Simple Ways To Add Nautical Details To Your Decor
Marine motifs and luxurious touches transform this abode into an underwater palace.
Recently, Yang Tse Pin, his wife, their two 20-something children and his mother decided to move from their previous abode in the Upper Bukit Timah area because they wanted a home built to their specific needs, as well as more space for everyone—including their border collie.
In the quiet Leedon Park neighbourhood, their new residence is “modern and contemporary, warm and friendly”, according to Yang. It manages to strike just the right balance between impressive luxe for entertaining friends and a sense of homeliness for the family’s enjoyment.
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Yang, who is in the property and construction business, went about his search for an interior designer through a variety of exhibitions, referrals and friends’ recommendations. He chose Designworx Interior Consultant after hearing its creative solutions for the family’s brief and observing its keen eye for detail.
Design director Terri Tan worked closely with architect Betsy Lau of East 9 Architects and Planners to fully respect the building envelope and refine the interior design even as construction was still underway. “The homeowners’ brief to us included an entertainment room and a dry kitchen,” recalls Tan. “They also had specific orientations for their beds and altar, which were determined by a feng shui master.
A Sea of Contrasts
The entrance foyer is defined by a 6.6-metre feature wall, where a dramatic bronze and glass wall light from Serip’s Coral collection is set against an antique bronze stucco backdrop, its intertwined structure inspired by the natural complexity of coral reef shapes. The hemispherical form of the Koket Eternity pendant light is also reminiscent of a coral. Running the entire width of the foyer opposite the feature wall are wave-like panels that conceal full-height shoe cabinets. The flowing silhouette reinforces the aquatic theme and serves as a counterpoint to the linearity of the feature wall.
The living room is located beyond the feature wall. The dialogue between its Marine Sky marble flooring (overlaid with a bespoke black-and-white oversized rug) and a four-metre elliptical Manooi Artica chandelier within the oval ceiling recess sets the tone for the space in-between. Two off-white sofas and a series of armchairs from Fashion Interiors by Paul Cornelissen, together with a pair of bespoke square coffee tables with seashells set within the table tops, balance the formality of the floor and ceiling with a more relaxed ambience. The sparkling Bohemian crystals of the chandelier add to the idyllic mood by conjuring up impressions of the shimmering ocean surface.
The dining room ceiling features a Serip chandelier that again draws upon the marine theme and echoes the seashells set into the top of the 18-seater dining table below. Tan sees the Miton dry kitchen island, with its fluid lines, as “an island amidst the waves”—and it’s where Yang’s restaurateur daughter gets to display her culinary talent. From both the dining and living rooms, the family can soak in views of the swimming pool and the surrounding landscape; Lau designed the organically shaped pool to resemble an artist’s palette. There’s an inviting sunken lounge, while mosaics in different shades of blue form meandering streaks at the bottom of the pool that give a vivid optical illusion of actual waves.
Inspired by Nature
“We designed the wall of the entertainment room facing the living room as a high-gloss ebony feature with wine chillers that are accessible from both sides,” explains Tan. The lavish treatment continues inside the entertainment room. Attention is immediately drawn to the Shagreen feature wall, with converging brass inlay strips that form a stunning backdrop for the bar. The base of the bar counter is a construction made up of tree trunk sections and its natural quality is in harmony with the Shagreen wall’s oceanic origins. On the other side of the room, sofa cushions and a bespoke rug with prismatic patterns maintain a notional connection with the bar by picking up on the aquamarine accents of the Shagreen wall. A Timothy Oulton sofa and coffee table set, surrounded by acoustic wall panels, help complete the perfect family karaoke experience.
Walking up the straight-flight, open-riser staircase that leads to the second storey where all five bedrooms are situated, Tan’s attention to detail is on full display. The texture of the grey Metallica marble wall that runs alongside the staircase, the floor lights set into the treads, and the juxtaposition of stone and timber elevate a utilitarian means of circulation to a stimulating experience.
The master suite is located just beyond a family hall, which is filled with family portraits and trophies collected by the prize-winning family dog. The feature wall behind the bed is an intricate composition of panels mounted over a mirrored base, with the gaps in-between forming sweeping arcs that bring to mind the swaying movement of kelp forests. The bespoke headboard design is also curved to resemble a first-class airplane seat. The impressionist patterns of the customised rug are like looking through the surface of a pond, where the rippling water creates interesting distortions of the marine life below.
The children’s bedrooms were designed according to their personal tastes. Yang’s son has a preference for the distressed leather look, so Tan incorporated this element into a darker, “masculine” scheme. His daughter doesn’t like harsh angles, so she requested a round bed. “We raised the bed on a round timber deck and continued the timber-look wallpaper from the wall to the ceiling to create the rustic feel that she wanted,” explains Tan.
For this project, no surface was left untreated and no detail was overlooked. Even the selection of marble for the bathrooms was very rigorous, from the Lemurian Blue wall and Venus Classic floor in the master bathroom to the Forest Onyx wall and Nero Marquina floor in the son’s bathroom. However, Tan believes that “the experience of being in a space is more than just the summation of the floor, wall and ceiling.” Her design philosophy is that every interior should be “more than space”—it should exude an elegant, timeless quality.
Styling and production Matilda Au and Kissa Castañeda
Photography Koh Boon Wei/Beebox