As an interior designer, Stanley Tham’s job is to create a look according to the theme his client wants.
But when it came to his own home, the 39-year-old did not care about following a particular style or theme. Instead, he put in furniture that caught his fancy and urban art he had collected over the years.
There are whimsical fixtures such as a birdcage ceiling lamp he embellished with a branch and a fake bird; retro touches such as a neon sign that says “Open”, a familiar sight at many American petrol stations and small bars; and striking elements such as a wall decal of a caveman carrying fast food, an image by British graffiti artist Banksy.
It sounds like a hotchpotch of things and styles, but they all come together in Tham’s 85sqm condominium unit in Singapore.
The co-founder of 12-year-old interior design firm KNQ Associates says: “I don’t get this kind of freedom with clients’ homes. Many may not be receptive to this look.
“But I don’t care if it works. It speaks to me and I come home to things I like. There was no pre-conceived concept – I just pulled things together.”
He is married to homemaker Selene Wee, who is in her 30s. The couple, who have no children, moved in last July after a month of renovation that cost about S$30,000 (RM87,000).
The apartment has two bedrooms and a study. The open-concept kitchen and living room open up to a balcony that overlooks the pool.
While the furnishings may be a mixed bag, one common design element in the home is the use of geometric shapes and patterns.
The carpet in the living room is a patchwork of squares with different grey gradient slants and the customised all-white shoe cabinet at the entrance wears a triangle mosaic pattern.
After removing the original kitchen counter and installing a “floating” table with no legs, Tham decorated the table top with ceramic tiles – also in a geometric pattern – usually used for floors. The tiles were then covered with a tempered glass top.
In the living room, the television set is mounted on a feature wall covered in a thick foam-like wallpaper and patterned with triangles and diamonds. The black Rosace wallpaper from Belgium brand Arte is not just sleek, but it also does double duty by enhancing the sound quality.
And in a move that will be the envy of many husbands, Wee suggested converting the second bedroom into a mancave.
To take advantage of the high ceiling in the room, the couple asked the condominium’s developer to install a deck, creating a loft-like space. The deck, furnished with a small sofa and a television set, acts as a chill-out spot.
Tham also had a wardrobe that was originally built into the room removed. He designed a workstation under the deck.
Wee says: “I thought it would be a more relaxing space for him to work if he’s at home or to just chill. I don’t mind it’s a room just for him, as my space is the kitchen. I love cooking, so that’s where I am most of the time.”
Art is a big fixture in the apartment. A print titled The Unveiling by Irish-born street and graffiti artist Conor Harrington greets guests as they enter the apartment, while a black-and-white print of a lone deer in a field of arrows by Pejac, a pseudonym of a Spanish artist, hangs in the master bedroom.
To create the feel of an art gallery, Tham had art tracks installed in his mancave and the living room to suspend artwork. It allows him to be flexible with the display as he can remove or add pieces any time.
The couple does not expect the look of their apartment to remain the same over time, especially if children come along.
Tham says: “A house should evolve, as your life changes, but it should always keep sparks of your personality.” – Straits Times/Asia News Network/Natasha Ann Zachariah