An all-white apartment in Singapore is styled with a nod towards the homeowner’s Indian roots
Anyone familiar with the concept of black and white row bungalows in Singapore will know what a catch these homes are, from a real estate point of view. Anyone that is, except your average Singaporean. Historically, black and white houses were built for Singapore’s colonial rulers back in the day and remain a draw for expats who can afford their high rentals. Because with the trappings of expat life, comes the need to connect to something that’s intrinsically local. Given its colonial history and World War II baggage though, local Singaporeans remain largely unimpressed.
That did not deter architect Anjali Mangalgiri and her husband from putting in a bid when one of these apartments came on the block for a rental lease. These houses are owned by the Singapore government. Winning the bid was an unexpected stroke of luck. And so began the process of transforming the apartment into a lived-in home.
“Every room was a different colour,” recalls Anjali. She chose to paint all the walls stark white while the windows which brought in fantastic natural light, were left largely unchanged. Wood lattice work was carried out on the windows and given black borders, in keeping with the historic design detail of these heritage buildings. “I wanted to go back to the original black and white theme,” says Anjali.
The apartment has an 11 ft high ceiling that along with the stark white walls and natural light, gives the apartment a sense of expansive space.
While the design of the apartment is contemporary, with personal details seeping in discreetly wherever possible, Anjali’s nod to her Indian roots came in the form of all the soft furnishings and assorted décor objects that the couple picked up during their travels to India.
Bed linen and dohars from Good Earth, a foldable screen functioning as a curtain, made out of kalamkari fabric, a Jaipur rug and brass containers picked from an authentic thambe wala in Old Jaipur – all these add to the apartment’s personal story.
The mobile above her bed is a personal detail that Anjali loves waking up to, every morning. It’s not personal pictures as one would expect but postcard sized versions of the works of masters like Monet. Her workspace is a simple desk and study with a moodboard that she likes to fill up with postcards from art shows, past and present and anything else that is inspiring her at that moment.
“I hate homes that are too perfect. I wanted our home to be a space for beautiful things, while at the same time being spare in its décor. I can’t live in clutter,” says the architect.
Mission successfully accomplished, we believe.