Home Tour: Explore Fashion Designer Elyn Wong's Classic, Vintage-Influenced Abode
“It was pure coincidence that we found this place—it’s almost like the house was calling out to us,” says Elyn Wong. The founder of local womenswear label Stolen was instantly captivated by this Good Class Bungalow in Bukit Timah, right from her first visit with her husband, who works as a doctor. “My husband used to drive past it everyday on his way to work,” she says. “From the outside, you can’t see much of this house at all, which really piqued his curiosity and he decided to check it out.”
Besides its sprawling lawn and lush green views, the historical residence features a multitude of beautiful details such as intricate ironwork and arched corridors. It also had a sentimental appeal—for her husband, it brought to mind fond childhood memories of his grandparents’ home. Quips Wong: “And that instantly sealed the deal for us; I suppose we are both hopeless romantics like that.”
The newlywed couple faced the daunting task of moving into their new home and furnishing it amid preparations for their nuptials last August; they nonetheless pulled off both endeavours with aplomb. They worked swiftly, taking three months to shortlist their favourite pieces from their sprawling collection of vintage furniture and antiques, while incorporating contemporary pieces to keep the overall look fresh and relevant.
The couple wanted to maximise the lush views of their garden, so they orientated their furniture to face the soothing vista. “We are surrounded by a lot of greenery, so we chose to have a lot of warm wood furniture to complement that,” says Wong. “With numerous mirrors, we also attempt to draw in more of the nature around us into our home.”
(Related: Home Tour: Actress Janice Koh Adds Vintage Touches to Her Living and Dining Rooms)
Describing her decor aesthetic as “a juxtaposition of East and West, modern and ancient”, Wong clearly loves combining cross-cultural influences that span the ages. It’s a distinct departure from the sleek look of her designs for Stolen; a play of contrasts the fashion entrepreneur enjoys experimenting with.
“For Stolen, I create very contemporary pieces with clean silhouettes and the brand feels progressive aesthetically,” says Wong. “But on the flip side, a big part of my life is spent on thrift shopping, which I have been doing weekly with my dad since I was six. I grew up loving old things and I am still obsessed with them; and now my husband has also clearly inherited the obsession from me.”
Wong’s husband requested a cigar room on the ground floor where he could enjoy drinks with his friends, but left most of the decorating decisions to her. “He prefers to enjoy the end result rather than make every small decision, and I have a pretty clear idea of what I want,” she shares. “Luckily we are quite aligned in terms of aesthetics, so there are no big surprises!”
Standout pieces in the couple’s collection include a grandfather clock acquired from an auction in Germany as well as a cabinet of curiosities filled with silverware and various antique finds; the latter hold much sentimental value for the couple. Each item in the cabinet, be it an inherited jade piece with centuries of history or even a fragment of the Berlin Wall that Wong’s friends in Germany had gifted her, has a story to tell. “Every single item here is irreplaceable. They might not all be very expensive, but they are all precious to us.”
The living area on the second floor is among Wong’s favourite spots. This intimate space looks out to her lawn and features a display cabinet showcasing vases and pottery collected over the years. “I love the expanse of wood in this area and how it blends the floor, walls and ceiling into an infinity of warm lines,” she says. “As you walk up from the first level, you can see the outdoor greenery being framed beautifully by the wood. I am obsessed with this view, especially when it rains; I can sit here and enjoy it all day.”
As you walk up from the first level, you can see the outdoor greenery being framed beautifully by the wood. I am obsessed with this view, especially when it rains; I can sit here and enjoy it all day
— Elyn Wong, homeowner and founder of womenswear label Stolen
Botanical flourishes from This Humid House complete the couple’s stylish interior. Wong frequently commissions tablescapes and custom pieces from the local florist, which also created bespoke arrangements for her wedding bouquet and decor; it’s unsurprising to hear that the couple chose their handsome abode as the venue for their marital celebration. “Whether in my work capacity for Stolen or in my own private space, I love botanical arrangements that celebrate a sense of wildness,” she shares. “So to be able to find someone that shares the same aesthetics to create all my floral arrangements is pure joy.”
Even with the already impressive tableau in their home, the house-proud couple still feel that it is a work in progress. “I feel no home should stay the same for too long,” says Wong. “We travel, we change and we grow; our home should reflect the many different stages of our lives. This is the kind of space we can see ourselves growing old in.”
We travel, we change and we grow; our home should reflect the many different stages of our lives. This is the kind of space we can see ourselves growing old in
— Elyn Wong
This story was first published in the April issue of Tatler Homes Singapore; the issue is available with our compliments on Magzter until May 31, 2021.