National rower Oz Titus Hong devotes the same passion and precision to the design of his bachelor pad as he does to his sport. LYNN TAN discovers what floats his boat.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Everything has a dual function so as to make the most of a small space. The coffee table can be converted into a dining table, while the sofa serves a triple purpose, including as a dining banquette and a sofa bed.

Nothing was left to chance. Much thought went into the placement and choice of every element in the home.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

A DIY mirror feature creates an interesting visual element near the entrance foyer.


The multi talented national rower is also very creative; he likes to work on Peranakan beading during his spare time.

Even mundane drawer knobs become interesting when they take the form of plum blossoms.
My Reading Room


A national rower HOME A one-bedroom (formerly two-bedroom) condominium apartment in Tanjong Rhu SIZE 570sqf
My Reading Room

SEA Games bronze medallist and model Oz Titus Hong’s apartment is located a stone’s throw away from Singapore Sports Hub where he trains. The multi-talented athlete had been trained as an interior architect and used to specialise in hospitality design. He may have swopped his design wand for oars, but he relished the opportunity to be creative when crafting his own living space.

“I tried to infuse my home with bespoke, understated luxury, through the use of materials and all the little details and personal touches,” says Oz, not unlike the way he gave character to the numerous luxury hotels that he worked on in the past.


Perhaps it has to do with his personality, or maybe it’s attributable to his background in design and his training as an athlete, but Oz admits to being very particular about the organisation, layering and framing of spaces. “I believe that these add depth to an interior, especially for small spaces,” he says.

He has pulled this off, framing the entrance portal and the threshold between the living room and the more private study and bedroom areas, as well as introducing screens to create a choreographed sequence of layers as you move through the apartment. It may be a modest 570 sq ft, but this layering gives the impression of a much larger space.


Oz is also very meticulous when it comes to ensuring that every element in the apartment lines up neatly and follows a datum, which is determined by a horizontal line that is 900mm above the finished floor level. This reference point controls the height of the kitchen counter and is even expressed on the veneer-clad walls and doors, where the wood grain above and below the datum line are aligned vertically and horizontally respectively. This seemingly small detail goes a long way in making the home more comfortable, visually.


The home's Peranakan influence is a nod to Oz’s Peranakan roots, but with a modern take.

The most prominent Peranakan reference is the study, which was converted from one of the original bedrooms. Two of the existing walls were hacked and replaced by timber screens. The screens adjacent to the living room are movable, while the panel facing the corridor is fixed. "Telescopie sliding panels require more depth allowance, which will encroach upon the corridor circulation,” he explains.

One wall in the study has been painted a shade of violet blue that is reminiscent of the colour of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, more commonly known as The Blue Mansion, a Unesco World Heritage Site that is a historical, cultural and architectural landmark in Penang. Oz painted the wall himself and the deliberate paint drips add texture and give the wall a rustic feel.

A Chinese element that Oz incorporated into the interior design is the plum blossom, a recurring motif that serves to tie the various spaces together. The corners of a customised sideboard in the entrance foyer are shaped like plum blossoms, similar to that found on the lattice work of the study room screens. The gold knobs for doors, cabinets and drawers are shaped like plum blossoms, and even the living room and bedroom curtains have plum blossom patterns on them.


"A small space also needs to be a smart space, such that everything serves a dual purpose,” Oz points out. From a breakfast table that folds out from the side of the kitchen counter to a coffee table that can transform into a dining table for six, he has devoted much thought into the multiple functions that every object serves so as to maximise the use of space.

The most ingenious contraption has to be the movable wall/door/shelf all rolled into one. Concealing the household shelter, it appears to be just a regular built-in, full-height shelf. It opens up to reveal the household shelter, but swing it 90 degrees, and it becomes a door that partitions off the bedroom from the rest of the apartment.

My Reading Room
This shelf conceals the household shelter. When swung open 90 degrees, it becomes a partition that screens off the bedroom and bathroom.
My Reading Room
The bedroom has a pastel colour palette. Hand-painted silk wallpaper from Just Anthony, porcelain garden stools used as bedside tables and lamps from Ikea have been artfully put together to achieve a tasteful look.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room

These full-height screens set the oriental tone of the apartment, and creates privacy for the study room when desired.


The study is also where Oz displays his collection of antique Peranakan porcelain jars, also known as chupu.

A compact breakfast table folds out from the side of the kitchen island.

photography VEE CHIN art direction NONIE CHEN