The stylish living spaces and warm ambience of this apartment reflect the homeowner’s passion for designing hotel suites.
Warren’s living room is beach house-inspired, with a whitewashed ceiling, custom furniture and accent pieces. It also displays Warren’s collection of books and artefacts.
WHO An interior designer in his 40s.
HOME A two-bedroom condo in East Coast Road.
Shagreen leather panels on the cabinets in the living room, sourced with the help of TD Fabrics, add contrast to a predominantly neutral colour palette.
Interior designer Warren Foster-Brown moved to Singapore in 2000.
LEFT Warren added concealed panels that usually slide into the wall and are only extended for privacy when the guest room is occupied. A specially designed drinks cabinet and wine fridge sit over the window ledge.
RIGHT The guest room is designed like a sanctuary, where fighting jet lag is made all the easier with comforts of home and personal touches.
For him, it was the moment when he alighted from the agent’s car and began the walk to his block. “The lush landscaping on each side, a shallow pool with hammocks strewn between large palm trees and a sunken table made for a real resort feel. Then, upon entering the unit, the orientation, the light-filled rooms and huge balconies told me this was the place,” he says.
Did you set out to model your home after a hotel interior?
No, not at all. Although some people have compared it to a Presidential Suite in a hotel, it really is home, where I come to relax, entertain and work. It’s where I can display my treasures and kick back.
What were some of the key changes that you made to the apartment?
Probably the two main changes were the removal of a wall to convert two bedrooms into one large guest suite; and punching through from the private lift lobby, creating a large, etched glazed panel to the living area. I repeated this on the new customised entrance door. Previously, if there were no lights on in the lift lobby, it was like walking into a prison cell – dark, with no natural light. Now, the area is filled with light and is very welcoming.
Your guest room is like a luxury hotel suite. What experience are you trying to create for your guests?
The guest room was designed as a home from home, with most of my guests staying for a few weeks, as opposed to days, because they come from Europe and the US. Enlarging the room gives the guests enough space, should they wish to have some quiet time alone to rest in their own sanctuary, with their own coffee machine, mini bar, TV, audio system and an adjoining powder room. By closing two concealed panels at the entrance to the guest area, it becomes a mini suite with en-suite bathroom.
Do you feel like you are coming home to a hotel every day?
Oh, no! I love hotels and I love designing them, but I wouldn’t want to live in one. My apartment is a home, where I am surrounded by things bought during my travels, family photos and an eclectic mix of furnishings. I like to call it my grown-up home after renting for many years in London, Hong Kong and here in Singapore. When you are renting, the tendency is to do just enough to make your house a home. When you buy, that’s when the creative juices really flow, and you get to call into action some of the dreams you’ve had in the past.
Tell us about your favourite space in the apartment.
One of my favourite spaces is the terrace, especially when guests come around and we have dinner there. The lights are dimmed, candles lit, and I have outdoor speakers installed so music plays in the background. Terrace blinds – concealed in the edge of the slab – gently and quietly slide down, and a new room is created within the existing boundaries of the apartment.
You have been based in Asia for more than two decades. What do you think differentiates Asian hospitality from the rest of the world?
We are blessed in Asia to have large properties, with usually quite generous budgets to work with, and owners who have the ability to give a brief and let the designer work his magic. Also, being based in this part of the world, there are so many wonderful things to see, it’s hard not to be different in the way you think, do and act.
WHERE TO GO.
Fbeye International, www.f-b-eye.com.
This is Warren’s favourite vista in the whole apartment, from the entrance to his master bedroom suite. A blue and white porcelain lamp base sits on an antique Chinese cabinet, while a Peranakan-inspired timber chair with a cream base offsets the rich blue and rust cushions next to a table with a gold leaf top by Barbara Barry.
Warren replaced the original black granite of the bath tub with white Carrara marble to brighten up the space and add a touch of luxury.
The cosy master bedroom uses layers of materials to create depth and luxury, while Chinese cabinets and porcelain lamps add an eclectic touch.
Text LYNN TAN photography VERNON WONG art direction KAFFY TAN.