In his 23 years of practice as an interior designer, Nicky Haw of design firm Rezt+Relax has developed a lot of creative residential and commercial projects. But one in particular sticks out to him because of the unique requirements the family had in the utilisation of the units’ space.

“In any project, we often start with understanding the needs of the property owner and their lifestyles. After all, a home should reflect their individual personality,” says Nicky. “But with this particular downtown property, the space itself dictated the flow of movement around which we had to incorporate the elements of their life.”

Nicky Haw of Rezt+Relax (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

This was a set of three condo units in the same stack over three floors, purchased by an intergenerational family which wanted to join them internally to create the experience of a townhouse right in the heart of the central region. That requirement constituted the biggest challenge to Nicky's interior planning.

The floor space for the staircase can be seen here before it was transformed into… (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

This staircase, which had to be designed and constructed across three floors from scratch, is the greatest challenge in the renovation

He explains: “Since we had to build a staircase across three floors, there was a lot of process involved. We had to first get permission from URA as well as the estate, and then hire a surveyor to ensure the structural integrity of the building and the units would not be compromised in any eventuality.” He adds: “Then we had to demolish the space across three floors to cut through and create the stairwell while maximising the privacy on each floor and ensuring sufficient amenities on every level for their comfort.”

From the top floor, one can see through to the lower levels, creating a family environment for intergenerational living while affording maximum privacy (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

Since there was only one area adjacent to the entrances of each floor where the staircase could be constructed, that also meant that the entire interiors of each unit had to be gutted and redesigned according to the stairwell. “Once that placement was fixed and the staircase was completed, we could go on to work on the interiors of each floor,” he recalls.

The lowest floor features a domestic helper’s room, two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, and a sauna room (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

The lowest floor is divided into four spaces: a living area for a domestic helper; a small sitting room that doubles as a guest room with a Murphy bed; two bedrooms for the parents of the owner and one child; and a sauna room. Additionally, each room has its own en-suite bathroom. This meant that the plumbing for this entire floor had to be redone to achieve it.

The guest room is a sitting room with a Murphy bed hidden in the cabinets (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

The second floor is the central hub of the apartment, where the living and dining areas as well as the kitchen, are organised. Here is where the family comes together for meals, to commune and share precious moments together. Finally, the top floor is split into two rooms for the homeowner and another child, with the master room occupying over half of the floor space for a large en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower and bathtub, and a walk-in wardrobe.

The second floor is the hub, where the family shares time. The dining and living spaces on this floor are generously proportioned and elegantly appointed, with display showcases for their many collectible objects (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

To create more space within the apartment, Nicky annexed the balcony spaces and turned them into part of the living areas. This not only compensates for the stairwell’s floor usage but also creates an airy, open design with plenty of natural light.

The owners’ bedroom is expanded greatly to include a walk-in wardrobe, a large bathroom with tub and a walk-in shower as well as a display for their bags

He also utilised the area under the stairwell on the lowest floor to house the owner’s fine spirits collection and incorporate a hidden fridge, so the grandparents and children can grab a snack in the middle of the night without having to go upstairs. “In our work, we need to anticipate the needs of the occupants, sometimes even needs that they don’t realise they have,” he notes.

The interior of the sauna is generously spaced for the owners to enjoy some steam (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

The space under the staircase houses the sauna, while the mirror hides a mini-pantry and precious liquors from the owners’ collection (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

The colour palette of the entire apartment starts with white and eggshell that radiates out from the central hub of the apartment — the second floor. Once again, Nicky created a range of showcases on each side of the unit that allows the owner to display their collectibles ranging from fine whiskies to BearBricks. Glass doors enclose the kitchen, and a mix of smooth and grooved textures adds dynamism to the apartment’s design.

The dining area also has showcases for precious liquors, while the kitchen is hidden on the right (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

“Since the top and bottom floors have different occupants with their own personalities, we created slightly different colour schemes for them based on the neutral white, off-white, and champagne palette of the living room,” he adds. There are hints of pink and blue amidst the whites and greys that reflect each family member’s own style.

White, brown, and champagne hues are used throughout the home, with touches of colour particular to each individual on each floor (Photo: Rezt+Relax Interior Design)

Nicky also carefully appointed a special marble that’s used throughout the three floors — Palissandro Classico — that’s quarried in Italy and has an exquisite veining. This proved to be another challenge, as deliveries during the pandemic were delayed, causing renovation times to stretch. “We also had to slab cut this marble in order to ensure that the veining aligns from each tile to the next, from the floors through to each step of the staircase, and floor to floor,” he adds. The result is a seamless feel in the apartment as if you’re drifting through an entire block of marble.

Each slice of Palissandro marble is carefully matched, and used throughout the entire unit with gold trimming on the staircase steps

Nicky’s work in this project reflects his particular slant on interior design. “While we do pay attention to design trends that occur, I look to more long-lived philosophies in design and focus on what the client appreciates. Of course, we do present the current trends to them to consider, but it’s more about adapting these trends to their own lifestyles and preferences than adopting them wholesale. After all, the home is where you choose to spend your time in. It should be a place that feels like a part of you,” he opines.

Rezt&Relax Interior Design Hotline: +65 9727 7404