Stepping into Lynette Wong’s colonial-style, two-storey bungalow just off Alexandra Road, there is a sense that we are no longer in the city—there is almost an English country estate-like atmosphere. The move to this serene space 12 years ago was a deliberate one on the part of Wong, who resides there with her family of five.
Wong, who owns furniture gallery 1B2G Important Design which specialises in original vintage Scandinavian furniture, is a warm host, inviting us inside the peaceful haven she has carefully created and curated. “When I get home, I just feel an instant slowing down of my heart rate,” Wong says, alluding to the calm character of her graceful home with its high ceilings and airy rooms.
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The light-filled house has had minimal renovation done, beyond the dry kitchen and some bathroom work, leaving its heritage charm fully intact. Instead, Wong and her husband express their decorating flair in the form of mid-century furniture by Danish designers like Hans Wegner and Poul Kjærholm, and contemporary artworks that they both love. Collecting vintage furniture and lighting is a passion for Wong. She started out sourcing pieces for herself and quickly realised the gap in the local market for authentic, historically-significant pieces that would not just beautify the home but become investment pieces. “You can use it and it’s an investment that you can really enjoy—which is so nice, isn’t it?” quips Wong. And thus, her furniture business was born in 2017.
Beyond procuring these treasures both for herself and for her clients, Wong is adamant that vintage pieces are meant to be used and enjoyed. She invites us to sit and experience her Papa Bear armchairs by Wegner that are still in the original checked fabric upholstery. She explains that good quality sofas created by designers from that era—such as the large Børge Mogensen one that we are sitting on—are more durable, as they were mostly down-filled rather than padded with foam, and hence would not disintegrate with time. The cushions can even be put in the dryer to fluff them up. Complementing these vintage furniture pieces are lighting from the same design era. Hanging above the Papa Bear chairs in the living room are the magnificent artichoke lamps by Poul Henningsen, another favourite of Wong’s. Despite their age, the pieces are all in excellent condition. Says Wong, “These pieces are all 60 years old. They are in amazing condition, partly because they are very good quality to start with.”
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Each of the striking artworks dotted throughout the home are special to Wong and her husband. “If I like a piece, I will find a place for it,” she shares. In the more formal living room on the first floor, her husband’s favourite room, a striking, wall-sized painting by Feng Zhengjie in his signature green and pink palette brings out the colour in her aforementioned chairs. On a table sits a smaller piece by artist Ai Weiwei—a jar of sunflower seeds from his famous Tate Modern exhibition that look like the real thing but are actually hand-painted porcelain. The piece that takes pride of place in the room is the London Screen by Linley. It is the first thing that the couple bought and commissioned in 1993, and therefore holds a lot of sentimental value.
Another much loved and frequently used space is the formal dining room that is the site of many a dinner party thrown by Wong, her husband or one of her three adult children. “It feels intimate and elegant without being stuffy. I have wonderful memories of dinner parties with family and friends associated with this room,” says Wong. One of the highlights of the room is an Arne Vodder sideboard in superb condition. The stunning teak piece contrasts against a large contemporary painting by Indonesian artist Yunizar. Another statement piece is a Mogens Koch cabinet that houses an extensive collection of glassware and drinks.
Wong prefers to leave her own vintage pieces and those sold by 1B2G unvarnished and let them develop a patina over the years, as it imbues them with a natural charm that cannot be replicated. As comfort is always key, the dining chairs have been tested to ensure that guests can sit at ease through long dinner parties and extended conversations. Even the Poul Henningsen pendant lighting in this space, hung low over the table, has been designed to create a cosy atmosphere without raising the ambient temperature. The dining space also boasts interesting and quirky touches that make great conversation starters. These include an unused safe that once belonged to a previous occupant of the house—believed to be a former director of a government statutory board—and a guitar with an exaggerated, elongated neck by contemporary Indonesian artist Rudi Mantofani.
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Wong’s favourite space in the house however, is on the second storey, where both her study and upstairs living room are located. She works on her King’s Desk that once belonged to the father of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. “The desk was a confirmation gift for the then Crown Prince Frederik from the citizens of a municipality, and he used it in Amalienborg Castle,” she reveals. Typical of desks from the early 1900s, it boasts several secret compartments. As for the living room next to her study, which overlooks the family’s private football field and verdant greenery, Wong says, “The upstairs living room is full of natural light and looking out, I am at tree-line level and surrounded by nature.” This slowed-down pace and sense of restfulness is the abiding feeling of Wong’s home, which even the family’s three dogs appreciate.
When it comes to personal style, Wong does not extend the same love for vintage to her wardrobe, preferring contemporary pieces from designers as wide-ranging as Gucci, Sacai and Alexander McQueen. But one thing she has kept over the years are her vintage Chanel bags and an extensive collection of accessories, which she intends to pass down to her daughters. In the eclecticism of her favoured looks, Wong observes parallels between her fashion style and the interior design of her home. “I am drawn to different looks—from colour to monochromatic; heels to flats and trainers; feminine frills to masculine suits. But I hope that no matter what I wear, I always look like myself. It’s similar to how my home is styled… it may be unexpected, but it is still unabashedly me.”
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Photographed by Lawrence Teo
Styled by Gracia Phang