It was the last thing that interior designer Ed Ong had expected to hear from a client. The founder of Dwell Interior Design, whose signature contemporary style ascribes to the philosophy of “less is more”, found himself tasked to design a home inspired by the glitzy lives of reality television stars The Kardashians.
The homeowners have lived in their current inter-terrace house for some time and wanted to give their abode a brand new look that takes cues from a celebrity-inspired abode. They admired the attention to detail and the modern elegance they saw in the firm’s portfolio, and were open to marrying their Kardashians-styled home with his firm’s strengths.
The project thus became an exciting and challenging opportunity for Ong and senior designer Ni Suwei of Dwell Interior Design. The designers knew the brief’s demands were two-fold: to achieve a stylish interior while overcoming the challenges posed by the narrow inter-terrace site.
Although Ong’s work is primarily in interior design, his firm’s architectural skillset would come into play for this project. With rooms measuring only six metres in length due to the narrow site, one of the first tasks was to maximise the building’s natural light and to expand the sense of space.
“I knew I was going to go heavy on detail in this project,” says Ong. “With full-height decorative elements, these elements can become overpowering unless we find ways to maximise light and space.”
As the designers reviewed the building’s original layout, they realised that a column located within the first-floor kitchen was blocking the flow of the dining area they had envisioned. Although moving the column would be no easy task as it would involve substantial cost and time, Ong felt it was necessary: “Moving the column will make a critical difference to the future home.” By removing the column, Ong created a seamless transition between the living and dining sections, increasing the sense of space in the home’s social zone.
The designer emphasises the importance of this synergy between the interiors and architecture. “Layout is the foundation of interior design,” he says. “You cannot achieve the space you want if the architecture does not take into account your lifestyle.”
The entrance of this 4,500sqft five-bedroom home makes an elegant impression with doors featuring large chrome knobs and foliage-shaped glass panels. The home’s pièce de résistance is the living and dining area on the first level.
A colour palette comprising rose-gold, champagne, and taupe pairs beautifully with the ornate details that include framed mirrors, tufted sofas, velvet armchairs, sculptural accessories, Nero Portoro marble tables and botanical motifs that are applied consistently across the entire home.
The centrepiece of the living room is a full-length feature wall. Alternating between panelled doors and rose-trimmed mirrors, it serves as a dramatic backdrop while concealing storage space for the family. Cleverly integrated mirrors across the living and dining spaces expand the visual horizon; these include the tinted bronze walls by the sides of the TV console and a framed six-metre-long mirror in the dining room.
The expansive master suite on the third level celebrates the ritzy interior scheme with plush fabrics and reflective details. It features a study and a wardrobe that extends from the front to the back of the house. Additionally, the vanity area in the bathroom is fitted with an oversized bespoke mirror that fills the room with a soft glow. The halo-like design was initially rejected by at least three glass vendors because of its complexity but it was ultimately worth the effort. “When this mirror went up, everybody was smiling,” recalls Ong.
The overall effect is that of a glamorous and richly-detailed home. “Going beyond my usual style was worth it,” says Ong. “The clients were very happy with the end result and that’s a huge reward.”
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