Lauren Tan goes home with three home interior experts to see just how stylish these arbiters of elegant living really are behind closed doors
CHAN CHONG BENG
Before Chan Chong Beng co-founded Goodrich Global in 1983, one would have been hard pressed to find quality wallcoverings in the region. Yet despite having grown his retail empire across Asia, not to mention, outfitting 13 of 14 hotels in Singapore's superlative Sentosa, Chan is the first to admit that he is no design specialist. Of his home, he says: “I left everything to my wife and the interior designer. I've seen too many patterns, wallpapers and fabrics that outside of work, I just don't want to have to think about them as well!” This isn't to say that his three-year-old penthouse condominium isn't the very model of a Goodrich residence. Designed to the epitome of laidback elegance, it features seating and drapery customised with lush tactile fabrics carried by the company and wallpaper so unique it takes on the patina of aged stone. “Having [bespoke elements] is important. Most of us will spend up to one-third of our time at home,” explains the architecture school drop-out. “And obviously, this being my house, I felt it also had to be a showcase of what we can do.” But while, it is the missus who is credited with the home's overall scheme, Chan did leave his mark in the bedroom: He changed out the original Baroque-style wallpaper for one that mimics the quietude of travertine stone. “Like I said, I've seen too many patterns!” he says with a laugh.
After more than 15 years working with the big guns in furniture retail, Jestine Chin opened Pure Interiors six years ago. A niche home decor boutique that believes in “curating” pieces for clients, Pure stocks European labels with a strong foundation in artisanal work and the ability to collaborate on bespoke furnishings. Putting these contacts to good use, Chin and her architect husband fabricated The Chloé, a four-seater sofa designed by the latter that was produced by Italian furniture brand Nube. Inspired by and named for the couple's three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, the sofa, with its modern lines but classic stitching, is the centrepiece of their Singapore living room. (The couple also have a residence in Switzerland.) “I told my husband to give the sofa a twist. To give it details,” shares Chin. “Richness is in the details, in the materials used, how it is put together and what it tells about you. Richness doesn't have to mean expensive.” Whether as a consumer or retailer, Chin's philosophy towards home furnishings remains the same. “People always talk about designer pieces, but what I look for is the entire package, the ambience it creates. Creating an interior is about the lifestyle of the person living in it,” she explains. On her already gorgeous Singapore home, she adds: “I'm still doing up the house, changing pieces here and there. It never ends. It's a journey.”
Affable man about town, decorator to international A-listers — including a certain superstar philanthropist last seen in The Expendables 2 — founder of design hub The Mill and creative partner of Kri:eit Associates, Roy Teo has definite ideas about good design. “A home should exude its owner's persona in his absence and exemplify him in his presence,” he says, taking us through his new Marina Bay Residences pied-à-terre, which boasts jaw-dropping views across the city. “This is very much me,” he continues, “I wanted it to speak of my personal tastes.” Long fascinated by the golden age of travel, and drawn to old-world charm, Teo is known for his particular interest in the unusual, transforming everything from ocean liners to the ruins of a castle outfitted with an underground Iron Man-like lair. Realising his new abode, he says, was akin to designing a boat on land: “With an apartment, you have to be really sensitive to space with every nook and corner well-utilised.” The cigar-and-whisky room, which guests seem to invariably gravitate to at the end of his weekly parties, for instance doubles up as the home theatre-cum-guest room with built-in dressers and a sofa-bed. Doing up the entire 2,500sq ft home with custom-fabricated fittings and furnishings took 18 months — thrice what it would usually take for a job of the same complexity. “I always give clients priority, so my own pet projects tend to take a back seat.”