A couple’s love for mid-century modern design and retro style is reflected in this colourful home in Singapore.
Homeowners Clement and Huimin are a young married couple who enjoy spending time at home. With no plans yet for children and Huimin having to work from home often, they wanted their four-room flat to feel open, spacious and comfortable – and a little akin to a cosy café.
Both were unanimous in their love for mid-century modern design and are also collectors of retro vinyl records and old films. “Huimin had quite bold design opinions and was open to using stronger colours. I showed them several mood boards with retro-inspired colours, and all three of us concluded that mustard yellow would be a great accent colour,” says interior designer Eva Ng from Happe Design Atelier.
Mid-century modern style, which spans from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s, has different and varying elements to it, but distinguishing features include clean lines and minimal fuss. There’s an emphasis on function, a mix of organic and geometric forms, a strong connection to nature, and the use of natural materials like wood. Bright and playful accent colours are often used to prove a point.
The same can be said for this colourful home. To start with, one bedroom has been demolished to make way for a larger and more open living/dining area that allows for comfortable movement, especially when there are guests.
Designer Eva admits that mustard yellow is an uncommon shade for residential interiors. “We had to be careful in the way we paired it. Our goal was to achieve a comfortable visual effect, so I placed it against slightly cooler tones for balance,” the designer explains, adding, “Light wood and white was the overall palette I settled on in the end.”
As was the design intention, this colourful home feels warm and welcoming the minute you step inside, and one can easily appreciate the cheery living space without any privacy screen or barrier at the foyer.
The decor is simple but well-curated, with minimal carpentry work, and there is no television wall as the couple preferred to use a projector and needed a blank wall. Across, there is a low cabinet to house the couple’s collection of old films and records.
The eyes easily gravitate toward the dining area, which is illuminated by mustard yellow Flowerpot pendant lamps (&Tradition, Cult) above the dining table. An assortment of different dining chairs adds a sense of playful casualness to the space.
The open kitchen features a compact island where the couple can enjoy their coffee and breakfast in the morning. A tiled backsplash in teal brings colour to the cooking space and ties in nicely with the light wood-finished kitchen cabinetry.
Further in, the main bedroom and its custom carpentry pieces follow a very similar design language. “There’s a slightly retro influence, like what you would find in the common areas,” says Eva. Even the bedlinen in mustard yellow follows the theme.
The half-wall concept and patterned tiled flooring gives the master bathroom a retro feel. “It was not easy to find nice-looking tiles in mustard yellow,” says Eva. “We couldn’t get what we needed in local stores, so we searched online and eventually managed to find what we needed from an overseas supplier,” she says. For consistency, the common bathroom carries a similar design, but with teal-coloured tiles.
With the sensitive play on colours, retro details and mid-century modern influences, the designer has given her clients a colourful home with personality, and that feels personal.
Interior design – Happe Design Atelier
Photography – courtesy Happe Design Atelier
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