By Hong Xinying
November 19, 2020
A family’s vibrant collection of fashion collectibles, as well as Bearbrick and Kaws figurines, liven up their understated and monochrome home
“I work in three shades of black,” Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo had famously declared––it’s a style maxim that certainly applies to this family’s modern home. For their new abode, a 5,000sqft strata house located in the northeastern part of Singapore, the owners, Bobby Tay and Carol Tan, wanted a minimalist interior decked primarily in a neutral scheme. “We basically love black––most of our homes have been in shades of black, white and grey, and even our kids have ‘inherited’ our love for this monochromatic theme,” says Tan.
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As the couple and their teenage children, Danielle and Xavier, live with three dogs—a Siberian Husky puppy and two Malteses—they wanted a home that is easy to maintain, particularly on the ground floor and basement level where the pets would roam. Over the years, the family acquired a colourful assortment of Bearbrick and Kaws figurines, which they wanted to display throughout the house as accent pieces; the husband also wanted the right conditions for his prized bonsai trees to thrive.
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They felt an instant creative kinship with Prestige Global Designs, whose work they admired while searching for the right interior design firm to give their property a stunning transformation. “When we first visited the house, we were captivated by the space—we love the amount of natural light in the home,” says Tay. “We wanted to create an interior that conveys modern luxury, using materials such as marble, granite and leather.” Led by the firm’s directors Michael Ong and Jeremy Tay, the design team swiftly completed the renovation in six months.
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The firm’s first task was to improve the spatial flow of the home and to maximise the floor plan while creating an inviting entrance. Having a spacious living and dining area was another priority, as the owners enjoy hosting their friends and family for delicious feasts in their abode. In order to meet these requirements, many amendments were made to the original floor plan. “The only layout kept intact is on the basement level,” quips Tay.
Floating steps at the entrance create an intriguing introduction to the house. The entryway was extended to house a sizeable shoe cabinet, while the laundry area and wet kitchen have been combined to make more room for storage and light cooking; the entrance to the powder room was also relocated. The staircase railings were redone to complement the interior makeover, and incorporate built-in wall lights that illuminate the steps with a gentle glow at night.
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The firm designed an island counter and dining table for bigger gatherings in the future, and the living area was expanded to feature an L-shaped sofa and a full-height bookshelf that showcases a playful mix of Kaws Companion vinyl figures. A swimming pool with a Jacuzzi area is another addition to the home. “It gives the family the option to enjoy a refreshing swim in the morning before the hustle starts,” says Tay. “Full-height glass sliding doors skirt around the living area to bring more natural light into the communal spaces.”
On the second storey, visitors are greeted by a colourful row of Bearbrick figures in the hallway. The couple’s master bedroom and the son’s room are located on this floor—both spaces have been expanded to house a large wardrobe area and a work desk, and the balcony outside Xavier’s bedroom is lined with the father’s favourite bonsai. Additionally, the master suite incorporates a lounge area, with the entrance relocated to enlarge the size of the master bathroom.
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“Because of the clients’ preference for black, we wanted to adhere to their preferred hue but balance its use with grey and white tones,” says Ong. “A monochromatic scheme can be very interesting if it’s done tastefully; we used different types of black and grey marble varieties that offer different textures and shine to create intriguing layers and material combinations. Glossy metals and mirrors further accentuate and outline the black trimmings.”
Take, for instance, the use of Nero Marquina marble on the feature wall in the living area and the island counter in the kitchen; this natural stone is also applied to the master bathroom as well as the son’s bathroom. Silver mink marble flooring on the ground floor further elevates the neutral scheme, accompanied by mirrored ceiling panels that augment the sense of space while adding a touch of glamour to the dining area.
“The mirrored ceiling subtly separates the dining and living areas, while lending depth to the monochromatic scheme,” says Tay. The TV console, shelving and pendant lights feature silver trimmings that make the living and dining areas shine.
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For a rugged touch, granite is selected for the cigar room, along with the feature walls in the master bedroom and the son’s room, while the daughter’s bathroom is luxuriously clad in Carrara marble. Wood flooring on the second and third storeys adds a touch of warmth, while the use of dark wood veneer on the cabinetry throughout the home contributes to the pared-down look. A mix of accent cushions, artworks and decorative items in sprightly shades also helps to liven up this abode.
The daughter’s bedroom on the third floor was similarly reconfigurated to house a bigger bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and study area. Her balcony was also extended to create a welcoming outdoor space.
The firm’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in the cohesive look of the residence and the family’s delight in seeing the completed interior. “I love everything about our home, from the marble flooring on the first storey to the integrated cabinetry and mirrored surfaces that make our house look more spacious,” says the wife. “We love hanging out together in the living room to watch TV or sing karaoke as a family.”
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