Cover A grand piano is the focal point of this area, which connects to the music room where the violins and cellos are displayed

Cube Associate Design creates an elegant, musically influenced interior for a family; the house includes a music room as well as a mini-concert hall for intimate gatherings

Situated in a quiet enclave within Singapore’s breezy East Coast district, this detached house is home to a family of five and has many enviable qualities—calming surroundings, proximity to the sea as well as a beautifully bespoke interior that celebrates the owners’ passions.

The couple, TC Lim and Kris Tan, are patrons of the arts. Lim is a retired businessman, who used to run a listed company while Tan is an ambassador of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and also the founder of Kris Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that supports young classical musicians locally and in Southeast Asia.

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Thus, the 7,210sqft house had to cater not only to their love of entertaining; it was also to serve as an intimate concert venue where performances and media interviews could soon be conducted in. They hired Sarah Tham, design director of Cube Associate Design, to create a lively and stylish venue for private soirees while carving out intimate, personalised spaces that the family could enjoy.

The owners had also requested a modern design that would meld Asian and Western influences to showcase their Chinese antiques, and a spacious, open-concept living and dining area. Other spatial requirements included a music room and a performance area connected to the living room, along with a library and walk-in wardrobe within the master bedroom. 

Cream and off-white furnishings from Bentley Home were selected for the living area, where a round floral rug echoes the curvy forms of the sofa and armchairs. “It is always nice to work with clients who are passionate about the arts; the clients also gave us a free hand in designing the house,” says Tham. “The living and dining rooms are the main entertaining areas where the family spends most of their time, so the design needed to be functional yet classy.”

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The house had to adhere to geomancy practices as well. “The design and orientation of this house follows the flow of wind and water based on geomancy principles,” says Tham.

“The main entrance and foyer were designed to be elegant and uncluttered. The wall between the foyer and hallway that connects to the living area had to be converted to a two-pocket sliding door with timber frame and glass to serve as a screen that divides the space.” This sliding door not only visually connects the spaces; it can also extend the size of the living area when needed.

The dining area is furnished with a 10-seater dining set, along with an antique mirror—a recessed wall feature with wooden trimming was specially designed to house the latter. Box mouldings were added to the open-plan living and dining areas to contribute to the graceful look.

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In the dry kitchen, a striking marble island takes centrestage. It features rose gold detailing and bold veins on the marble countertop and base that contrast with the white Carrera marble flooring. To showcase the family’s treasured art and cultural collection in its full glory, the display cabinets in the home feature a high-gloss, off-white finish for the shelves, lined with rose gold inlay and bronze vertical strips.

Music is certainly a big part of the owners’ private and public lives, and its importance is evident in the home. Besides six beautiful pianos, Tan also owns an extensive collection of classical instruments such as violins and cellos. 

The music room is thus a key area. A nook within this space is specially dedicated to showcasing the violin and cello collection; this area also features a hidden pocket sliding door, so it can be fully enclosed to function as a dressing room musicians can use before the start of a performance.

“The music room is located in the ‘cool zone’ of the house to keep the musical instruments away from the brunt of the hot sun, yet it still needed to be connected to the living area when required so it can be opened up as part of the entertainment zone,” explains Tham. “This is one of the key spaces of the home, where Kris and her daughter spend time together to practice playing the piano, violin and cello.” 

Lined with rose gold strips, the sliding glass doors enable a certain degree of sound insulation between the different areas of the open-plan layout on the first floor, while beautifully framing one of the grand pianos in the music room. Additionally, a wall feature comprising high-gloss beads and leather laminate inserts creates further visual interest.

Each bedroom features a personalised colour palette and other bespoke touches customised for its inhabitant; take, for instance, the eldest son’s room with its Japanese influences, or the daughter’s bedroom, which features a long bench built into the bay window area to function as a reading nook.

Another beloved space is the library located on the second floor, where the wife’s sizeable collection of jade pieces and books is showcased. It is adjacent to an entertainment den, another space where the family enjoy gathering together. 

The end result, which took over a year to realise, offers the utmost delight to the family, who enjoy using the myriad spaces in their newly renovated home. The designers are as proud of the fruits of their labour. “I believe that good design is about using space, light and texture to inspire good feelings,” says Tham. “I enjoy creating spaces that will bring joy and happiness, and give our customers fresh and stimulating experiences in their everyday lives.”

Cube Associate Design

Founded in 1998, the award-winning studio is helmed by design director Sarah Tham. Combining effortless style with practical solutions, the firm offers a full suite of architectural and interior design services, which range from space planning and design conceptualisation to project management. The seven-member team prides itself on customer satisfaction and accountability for every assignment, while working broadly across a variety of residential and commercial projects that includes hotels, apartments and landed property.

Cube Associate Design is located at 201 Henderson Road, #09-10 Apex @ Henderson | Tel: 6538 8918 | cubeassociatedesign.com

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