House Tour: Luxurious Manhattan loft-inspired five-storey cluster house
Faced with the challenge of a cramped layout, Ed Ong of Dwell Interior Design had to think out of the box when designing the cluster house that homeowners Dr Low Chian Yong and his wife had newly bought.
For the staircase, its wooden stair treads and railings were replaced with concrete screed steps and tension cables for an understated and raw look.
“I broke one of the unspoken rules and placed the television where the window is,” Ed shares. As the living room faces another unit in the development, the strategy was to ensure privacy by screening the windows. Black roller blinds became the backdrop for the television, while the original bay window platform was screeded in concrete and cladded with a steel sheet to work perfectly as the TV console. “In the day, when the family is not watching television, light can filter through the translucent black screen. At night, it almost becomes a black wall,” says Ed, elaborating on making full use of all surfaces and planes.
On the adjacent wall – which was the intended TV spot in the original layout – he created large “windows” to lend the home a Manhattan loft-inspired look, with the use of mirrors framed in black aluminium. This standout feature immediately catches the eye when one enters the home, and also accentuates the height for a loftier feel.
A brick veneer from Craftstone for other wall surfaces adds a raw, textural effect.
The kitchen, which was tucked under the stairs, takes pride of place – with a large counter as well as cabinetry and fittings in a palette of black and steel.
A steel ladder was added in the kitchen to allow homeowners access to overhead storage.
The bedrooms were kept simple and in dark hues, for a restful and cosy ambience.
As for the attic, Ed turned the space into a family room, where the homeowners and children can study and work together. Despite a dark colour palette, the space has large windows and a light well to allow in generous amounts of natural light.
“The homeowners really enjoy this productive space. The kids have even started inviting friends over to study, and they get to spend quality time together as well,” says Ed.