Skip to content
Art Design The Homes Of Creative Geniuses Isabelle Miaja And Peter Tay

The Homes Of Creative Geniuses Isabelle Miaja And Peter Tay

The Homes Of Creative Geniuses Isabelle Miaja And Peter Tay
By Melissa Gail Sing
July 27, 2015
We go behind some of the most talked-about properties in Singapore and in the region, where our leading homegrown designers take us into their most private spaces

Isabelle Miaja 

The woman behind the French decadence-meets-cosmopolitan Singapore design vernacular at the luxurious Sofitel So Singapore, the managing director of Miaja Design Group has a portfolio that includes a string of other posh hotels in Asia and the Middle East, all similarly outstanding for their elegance and surprise factor. Home for the past 12 years has been a comfortable house nestled within lush greenery in a neighbourhood with a strong local culture. It’s also where her love for art and travel are proudly put on show.

What is your idea of stylish living? 
Stylish living comprises all of the newest creations and technologies available in the market at that moment, and what is considered to be “in”. My idea of a stylish interior is one that takes into consideration individuality. Stylishness can be interpreted in many ways and tailored to what best reflects the idea of style held by an individual or company.

How does your home reflect your personal style? 
My home is my oyster. It completely reflects what my heart goes for. My “coup de coeur” are everywhere and as I travel a lot, it is quite eclectic and art-centred. I have a taste for sculptures and my favourite theme is animals.

What attracted you to your home in the first place? 
I was attracted by its surroundings. It has a very local feel with nearby shophouses that still look the way they did when they were first built and a village-like atmosphere where relationships can be formed. I also love the greenery surrounding the house; it’s like living in the country.

What was your vision and inspiration when it came to designing your home interior?
It is a vision that is built over time. As the years go by, my style has evolved into something more quirky as I push boundaries with my art. However, I am very attached to my possessions, and I do not get rid of anything I own. This means, I now have to be very careful about what I add to my collections. I do not like the cluttered look. What I like most is moving things around. Give them new lighting and new focus and discover the pieces again by moving them to another room and placing them at a different angle.

What changes do you have in mind as part of the continuous evolution of the space? 
The design evolved together with my career and colours have changed. I am thinking on another scale at the moment. I am less afraid to try things out, which translates into skin on the walls and splashes of strong orange red in the dining room. I also have another vision in mind, of large flowers in sepia, which will transform the room and give it new life. I also would like to try Swarovski wallpaper in my bathroom, which would twinkle at night with the reflection of light. My next project is my garden, which I intend to fill with sculptures, to bring art and new energy to the garden.

Which area of the home makes you proudest or is most stylish?
The living room. Cosy and yet sophisticated, it holds my favourite art pieces and the space is large and surrounded by the greenery outside. It is a gathering place for my family and my best times here are when my friends and family sit around and chat over tea and dessert.

Is your approach to designing your own personal space the same as your approach to designing a client’s space? Is it true that designers are at their most expressive when designing their own home or workspace?
I personally feel that I am able to be most creative for others because each project gives me the opportunity to tailor it to its requirements. It is like acting, you end up with your own interpretation creating something different and that completely expresses the project’s individuality. As I practise individuality for myself, so do I for my projects. Each is its own entity. Part of our idea on sustainability is the idea of “experience” and “belonging” and of course that concept being at the heart of our creativity we start studying what the message will be and what we want it to emanate as an atmosphere. Our motto is “The essence of style is to live the art of being unique”.

What are your top tips for designing a stylish home? 
If you are designing your own stylish home, take your family into consideration and your life’s habits. We often put this aside to follow “in” trends which may not necessarily reflect our personality and likes. A stylish home for me is a good blend of natural flow and personal expression. When I walk into someone’s home, I prefer to “feel” the person or family’s soul rather than feel like I am moving through a nicely arranged collection of furniture and artefacts. Of course, working with someone who knows how to draw who you are, and who can translate that stylishly without the desire to “take over” will gracefully paint a close picture of the individual or family.

What’s the next big trend in home design that you are really excited about?
Technological advancements, be they in lighting or music, if well mastered, can transform a home into an amazing stage. I follow luxury technology fairs in the US closely. At the moment my new love is Nano technology. It’s amazing to work with!

Peter Tay

His phone number is on the contact lists of celebrities like Zoe Tay and Zhang Ziyi, whose homes he has designed, and apart from high-end residential and commercial properties, the founder of Peter Tay Studio has also been credited for his work on the showrooms of brands like Richard Mille and Armani Casa. Being lauded as Designer of the Year in the 2014 President’s Design Awards only reaffirmed Peter’s reputation as one of the country’s most brilliant design talents. What keeps his styles relevant is timelessness, a thread that runs through all his projects, including his city-fringe apartment. For the collector of contemporary art and furniture from modern masters, every piece in his home tells a different story about the times, places and experiences that are meaningful to him.

What is your idea of stylish living?
It comprises several things: Clean, simple lines; well proportioned spaces; well selected classic furniture and accessories that are not only appropriate to the space, but also give it character. Style isn’t just about the design and the pieces of furniture we put in it, style has to be expressed by the owners. A home’s style is an extension of its owner.

How does your home reflect your personal style?
My home is an eclectic mix of modern classic furniture that I collect. I love contemporary art and furniture from the modern masters. I have been collecting them for over 20 years now. Every piece that I acquire has its own story, a place in history and memory of a place and time when I bought it. My home is a space filled with many of these tatler_tatler_stories that are meaningful to me.

What was your vision and inspiration when it came to designing your home interior?
Since I have many pieces of furniture that I have collected over the years, I decided to display and use them as part of my space, especially in my living area. I like to imagine it as my private gallery. As my home is becoming increasingly overfilled, I have moved some of my pieces to my office.

How has the design of the space evolved over the years? And what changes do you have in mind as part of its continuous evolution?
One of my hobbies is to arrange and rearrange my furniture collection at home. When I’m not travelling, I do that rather frequently. It is hugely therapeutic for me. So my space is constantly evolving, as I add new pieces to my collection, shift furniture around and create new spaces with them.

Which area of the home makes you proudest or is the most stylish?
My dining area is very simple but it is a very special space. It is where my family gathers for meals. I’m usually very busy with work so mealtimes with my family are precious. This is also where I work and catch up on the news.

Is your approach to designing your own personal space the same as your approach to designing a client’s space?
I think each individual’s space is different and unique; it reflects a unique personality and lifestyle. I like to express that in my projects. It is very important for me to understand my clients and their lifestyles well. My space at home is very personal to me—it isn’t entirely about design, but it shows who I am as a person.

What are your top tips for designing a stylish home?
Instead of designing a stylish home, it is more important to create great spatial quality and a home that reflect the lifestyles of its owners. I believe that good design can bring happiness to the occupants. We, as designers, simply craft space for the occupants and for meaningful events to occur within them.

What’s a really simple way to instantly take a home’s style factor up a few notches?
Great space begins with less. I believe that less is more. Invest in good spatial quality and accentuate it with a few well selected timeless design pieces.

What’s the next big trend in home design that you are really excited about?
I am an advocate for simple but powerfully executed spaces—spaces that express a strong focus in intention and materiality, which show a deliberate reduction, rather than addition. At the same time, we are also seeing new “trends” that really aren’t following any trends as we know them.



Art & Design Tatler Homes art home designer style interior Isabelle Miaja peter tay


In order to provide you with the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. For more information, please refer to our Privacy Policy.