By harnessing the transformative power of plywood interiors, MONOCOT has given this Strathmore Avenue home a good dose of personality and warmth.
1 April 2021
Home Type: 5-room HDB flat
Floor Area: 1,184sqft
Text by Vicki Wilson
Photography by Studio Periphery
Rather than bend to the will (or to the walls) of this existing curved building on Strathmore Avenue, Mikael Teh, the founding designer of MONOCOT, has harnessed the transformative power of plywood interiors to reconfigure the entire internal layout. As a result, his clients – a couple in their early 30s and their dog, Lucy – now have a custom space in which to live in and entertain.
As far as its brief went, MONOCOT’s Strathmore Avenue project had seemingly simple beginnings. Having connected with the designer through friends and previous clients of Mikael’s, the Strathmore Avenue apartment owners engaged MONOCOT to create for them a cosy house with “a touch of them”.
As a young and sociable couple who like to entertain this called for a spacious living and dining room, while more individual briefing notes included a breakfast nook in the kitchen – for the wife, as a token reminder of being at home with family in Australia – and an outdoor area within the study room, in order for the husband to be able to smoke.
Getting the clients to agree to a thorough internal reconstruction was challenging enough, let alone convincing them to agree to have their entire home composed of plywood interiors. “The husband is a huge fan of the colour, though the wife is not,” explains Mikael.
Identifying design elements that proved agreeable between the two of them became the crux of the design. “We had a lot of issues with getting the right mosaic colour for the kitchen backsplash,” recalls the designer. In the consummated space, the mustard backsplash is in harmonious juxtaposition with the green cushioned bench seat in the kitchen. The terrazzo tile selected for the flooring of the kitchen, bathroom and outdoor areas synthesises the fresh palette.
In reconstructing the unit’s internal walls with ply, MONOCOT was able to straighten them, accommodating for an open wall shelf. Decorated with books, design objects and items of sentiment, the simple plywood open shelf system becomes a shrine to the life that the couple live together, with their dog Lucy, in the Strathmore Avenue home.
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