"Our home is mostly Scandinavian, with an eclectic twist in soft furnishings. This would make it easier for us to change up the colours of the home when we get bored of the current palette," says Shuying. A wedding stylist at MerryLove Weddings, she surely is a pro in home staging and creating a stylish yet functional space for her and her husband Liangfa.
The queen of the house made good use of her kick-ass creative and craft skills to turn their 110-square-metre home into a page from an interior designer's portfolio. The couple's flat is showstopping yet subtle, and definitely kills it in the styling department.
"As a stylist myself, I had most of our layout and styling theme drawn out before shopping around for an interior designer. Some of our plans were unconventional, like we wanted our bed to face the window. A few other designers we spoke to tried to talk us out of it because it’s a less explored layout," relates Shuying.
But she knows her stuff too well to give up on a concept she and Liangfa would love to have in their home, which was aimed to be comfortable and welcoming as well as conducive for creative work and gatherings. "We wanted a home that would look pretty even when life gets messy. Hence, a colourful palette instead of a minimalist one. It’s lovely living in a space that we conceptualised from scratch."
Have a tour of the pretty pad where Liangfa and Shuying live:
Bright and airy, the couple's living area is envy-inducing, especially to those seeking for a calming and relaxing respite. Every element just comes together beautifully: the midcentury-style console, nesting tables, and textured area rug from Taobao; patterned beanbag bought from Etsy; pink ottoman and yellow pouf from Castlery; and grey sofa from Crate & Barrel.
Liangfa and Shuying decided to hack the walls to enjoy a bigger, more spacious living room. With the help of their designer, Emily from The 80’s Studio, they put up sliding glass doors to separate the living area from their study. "This allows more light into the living room during the day and gives us the option to enlarge the area when we are hosting gatherings or when I need more floor space for craft work," explains Shuying.
Also parked in the living room is a midcentury modern display shelf—a vintage piece from Noden—that holds the couple's knickknacks. On display are Harry Potter and Jane Austen novels, the bridal bouquet that Shuying carried on their wedding, and vintage collectibles such as the candle stick from New Zealand and a broken marble tray that Shuying repurposed. The guitar is also special to the couple as Liangfa plays this instrument, and both are members of the worship team in their church.
Liangfa and Shuying also added some oomph to their living room by creating a lounge area by the window. "We didn't want the TV to be the main attraction in the living room. Also, we wanted a seating arrangement that facilitates human interaction. Having an extra seat facing the sofa allows people to have conversations," says Liangfa.
Arriving at this couple's flat, you will be greeted by a cheerful, coloured shoe cabinet, enough to give you an impression that you'll have fun inside. The faux entryway features IKEA-bought mirror and white chest with replaced brass knobs.
Country style and a bit of industrial were fused into the dining area. The custom-made table and bench from Second Charm and used white chairs from Carousell complement the warm vinyl flooring and mismatched pendant lights from Taobao and My Lighthouse.
"I never liked spaces that look too matchy and symmetrical. So instead of going for four of the same lights, we sourced for four different designs in the same shade of gold," quips Shuying.
There are many design elements worth noting in Liangfa and Shuying's bedroom: platform bed facing the window, bedroom island in the form of a marble-topped dresser, storage racks, mood pendant lights from Taobao, and a clean colour palette.
"It's nice going to bed with a lovely view ahead!" gushes Shuying. "We wanted natural light to flow from the window throughout the room so we requested for a bedroom island instead of a walk-in closet that could block sunlight."
The couple loves marble for its timeless look—just look at the three different marble-themed tiles in the shower area! Wooden elements were added to downplay the grandeur of the tiles. There is also a long counter and open storage under the sink (woven baskets for the win!) for a more organised space.
He's a practical, no-frills type of guy. She's a stylist and decorator. Looking at two styles of study desks will already give you an idea on their different personalities.
Liangfa has always liked the look of subway tiles so the couple incorporated them into their kitchen. Shuying adds, "We wanted an eclectic mix of old and new, so we got a farmhouse sink in modern stainless steel as well as country-inspired groove lines on the kitchen cabinets with shiny brass pulls. The marble countertop helps add a modern touch of class to the space."
Type of property: 5 room HDB
Total space: 110 sqm
Contractor: The 80’s Studio
Budget: $40,000 for renovation + $40,000 for furnishing
Time to complete works: 4 months
Lianga and Shuying's tips for homeowners
- Clearly defining the theme of your home would make design decisions much easier to make.
- Don’t be afraid to play with colours. They can really spice up a regular room!
- Design your home to suit your lifestyle; not the other way around! We’re messy people, so we designed a space that accommodates mess.
- Choose modular furniture instead of built-ins. This way, you can easily change and replace things in the house when you get in the mood for decorating.
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Photos by Samantha Echavez