Away from the glittering gowns and shimmering veils, this wedding magazine editor's recycleandrestyle philosophy led to an eclectic furniture collection with layers of history. ELIZA HAMIZAH explores this interesting abode.
Steve honed his sense of style when he was living with his mum. “We had lots of furniture she didn’t want to throw out and I figured there must be a way to make these old things look nice and modern,” he explains.
The couple are drawn to religious souvenirs and have an entire rack (and more) dedicated to them.
A handcrafted table runner from Bhutan, with intricate and colourful weaves, is proffered to us as homeowner Steve Thio gushes: "When I saw it, I couldn’t resist it.” The editor of Her World Brides flew to Bhutan for the pre-wedding photo shoot of local celebrities Jesseca Liu and Jeremy Chan last year, and couldn’t resist bringing home something beautiful. His definition of beauty? The refurbished, the recycled and the handmade; anything with a story.
Steve and Choon Kian, live in an eclectic and airy four-roomer in Ang Mo Kio. The floors are decorated with hand-me-down Persian and Indian rugs, and the wooden daybed in the living room explodes with colours – thanks to over a dozen patterned and embroidered pillow covers.
Steve bought the coffee table from lifestyle and fashion retailer British India.
The tiny cymbals were a gift from luxury resort Amankora in Bhutan, while the Buddha hands were bought in Thailand.
Steve started collecting porcelain lotuses 10 years ago. He has 33 pieces in total, bought from Thai department stores, boutiques, as well as Chatuchak.
To create a coherent yet eclectic look, opt for items in different shapes but similar finishes. Alternatively, homeowners can look for one design in many colours.
OPPOSITE TOP RIGHT
The couple don't agree on everything, such as this vintagestyle radio that Steve bought from a nearby market, which he loves.
Though this metal grille gate is no longer produced in Singapore, their contractor found an old man who was willing to customise one for the home. It costs about $2,000.
Playful knickknacks like these give the home a cheerful atmosphere.
"The couple bought many things from Bangkok’s Chatuchak market, including this floral painting and brass lamps in the dining room."
“The idea is to not waste anything, as much as we can. We are proud to say this is a home of mementoes. The dining stools are from my mother’s home and are as old as I am, and these patchwork cushion covers are from Vietnam. Admittedly, I bought so many without realising I had no cushions, so I had to buy some!” says Steve, with a chuckle.
The homeowners engaged Panerai Decor to create a home that would be adorned with their many statement furniture pieces. Thanks to Choon Kian’s background in design, he was able to create a model of their unit using 3-D program Sketchup, in order to give the contractor some visual aid. The renovation set them back $75,000, most of which went towards the cost of extensive glass and metal doors throughout the home. They’ve combined the master and common bathrooms, too; the space is accessible via the bedroom and kitchen.
The contractor was also instrumental in realising their no-wastage philosophy. The long wooden dining table (bought at only $700 during a Club 21 furniture sale 20 years ago) was initially too low, but he managed to raise its height with similar-looking wood. Steve also requested that their old wooden bookcase be upcycled into a headboard.
“Go to garage sales to find unique, one-off pieces. Think of ways to revamp them, whether by reupholstering or revarnishing, or let its authenticity resonate within your home. With a well furnished space, your personality will naturally shine through,” says Steve.
Your home’s “skeleton” should not clash with its furnishings. As most of the furnishings are old or clad in ethnic prints, the couple balanced it out with cleaner finishes, such as white walls and dark floors.
A 20-year-old dining table, decorative rugs from Choon Kian’s mother, 40-year-old stools and a Bhutanese table runner make a stunning combination.
The two do not cook often and did without a stove in their previous unit. After deciding to have one here, their contractor joked that they finally have a proper home.
Adapt your current furniture for your new home. Steve upcycled his old bookcase into this headboard. They also traded unwanted items with a used furniture dealer, for sandpapering service.
photography ANGELA GUO art direction NONIE CHEN