Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Height Of Style

Source : The Straits Times, July 19 2008

It is a lofty ambition to turn a small space into a stylish one, but this loft-style apartment has done it

SMALL homes are often a hotbed of ideas in terms of creative storage and space-stretching tricks.

Indeed, it seems one can do plenty even in a 689 sq ft apartment, such as this bachelor's pad a stone's throw from Orchard Road.

Owner Lee Boon Teck, an auditor in his 30s, loves the area, and his split-level loft apartment is the perfect size and fit for him.

HIGH LIFE: A 6m-high shelf plays up the apartment's high ceiling and serves as a display space for the owner's collection of books and Coca-Cola bottles. The ladder can be swung out when he wants to climb up to reach the top shelves and tucked back neatly to one side when not in use.

However, when he bought it, he felt it had insufficient storage areas. So interior designer Allan Yong of Museum was roped in to remedy the problem and also to create a more cohesive look for the flat in a renovation that cost about $36,000.

Taking into account Mr Lee's bachelor lifestyle, Mr Yong proposed a masculine feel with dark colours and hard edges.

He built a glossy black granite platform in the living area to separate it from the open-concept kitchen provided by the developer.

A customised L-shaped sofa over the existing window ledge not only allowed him to fully maximise the limited living room space but was also a more comfortable alternative to the initial idea of lounging on floor cushions.

Being loft-style, the place boasts a dramatic 6m-high ceiling in the living room, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The bedroom on the split-level is accessible by a staircase to the side.

So what the apartment does not have in breadth, it makes up for in height.

'The ceiling height gives it excitement,' says Mr Yong. Since Mr Lee wanted a bookshelf, he designed a 6m-tall one with its own bespoke ladder.

'Some people might say it's not practical but it serves to accentuate the height of the ceiling,' says Mr Yong of the structure, which has been stained dark to match the flooring.

In addition, it provides the owner with an industrial-chic way to display his books, magazines, Coca-Cola bottle collection and travel souvenirs.

Three artworks - monochromatic Warhol-esque paintings of Elvis Presley boxing by local artist Andre Tan - lead the way up to the bedroom.

At the landing, a niche of dead space initially meant for a study has been turned into a storeroom that is closed off with a soft curtain.

A new work area was then carved out of the already small bedroom by adding a clear glass desk at the foot of the customised bed frame. As there was no space for a chair, the platform on which the bed frame sits now serves as a seat.

'This arrangement is definitely more pleasant,' says Mr Lee, who now has a view out of the window while he works, instead of a blank wall.

The space within the platform is also used for storage purposes. 'It's storage, seating and a bed frame, all in one,' says Mr Yong of the structure.

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