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THE STRAITS TIMES SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 2011 PAGE E13

Mr Vinnie Quek’s side of the home that he shares with partner Erica Wong has his toys and books displayed on a long shelf. ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM

His and hers sides
An invisible line divides the living room of the apartment shared by Mr Vinnie Quek, 37, head of marketing and entertainment at Avalon nightclub in Marina Bay Sands, and his partner Erica Wong, 32. That line in the second-floor apartment in Tiong Poh Road translates into a “his and hers” divider. The left side is where Ms Wong, a brand manager, proudly displays her collection of contemporary art pieces. These include works by Hong Kong artist Angela Su and a striking red fibreglass dinosaur sculpture by Chinese artist Sui Jianguo, which is mounted on a recycled wood piece from an old table left by the previous owner. The other side is where Mr Quek has his quirky contemporary street-art pieces such as toy collectibles of Godzilla and works by American street artist Kaws, and books displayed in an artistically “haphazard” way. A striking cuckoo clock artpiece by German artist Stefan Strumbel sits on the dividing line, and is an allusion to his motive of using the clocks to question cliched notions of home. Indeed, Mr Quek and Ms Wong’s new 1,003 sq ft home, which cost about $800,000 plus another $100,000 to renovate, is anything but cliched. The gates of the house are painted coral

Ms Wong’s side is adorned with contemporary art pieces by Hong Kong artist Angela Su on the wall (above) and a dinosaur sculpture by Chinese artist Sui Jianguo.
pink, while the door is in a contrasting emerald green. The doorknob is a leg of the same table used for the red dinosaur. But the striking hues stop at the door. Ms Wong wanted the place to have a modern Scandinavian theme, so the colour palette of the living room is mostly white. However, in a corner of the living room, a Victorian antique chair from Canada and a small Moroccan coffee table are juxtaposed against contemporary artworks. Similarily, in the kitchen, 48 Peranakan floor tiles break the European focus. The walls of the house were also reconfigured. They have been either removed, added or moved to create the desired spaces for the living room and bedrooms. The remains of a wall that separated two bedrooms in the living room is now a statement piece in the middle of the living room. The cuckoo clock is mounted on this chipped pillar. This juxtaposition of his and hers, old versus new, and colour contrast gives the home an electrifying personality, which acts as a mirror to the colourful characters of its two owners. “We had a lot of fun designing, and I think it really comes out through the kooky yet inviting character of our home. It is still an ongoing project. I am excited to see how it will evolve over the years,” says Ms Wong.

Picture-perfect apartment doubles as office
Blink and you might miss the appropriately named Tinydot Photography. The wedding photography business is inside a residential apartment that has been converted into a home office. Apart from laminated wood borders around each of the three windows, there is nothing indicating that the ground-floor unit in Chay Yan Street is actually a functioning office. As with most of the other residential apartments in the pre-war estate, the door leading to Tinydot is tucked into a stairwell next to the apartment. Mr Seah Yu Hsin, 40, one of three partners of Tinydot, decided to move his rented office from Sago Street to a residential apartment in Tiong Bahru last month because he wanted a more permanent office space. The nature of his business also meant that he did not require a retail front. Also, one of his partners, Mr Jerald Zhan, 28, a bachelor, plans to stay overnight in the office when they put in late nights. Mr Seah lives in a condominium in West Coast with his wife and two children aged five and nine. The third partner is photographer K.C. Wong, 37. Having grown up in the early 1970s, Mr Seah loves how Tiong Bahru brings back memories of those years. He wanted to convert the 930 sq ft three-bedroom apartment into a space that is liveable yet exudes a quirky, oldworld charm. He spent about $35,000 renovating the apartment, which cost just under $1 million. His interior designer, Mr Victor Chua of Viz Interior Artist, did this by removing two walls of one bedroom and turning the space into the main living room. Here, clients can relax on a three-seat earth-tone fabric sofa while they view their photographs on a television. To add a quirky look to the space, the central wall is covered with cement and layered with cultured stones to look like a brick wall. Quirkiness continues on the ceiling. A piece of the original window grille hangs from the top with five lightbulbs draped over it, making for a unique light fixture. Upping the fun factor are posters of works by artists such as Andy Warhol, wall decals and ornaments including two giant Hershey’s chocolate-syrup bottles. The office, which was once a bedroom, had its walls replaced with tempered glass for an open-concept effect. The kitchen is now a pantry where meet-

Olive green and mustard yellow walls complement the retro-themed living room, which is accented by colourful and funky furniture pieces. Further in, a piece of the apartment’s original window grille hangs from the ceiling, and with five lightbulbs dangling from it, makes for a unique light fixture. PHOTOS: TINYDOT PHOTOGRAPHY

Vintage cameras and a typewriter (above) are displayed in the apartment. An iPad has been inserted into an old Macintosh computer, so that customers can view pictures on it. The kitchen is now a pantry (left), and it comes with a cement island counter for a raw effect.
ings can be held over a cuppa. The walls and island counter are made of cement to give a raw effect reminiscent of the 1970s. With so many different looks at every turn, it is no wonder that Mr Seah has difficulty deciding his favourite spot in the office. “I love every part of the place because in each of them, I can find something that allows me to sit back, relax and take the time to reflect on things.” More stories on next page

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