Cover The airy, light-filled living area of the Good Class Bungalow that Mazzali and her family currently live in

Katherine Mazzali displays her talent for creating classic American interiors with modern touches in a Good Class Bungalow redecorated as her family home in Singapore

Before she became a mother, Katherine Mazzali’s illustrious career in international affairs and finance took her all around the world. Hailing from Los Angeles, the Korean-American (she took on her Brazilian husband’s surname) has lived in Paris, Istanbul, Seoul, and Hong Kong, and came to Singapore in 2020. But her heart lay in interior design.

“Once I had children, I thought hard about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and it was pretty clear that it was interior design as I kept on redoing our home until my husband finally joked: ‘Please go redo someone else’s house and stop touching ours’,” she laughs.

In Hong Kong, she enrolled in an interior design course, which was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In Singapore, she picked up where she left off and completed the design course at Raffles College, just before the birth of her third child.

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Mazzali’s love for dressing interiors stems from her house-proud mother. She gravitates towards American designers such as Bunny Williams and Mark D. Sikes. “I love classic, timeless styles that are refreshing and modern. I enjoy mixing patterns, but also making sure that the overall feel is light and comfortable,” she expounds. Her nomadic past comes into her work, “from the coastal feel of Los Angeles to the neoclassical designs of Louis XVI that I got to experience in Paris.”

Her Singapore home is a Good Class Bungalow, in which she lives with her husband and three children. It is a fitting showcase for her interior design company Katherine M Interiors, which she founded last year to bring about a different sensibility among the sea of modern, minimalist interiors popular among many Singaporeans.

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As the 7,000 sq ft house is a rental property, she could not alter the structural layouts. But she relished in putting together a coordinated atmosphere with furnishings, art and decor.

“I wanted to create a home that was classic, yet liveable. I have three young children, so I can’t afford to be too precious about my furniture. The house is three times bigger than my home in Hong Kong, so I had to fill the space. I decided to bring in a lot of items directly from the US as I couldn’t find the designs that I wanted in Singapore at that time,” she says.

In Hong Kong, she was able to custom-make much of her furniture, some of which was brought over. “My goal is to start finding someone who can make the furniture I want in Singapore. I find that hard as people are not accustomed to so many intricate details and carvings,” says Mazzali.

Sunlight streams into the house’s large windows onto the light, pastel palette. In the foyer, two custom armchairs with tubular legs that are wrapped in off-white Colefax and Fowler fabrics flank a Dorya console. This play of symmetry is made complete with twin custom-designed lighting sconces on each side of a mural by artist Susan Harter. Its dreamy imagery of nature in baby blue and soft grey hues brings about tranquillity in one of many considered mise-en-scènes Mazzali has crafted around the home.

The living room mirrors this scheme with white seating, whose generous scale and depth invite lounging. The cushions are from Schumacher and the custom stools are covered with Blithfield fabrics. Behind the sofa, a folding screen with a chinoiserie print draws attention and conceals a blank wall. 

The family room on the second storey projects a similar grace, with the focal point being a triptych custom-made in Hong Kong. Each bedroom is thoughtfully conceived to create a visual calm. In the master bedroom, the sepia tones of a triptych made in France by Ananbo complement the beige carpet.

In the daughter’s bedroom, feminine touches abound in a Restoration Hardware bed dressed with floral fabrics from Liberty London, twin antique Louis XVI chairs with pale pink upholstery, and artwork by Korean artist Kim Ji Min, which is made in the traditional minhwa technique to highlight Mazzali’s heritage.

Her meticulous assemblage of parts results in a congruent feel throughout the home. Mazzali reveals that the six-month-long makeover was not an easy process. “I think it’s a lot harder doing your own place than someone else’s. It never feels finished; there’s always something to redo or change. But I’ve learnt that you need to let go a bit and enjoy the space!” 

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