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Appartment Alchemy, Singapore

Architect Juliana Chan describes her apartment in Brookvale Walk, Singapore as “a little hidden gem”. And Darlene Smyth agrees that she and her interior designer husband, Tristan Tan, have miraculously turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Nestled into the outskirts of a tropical green reserve next to Maju Camp on the West coast of Singapore, this 150m2 1980s walk-up apartment is located at the very end of a long winding road that runs through a low-rise private residential area. The recently married couple waited for one year for the unit to become available, but now feel that their long wait was worthwhile as their comprehensive make-over of the apartment has resulted in a lovely home.

Juliana and Tristan attribute their meeting to Juliana’s employer of eight years, Ernesto Bedmar of Bedmar and Shi. Ernesto introduced her to Tristan, who at the time was running the popular and stylish furniture shop Cream in Singapore. Tristan, who now is engaged with his interior design consultancy and furniture design, worked hand-in-hand with Juliana in the design of their new home.  Juliana was more involved in the architectural lay-out and spatial design of the unit while Tristan developed many of the details, tested out furniture designs and prototypes and even custom-designed some of the light fittings. “We wanted to create a home that was not too crisp and perfect,” explains Tristan.

The couple intentionally created a sense of texture to the interiors and an impression that the space had always been there and wasn’t something shiny and new glossed on to the old building structure. This timeless feeling to the space is introduced as early as the front door where they used dark sandblasted timber veneer cut into paneled strips and inset with a weathered steel panel and door pull that is reminiscent of a classic Carlo Scarpa detail.

Read the rest of the article in this month’s Habitus magazine, available March 28.