Does one expect anything less than a brilliant display of style when two people embedded in the realm of design come together to build a home? She was a fashion editor before she founded her own creative agency, BeastCorp. He is the co-founder of Sol Luminaire, a lighting company with its own design arm that is also a multi-designer retailer. Together, Evon Chng, 33, and Joseph Ho, 35, have created a home that is an effortless blend of mid-century modern Palm Springs, Mediterranean warmth, and contemporary city living. The setting is equally dreamy: A tranquil estate in the east that’s a stone’s throw away from the beach, where shallow pools and lush greenery set a serene mood even before you step into the home proper.
When the private lift opens onto their penthouse unit, one is immediately enveloped in softness and warmth—the house is awash in tones of cream, caramel and biscuit, and shades of sand, chalk and terracotta. The furnishings convey a similar sense of cosiness. The open living and kitchen space is dominated by a ginormous curved sectional and a plush armchair. The only burst of colour comes in the form of jade green marble veined with tinges of amethyst. The couple ordered the marble for the kitchen island, but there was a substantial amount left over, and so they decided to fashion a coffee table and a kitchen backsplash out of it. Whatever remained was carved into plinths, trays and other objects for the home that now dot the space.
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During the three-month renovation process, not a single surface was left untouched—walls were torn down, floors were ripped up, engineered timber was put in. The attention to detail is incredible: Downlights are housed in curved recesses scooped out of the microcement ceiling; the light switches vary in each part of the house. On the first floor, the couple turned a pair of rooms into his and hers walk-in wardrobes (his is bigger). There is an alcove carved out of the wall near the staircase to accommodate a cat tree for the couple’s five feline friends. The staircase itself is a work of art: A mix of geometric curves and sleek angles, situated next to glass windows one-and-a-half-storeys tall that let in the most beautiful light. Three bulbous, blown-up pendant lamps by Makhno Product float overhead. The stairs lead to the master bedroom and bath, a smaller wardrobe (for sleepwear), and another patio lined with the same olive trees as the one downstairs. The fibreglass walls of the bedroom make it look as though the room had been carved out of a cave—the organic form of another Makhno Product pendant lamp complementing the wall’s primitive texture.
It is clear that a great amount of thought—and flair—has gone into the design of the space. “I think the reason we renovated so extensively is because we love fashion, and I feel like if you love fashion, your house also needs to have that sense of appreciation for style and design. It’s not just about dressing up so that people think you look good—it has to be a full package,” says Chng. That said, she does not believe that the style of one’s house needs to be an exact replica of how one dresses. “With fashion, I like a lot of the louder things, but all in black. So at home, I like it to be quite clean and pared down. I feel like if I’m already consuming a lot of fashion, then my home needs to somewhat match the vibe but not kill it. If my home is also loud, I think I’ll be getting a lot of headaches,” she jokes.
The sunny, breezy aesthetic of their new home rather belies the couple’s approach to fashion. “As I mentioned, I wear a lot of black. This is a bit embarrassing to say, but I’m really into the whole goth look. And Joe’s favourite designer is Rick Owens. So this house is not quite representative of that aesthetic. But to me, it doesn’t mean that if you’re a Rick Owens fan, you need to live in a Rick Owens house. That’s a bit too much for me,” Chng explains. Perhaps she feels that way because their previous place was a “Rick Owens” house—all sleek, monochrome Brutalism. “There was a lot of black, white and metal,” she shares. “After living in that place for so long, we got a bit bored and wanted something different. But I’m also not a big fan of colours, so we decided on these muted tones. I wanted a lot of warmth, a lot of cosy, organic shapes. That’s why there are a lot of curves in this house. In the previous place, I wanted things very square and symmetrical.”
In fashion, Chng is also constantly on the search for the new and the next—and sometimes, even the new-again. “Recently, I’ve been buying what I call ‘nostalgia brands’—brands that used to be popular but not so much anymore, such as Anna Sui and ESCADA. I also like young Chinese designers—how they play with that visual identity. There’s this Singaporean girl who moved to China; now she’s in New York and she has her own label called DANZ. I met her when I was [in] New York for shoots. I buy a lot of her stuff because first of all, I think it’s great to support friends and secondly, nobody in Singapore wears her stuff—I’m probably be the only one,” says Chng when asked about the designers she loves now.
Individuality plays a huge part when it comes to Chng’s approach to buying and dressing. “I recently bought an AVAVAV piece from SSENSE. When it arrived, I saw on the label that it was numbered and there are only 20 pieces in the world—that made me very happy,” she admits.
A big no in Chng’s books is buying for the sake of the brand. “When I was younger, I used to want a Birkin. [But then] I saw all these girls who have it and to many of them, it’s just a status symbol. I don’t want to be that girl,” she states. “If I ever get a Birkin, I’m going to trash it or put a bunch of charms on it so that it’ll look cute and different.”
As a fashion insider, Chng appreciates the craft and legacies behind heritage houses such as Hermès and Chanel. Finding a way to make their pieces her own is a different matter. “I have this Chanel jacket that I’ve not worn because it feels a bit too ladylike. If I were to wear it, I’d probably wear it with shorts. I wear quite a lot of CELINE, but I also wear it with really cheap things. I’d rather wear a cheap t-shirt from anywhere instead of something that makes me look very showy. Even with the house, Joe is always asking me, ‘Why do you always tell people which pieces are from Taobao?’ But this is how the real world is—it’s a mix. I love mixing high and low! And the lower it is, the trashier it is, the better,” she exclaims. “This is how I feel fashion should be. It’s not about showing off; it’s about sharing your love for something. I never want to be so posh that I end up looking the same as everybody else. I know it’s inevitable to want to look a certain way on Instagram because people like it, and our egos are built on what people like—you show people what they like, people like you more. But at the same time, you’re also missing the whole point of individuality.” Clearly, it’s not something Chng needs to worry about—she has that in spades.
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Photographed by Lawrence Teo
Styled by Gracia Phang