metallic pendant lamps.
My Reading Room

The look of the living area may be part minimalist and part vintage but, when brought together, harmonise to form a cosy and inviting interior.


The stately look of the stairway is achieved through a pairing with railings in chic geometric design.

The simple yet elegant design of the common bathroom.
My Reading Room


 An eye specialist and her pet dog HOME Two-storey landed property in the east SIZE 2,800 sq ft; 600 sq ft (attic) 
My Reading Room
The homeowner opted for a stylish bar area next to the dining room, so that she can entertain and hang out with friends and family in the space.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

The wood-toned laminate panel is actually a row of three doors hiding the launderette and two other rooms.


The interior designer cleverly balanced out the classic nature of the wooden panels with modern and contemporary accents, to prevent the overall style from appearing overly dramatic.

The bathroom on the second floor, next to the master bedroom, is designed with a more intimate and plush atmosphere.
My Reading Room