So how did you find this home?
I wasn’t really looking to buy a home but a friend brought me to the showroom on a quiet weekend and I think the environment was the key that egged me to purchase this property. I like the greenery and clean air in the north and it’s very relaxing at any time of the day.
What were the first things on your mind when you got the keys to this 5-bedroom condominium?
Well, the floors were just a bland light grey and the walls were white. It lacked the pizzazz I wanted and it was not reflective of my persona. With seven persons living in this house, some things had to be made practical to suit every member’s needs.
What was the process of renovation like?
As you know, I’m the ambassador for Weiken interior design so I worked with one of their senior consultants who could understand my brief. The space is about 2,680 square feet but I wanted to create a modern feel. I wasn’t in a hurry to move in so work took about 3 months to complete on a budget of $120,000. Since I chose the ground floor unit, I had the biggest balcony so I added warmth by choosing floor tiles that look like wood. I also embellished the pillars with hexagonal black and white mosaics to add a point of interest.
Any design challenges?
I love Chinese contemporary art so I wanted to hang a 2m x 3m artwork by Beijing-born Wu Qiong on the ceiling, right above the centre portion of my living area. In addition, the designers had to create a false ceiling with alcove lights to illuminate the artwork. They also had to ensure that the canvas was stretched properly so that it doesn’t droop in the centre. I was quite pleased with the end result.
Kartell “Magic Hole” chairs designed by Philippe Starck, adorn the balcony.
A whimsical Wu Qiong sculpture.
Tell us about these artworks.
Wu Qiong was born in Beijing but he studied in Singapore in his formative years. He earned himself a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Shi Fan University in Beijing. His type of work has colourful caricatures of humans either depicting in essence self-mockery or tempered with a touch of dark humour. I have two of his works but a third was given to me as a present from Eddie Lee of Monsoon hair salon. I also have a pink sculpture created by this talented artist and it is often the subject of conversation when friends pop by.
What’s your favourite room and why?
It has to be the living room. The TV console looks like it is made of marble but it is actually made of laminate. I anchored it in the middle of the doorway leading out to the balcony. There are two sliding glass doors on either side of the console. The living room is the best place to unwind after a hard day’s work. I get to catch up on my soccer programs and movies alone or with my wife but definitely after my kids have turned in. To liven up the space, I bought this really cool patchwork armchair from Journey East. It’s both comfy and eye-catching at the same time. I also love my multi-colour rug from Journey East that softens the interior and adds an interesting counterpoint. I also love my plush and comfortable sofa that I got from Molecule and it’s really great that it can accommodate up to 10 persons.
What other cool features do you have in your home?
I would say it is the open plan living and dining space. I can cook and prepare food while I monitor my children or chat and interact with friends and family. I also have a bay window where the designer created a sliding pedestal that holds the Wu Qiong sculpture. When more guests pop by, I can slide it across the seat pad to one corner.
The spacious living room affords sylvan views.
Artwork by Wiu Qiong was a gift by Eddie Lee from Monsoon Hair Salon.
So how do you balance work and family life?
While I love my work, I also think it’s important to ask yourself at the end of the day how much time you want to devote to your family. I created this home to offer us a respite from the hectic working week. It allows me to bond with my family and create precious moments only time can let you have.
Any interior decor tips to share?
Since I love art, I keep the walls, flooring and sofa neutral so I let my artworks stand out. So if you have interesting and colourful artworks, a neutral background is the best way to elevate the style quotient.
What inspires you in being involved in this interior project?
You could say I was inspired by the home improvement reality shows that I hosted before. I get to see people’s home and meet with many furniture retailers so I get to understand from the experts what really works. I use that knowledge to create a space that relates to my character. So when I have a home to let my ideas materialise, I get inspired!
Mark’s open plan concept – dining cum kitchen space – allows him to mingle and talk to guests if he cooks.