Christian Liaigre drives the design of this semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu Interior Design

Christian Liaigre drives the design of this semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu Interior Design

Christian Liaigre drives the design of this semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu Interior Design

When it comes to creating a desirable environment, one of the biggest challenges is having a vision strong enough to pull together disparate elements to achieve a cohesive result. For this project by Joey Khu Interior Design, this obstacle was overcome in a beautifully simple fashion, because of the clients’ love for the work of one man: Christian Liaigre. 

“The design brief provided by the owners was quite specific and centred on their admiration for the renowned French interior designer,” shares Joey Khu, who runs his eponymous firm and helmed the project along with his colleague Jerry Tan. “The owners wanted to incorporate this design concept into their home, as it would blend seamlessly with their existing Christian Liaigre pieces.” 

Starting with the structure 

The vision may have been clear but the project was far from a straightforward one. The three-storey semi-detached home in Bukit Timah was old and dark, and its floor size of 4,600sqft was poorly laid out. 

“The space was not only impractical but also lacked the functionality that the family needed,” says Khu, referring to a group of six — a couple, their two daughters and their parents. “Recognising this, the decision was made to completely overhaul the design.” 

Changing the layout was a priority. “Our clients love to entertain, so we designed an open floor plan that allows for easy social interaction,” he says. To this end, he knocked down the kitchen walls, created a new dry kitchen and carved out a foyer in the entry area to increase the privacy of the living area. “The kitchen, dining and living areas now flow seamlessly into each other, creating a perfect space for gatherings.” 

Semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu ID, dining room
The owners’ love for entertaining translated into an open floor plan where the dry kitchen and dining room flow seamlessly into each other.

The designer combatted the problem of darkness by putting in larger windows to allow more natural light into the home and make the interiors brighter. There were also other changes in terms of colour and materials done to the façade of the house, which Khu made sure to echo in his design. 

“We believe that the interior and exterior of a home should create a cohesive aesthetic, so we used similar colour palettes and materials inside the house,” he says.

Semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu ID, facade
When changes in terms of colour and materials were done to the façade of the house, Khu made sure to echo them in his design of the interiors. 

Grounding the interiors 

The decision was made to go with materials that conveyed understated luxury in lighter, neutral tones. Marble, laminates, dark elm and lighter oak were selected for their elegance and durability, and layered into the interiors in such a way as to balance warmth with coolness and darkness with light. 

“Dark elm was chosen for its rich, deep colour and unique grain pattern,” shares Khu. “It adds a warm, natural element to the space, contrasting beautifully with the lighter marble.” 

Indeed, the woods are used in an unusual way — in slim vertical strips of different colours on the walls throughout the house — for framing and focus. In the living and dining rooms, the planks are dark, effectively bringing attention to the artwork, like a gorgeously abstract Simon Wee painting that hangs in the living room.   

The neutral colour palette and carefully designed lighting, which includes the use of pendant lamps, wall sconces and recessed fixtures, create an overall effect of layered depth and textured warmth, bringing to life the contemporary aesthetic the homeowners wanted.

Jewels in the crown 

Of course, this beautifully understated backdrop has been created as a setting for the undisputed stars of the show: the owners’ lovingly amassed collection of Christian Liaigre furniture. And nowhere is this better showcased than in the living room, which boasts the lliade coffee table, timber Nagato stool, Gueridon trépied side table in bronze and an elegantly inviting Mandarin chair. 

Even the lighting bears Liaigre’s distinctive stamp, with sleek Chantecaille and Terral floor lamps illuminating the space, and striking Medicis light sconces adding dramatic accents to the walls. 

Wandering through the house reveals more treasures — in the form of a Tangris cabinet and Atoll lamp in front of the staircase, a Sumi table and Robinson chairs in the dining room and Tulum sconces flanking the bed in the master suite. 

Christian Liaigre was known for the clean lines and sculptural refinement of his work and it is clear that Khu and his firm have succeeded in paying homage to the late designer through the sophisticated, minimalist home they have created, characterised by subtle luxury and restrained elegance. 

“I named the project ‘Effortless Chic’ because it encapsulates the essence of the design,” says Khu reflecting on the journey that saw a dated dwelling transformed into a modern family haven. 

“A home can be both stylish and comfortable, without one aspect overshadowing the other. It’s about achieving a balance between form and function, between style and practicality. Elegance doesn’t have to be complicated or overdone. The idea is to eliminate unnecessary elements and focus on what is essential.”