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Renovated 1970s apartment with Mid-century Modern furniture, teak and walnut veneer

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Contemporary apartment renovation with Mid-century Modern design influence, large master suite, bar, wood veneer, vintage tiles

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It wasn't just the great view that caught the eye of the new owners of this 1970s apartment. It was also the character of the development, the size of the unit and its design potential.

Interior designer Christopher Kwek, who was commissioned to design a complete refit, says the apartment is within the Laguna Park complex in Singapore – a large development with approximately 500 units and a restaurant on site.

"It's a well-established compound, with a charming, old-world character and plenty of mature trees on site," Kwek says. "And it's just across the road from the beach, which means there are fantastic sea views."

Kwek says the existing apartment was not especially interesting, but it had the potential to be redesigned to create a much larger, more modern interior.

"Because there was nothing worth keeping in the apartment, we were free to explore the best option for the new owners, who wanted a contemporary living space where they could entertain.


"The owners are keen art collectors and required plenty of space to display artworks. They also have several Mid-century Modern furniture pieces that they wished to incorporate, but they didn't want an obvious retro look."

Improving the layout was the first priority. To gain more space for the open-plan living area, the existing balcony was integrated into the interior. And the wall between the living room and one of the three bedrooms was removed to create space for a media area at one side.

"The window joinery is all new, with floor-to-ceiling glazing in the living area to maximise the view," says the designer. "We also introduced double glazing to reduce noise from a freeway that runs alongside the beach."

Kwek says it was essential to open up the entry, which was a rather tight space. A new angled wall of concealed cabinetry, in slatted walnut veneer, provides a dramatic entry and a place to display art. The wall accommodates plenty of hidden storage and screens a new bar.

A new teak ceiling defines the living spaces – prefinished floorboards were chosen for their distinctive graining and large scale, notably their width and length. The boards are separated by black conduits that accommodate the lighting, which helps to keep the look modern.

"The use of natural materials was a common theme in the artworks, so we have continued this with the interior palette, introducing a range of different natural- and dark-stained teak and walnut veneers," the designer says.

A custom shelving unit in the living area features a mix of the light and dark teak, with metal side panels. Natural teak also wraps two of the large structural columns. The veneer is installed on an angle on the column nearest to the bar, which keeps the look lively.

Key Mid-century Modern furniture pieces include an Eames recliner and vintage Beauborg dining chairs that once graced the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Vintage glazed ceramic tiles were also sourced for the splashback in the bar and kitchen. These are a jade colour that changes with the light. In the kitchen the tiles are teamed with black laminate cabinets and a stainless steel splashback behind the cooktop.

Other substantial changes were made to the other two bedrooms, which were transformed into a large master suite with a walk-in wardrobe and small home office.

A cutout in the wall between the bedroom and office maintains a visual link between the two spaces and provides a direct sightline to the view. Two bathrooms were replaced with a large ensuite bathroom for the master suite.

On the other side of the apartment, there is a new powder room featuring a mirrored wall with a concealed door that leads through to the laundry.

First published date: 28 July 2015

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Credit List

Interior designer Christopher Kwek, Forward 50 Pte Ltd
Blinds Somfy Motorized Blinds
Televisions Panasonic
Speakers Sonos
Oven and cooktop Ariston
Refrigerator Samsung
Dishwasher Fisher & Paykel
Shower fittings Toto
Flooring Terrazzo
Display unit Natural-stained walnut veneer with dark-stained teak veneer
Dining chairs Vintage Beauborg by Michel Cadestin and George Laurent @@@ Story by Colleen Hawkes ***