Cover The painterly effect of the sofa upholstery and the rug adds an artistic flourish to the living room

The work of Singapore-based firm Design Intervention, this award-winning home combines its mid-century influences with the family’s colourful and eclectic art collection

From the iconic leather lounge chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames to Eero Saarinen’s fiery red Womb collection for Knoll, there are a number of ways mid-century modern design lives on today, even though its heyday was in the 1950s and ‘60s.

“There has been a resurgence of interest in mid-century modern architecture,” shares Nikki Hunt, principal of Design Intervention. “This style of architecture is all about space and light; the Californian developers that began the movement were looking to the future instead of taking inspiration from the past. America was a country in transition and mid-century design is a perfect symbol of that.”

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But while it is easy enough to procure these furnishings as accent pieces, capturing the spirit and aesthetic of this iconic design era within a modern-day home requires a trained eye and an astute understanding of this movement. This was exactly what interior design firm Design Intervention was tasked to do for a family home in Perth. The couple, who have two young children and a dog, are admirers of the mid-century modern style and had built a house that was true to the period.

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“The homeowners always had a love for mid-century design; however, they wanted it personalised for them,” shares Andrea Savage, partner and project director of Design Intervention. “It had to be stylish yet durable for a young family, have elements of fun and freshness, and a touch of whimsy.” They entrusted the Design Intervention team with the brief to ensure its interiors would be aesthetically cohesive as well.

The home’s U-shape structure, which surrounds a central courtyard, garden and outdoor seating area, features large glass doors and windows that allow for sun-drenched interiors. They also offer greater accessibility to its ample outdoor space, which is ideal for a young family to enjoy Perth’s warm summers and beautiful.

 

As a starting point, the design team chose bold hues for the home to showcase the vibrancy of the era. Deep blue—the predominant colour in the family’s extensive art collection—became a key shade in this abode. “We opted to enliven the home with the use of velvet, hazelnut wood veneer, plush carpets and textured fabrics with pops of colour that injected personality, pattern and a sophisticated feel to the house,” says Savage.

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The heart of this dwelling is its open-plan living area, dining hall and kitchen. The layout provides effortless transitions from one space to another while allowing the couple to entertain with ease. In the living area, the bespoke furnishings bring a retro vibe to the space. The timber veneer of the display cabinetry anchors the room and provides a neutral backdrop to the luscious hues.

The family den celebrates the playful side of mid-century modern design. The palm leaf wallpaper and Coltrane ceiling light set the tone here, while the L-shaped sofa and knitted ottomans invite occupants to lounge in comfort. The standout piece is an original mid-century chair with wooden armrests.

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An ultramarine blue painting by Ken Done delineates the adjacent dining space, while providing continuity with the colour palette. The dining table is surrounded by upholstered Erik Buch teak dining chairs. The interior theme is echoed in the Tonin Casa sideboard, which features metallic detailing. A long bench separates the kitchen from the living and dining area. The Design Intervention team created a desk nook for the lady of the house to do her paperwork while simultaneously supervising her children.

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The adjoining scullery melds both form and function through the installation of a custom-made bar counter. Made with high gloss hardened acrylic and granite stone top, the laser-cut geometric pattern is one-of-a-kind. On the corridor is a bespoke 14m hand-tufted rug, featuring key architectural styles from the mid-century period.

“Corridors are often deemed boring and just functional paths within a home; but not this one,” quips Savage. “This corridor allowed us to play with almost every material in our library; textures such as cowhide, wood veneer, metal, mirror, glass and even sheepskin were integrated into this space. Upon entering, you are cleverly introduced to the material palette for the rest of the house.”

For the man of the house, the design team created a masculine study in shades of mid-century olive green and bespoke wooden wall cabinetry. A retro-print armchair references the Danish influence on this movement while a gold-toned bar trolley adds a Mad Men-inspired touch to his personal retreat.

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The couple’s master room continues the cheerful modernist theme with a geometric wallpaper and a bespoke hide rug. The patterns are punctuated by a Mackenzie Thorpe artwork over the headboard and flanked by antique copper mirrors. The timber bed and side tables ground the room and provide continuity with the rest of the home. “This was a complete transformation of an empty building into a home, teeming with character and style,” shares Hunt. “It was fun to do and the family were absolutely blown away.”

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The overall design, which successfully translated the brief to create a timeless home for a young family, clinched the Best Interior Design of a Private Residence in Australia at the 2019 Asia Pacific Property Awards. “This is the fifth consecutive year that a Design Intervention project has represented Singapore at the international level, and it is our honour to be showcasing Singapore design to the world,” says Hunt. 

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