The owners of an old condo apartment have adorned their home with an array of modern art pieces from their personal collection, while also exhibiting their unique sense of style.
This high-floor apartment features wraparound windows and has unobstructed views of a picturesque neighbourhood. Being an old condominium unit, it affords a bigger footprint compared to today’s new high-rise residences, but it needed an overhaul before its new occupants could truly call it home.
Homeowners and art lovers Seah Yu Ying and Dewi Shen engaged Raymond Seow of Free Space Intent to renovate it so they could make better use of its space and accommodate the things they love.
The result: a light-filled art gallery-inspired abode.
It was the couple’s love for art and collecting it that directed the design of their home, which now allows them to showcase pieces from their huge personal collection. Yu Ying estimates that there are around 25 paintings and sculptures displayed here, out of three warehouses-worth of artwork amassed over 30 years!
Peppered with modern art paintings and sculptures curated by the couple, the home intrigues at every turn, as each wall acts as a bare canvas for which personality-imbued vignettes are built upon.
“There was to be absolutely no feature wall!” emphasises Raymond. He knew that the couple’s artwork, for sure, and perhaps designer furniture pieces were to take the spotlight. “At first, I even considered a minimalist all-white space with just track lights, like a typical gallery, but decided that it would be too cold,” he adds. He therefore retained the existing parquet flooring, which rendered the home a feeling of warmth and cosiness, given the context of bare walls and ceilings.
To enhance the spaciousness of the apartment, Raymond also removed the existing false ceilings and retained the living area’s split-level layout, to the homeowners’ delight. Yu Ying says: “We like the taller ceiling in the living space, as we’ve gotten used to the sense of space you feel in a gallery.”
The couple owns and runs White Space Art Asia, a gallery specialising in Asian contemporary art with a focus on modern ink paintings. Yu Ying started the gallery about six years ago, leveraging its connection with Heng Artland – his father’s art gallery and one of the most well known galleries in Singapore.
“You can say I grew up in a gallery, but I never thought I would continue the business,” he says on being a collector long before starting his own gallery. The homeowner further reminisces: “My first paycheck went to buying a painting from my dad – and he didn’t even give me a discount!” He had paid over $4,000 for it about 20 years ago. It’s now worth about $120,000 and is displayed in the study.
Another notable piece of artwork is hung up in the kitchen next to the island counter – a painting by Yu Ying’s favourite artist, Bob Yan. For this special piece of artwork, a different set of track lights that are slightly bigger than the rest is used to illuminate and highlight it. “I specifically kept these track lights with halogen bulbs because it gives a precise yellow-tone lighting that you can’t find anymore, which really brings out the painting,” Yu Ying explains.
Other details incorporated into the home that centre on displaying art seriously include a cable hanging system that allows for flexibility in hanging up different pieces of various sizes as and when the couple fancies. Most of the partition walls were also reinforced to be able to bear the weight of heavy art pieces, says Raymond.
Raymond spent a lot of time designing the open-concept kitchen, as this was particularly important to Dewi and Yu Ying, who enjoy entertaining. Topped with a Dekton Trillium slab that has an oxidised metal look, the kitchen island has a “cantilevered” design, with the protruding extension functioning as a breakfast counter. Visible upon entering the apartment, it has become Dewi’s favourite space in the home. “It’s especially great for when everyone comes over; it’s where everyone congregates,” she smiles.
Interior Designer – Free Space Intent.
Article written by Lousia Clare Lim, author at Lookbox Living. Art Direction by Betty Wong.