Serendipity can be so fortunate for some people. Case in point: homeowner Jeremy Tan, who was browsing at an online housing portal and stumbled on a 4-room Telok Blangah flat which caught his eye. “I wasn’t looking to buy. I just tinkled on the keyboard and searched for a flat in the Redhill and Anderson areas. Lo and behold, I spotted something that piqued my interest. It was high floor and it was surrounded by green vistas. Best of all, it was close to my parent’s home in Farrer Road.”
The next step was to contact the seller and Tan paid a visit to the property. “The home was very clean but what attracted me further was the vintage pale pink “spider web” marble flooring of the flat. The marble’s swirls have a cobweb-like design and I know for sure they don’t make this anymore! I also saw the potential of the space, too.” explains Tan.
Finding the Right ID
The eclectic look of Jeremy’s home is a mix of old and new furniture and intriguing finds sourced from his frequent travels.
This led Tan to seal the deal in 2012 but he was next presented with a renovation ordeal. The homeowner who works as a fashion stylist was averse to working with contractors because he cited more often these individuals don’t understand the design language that homeowners want. Thankfully, a good friend of his recommended Nude Creatives and suggested to work with a proper interior designer who could envisage his spatial desires and help the project materialise. The brief to the designer was to have basic features such as good flooring and plenty of storage. The chosen palette would have to be white in order not to obstruct with decorating ideas.
The homeowner explains his decorating and furnishing ideas were on a whim, more like a work in progress. “I didn’t want a certain look set in stone to define the space I want to live in. As the renovation progressed, I shopped for things locally and during my business travels. I was not in a rush.” opines Tan. Rick Tay of Nude Creatives also explains, “I was very honoured to work with a homeowner that is tasteful in his decorating ideas. He’s a perfectionist no doubt and that helped me to raise the bar in my work standards, too. The project went along swimmingly well.”
The kitchen sports a “green corner” touted to energise the home, as recommended by a fengshui master.
The home also has fengshui elements intertwined in its interiors without looking too obtrusive. A consultation with a fengshui master revealed that the home needed a “green space” to breathe, give life and energise its inhabitants. Hence, miniature and indoor plants including ferns are placed on a console situated in the kitchen just before the common toilet. Other fengshui items to increase the homeowner’s wealth are inconspicuous and these include a black crystal cat on the TV console tucked in a corner, amethyst crystal in the bedroom and also a mini fountain located in the corner of the living room.
The fengshui master even mentioned it would be beneficial to include art works that depict a sense of “celebration” or “carnival”. So, it was during one of Tan’s overseas business trips that he chanced upon three illustrations of people celebrating together. They were reproductions of the famous Picasso and he had them framed upon returning to Singapore. With its gilded frames, these three paintings take their space on a blank wall in the living room.
Living It Up
Vintage finds and reproduction Picasso prints create conversation starters when guests pop by.
The living room takes the honour as the room with so much panache and character. With Tan’s roving eye and frequent overseas trips, finding unusual items for his home come naturally to him. The leather-bound sofa from White Woods was bought in Singapore. Just behind the sofa sits a metal console which he purchased at $50 during the furniture expo in April 2014. A collection of cloches are filled with pine cones, while a marble cake stand and even a porcelain skull go hand in hand to create an eclectic look. A task lighting floor lamp from Artemide looms over the sofa but to the left of it are amber-hued pendant lights purchased from a United States furniture website. A classic Vitra “Noguchi” coffee table designed by Isamu Noguchi adds a stylish statement while a knotted rug softens the look. There is even a vintage Hermes suitcase which the homeowner stumbled upon at a Paris flea market. “It’s from the 1930s and every part of it is so well taken care of. There are some kinks on the canvas but that gives it character,” cites Jeremy.
The kitchen has a soothing sense of respite when one enters it. Bedecked in white cabinets and marble work top, it looks like it is ready for some serious cooking but the homeowner explains he hardly does any cooking, preferring to entertain with food that one can assemble. A “Tulip” round dining table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll takes pride of place in the kitchen. It is surrounded by a vintage French chair with weathered seat, a white kopitiam chair and two other chairs sourced from the homeowner’s flea market jaunts. The common toilet in the kitchen is the only toilet in the flat. Tan decided to hack the wall that divided the shower stall and water closet. Now, the toilet can be accessed from the kitchen or the master bedroom. It has white shiny stone tiles plastered onto the wall in a brick-like manner, lending a pristine and chic feel.
Rest & Respite
Stepping into the master bedroom, one realises that it is two rooms joined into one. The shared wall of a smaller bedroom and master bedroom had been hacked. The entrance of the smaller room had also been sealed up. The resultant look is more spacious and light filled. The master bedroom’s real character shines in one corner just beside the bed. Here, a vintage leather chair with brass frame is the homeowner’s favourite spot to curl up with a good book just before he hits the sheets. A vintage brass floor lamp purchased from Berlin provides reading light. A large, dramatic, gilded Baroque-frame mirror sits on a low console where several silver photo frames display Tan’s photographs of him posing with celebrities and close friends from the media industry. At the opposite end of the bed are floor-to-ceiling white wardrobes that store Tan’s predilection for designer clothing and shoes. The wardrobe area has task lighting provided by a beautiful, arcing Vitra “Potence” sconce designed by Jean Prouve. The homeowner explains that a special HDB-approved window that jettisons the unsightly columns in order to give a clean and unobstructed view of nearby Mount Faber is money well spent.
The spacious and light-filled master bedroom is cosy and welcoming.
Just spending the time interviewing the homeowner is enough to understand and realise how fecund decorating ideas and a relentless spirit to have the very best interiors can be achieved through the right expert who also shares the kindred spirit.
This article was originally published in Home + Living issue 20.