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.
Architect Anjali Mangalgiri in her Singapore apartment.
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.
The focal point of the living room is a daybed made in teak wood, which was bought from Scanteak in Singapore.
A view of the living room in the Singapore apartment.
A view of the living room from the passage with the black and white décor detail around the door.
Soft furnishings like cushion covers were kept Indian in theme.
Décor objects which Anjali bought from a village in Rajasthan, during her travels.
A single piece of a large Saur wood trunk was used to make the dining table, which has been imported from Bali, Indonesia.
Anjali’s home office has a moodboard where she pins her inspirations and travel trinkets.
The apartment has an 11 feet high ceiling that affords it ample natural light.
In the master bedroom, Kalamkari fabric was used for the main curtains.
A sheepskin rug made of pure merino wool sits on a classic Eames rocking chair.
The mirror is from CB2 in Singapore while the rug was bought from carpet weavers in a village outside Jodhpur.
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