Hock Hoon plays with light in this unit at Parc Esta condo to accommodate diametrically opposed needs
What happens when the inhabitants of the same home have desires that are diametrically opposed? This was the conundrum for Soh Xin Hui of design studio Hock Hoon, who was engaged to overhaul a four-room condo in Parc Esta meant to house her client, his parents and a helper. “His parents wanted brightness while he feels more comfortable in a darker space,” says the interior designer.
Her solution was to carve out separate spaces within the home, where light and shadow would play out differently, and design a seamless transition between the two. The 1,119sqft apartment originally boasted four bedrooms but one bedroom was divided into a private lounge and room for the helper.
Clearly, the lounge is for the client. “It is a quiet corner for him to wind down,” says Soh, of the shadowy space that is dominated by a set of shelves, which displays mementoes collected on his overseas work trips.
“It was designed to create a one-point perspective with dark ash wood panels on either side and a lighter grey cement textured paint on the central niche, to draw attention to his collection.” When viewed through the corridor, the tableau it presents has a startling clarity, like seeing something through the end of a telescope.
Reconciling the extremes
Indeed, the corridor is the transitional space in this home, shifting its inhabitants along the spectrum between light and dark, as they move between the lounge (which grounds the more private bedroom spaces) and the living/dining area (which comprises the bulk of the public space).
It is in the latter area that light dominates. “This communal area is where his parents will spend most of their time,” says Soh, who used warm maple wood and light-coloured fabrics to add brightness and softness to the rooms. “I used a light and neutral colour palette to create an inviting atmosphere. Concave frames extending across the living and dining areas create a visually cohesive element, fostering a communal environment for family bonding.”
Emphasising the importance of family in this space is an original artwork featuring the Chinese word jia (“home” in Mandarin), which takes pride of place on the living room wall. “It was created by local artist Lim Tze Ping and was commissioned by the homeowner,” Soh shares. “The wall panel design ensures that the art piece has a central position within the entire space, [showing that] the home holds a special place in the client’s heart.”
All about the detail
The home is a showcase of subtle understatement and elegant restraint, one that reveals a treasure trove of little details to the careful observer. “It took five months,” says Soh of the project, which involved demolishing walls, hacking floors and removing all existing wardrobes. “It is considered an extensive renovation given the number of details in this apartment.”
The wall panelling is one example – Soh used it to create a frame that connected the living and dining spaces. She designed the dining bench to integrate with the wall cladding, and added wooden fins above the bench to direct the eye in a linear flow and add visual texture to the room.
In the lounge area, the helper’s room is tucked behind the display shelves, with a concealed door right next to them. The shelves have been cleverly designed to have a double-function; a portion of it, accessed only from her room, becomes a small wardrobe.
In the client’s bedroom, she added a long dresser that pulls triple duty as a place for him to work, to groom and to display his collection of watches. As the focal point in the room, it is also positioned next to the bay window, so that the client can enjoy the view outside.
“From understanding their lifestyle, I zoned out areas for their functions and looked into the details to fine-tune the experience in the spaces,” Soh says, referring to the way she used different materials, colour and light in her interior design for this home.
“Design is for the people using the space; it has to be intentional,” says Soh reflecting on the home she created for this family. “It elevates our daily experiences and helps us forge meaningful connections with the other individuals who share our space.”