Francesco and Birgit Galli Zugaro’s home is a treasure trove of furniture, paintings, sculptures and other decorative objects that they have collected over 25 years. “Every item has a story behind it and every piece has priceless meaning to us,” says Francesco.
When the couple moved from their previous penthouse into this smaller apartment in Leedon Residence, their brief to Tan Sze Ling, founder and principal of Topic Design Studio was to be able to keep all their precious curios and most of their furniture. The couple, who works in the tourism industry, also wanted to add new pieces into their curated collection.
For Tan, this project was more than simply making space for these beautiful objects. “Each time the homeowners moved to a new city, they would bring along all these pieces full of sentimental value and add more along the way,” says Tan. She adds: “we wanted to give them a fresh perspective of how they see the pieces in their collection.”
For the family, the apartment has felt like home since the first day they moved in. “It has the perfect mixture of memories from old pieces and newly-acquired ones,” says Birgit.
Tan skillfully reinforced this vertical and horizontal expansion of space by inserting a pair of timber portals that frame the view, with elongated crystal glass Ralph Lauren wall sconces on either side. The large windows allow abundant natural light into the living room, which is enhanced by an eclectic array of furniture that Tan mixed and matched from existing and new pieces. The console at the side was previously used as a dresser in their master bedroom but is now part of the living ensemble.
The designer believes that a luxury interior is revealed through thoughtful details and balanced proportions. “It is about fusing inspirations derived from the homeowners’ style with our Asian design beliefs to create a bespoke interior that is uniquely them,” she says. At the dining area, a darker colour palette is matched with accents of red from the antique Chinese folding chair, antique Chinese trunk and oil painting.
In contrast to the living room, the dining area embraces a more glamorous setting. Customised fabric chairs from Japan strike a soft balance with the masculine dining table from Bellavista, with three metal tassel chandeliers from Asiatique Collections suspended above. Polished brass chair footings add a touch of luxury. An antique Chinese trunk stands stoically to one side, functioning as a sideboard but also bearing testimony to its rich history and fond memories.
The master bedroom feels like an Asian-inspired villa, with the walls deliberately kept simple using woven textured wallpaper in a natural hue. A customised bedframe in persimmon picks up on the orange brown tone of the antique Chinese console. Tan makes ingenious use of space by transforming the bay window into a seating area flanked by drawers. Chinese plates, brass wall sconces and a petrified wood side table add to the master bedroom’s old world charm.