To create that look of a light and airy Japanese-inspired home, white polished compressed marble slabs replaced the old dull flooring, and the old false ceiling was torn out to make way for higher, white-painted ceilings. The furniture is mostly in shades of tan and brown, with accents of grey.
The couple kept the original layout of the home except for the kitchen, which was converted to an open plan. The kitchen is well used by Patty, an avid cook, whose best dish is fried chicken wings. Patty reveals that even strangers have messaged her on Instagram to ask for the recipe.
The couple entertain fairly often, and at 1,500 sq ft, the apartment may not be large but it can comfortably fit 20 people. Guests hang out in the dining and living areas, and also like being at the kitchen island to watch Patty in action. The island has open shelving on one end, where cookbooks and crockery are neatly kept. If the couple needs extra space for entertaining, a table is set up near the entrance of the home, where there is a bay window that doubles as a seating area.
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Patty has found ways to feed her Muji fetish with black and white touches around the home. For example, the kitchen floor features black and white Moroccan-style tiles; the window grilles are black; and there are black and white blinds.
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Meanwhile, Ming Shen uses colourful artwork to break the otherwise monotonous look of the home. “Art pieces should be colourful and happy pieces,” he says. The pieces were all designed by local artists, which Ming Shen gladly supports.
Apart from art, Ming Shen is also a big toy collector, especially of Marvel superheroes and Transformers. A specially designed cabinet in the foyer was constructed for him to display some of his precious pieces. The cabinet is tailored to the height and depth of the preferred pieces and arrangement, with removable glass doors and backlights. Smack in the middle is a Batmobile toy. “Guests have remarked that this wall of toys is like an art installation,” he says.
While Ming Shen’s toys are openly displayed, Patty’s collection of handbags and shoes are kept away in a bedroom, which has been turned into the couple’s walk-in wardrobe.
The cabinets and shelves are customised too, for maximum display, and also come with glass doors and backlights.
By keeping the colour palette earthy and neutral, the apartment will still look trendy even after many years. But more importantly, it has successfully combined the tastes of two very different individuals.
“We both have specific and sometimes conflicting tastes but when it comes to design, we looked to build a home for the both of us. Judging by the amount of time we stay at home, we believe we have achieved just that,” says Ming Shen.
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Text: Tay Suan Chiang, Business Times / Additional reporting: Elizabeth Liew