It’s a little slice of the Italian coast, right here in Singapore.
When one steps through the doorway, it’s as though one has been instantly transported into a traditional kitchen belonging to an Italian nonna, complete with faded tiles underfoot and a rustic wooden dining table set with candlesticks.
Who Lives Here: A family of four with their helper
Home: Three-storey cluster house in Seletar Hills Estate
Size: 3,000 sq ft (278 sqm)
Interior Designer: Edge Interior
Alfresco dining area
Look beyond the spacious living room and you’ll see a generously-sized terrace with an alfresco dining set-up, bordered by three lemon trees weighed down with fruit.
In fact, the only indication that this is Singapore is the view of the neighbouring condominium blocks outside the window.
Mediterranean villa home
The transformation of this cluster home into a Mediterranean villa is the result of the family’s storied history.
Eugenio Accongiagioco and Georgina Soh had met overseas and had spent their very first holiday together in Capri, which now holds fond memories for them. As Eugenio is from South Italy, they also wanted the home to reflect his roots.
Engaged interior design firm
After looking around, they engaged Alvin Chua of Edge Interior to design the home as they liked other Mediterranean-style designs he had done previously.
“He understood what we liked and was able to translate it to his drawings,” shares Eugenio.
Rounded features and earthy tones
The home’s airy, relaxed feel is thanks to careful spatial planning and placement of features. Alvin took care to include features that would not jar the eye, such as arched doorways and rounded corners.
A light all-white palette, accented by earthy tones, contributes to the holiday-home feel. When choosing materials, one of the top priorities was making sure the house would age beautifully even with wear and tear.
As a result, there is a notable absence of anything plastic or shiny in the house – the TV console in the living room, the bench in the dining area, and the bathtub in the master bedroom are made of concrete for durability.
Accented with wood and rattan elements, the home exudes a timeless ambience and looks as though it has been there for years.
Furniture with memories
In the living room sits a side table with a clock face that the couple had bought on honeymoon in Mykonos, and next to it is a love seat with intricate carvings that Georgina bought in Shanghai.
Every piece of furniture has a story, and most have travelled the world with the couple as they moved from country to country.
“We don’t believe in throwing out things – these are memories and a part of us,” says Georgina.
Inherited furniture and paintings
Plenty of their furniture was inherited.
Several paintings that adorn the walls were gifts from Eugenio’s adoptive mother, who had worked with prominent artists, including Andy Warhol.
Precious vintage furniture
Although some of these items are priceless in sentimental value, they’re not tucked away behind glass, but are instead well-used and well-loved.
“Our son used to play with Lego on top of this,” laughs Eugenio, indicating a vintage lacquered jewellery cabinet that he estimates his family had purchased in the ‘70s and which now sits on the landing of the second storey.
Neutral children rooms
This notion of the home growing with the family is evident in the design choices.
The children’s rooms are relaxed, and feature loose furniture so that the children can move things around as they grow up and have more autonomy over how their space looks.
The colour scheme, like the rest of the home, is neutral.
“We wanted to leave the space open for them to stamp their personality on as they grow up,” says Georgina.
Intricate bathroom tiles
Each bathroom features interesting tiles from Hafary, from tropical prints in the guest bathroom downstairs to the pretty mother-of-pearl bricks in the daughter’s bathroom.
The whole look was pulled together thanks to Alvin’s careful planning and eye for detail.
Covid renovation delays
Although there were delays due to the circuit breaker, the project was completed shortly after measures lifted, and the family was able to move in in August 2020.
Their favourite part of the home? “Definitely the living room and terrace,” says Georgina.
“There’s the breeze, the lemon trees outside, and the kids spend a lot of time there. We’ve even recently bought a pizza oven that Eugenio fires up outside.”
Art Direction by Nonie Chen. Photography Phyllicia Wang. This article was first published in Home and Decor in March 2021.