Home Tour: A Family Apartment That Combines Rose Gold, Shagreen And Marble
Shagreen may not be the typical leather of choice for most abodes, but the unusual texture of this exotic hide drew homeowner Chua Weijie to it. “I personally quite like shagreen, I find the material unique; I wanted elements of shagreen in my home as it’s something different.” Chua and his wife Toh Xin Yi wanted a home that’s light and bright for their family of four, while integrating their preference for shagreen and rose gold into the interior scheme. The owners also adore the colourful fish sculptures from Lalique that were purchased before the renovation started, and wanted these glass pieces to serve as one of the key features of their home.
Of all the interior designers they had met, they were most impressed with Terrence Quah of Architology Interiors, not only because of the firm’s portfolio but also by his earnest approach to the project. “It was quite easy to work with him,” recalls Chua. “We shortlisted a few interior designers, he was the only one who was quite sincere. He came down to see the unit, drew up a plan and it looks almost exactly the same as the plan.”
The apartment at Goodwood Residence offers views of the central open lawn and pool deck. The designer made full use of these verdant views, particularly in the master bedroom, living room and the balcony, reorienting the furniture pieces to encourage the family and their guests to look outwards to the lush greenery and enjoy dining outdoors when the weather permits. A custom-made onyx table is the centrepiece of the balcony; the back-lit table creates a glamorous glow during evening meals.
The starting point for this project’s design concept was the prominent use of shagreen and Palissandro marble throughout the home, accented with elements of ostrich leather and rose gold.
“Palissandro marble was one of the earliest materials that we started looking at,” shares Quah, co-founder of Architology and the project’s lead designer for this project. “That’s why the home soon took on a rose gold tint, as seen on the metal panels, sofas and rugs.” The couple also purchased a pair of Devialet speakers in rose gold for their living room to complement the colour scheme.
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As some of the materials selected were quite unusual, the colour palette of earthy shades like beige, brown and cream as well as neutral tones were used to keep the overall look refined and understated. While the layout of the apartment has been kept largely the same, all of the existing cabinetry was redone to complement the interior scheme of the home.
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A glass display specially created to house the Lalique fish figurines, appears almost like a mini aquarium that acts like a portal into the study from the living room; this also makes the school of fish visible from both areas of the home. Other personal touches in the home include the globe sculpture at the entrance, a gift from the grandfather to his grandson. A glass bead feature wall is another interesting detail at the entrance, its gold leaf detailing adding a touch of opulence to the entryway.
Quah also travelled with the owners to Cebu, the Philippines, to source for the right craftsman and means to produce unique pieces in shagreen for the home. “We went through the process of finding out how to use the material, where it came from and the craftsmen who were making it,” explains Quah. “After understanding the material, we started to think about what we could do in terms of design. That’s how we designed the starburst shape on the coffee table top, and then the colours and size of it.”
The designer then combined the expertise of various artisans who specialise in metal, woodwork and shagreen to create different parts of each item. These include the solid wood desk and CPU enclosure that were custom-made in Cebu, then shipped to Singapore so local craftsmen could add the shagreen inlay onto the table top. Another key piece is the kitchen island, which is clad in palissandro stone and also lined with shagreen trimming.
As the family wanted a playful double-decker bed for their daughter, the firm proposed a more timeless, architectural design that subtly references both a modern building and treehouse, with built-in lights on the steps that lead up to the bed area. The play area below is lined with pale pink leather to match her preferred colour.
The son’s blue bedroom features animal motifs on the wallpaper inspired by his love of wildlife, while the bed is designed to resemble an open tent in line with the safari theme.
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The design concept for the master bedroom, on the other hand, was influenced by a surprise find. The designer and owners encountered a beautiful onyx slab which they “fell in love with” while sourcing for marble to be used on the walls of the home.
The onyx feature wall is the first thing that greets the owners upon entering the master bedroom; it is also visible from the main hallway and acts as a privacy screen as well. The same onyx is also applied to the wooden headboard, which also features a geometric lattice along with shagreen panels.
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Mirrored panels are applied extensively to the master bathroom to expand the sense of space and to act as a modern balance to the rich textures of dark wood, marble, shagreen and brushed metal trimmings. The semi-open concept bathroom also features a freestanding bathtub lined with pebbles at its base to add to the zen-like feel of the space.
“It was very enjoyable working on this project,” shares Quah, looking at the completed result with pride. “We got to explore a lot of new materials such as shagreen and had a high level of customisation for this home.”
The family is equally as pleased with the result: “The kids are always in the living room for the TV, drawing and reading.” Even the shagreen coffee table has doubled as a “stage”; a mini platform for their young children to dance on and play.
- Art Direction Khairul Ali
- Photography Jasper Yu
- Photographer's Assistant Tan Ming Yuan and Wong Epaul