The interior design of this home began with a simple brief from homeowners Kang Hien, a 43-year-old pilot, and his wife, a 41-year-old civil servant. “With two growing children, we needed plenty of storage. My wife and kids are also avid readers, so reading nooks around the house are a plus. We also wanted to incorporate the use of rattan,” says Kang Hien, who entrusted the interior design to Hsu Hsia Pin, a partner at EHKA Studio, who designed their previous home, which he recalled as “an enjoyable experience”. Knowing Hsia Pin since they were both 13 may also account for their good rapport.
AT A GLANCE
Home: A four-room condominium at Paterson Road
Who lives here: A couple and their two children
Size: 2,228 sq ft
ID: EHKA Studio
Despite being designed by the same person, these two apartments couldn’t be more different. “We introduced many curved walls in the old apartment to reflect those of the grand piano that they owned. Although they loved the design, they gave up the piano, so we thought we should try something different this time without curved walls,” says Hsia Pin.
A lookbook the couple put together from books, the Internet, and images from their travels helped Hsia Pin create a space that blended Japanese lightwoods and Scandinavian furniture. The entryway features a screen panel that integrates plenty of shoe and bag storage instead of built-in cabinets to prevent clutter.
The living room has a few new decorative shelves to frame the view, but little else was done. To achieve consistency in the overall design, this framing concept appears in the bedrooms as well, Hsia Pin points out. The use of white oak and rattan in the frames helps tie the spaces together and creates an airier look, especially with the light filtering through the rattan. As a lightweight material with texture, Hsia Pin recognised rattan as an excellent choice for screens in carpentry works, though he was also extra mindful of using it effectively.
The renovations cost $180,000, plus another $50,000 for furniture and fittings. Most of the original layout and flooring were preserved, but the dining area underwent extensive renovations. The existing dry kitchen with an island was removed as the couple did not need it. The freed up space is now part of a new and larger dining area that is the centre of the home. There is a mini pantry on one side and a cosy reading corner created from a built-in bay sofa seat.
“We created a wooden box to celebrate the central space within the home,” says Hsia Pin. “There are richly textured wood finishes on the walls, the floor, and the ceiling around the dining area, with the dining table taking centre stage.” The challenge was to use wood without making it too blah or overwhelming. We achieved this by expressing the wood as various elements with different scales and textures.
One of the four bedrooms is now a study. The two children share one room, while the helper has her own room. In the bedrooms, the frames are attached to the existing bay windows. Designed to enhance the functionality of the bay windows, their distinct shapes meet the preferences of their occupants. “In this way, the bay windows become usable spaces, too,” Hsia Pin explains.
In the study, the bay window has been converted into a desk with open shelves on one side.
The children’s room has two bay windows. One is a study desk, while the other has a bay seat and drawers.
The master bedroom’s mirrored finish between the sleeping area and walk-in wardrobe creates an illusion of space. Brass, glass and wood materials combine to add a touch of luxury to the walk-in closet.
The master bedroom is bright and airy, like the rest of the house. Even its walk-in wardrobe features arched rattan doors that provide light and ventilation.
The master bathroom is defined by clean lines and monochrome colours with rattan and brass.
Despite the circuit breaker disrupting the renovation in 2020, Hsia Pin and his team worked closely with contractor Poshtree to ensure the project was completed in good time once construction resumed. The renovation took almost three months, excluding the downtime, and the family moved into their new home in July 2020.
The home is filled with clean spaces, with a feeling of openness, lightness and connectedness. “These are qualities of spaces that we enjoy creating,” affirms Hsia Pin.
Art Direction: Kristy Quah
Photography: Veronica Tay
Text: Lynn Tan/Home & Decor