WHO: An interior designer couple
HOME: Four-room HDB flat in Pinnacle @ Duxton
Sujono Lim and Molina Hun purchased this resale unit in Pinnacle @ Duxton not just as their matrimonial home, but also as the atelier for Sujonohun Design & Concept, an interior design practice that the couple founded.
“The flat was to be our home office. As a home, we needed it to be comfortable and unpretentious. As an office, we wanted it to be an understated showroom which clients could visit or where we can conduct meetings,” says principal director Sujono.
With this in mind, they made the bold move of hacking away the walls of one bedroom and the kitchen, transforming the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom into one big space that they refer to as “The Communal”. “Instead of having traditional compartmentalised spaces, what we now have is defined pockets of work, chill and play zones, minus the physical and visual barriers,” says Molina, who is the creative director.
The most prominent element within the capacious space is a 2.85m matte black laminate table supported on steel brackets and anchored on either end by terrazzo pedestals, the larger one of which is also a kitchen island.
Instead of placing the table above the pedestals, Sujono and Molina designed it to appear wedged into the sides of the pedestals, creating a floating effect that mitigates its generous length and prevents its presence from overpowering the space. The result is a generously sized dining table for two that also doubles as a meeting table.
The duo do not believe in conforming to trends and norms of the day. “We do what is best for us,” the two agree.
What did you set out to achieve for your home project?
We wanted an honest, functional home that reflects our individuality and preferences.
What is the overall interior design concept?
An understated carte blanche. Was there a particular style that you had in mind, or an overall vision? We did not limit ourselves to any design style in particular. Given that it is our home, we exercised the freedom to conceptualise, alter or even mix and match our ideas to whatever we are comfortable with. It is like a controlled experimental design exercise for us.
Was there a consensus on the design direction, or did you have to reach a compromise?
It was more of a collaborative effort than compromising. Fortunately, we each have our respective fortes when it comes to design (Sujono is more inclined towards space planning, while Molina’s strength lies in material selection).
Were there any design ideas that you wanted to explore?
Function took precedence in our design decisions and we also questioned the usual norms. For example, in a typical apartment, we have a sofa facing a feature wall and we call it a living room. Does it always have to be this way?
We also realised that in our case, dinner is an important ritual after a busy work day, so we placed a long dining table in the centre, which anchors the space. But to label it a dining room is not the most appropriate because its function extends beyond just for having meals. There is a blurred boundary between the living and dining areas and kitchen, a sort of spatial cohesion.
How does your home reflect your personal tastes?
We never intended for the home to be a strong statement of who we are. It is more like a backdrop to our busy lives, which we believe is the essence of a home.
What was it like being your own clients?
It is almost the same as any other project, which always starts with being honest with ourselves and our clients. The only difference is, as our own client, it is easier to make decisions and manage expectations.
What were some of the challenges that you faced?
Apart from a few existing site constraints, the entire project went very smoothly thanks to the combined effort of everyone involved, especially our contractor, BM Best Renovation. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of good collaboration between the designer, contractor and suppliers. Communication is key in order to understand what is achievable and what can be pushed further, before following through with the various design details.
Tell us about Sujonohun Design & Concept.
We focus on creating good design concepts in r sponse to our clients’ briefs rather than imposing ideas or styles on them. Our portfolio includes apartments and landed houses, and we are working towards some F&B and commercial projects.
What are the dynamics like, working as a husband- and-wife team, both on the home front and at work?
We are fortunate to share the same interests and to be able to build on each other’s strengths. For every project, we will agree for one of us to take the lead, while the other will play a supporting role. This establishes a clear direction and avoids diluting ideas.
This article was first published in Home & Decor