Cover Chris Lee and Annie Li in their industrial-style dining room, which features exposed red brick and black steel columns

Chris Lee and Annie Li share a deep love of dining and entertaining, as evidenced by their newly renovated home and the launch of their tableware online store, Artifactt

Ever since they moved into their terrace house nine years ago, Chris Lee and his wife Annie Li would have dinner with their son in their second-storey living room, as they did not like the configuration of their dining area and kitchen on the first floor. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they made the decision to renovate the spaces to suit their needs.

“The pandemic made me realise that we have to live in the moment,” declares Li. “If you don’t feel comfortable with something, make a change. It’s not really about feng shui, but rather the feeling of the space.”

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Li works in sales and marketing, while Lee is the founder of multidisciplinary design studio Asylum, the creative force behind the industrial-chic interior of The Warehouse Hotel and the National Gallery’s minimalist logo.

In October last year, the couple founded Artifactt, a new web store selling artisanal tableware. This was driven in part by Li’s desire to start her own brand, and also by her husband’s participation in the KYO Project in 2018, which partnered Singaporean designers with Japanese artisans to create modern-day products. Lee was impressed by the skilful craftsmanship he witnessed, and Artifactt was a way to give these workshops an alternative audience. 

As designed-focused individuals, how food is presented at a meal makes a difference; the couple use many of Artifactt’s products in their own home. Dark wood and leather furnishings complement the house’s industrial palette of exposed red brick and black steel columns. “We tend to choose dark, earthy tones,” says Li.

Read more: How Pandemic Cooking Inspired This Couple to Start Tableware Brand Artifactt

In designing various restaurants, Lee learnt about the importance of good lighting. He applies this knowledge to good effect here, mixing general and accent lamps in the open-plan space. “Lighting is a key component for creating ambience, as is music,” he quips, revealing his “recipe” for a memorable meal.

The couple, who love hosting friends, do so more often now on their renovated first floor, which incorporates a 10-seater dining area in which they can entertain friends and business associates. Separated from the rest of the house, this space makes for a perfect private-dining zone.

Lee has no qualms about handing the kitchen over to his chef friends while he plays the role of sommelier during these gatherings. “He’s a very good sommelier,” muses Li, whose own speciality is her native Shanghainese cuisine.

The redesigned space is also now more inviting—it looks so welcoming, in fact, that strangers actually think that it is a restaurant and make their way in while the family are having dinner to ask for a phone number so they can make reservations. “Then they don’t want to leave, and ask us for a tour,” laughs Lee.

  • PhotographyDarren Gabriel Leow
  • Art DirectionCharlene Lee
  • Make-UpKenneth Lee
  • Stylist's AssistantCheryl Lai-Lim
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