House Tour: This Duplex Penthouse In Katong Brims With Masculine Energy

In this two-storey apartment belonging to a finance industry professional, designer Jerry Tan of Joey Khu ID created distinct areas for work and play.
by Aaron De Silva

Photo: Studio Periphery

In this post-pandemic era, three key shifts have become defining features of the evolving work landscape. There has been a move towards remote work, a significant spotlight on employee well-being, and a renewed emphasis on work-life balance.

That much is apparent for the owner of this three-bedroom, 1,259 sq ft duplex penthouse in Katong. The bachelor, who only wants to be known as Justin, works in the finance industry.

“My work demands long hours and often extends into my home environment,” he said. “With the recent shift towards remote work, home wasn’t just a place to rest anymore but also my primary workspace.”

The lounge area itself adjoins a roof terrace that’s open-to-sky. A lush green wall provides visual relief. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

So when Justin was in the market for a new home, one of his considerations was that the property needed to have a clear distinction between workspace and personal sanctuary. This resale duplex penthouse unit fit the bill — it allowed the possibility of segregating the two spheres. Plus, it was nestled in the heart of Katong, close to his parents’ home and within easy reach of many amenities.

The existing build had good bones but needed to be customised to Justin’s lifestyle and taste. “As a homeowner spending long hours working from home, my lifestyle greatly influences the layout and design of the space,” he maintained.

To offset the apartment’s dark colour palette, one of interior designer Joey Khu’s strategies was to use furniture with thin, almost skeletal profiles. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

He was clear about what he required. “I often have calls with clients in different time zones, so I needed a home office insulated from the rest of the house to avoid disturbing others. I also need to access large amounts of data, so there needs to be enough room for multiple screens. And since I work long hours, ergonomic furniture and good lighting are important to reduce strain and fatigue.”

In his downtime, Justin desired a separate space to unwind and forget about work. He wanted an open and spacious layout that would allow ease of movement when he entertained. Entertainment and social spaces need to be defined.

Stylistically, he leaned towards the contemporary, with a preference for sleek, clean lines and a modern guise.

Lighter tones on walls and furniture maintain a balance with the darker finishes. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

“The key is to create a space that supports my work needs and allows me to enjoy my home life. I don’t want to feel like I’m always in an office. Balancing these elements can make working from home more productive and enjoyable.”

Putting it all together

These requirements became the foundational touchstones upon which Jerry Tan from Joey Khu ID developed his game plan. Justin had heard of the design studio from a friend who also happened to be a client of Joey Khu ID.

“My initial impression of the space was that it was a well-thought-out and creatively designed penthouse,” said Jerry. The 1,259 sq ft size provides a comfortable and spacious living environment.”

Originally, the apartment featured two bedrooms on the lower level, together with the living room, dining area and kitchen. The upper level housed the master suite and a generous, open-to-sky roof terrace. Some reconfiguration was in order.

The occasional pop of colour — here demonstrated by the artwork — livens the mood. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

One of the bedrooms on the lower level was removed to enlarge the living and dining area. The other bedroom was retained and converted into Justin’s home office, with a built-in desk positioned to receive ample natural light and ample storage for his work documents.

Upstairs, a portion of the roof terrace was brought under cover and transformed into a cosy lounge space. A walk-in wardrobe was also carved out during the remodelling.

The key is to create a space that supports my work needs and allows me to enjoy my home life. I don’t want to feel like I’m always in an office.

With the aim of giving the apartment a sophisticated, masculine essence, Jerry dipped into a dark colour palette. This wasn’t without its drawbacks. “One of the main challenges with using dark colours is achieving a sense of balance and contrast within the space. To address this, the design incorporated lighter elements such as textured fabrics, metallic accents, and strategically placed lighting fixtures,” said Jerry.

The furniture’s clean lines continue the sleek visual language that defines this bachelor pad. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

He added: “The textured fabrics were used to create a tactile experience and break up the monotony of the dark colour palette. Bold, vibrant artwork was used strategically to add pops of colour and contrast and serve as focal points.

“In terms of lighting, natural and artificial lighting was used to ensure that the space remains well-lit and inviting. Large windows were incorporated to maximise natural light during the day, while carefully placed lighting fixtures, such as recessed lights and statement chandeliers, created a warm and welcoming ambience in the evenings.”

A design hack when using dark colour schemes: Layer the textures to maintain visual interest. In the master bathroom, gloss finish “kit kat” tiles offset the vanity counter. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

Now, almost a year after moving in, Justin has settled into his new environs nicely. “The division of the upper level into four sections — master room, walk-in wardrobe, entertainment area, and roof terrace — is a unique and innovative approach,” he said.

“Including a green wall is a standout feature of the design. The greenery adds a softer, cosier touch to the master suite, creating a serene and relaxing atmosphere. The terrace also offers stunning city views, which I appreciate and enjoy.

The secondary living space on the upper level is Justin’s personal sanctuary, where he recharges throughout the day. (Photo: Studio Periphery)

“These areas have become my personal sanctuaries, where I spend most of my time. The entertainment area is a perfect spot to watch movies, read, or unwind after a long day. The roof terrace is where I enjoy the fresh air, soak up the sun, and take a moment to appreciate the peaceful surroundings.”

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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