Cover The home office features black walls that contribute to the calming nature of the space

Interior designer Ed Ong makes room for work and play in a shophouse his family is proud to call home

At a time when travel opportunities are scarce, Ed Ong’s study continues to be a treasure trove of inspiration. Situated on the first storey of a shophouse where the interior designer and his family have lived in for a decade, this workspace is for him to read and reflect; it’s also frequently a space where he meets his clients and guests.

The founder of Dwell Interior Design has kept a pared-down approach to the look of his home, in a way that stays true to his creative philosophy. “We didn’t go nostalgic with the design of this shophouse even though it’s a historic building; this reflects who I am. I believe in having strong, clean lines.” This minimalist scheme is reflected in the concrete screed walls that run the length of the shophouse, matched with dark timber boards for flooring. These walls feature recesses that act as shelves to display awards, memorabilia and practical items.

Ong remains hopeful about the year ahead. “We’ve managed to overcome most of these challenges with the support and understanding of both clients and vendors,” he says. “A designer must always know that he needs a team; we depend on hands that are not ours to fulfil the vision. Communication is key to both the relationship and to the successful execution of a project.

My favourite nook in my home is … “My study. I read a lot; I think a designer must always “feed” himself with things that he sees and experiences. Books allow you to travel across time and get into the minds and perspectives of others through both the visuals and words. I only buy a book if it makes me think and it’s able to spark new ideas. That explains the collection of books that I have that I constantly refer to, even during meetings.”

A silver lining of 2020 is … “We’ve learnt that with clear communication and clarity of thought, a lot can be achieved even without face-to-face meetings.”


The Singapore design scene here has grown a lot over the past 10 years. “The established firms each have their own unique design language. We just have to be very clear about that, and always strive to be better in terms of design. For a young designer who wants to become well-known to succeed, the willingness to serve and learn would be the most important ingredients to have within you. Until today, I find myself still learning from clients.”

In 2021 … “The dream would be to do a road trip in New Zealand (if existing regulations allow).”

  • PhotographyDarren Gabriel Leow
  • Art DirectionCharlene Lee
  • Make-UpBenedict Choo using Nars
  • Stylist's AssistantSarah Ng