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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Colour me opulent

Baroque accents and rich pops of colour make for a home with a classic look and a modern feel
The Straits Times - July 18, 2011
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Colour me opulent The home owner's collection of designer Barbie dolls (above) is displayed in tailor-made display niches, hiding books and magazines in the shelves behind.

A 55-inch television set, a good mattress and a proper stove - these were all Singapore Airlines pilot Hector Chong asked for for the five-room flat he shares with his wife, Felicia, and two children.

He left the rest up to his wife, who used to work in the fashion industry. She ended up dressing the 1,108 sq ft apartment at The Pinnacle @ Duxton in happy, flamboyant colours to bring life to the space.

The renovation was not that effortless in the beginning, though - the couple approached five interior design firms with little success.

'Many of them were not interested after we said we wanted to furnish the place with loose furniture instead of built-in pieces,' says Mrs Chong.

They got lucky on their sixth try with Mr Raymond Zhang, design consultant at Vegas Interior Design. He says: 'I thought it was interesting and I wanted to challenge myself because Singaporeans generally do not go for the kind of style and concept this couple was looking at.'

Over a period of three months, he helped the family achieve their vision with a budget of $45,000. This included having furniture custom-made in Indonesia, removing a kitchen wall and even sourcing for great buys.

'We first saw our black chandelier at a lighting shop but it cost $6,000. Thankfully, Mr Zhang managed to source it from the supplier, and at half the price, too,' says a delighted Mrs Chong.

The vivid purple metal gate, which asserts itself among its white neighbours, is an early sign of what is to come.

The interiors of the flat are as dramatic as its 40th-storey view of the city. Flamingo pink and a rich plum shade are used in the living and dining areas to differentiate the two spaces and add a resounding punch of colour.

'We already had a specific theme in mind - modern Baroque. We wanted to do something different compared to the conventional, contemporary look,' says Mr Chong.

His wife adds: 'We also knew we wanted to incorporate purple, black and silver because those shades fit our theme well.'

Gilded silver carvings adorn the chairs, tables and cabinets in a throwback to the Baroque era, but they are given an update in the form of velvety upholstery in fuchsia and royal purple, framed in lacquered black wood.

The curved Chippendale legs supporting the furniture add some elegance, while black-and-white floral cushions and the black crystal chandelier provide quirky accents to the living room.

Getting these distinct pieces was no walk in the park, however. 'We spent plenty of time discussing what they wanted, and visited many shops with classical furnishings before deciding on the right elements to suit the concept,' says Mr Zhang.

The couple's furnishings were done with their three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son in mind.

'All our furniture have curved edges and no sharp corners so the children won't hurt themselves if they bump into them. Also, we decided against a coffee table to open up the living room area and give the kids more space to move around,' says Mrs Chong.

Her background in fashion - she worked as a merchandise buyer for brands such as Topshop and Agnes B - explains her attention to detail and hands-on approach which translated to the DIY projects she did for the home.

The currently self-employed entrepreneur had wanted to display her prized collection of designer Barbie dolls - decked out in glamorous Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior and Diane von Furstenberg togs - in the living room.

They now sit in tailor-made display niches fronted by black frames that make them look almost like artworks. What a cursory glance does not reveal is that the doll boxes actually serve another purpose - to conceal her designer catalogues and novels.

She also created the wall-mounted jewellery holder in the master bedroom, which is made of an upholstered board in a wooden frame. Its simplicity complements the elegantly carved ivory and gold vanity set and bed.

'I'm a very visual person - I want to be surrounded by beautiful things,' she explains.

'My husband looks for comfort and practicality while I look at design. We complement each other perfectly,' she adds with a smile.

This spread first appeared in this month's issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.



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