House Tour: Meyer and May’s Home Filled With DIY Toys and Charming Accents

This condo unit, which has a touch of English style, is lovingly personalised with kids' artworks and DIY toys.

Updated on June 13, 2017 8:06 am

Samantha Echavez

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"Kids-invaded"—this is how mummy blogger Liang May of A Million Little Echoes fondly describes her condo unit in The Peak, Balmeg Hill. "Before kids, our home was very neat, very showroom, everything is where it is. Now it’s a bit messy," laughs May.

Toys and children's books and other mess notwithstanding, May and her husband Meyer's home still carries a quiet grandeur, an understated elegance—which is majorly attributed to the selection of ornate Victorian furniture pieces set against the predominantly white-and-beige space. The home, even in its "kids-invaded" state, is a testament that parents' preferred aesthetics and children's whimsical passions can co-exist. That toys have a place in a beautifully designed home, that toys can even take center stage and be the star of the show.

How admirable that May has created a children-centric space and at the same time managed to retain the sophistication of their home, pre-kids. "The furniture pieces here were brought in before the kids came, and we kept them because we liked our furniture very much. The English style is the look that we like. Using white and beige colours in the home, we then added toys and artwork," May explains. The home, previously dominated by creams and whites, is now punctuated with pops of colours via the kids' toy collection.

Living Room


Photos by Liang May


The living room relies on the classic furniture pieces for its dose of style and sophistication: the marble coffee table with Baroque legs, the Victorian side table-turned-TV console, and a W.H. Preston chest.

"The coffee table was from Manhattan Collection. We held back putting the bumpers on the corners because it is, after all, a designer piece. My first-born went through his toddler years without the bumpers and could manoeuvre himself carefully around it. However, as our baby girl came along, we decided to add the bumpers because when two little ones play together, they can get a little rough," says May.

"The gramophone is a working piece but got damaged one uneventful day. We bought it from an antique shop that repurposed it into a CD and radio player on top of a record player," continues May. "It sits on a designer piece of W.H. Preston chest from Le Article. It works beautifully as a 'table' for the gramophone and is filled to the brim with our treasures."

More statement-making pieces furnish the area—from a vintage English standing clock ("We decided not to hang clocks on the wall because damaging walls with holes isn’t our style.") to a cabriole-legged console table "filled with memories from when we were just a dating couple to a family of four." A farm dog statue provides an unexpected glamour. All of these pieces are framed within the three-paneled mirror.

"This is a handmade rattan rocking horse found at one of the pit-stops while driving up to Kuala Lumpur. It holds such nostalgic memories of my own childhood that I had to purchase it for the children," says May. The rocking horse cosies up the living area.

Dining Area


A blank white wall is an opportunity for May to showcase her kids' artworks. By the bar table is a wall brightened by Ewan and Faye's framed crafts and sketches. "What is home without pops of colours, and it is only appropriate that my children contribute to the design of our humble abode," says May.

Kids' Bedroom


Knowing the magic of restraint, May stopped herself from decking her kids' room with outrageously childish and florid details, sticking to "primary colours which are very versatile. We wanted the rooms to be not too kiddie but tasteful as well," she says.

The primary colour themed bedroom, which Ewan now shares with his baby sister, features the Maxtrix Bed from Baby Zoo. It can transform into a castle or fort, making it a perfect shared playground for the siblings. Musical instruments on the floor keep the kids entertained. A wall decal of Ewan's name further personalises the space.

For May, decorating the room means zeroing in on the details: The hot air balloon cutout with Ewan's birth details hovers above an airplane lamp; life-affirming typography on the door; and Ewan's height chart that also makes use of the primary hues.

Bedroom-Turned-Playroom

The playroom houses dainty decorative pieces: pretty paper pompoms, Faye's first month party headboard from Poppy Flora Studio, customised wall decal of Faye's name, and butterfly decals from Australia. It's also where May's recent DIY projects—cardboard puppet theatre and cardboard kitchen—are stationed.


She shares the story behind the creation of these cardboard toys: "The haze was ongoing for three months, so with the haze outside, they could not play. Then there's this book on crafting cardboard toys—they all seemed quite difficult. I enjoyed crafting before having children, so I gave these a try. I wanted them to have a kitchen set, but couldn't find one that I really liked. So I did these cardboard boxes for many sleepless nights." One night she even worked straight from 11 pm to 5 am, DIY-ing to her heart's content.

The result? A quirky triumvirate of cardboard toys embellished with buntings and cutouts and the kids' doodles. Naturally, Ewan and Faye love them.


Paper pompoms hang from the ceiling, adding a girly element to the playroom.


Faye's "beauty table" filled with hair clips, head garlands, and other cute accessories stands by the entryway of the playroom.

The playroom is indeed full of darling details and happy accents—even the door is decorated with buntings and Belle & Boo cut-outs.

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom echoes the style of the living room, showcasing stunning furniture pieces like a chest of drawers from Le Article, cabriole night stands, Laura Ashley lampshades, and a comfy and white bed "for a clean look."



Family photos adorn the wall, and a country-style vignette stands on the tabletop.



The cowskin rug adds texture to the bedroom, and the vintage map-covered chest of drawers is a lovely designer piece that gives the bedroom a feel of Old World charm. Toys on the corner break the monotony of white palette and earth colours.

Patio


Photos by Liang May

The kids spend most of their time on the patio of their condo unit, running around and enjoying their toys.

While May is quick to admit that their home is no longer a spotless space that resembles a showroom, the condo unit remains an eye candy, with its catalogue of colours, crafts, and luxurious English-style furniture and furnishings. Besides, what's important for the couple is building their kids a home that's happy and full of childlike fun.

"We hang out where the kids are. We spend a lot of time in their bedroom. At night, we put them to sleep. Our children and being together as a family make our home special," May says.

Renovation Details:

Type of property: Condo
Total space: 1700 sq. ft.
Renovation budget: $30,000 for furniture (no reno)

May's Renovating and Design Tips:

1. Refrain from drilling. "We use a lot of 3M velcro and tapes to hang things up on the wall because we do not like drilling holes in. Anything that minimises repair works for when we sell."

2. "Take precise measurements instead of going by heart. We ended up with too many bulky furniture pieces because we overestimated the space of our home."

3. Take it one room at a time. "Decide on a theme and work on the colour scheme for each room."

4. Add warm lighting to your home. "Warm lights create a welcoming and relaxing feel to the house. Although it really isn’t the best kind of lighting to take clear and crisp pictures, it sets you in a very warm environment. Great for when you have a long day out at work."

Get the Look: English and European

Check out locally designed European-style homes here.

For more inspiring photos of European-style and English homes, go here and here.


We'd love to feature your lovely home. Email us at hello@cromly.com.

Check out Liang May's blog, A Million Little Echoes.

Photos by Samantha Echavez and Liang May. Cover photo by Liang May.

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