A sunlit apartment for an expat couple to showcase their diverse collection of Asian art, with re-purposing of existing traditional furniture.

An expat couple, having lived in many cities around world, decided to settle down in Singapore for good. They had been living in a rented shophouse with a sizeable collection of art and Asian furniture bought during their travels. For this new home at Highline, the couple wanted to retain as much of their existing furniture as possible and wanted ample space to display their collection. Also on the brief was a requirement for study rooms and corners for each of the couple.

We wanted to create a simple space that would let the story of its occupants be told, while also giving ample room for the stunning city view to be admired.

The original layout was very tight, with an enclosed kitchen and 4 small bedrooms, all planned around large shear wall columns and structural shafts. We removed as many as walls as we could, and created a continuous kitchen, dining and living space. Two of the bedrooms were combined to form a more appropriately sized master bedroom, with a study corner.
We chose a neutral palette of white cabinetry and oak flooring, with accents of brass to complement the strong personality of the furniture and art.

Track lights are used all around the living room to create flexibility for display of art.
The most challenging part of the project was finding meaningful ways to retain and reuse some of the existing furniture. While the clients did not insist on keeping every piece of furniture, they also did not want to throw some of the pieces away, despite the lack of space.

Hence, we came up with the idea of dismantling and re-purposing a few of the less important items. A set of Balinese screens were re-purposed as a headboard; a few beautifully carved and painted teak panels of a cupboard were extracted to become ornamental panels of the master bed to conceal drawers; two carvings were integrated with steel plates to form night stands; and finally, cabinetry door handles were made from leftover carved panels too.

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