Letizia Cramer
The large living room area where the furniture is mostly custom-made sit well in the house of swimwear designer Letizia Cramer.

Most people would baulk at leaving behind $30,000 worth of custom-made furniture when they vacate their rental apartment.

But not Ms Letizia Cramer.

The half-Swiss, half-Italian swimwear designer, who has lived in Singapore for three years, will have to move out of her 160sqm walk-up apartment in a shophouse in Emerald Hill in April next year.

And when the time comes, she will not take her furnishings, such as her sofa, dining table and bed, along. These had been mostly made in Bali to her specifications to suit the apartment’s high ceilings and big living and dining areas.

Despite having carefully decorated the space, she does not consider it a big deal to move out. “I’m not attached to it,” says the 32-year- old. “It was so much fun to build but when it’s over, I can’t wait to build the next one.”

The co-founder of home-grown swimwear label Mileti, which is stocked in more than nine countries and by online fashion retailer Asos, shares the two- bedroom apartment with her Greek- Austrian husband, 31, who works in finance. They have no children.

Letizia Cramer
Swimwear designer Ms Letizia Cramer on her dining table in the large dining area. Most of her furniture were custom-made to suit her apartment's high ceilings and big living and dining areas.

The apartment is a standing tribute to the Peranakan houses of yesteryear, with the wood flooring and intricate carving on the windows.

“I love the space but it was impossible to find furniture that didn’t look tiny. It just looked ridiculous in such a big space,” she says.

To plan the space, she drew up the dimensions of each piece with chalk on the wooden floor before pencilling down how each one should look like. She then scoured shop after shop in Bali for reliable furniture-makers before settling on one.

She decided to custom make the furniture as prices at local furniture stores were too high. “I knew what I didn’t want to pay. But the apartment is spacious and the furniture would be big, so I was open-minded about the prices.”

Ms Cramer, who also owns an art gallery in Geneva where she was raised, estimates that she spent between $20,000 and $30,000 on the furniture.

An interesting piece is a 2.75m-long dining table which seats eight. The tin table top has a dimpled, uneven texture because nails have been hammered into it – the look that she wanted.

On designing her own furniture, Ms Cramer, who entertains regularly, says: “I was scared at how it would turn out because it’s not my job to design furniture. But I was assured when the furniture-maker said I didn’t have to take it if I didn’t like it.”

Her love for art, in particular for up- and-coming young artists, is apparent at home, starting with the fumoir, or smoking room in French, as Ms Cramer calls it.

The sexy, fiery red walls and a daybed in the room greet visitors when they walk into the home.

Letizia Cramer
The sexy, fiery red walls, provocative art and a daybed in the room greet visitors when they walk into the home of swimwear designer Letizia Cramer.

The art is provocative too, matching the boldness of the hue. In one photograph, Chinese performance artist Hei Yue bares his buttocks as he faces police guards; while another photograph by Iranian artist Shadi Ghadirian juxtaposes a pair of red heels with blood-stained boots.

“I wanted something monochromatic that would give a strong impression when you enter. This is my favourite room,” she says. “The only disaster is that I never use it.”

For all the homely touches, this rented pad is just another pitstop before Ms Cramer’s next aesthetic adventure. “I don’t know where I’m moving too next and I haven’t started searching. But that’s the beauty of it.”

Written by Natasha Ann Zachariah for The Straits Times. Photos: The Straits Times. This article was first published in 2013.