Cover The open-plan layout segues from the kitchen to the living area seamlessly

Taking cues from the timeless look of hotel suites, this apartment marries subtle industrial elements with dark wood cabinetry and other luxurious details

Our notion of luxury has evolved or perhaps, expanded. Today’s luxury is holistic and personal—glitz and glamour are optional, but the bespoke touch is mandatory. A 2,200sqft unit at The Trizon condominium off the Holland Road is objectively luxurious. Still, for a young couple in the healthcare industry—the husband a neurologist and the wife a medical social worker—the existing design was missing the bespoke element. So, they approached local architecture and interior design firm Quod Architects X QED Design to refurbish the unit.

“The husband and I have been friends since we’re 13,” shares Diong Fuhan, who founded architectural firm Quod Architects and its interior design arm QED Design in 2018. “The couple wanted to work with someone they were comfortable with and understood their sense of aesthetics, lifestyle and aspirations.”

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Both husband and wife appreciate design and enjoy creative arts, with the latter taking calligraphy and painting as her hobbies. They lead a busy life, both professionally and socially, and wanted their home to facilitate a balance between the two. The four-bedroom existing unit features two sizeable balconies with an unobstructed view of the surrounding landed estate. “But even though the floor area is large, you couldn’t feel the expanse of space,” says Diong.

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The living room and dining room, each with its own balcony, were situated in an awkward L-shaped configuration. The kitchen was completely closed off from the dining room while the master bedroom and the wardrobe were separated by the master bathroom. The existing finishes—marble flooring in the living room, timber flooring in the bedrooms—also felt dated to the new owners. Their brief also called for a study room, a gym, and a walk-in wardrobe that was adjacent to the master bedroom.

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“We basically gutted everything in the apartment,” says Diong. She also reconfigured the layout of the room to create a more breathable spatial flow. The new, simplified layout enables the residents to feel the expanse of the space and enjoy the view better.

The enclosed kitchen was opened and merged with the dining room. “They did not envision themselves doing heavy cooking, so they specially requested for an open-concept kitchen,” says Diong. Guests can mingle in the adjacent living room and in the balcony area, which is equipped with a bar counter; here they can enjoy a drink and the view.

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The common bedrooms were reassigned as a study, a gym and a walk-in wardrobe. The entrance to the master bedroom was relocated, so the walk-in wardrobe is directly accessible from the master bedroom while the master bathroom has been expanded and made more experiential with new finishes. The walk-in wardrobe displays the owners’ apparel and accessories collections in their full glory, making the ritual of dressing for work or for events something to look forward to.

Having forged her design acumen in the hospitality sector at DP Architects and W Architects, Diong took inspirations from the new breed of boutique hotels designed to feel like a home away from home, where luxury is bespoke, understated and approachable.

“We deliberately shied away from the kind of luxury that appears opulent, because that can be very dated,” shares Diong. The owners and the designers decided on an industrial luxe theme in the style of The Warehouse Hotel, which features quality materials without sacrificing warmth and approachability.

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This concept translated to a restrained material palette chosen for both its look and practicality: homogenous tiles that mimic pale timber and Corten steel, dark homogeneous tiles and a stucco finish that mimics raw concrete. The luxury aspect of the home unfolds through small details and thoughtful design. Brass is used sparingly and effectively to add a sheen to the material palette in the shelves, furniture and bathroom fixtures.

Altogether, the home is very much an embodiment of ideal urban life with as much substance as style.