Home Tour: An Apartment That Combines Scandi-Chic Elements With Glamorous Accents
Time, budget and design are the trifecta of elements a designer needs to balance in every project. With this 3,000sqft condo at Marina Bay Suite by MOW Interior, the biggest constraint was time: just two weeks to design and eight weeks for construction.
When the owners of the apartment approached MOW Interior, the couple were expecting their second child and wanted to move in as quickly as possible to spend the confinement period in their new home.
“They found us through our social media channels and they loved our work,” says MOW Interior co-founder Shermaine Ong. “The average turnaround time for a project of this scale is four months, so the timeframe was less than ideal, but we were experienced enough to take this on. We just needed to make smart decisions to avoid blowing the budget or sacrificing the design.”
Having been in the business of luxury interior design for 20 years, MOW Interior has developed the ability to hit the sweet spot on the triangle of time, budget and design.
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The clients’ initial design brief was an amalgamation of two styles that occupy different ends of the style spectrum. The Singaporean wife loves the Scandinavian style by way of Australian sensibilities; she adores a mix of pastels, warm-toned wood and breezy, open spaces. The Indonesian husband is a fan of baroque opulence—think crystal chandeliers and gilded carvings.
“Our challenge was to create something both clients could be happy with,” says Ong. MOW Interior paired a restrained material palette with statement fixtures and furniture pieces for a happy middle ground. The result is most apparent in the living and dining area, which is one uninterrupted space demarcated only by furniture. The material palette comprises white, grey and greige, which serves as a canvas for sofa and lounge chairs with elaborate details such as eyelets and ribbed stitching, and tables with brushed gold bases.
MOW Interior has articulated the couple’s preferences with architectural details that create a cohesive design language throughout the house. The white walls with their white beadings and panels are a nod to Scandinavian design. The feature wall in the living space is finished with book-matched slabs of Volakas marble; the stone’s white base and delicate grey veining are a perfect blend of the husband’s and wife’s tastes.
The golden lighting piece in the living area is a contemporary take on a traditional crystal chandelier. The shelves and wall recesses are also airbrushed with gold paint, a thoughtful design decision that saves time and maintenance cost without sacrificing the opulent touch. “We could have used metal sheets, but as this condominium is located near the sea, the metal will be quick to rust,” says Ong.
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A gold screen wedged between the living and dining areas completes the look. The surface behind the screen is glazed, and the screen itself serves as an extension of the wall that neatly rounds off the shape of the room without blocking the natural light in the living area, all while adding an extra touch of opulence to the space.
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“The greatest asset of this unit is the view, so the layout of the home has been designed to maximise it,” says Ong. This translates to open spaces and minimal walls. MOW Interior merged the unit’s separate wet and dry kitchens into one large workshop-style space built around a generous kitchen island.
“The kitchen is the wife’s domain, so in contrast to the study’s dark-material palette, it mostly features white and grey finishes and feels decidedly more Scandinavian,” reveals Ong. The kitchen incorporates a window to the dining-living area, and the view beyond. Incidentally, all the other rooms employ the same strategy wherever there’s a window.
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The key to completing the project in 10 weeks was strategic planning. “We had to carefully alter and adjust the sequence of construction,” says Ong. The carpentry works, for example, which are generally done toward the end of the construction period were prefabricated in advance to reduce the time required for the installation.
This called for painstaking precision; something that could go awry in the hands of less-experienced designers. This is most apparent in the husband’s study, an opulent den featuring a floor-to-ceiling cabinet finished in dark-wood veneer that displays his collection of spirits and personal curios. MOW Interior also played it smart with a limited footprint in the bathroom by separating the toilet and shower area with glass doors, leaving enough room to create his and hers vanity areas.
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This apartment represents a confident flex of the firm’s design-and-build muscle, as well as its tempered skill in balancing different styles. The project has also pushed the team’s capability to deliver better and faster results without compromising on the quality they’re known for.
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