We caught up with M3 Studio founder and chief designer at a public forum last weekend giving a talk on design considerations for two very intimate places in the home – Bedroom and Bathroom.
(Part 1 will talk about the Bedroom. Part 2 will cover Bathroom considerations)
“Everybody is unique,” says 37 year old founder and director of M3 Studio. Montie left the police force and worked a few years in the interior design industry before finally sinking in his hard earned savings to open his own design firm. In a matter of three years, M3 Studio has grown in reputation rivaling that of bigger outfits with double the headcount. Montie attributes his success to understanding both the art and science of design.
What are the basic must-know principles of design that every new homeowner should be aware of?
“Interior design is a unique blend of sign and arts, reflecting your personality. It caters to your functional need to suit your lifestyle. Home is an extension of the character. Build the home for you and not be limited by your home. When friends come over, they must be able to know you by looking at your home. That is the basis of a good design.”
“Part of what you do as a designer can’t be taught in books. You need to match your sound understanding of design fundamentals with empathy. Empathy is what helps you understand your clients even when clients don’t know what they want for themselves. That’s when they will be pleasantly surprised by your service; and that’s how you keep getting referral businesses.”
What are some of the considerations one must have when designing a bedroom?
Spatial planning! What is the place going to be used for? How many people will be using this room at a given point in time? Do you have teenage children? Old folks? Pets? Do you intend to stay in this place for more than five years?
A room is no longer just a room. It can be converted to walk-in wardrobes, jamming room, home office. Do you fold your clothes or hang them? These are the sorts of little information that you would take for granted but it is the job of a good designer to get it out of you.
Perhaps the biggest consideration of all is storage, and storage is getting more and more challenging to plan as people have more possessions but homes are getting smaller. So now designers have to also start thinking of multipurpose fixtures and furniture.
Speaking of storage, what are some of the ideas you would suggest?
A wardrobe with a TV feature or a platform beds with multi storage facilities. Solutions are limitless. It depends on the designer’s creativity, and the kind of needs that you have. Platform beds are a great way to maximize storage in the bedroom. Try not to put things in the center of the room because the space will shrink immensely very quickly. Use the wall space; Vertical space. A creative designer will suggest some built-in wardrobe ideas that can fulfill your desire for a walk-in wardrobe without too much sacrifice to functionality.
What are the things that new home owners usually miss out?
Homeowners are quite savvy these days. They know that using clear glass and mirrors are a good way to create an optical illusion of space but what they might miss out on is the positing of the glass and mirrors. You want the light, but you don’t want the glare. In some cases, the mirror catches the sunlight at an angle and heats up the room. That’s where designers come in. We look at the direction of the sun; the floor plan; and can advice you accordingly. In fact, there are so many things that new home owners tend to miss out that I can’t possible list all of them out in one sitting.
Next, we look at what are the considerations when designing a bathroom.
The Nautical design concept, also known as coastal or cottage décor, is about creating a beachfront home atmosphere so relaxing you forget that you’re living in a modern concrete jungle.
As the name implies, this design concept is based on the nautical themes. Think navy blue stripes on pristine white, soft beige and stone gray, or sand coloured foundation and seafaring equipment as decorative features. You can almost reimagine the traffic noises outside as the sounds of waves crashing against the shore.
Anchors, nets, refurbished boats, seashells, and paintings of aquatic life are all the “must haves” but use them in moderation. The trick to stylish nautical design is not in turning your home into a boatman’s cabin; instead, opt to have a central design element around one or two of these items to focus on. For storage, you can’t go wrong with a distressed wooden “treasure chest” or wicker basket in your living room. For a bolder touch, throw in one or two contrasting colors – such as a bright red throw pillow or a yellow vase.
If you want to push the design boundaries towards a more local flavour, you could consider a kelong cum resort concept instead of the usual New England beach house look that defines traditional Nautical concept.
Material wise, you can still utilise unfinished wood for tables or chairs, combined with white linen upholstery for your lounge seats and sofas. Your options for decorative accents would contain vintage 7-Up bottles, jute ropes, sampan rowing oar, and pre-70s navigational map of the region that shows Singapore in its pre land reclamation state.
Writing an advice on interior design for the artists must be the boldest attempt in this series. Artists by their very nature defy templates and stereotypes; bold, unique individuals, with a high threshold for things that the common folks consider ‘crazy’. The irony is that this thirst of uniqueness is also the unifying trait that defines the living space of an artist.
If anyone can pull off a patchwork of different colours and themes, it would be you. The chronic rebel of style and taste, you are going to want to splash a touch of victorian to your modern living design, or even juxtaposing Warhol with an industrial look. Some artists shy from colours altogether seeing the world in a contrast of black and white and chrome. An artist who revels in eccentricity might sound like a stereotype, but the true artist knows better. We are not being different for the sake of being different. We just happen to find inspiration and beauty in the unorthodox.
Freedom of Space
It’s the sacred shrine where your best works are conceived. It could be a small stool in the cluttered corner of the room or even in the confines of the bathroom, an artist needs a space to connect with his or her muse. The freedom of space is critical for all creative individuals but unlike other design philosophies, the freedom of space is something an artist discovers organically over time.
Signature Style / Source of Inspiration
The devil is in the details, as they say. An artist will inadvertently leave clues of his personality around the home – a painter with pieces of his idol’s works on the wall, a fashion designer with a walk-in wardrobe as the centrepiece of the bedroom, a writer surrounded by books of his favourite authors. Whichever field you are in, your home will be an extension of your craft. Identifying your signature early during the home design phase will give your interior designer a better sense of imbuing your personality into the home.
Image Credit: Header Picture, Artiste’s House
Fancy having a smart home like Tony Stark from the movie Ironman? Smart home systems used to be the pricey luxury toys of the wealthy are now becoming increasingly accessible. A modern tech savvy home is not just about gadgets, though. Tech savvy homeowners need to consider floor plans, building materials and everything else that goes into the design and development of a home. This is the Interior Design guide for the tech savvy geeks.
When planning a home cinema, the space determines the screen size and type of projector to use. The recommended screen size is 16×9” for the ideal home cinema experience. The true cinema experience is all about the sound and the best place to position the main speakers is behind the screen and above the ground. So you will need to take into consideration where to place the speakers. If the lack of space is causing you grief, check with your interior designer on ways the screen can be inbuilt into the room design.
Now that you got your positioning done right, you will need to consider acoustics. Everything in the room from floor to ceiling has an effect on how sound reverberates. To reduce reflective noise, consider concealing hard exposed surfaces with curtains and carpets.
Gadgets, Wiring & Storage Solutions
Gadgets are the backbone of a tech savvy geek’s home. With advancement in technology and the proliferation of the latest buzz word – Internet of Things (IoT) – scores of cool gadgets are adorning every home that has changed people’s lifestyle. The gadgets are not just fancy; they provide quick solutions to everyday problems. The basic must-haves are motion detection, IP cameras, remote appliance control. Power supply and connectivity would be your biggest design concern. Home automations with controls over lights, air conditioning and curtains all at a click of the button from your mobile device would also be great for the tech savy individual.
From the floor plans, your interior designer would be able to advise you on the possible blind spots and power point considerations. With so many gadgets of different shapes and sizes, your home should inculcate loads of storage facilities such as cabinets, hidden drawers etc etc while still having decent access to all these gadgets. The tech savy guy doesn’t love clutter and likes sleek and minimal design for his home. Storage solutions should have a glass door encasing them so that any infra-red devices will still be able to activate even when the doors are closed.
(This article is written in collaboration with Eugene Tay of the Alpha Mind)
Nothing says wanderlust like having a collection of knick-knacks acquired from your travels. They form almost a story on their own and a great time capsule for your memories. Besides the decorative features that will most certainly adorn your shelves and walls, we want you to have a practical home design that is an extension of who you are.
You would post pictures of your travels and leave thought-provoking notes on your Facebook wall, why not have that for real on your living room wall? Paint a giant world map and overlay that with photos from the countries you have visited. It’s the perfect conversation starter when you have guests over.
Go for Eclectic Design
Flea markets around the world are the best place to get a cheap, unique purchase that looks absolutely stunning on its own, but then you wonder where it is going to fit in your modern Scandinavian home. The trick is: go eclectic. It’s an organic design that can’t be replicated. Just like your traveling experiences.
Juxtaposition of Colours
If anyone can pull off utter disregard of conventional colour palates, it would the wide-eyed traveler. Bold colours interspersed with earthly tones create a sense of wild abandonment and adventure.
From the rustic calmness of a Balinese resort to the hustle and bustle of New York City, a traveler has been there; done that. How about giving each room a thematic makeover and bring a piece of the world into your home?
Open Display Cabinets and Wall Mount Shelves
This last tip should be obvious but it bears mentioning. Treasures turn to junk when they are packed away in boxes. If space is a constraint, consider breaking down walls and use open display cabinets as partition modules. Wall mount selves are also a great way to save space too and it doubles up as design feature.
Next we look at the Personality Based Design: Workaholic
(This article is written in collaboration with Eugene Tay, founder of The Alpha Mind)