Home Tour: This House's Elegant Design Focuses Around A Vintage Car
“Your home really is an extension of yourself; you spend so much time there, it’s where you feel happy,” says Chloe Elkerton, founder and managing director of E&A Interiors. With the goal of “enriching the everyday lives” of homeowners, the British designer strives to craft beautiful, liveable interiors that speak to each owner’s needs and personalities.
Recently, a property in the Marine Parade district of Singapore became a dream project for the five-member practice. The abode of Formula Drift driver Ng Sheng Nian and his wife Wong Li Min is awash in blue tones and peppered with accents that draw from nature, ranging from pieces inspired by tropical foliage to the lapping ocean waves and the neighbourhood’s proximity to the sea.
Once the family dwelling of its previous occupants, the three-storey property had too many rooms for a young couple. In contrast to its modern exterior, the residence had a confusing mix of Eastern and Western influences that was not to the couple’s liking. Admiring the effortless look of the firm’s work, the owners looked to E&A Interiors to transform the house into their home.
“When we first went to see the house, it was heavily ornate with Chinese-style panelling, as well as chandeliers and wallpaper,” says Elkerton. “The couple wanted to take that all out. They were very open to ideas and suggestions, so we were able to create something really unique.”
Aside from keeping the exterior architecture and most of the original flooring intact, the owners wanted a bright and airy haven for two. The motorsport driver also wanted to showcase his classic Jaguar E-Type within the property instead of on the front porch, turning the vintage sedan into the centrepiece of their living room.
A ramp was added so that the prized vehicle could be driven into the house. Walls were knocked down in the living and kitchen areas to make room for the automobile while opening up these common areas on the ground floor.
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Guest rooms were also converted into various entertainment amenities for the sociable couple; these include a snooker room, bar and lounge area on the third floor, as well as separate home offices for him and her.
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The luxury sedan served as the starting point of Elkerton’s design process. A blue palette was selected as a contrast to the convertible’s fiery hue, while taking cues from the beauty of nature. “The palette was inspired by the amazing red of the car to allow the car to pop in the space,” says Elkerton.
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Shades of blue contribute to the calming atmosphere of this abode and are combined with light walls as well as yellow and green accents. Mouldings were added to doors spray-painted in seafoam blue to match the overall colour scheme.
“We took influence and inspiration from the surroundings; the pool, the greenery, and used those hues throughout the house. It was about bringing the outdoors indoors and working with colours that were from the ocean,” she explains.
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Elkerton fully believes in the art of layering, skilfully blending the softness of upholstery fabrics and rugs with stone and timber. “With this house, it has been important to inject natural materials and patterned fabrics to soften all the hard surfaces,” she says. “Pattern, light, materials and furniture all play a strong part in creating spaces with a fresh, exciting and upbeat vibe.”
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All the furnishings have been sourced from around the world and specially custom-made by E&A Interiors. The diverse selection includes beaded chairs from Nigeria, Moroccan rugs and hammered metal, woven fabrics from Peru and Guatemala, bone inlay tables from India, hand-printed linens from the UK and US, cane and rattan pieces made in Indonesia, as well as bespoke furniture crafted by local artisans in Singapore.
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Graphic elements found on the bespoke furniture echo the arched doorways and angular proportions of the interior architecture. “Each piece is one-off and unique to the space; we like to support all of these artisanal skills,” explains the designer.
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Elements of the unexpected abound, motivated by the well-travelled couple’s sojourns abroad. These include a bookcase inspired by a bar that they loved in New York; the white shelf also functions as a secret door that leads to the bar area on the third floor.
“The bar upstairs is really fun; the owners love that space and spend a lot of time there with their friends. It’s a great space for entertaining that also takes tropical elements from Singapore, such as the marquetry cane furniture and seashell tiles,” shares Elkerton.
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Previously working as a magazine editor and stylist in London, Elkerton moved to Singapore in 2008, plying her trade as an interior designer at a local firm for several years before founding her own practice in 2013.
“Right from day one, I knew that I wanted to work in interiors, surrounded by amazing textiles,” says Elkerton, who studied textile design at the University of London. “I’ve always been drawn to spaces, having lived in England and brought up in a Victorian house and surrounded by beautiful period properties.”
This project is the very embodiment of the firm’s creative ethos and was swiftly completed by the team in 10 months. “The E&A design philosophy is to make every room shine, to create spaces that are wonderful, unique and inviting, that stand the test of time,” she says.
The couple were as thrilled by the end result. “They were really blown away,” says Elkerton with pride. “They were very overwhelmed actually and quite emotional when we walked through the home with them. The wife was so excited and really expressive, and even a little bit tearful, just walking around the house saying ‘I love this, I love that; it’s amazing’.”
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