You are here
Finding the right person to design a home is almost like speed dating. You meet a few designers, share your likes and dislikes, and cross your fingers that you've found the right partner who can make your dream home a reality, not a nightmare.
Civil servant Eugene Lim went through just that. After sussing out a few interior designers, he found the right match in Joy Ouyang, from Eightytwo. The deal clincher came down to a simple wish - Mr Lim, who cycles for leisure and also competitively in triathlons, wanted to display his two bicycles.
"Joy was the only one who agreed that I should have them on display. The other designers I spoke to felt that the bicycles should be out of sight," says Mr Lim, who cycles every weekend from his home near Bukit Panjang to Jurong or West Coast. "I feel that a home should reflect the owner's lifestyle, rather than just look good."
The bicycles are displayed on the living room wall. They are not on fancy bicycle racks, but hung off wooden pegs that have been attached to the wall.
Home for Mr Lim and his lawyer girlfriend, and their pet cat, Tommy, is a newly completed apartment, that previously had two bedrooms, but now reduced to just one. "We didn't see the need for a second bedroom," says Mr Lim, of their first home together. Hence, the walls were knocked down to create a bigger living room, and at the same time, the high ceiling in the apartment allowed for a mezzanine to be built.
Accessible by a specially constructed flight of steps designed with built-in storage space for books and cleaning equipment underneath, the mezzanine is large and strong enough to accommodate a mattress. Not that anyone sleeps on it - at least, not a human. The mezzanine is the domain of Tommy, a stray that has lived with the couple for three years. There is a cat bed, toys and a scratch post to keep Tommy busy. Otherwise, it likes sitting near the edge and looking down at the humans.
The study area adjacent to the living room is the couple's favourite spot, because of its versatility. They can read on the steps, or laze on the bean bags. A study table comes in handy when Mr Lim works from home, and the space can double as a dining area when the couple have friends over.
Since the apartment was just recently completed, the couple have kept renovations simple. In their bedroom, there is a platform bed, with storage space for suitcases and other less-frequently used items. A hanger and a small cabinet hung from the ceiling at the foot of the bed allows for quick access to frequently used items.
When it came to the colour scheme, Mr Lim opted for shades of blue and green. "Even though we liked the Scandinavian look, we didn't want white walls, as that would be too stark," he says.
Having spent nine months in Sweden on an exchange programme, Mr Lim was inspired to incorporate the Nordic feel into his home. "My time there got me thinking about what makes Nordic design so appealing," he adds.
As the apartment gets a lot of natural light, streaming in having white walls would have added too much glare to the space. "The light green and dark blue walls help to make the space feel more comfortable," says Mr Lim. The ceiling is painted black to give depth and added cosiness.
The apartment gets some added shine from the brass accents on the cabinets, and also from the gold tiles on the bar counter in the kitchen.
Mr Lim picked this apartment mainly for the view, and also because it's quieter and not too close to the city. Look out the window and you get unobstructed views of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
His green surroundings have inspired Mr Lim to try his hand at growing plants, which he found that he was surprisingly good at, after a few false starts. Right now, his "garden" is made up of potted plants, a small ficus tree and a rubber plant which make the apartment feel less cold. "Get the right indoor plant and they can flourish," he notes. Get the right designer and the home blossoms too.