A Polished Condo in Singapore With Carefully Considered “Clutter”

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Living Room (Image credit: Mario Khoe)

Name: Mario and Loki the Mini-Poodle
Location: Singapore
The basics: 5 years, owned— 1, 000 square feet

Mario’s apartment is a mix of clean minimalism with a touch of curated mess, inspired by a trip to New York. With a neutral color scheme that uses black and white as an accent, the space is full of relaxed urban sophistication. It is also full of one very cute dog.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My name is Mario. I’m 33 years, old, an Indonesian based in Singapore. I will be admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of Supreme Court of Singapore in 2017 and I intend to practice law in Singapore by August 2017, specializing in civil litigation and general corporate.

I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia but studied in Singapore since elementary school. I went back to Jakarta to obtain my Indonesian law degree in 2004 and worked there for a couple of years before moving back to Singapore in 2012 and decided to live here for good.

Singapore is a small country with an intriguing blend of Western modernity and traditional Asian culture. Within an area roughly 700 square kilometers, you can find gleaming modern skyscrapers, traditional Chinese and Peranakan shophouses, chains of shopping malls and sophisticated public transport system and infrastructures. Singapore is akin to the “Switzerland” of South East Asia. Singapore is very safe and clean.

I’ve lived in a 1,000 square foot apartment by myself for five years running. The condominium is located in one of Singapore’s busiest shopping districts and 3-4 train-stops away to the CBD area where I work. My goal in decorating the apartment is to create a reflection of my true personality. I wanted to create a natural flow from one room to the next by creating a color theme– neutral color as a base and touches of monochromatic colors as accents. I made furniture style choices that make my home feel cozy, airy and light.

My overall style is inspired by a mixture of a New York City apartment and Scandinavian design. I visited NYC in 2016 and stayed there for a month in a rented apartment. As I visited my friend’s apartment in the city, I realised that New Yorkers love to mix and match their furniture and accessories, creating this “purposeful mess” or “organized clutter”. I also observed the trend in collecting plants in the apartment, which is very interesting for me since Singaporean don’t do such things. A typical Singaporean’s apartment design style is pretty much “Scandinavian-inspired”, minimalistic and modern. Period. I wanted to have that “purposeful mess” look for my apartment and surround myself with all the things I love and need within reach. However, there is one problem – I am OCD. Therefore, I try to find the balance between creating sufficient “clutter” and organization. At the end of the day, neatness is paramount to me.

What is your favorite room and why? Living room. I decided to get a sofa bed with lots of pillows and throws so that I can tuck myself into the couch and snuggle under my throws after a long day at work and just relax with a glass of Moscato in my hand. I love to watch movies and tv-series like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and House of Cards.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I would love light-wood colored floors or wood effect vinyl flooring instead of marble. Unfortunately, the marble floors came with the apartment.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The wooden block tray that I bought in Williamsburg, New York City.

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? “Jules” in The Intern (2017) played by Anne Hathaway.

Mario’s words of wisdom: Start with your color scheme. The first step is creating a color palette. I came up with a basic neutral colour scheme for the whole house (white and beige), and then I took that from room to room and gave it a touch of other secondary colors as an accent to play itself out in different ways in different rooms.

Thanks, Mario!

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