Duplex apartment that draws in special moments

Pupil Office refines the well-proportioned bones of this duplex apartment, tailoring it with a sense of craftsmanship and functionality.

  • Duplex apartment that draws in special moments

Text by Luo Jingmei

In this duplex apartment located on the ground floor of a small development designed by K2LD Architects, the daily routines of lounging, dining, entertaining and playing are perennially intertwined with wind, bountiful sunshine that brightens without discomfort, and sceneries of bamboo and Fukugi trees.

The double-storey living spaces of this duplex apartment run parallel to an equally voluminous terrace to capture these natural experiences, while a mezzanine containing the private quarters also shares such delights. The home’s position alongside a pool adds tranquil shades of sun-speckled aqua through the curtain of landscaping.

The owners – a couple with their two sons, a golden retriever and a live-in helper – were drawn to the development’s small size, its central location, sensible layout, loftiness and suitably proportioned kitchen and dining. “Our conversations are often had over food, and the primary way we practise hospitality is over the table,” shares one of the owners, who works in a church.

duplex apartment outdoor terrace

Her husband, a lawyer and barbecue enthusiast, was gratified with the large outdoor space and the apartment’s somewhat landed house characteristics without requiring the same maintenance that often comes with a landed property.

Amy Lim of Pupil Office was engaged to optimise the duplex apartment to the owner’s needs through spatial planning and furniture selection. “The clients showed me references like a round dining table by Axel Vervoordt and lounges by Joseph Dirand… it helped that we both like mostly the same things,” says Amy on the synergistic collaboration.

A dry kitchen counter has been poised at the end of the living axis as a new focal point, backed by ash wooden panelling to hide storage. “It needed to house a wine fridge, coffee bar, recipe books, oven, microwave, induction cooker, wares and a space to make pizza,” says Amy on this hardworking zone.

elegant and timeless dining room

A grey, espresso-coloured Grigio Billiemi marble countertop counterbalances the home’s dominant off-white shades. “At certain times of the year, this wall gets really strong sunlight. Hence, the darker and moodier palette anchors the space well,” Amy highlights.

On the mezzanine, Amy carved out two study niches with Vitsoe 606 shelves conducive to work-from-home sessions. Two bedrooms separated by a bathroom were broken through to create distinct sleeping and study areas shared by their sons.

In the master bedroom, Amy reoriented the bed to face the window’s green vista, accompanied by the occasional sparrow or squirrel. The room’s footprint was also increased by adapting the depth of the wardrobe.


In terms of aesthetics, there is no distinct style adhered to. Rather, the aim was to cultivate a harmonious atmosphere with a sense of craftsmanship and elegant accents.

On the first storey, mouldings run along walls at half height, as requested by the client.

White frameless pocket sliding doors replace all the doors as space-saving devices. They also grant the home an uncluttered feel. “These gave me the ability to terminate the mouldings more sensibly, as opposed to worrying about architraves,” says Amy. Bathrooms are equally neat and neutral, with some articulation through the angular Rombini tiles from Mutina.

duplex apartment

In the living areas, a small, bespoke, plush sofa suits the narrow space well, accompanied by an angular Pierre Jeanneret chair from Phantom Hands. In consideration of active children and a dog free to roam indoors, the Axel Vervoordt dining table was replaced by a custom bone-white dining table made from glass fibre-reinforced concrete (GFRC) shaped with an accident-preventing bullnose edge and rounded legs.

“It’s strong but not as heavy as traditional concrete as it lacks large stone aggregates. It’s more often used in the construction of bridges and buildings in high seismic zones – nothing like overkill for a dining table,” humours Amy.

This robustness is balanced with a lightness from luminous light structures. A Cloud 19 pendant lamp by Apparatus Studio hangs over the dining and an effable Tense lamp from New Works floats above the living room where a Samsung The Frame television adorns the wall as a piece of functional art. In the dining room, an Edward Hopper print provides another jolt of colour.

duplex apartment

Despite the minimal art pieces in this home, there is no lack of artistry due to the thoughtful detailing and tasteful furnishings, all grounded by organic lines and tactile materiality.

On the terrace, a large bespoke solid Balau timber dining table has become a favourite gathering spot and alternative venue for working from home. The semi-outdoor space is really the apartment’s defining feature, evidenced by the large sliding doors always left open to enable fluid indoor-outdoor living.

“The terrace is completely unsusceptible to the elements. So far, it has never gotten hot and the rain never gets in,” share the clients, “We can read outdoors while it storms right next to us and not get wet, which is magical.”

Pupil Office

Photography by Studio Periphery

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