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Celebrating Culture: Modern Homes That Pay Homage to Different Heritage and Roots

31 March 2023

From the rich colours and patterns of Peranakan interiors to the ornate symbolism of oriental interiors, heritage-influenced interior design styles offer a wide range of possibilities for creating unique and personalized spaces.

With more homeowners looking to celebrate their heritage or pay homage to the history of the spaces they live in, it is little wonder that heritage-influenced interior designs that blend both traditional and contemporary elements are becoming all the rage.

Keen to learn more? Read on to learn how these 5 Singaporean designers take on the challenging task of celebrating the traditions and values of different cultures while also adapting them to modern living spaces and lifestyles.

Seng Poh Road by Sheena & Edmund

With homeowners passionate about retaining the original character of their heritage home while giving it a modern twist, designers Sheena & Edmund came up with the perfect rendition of a brilliantly preserved and updated modern space.

The home is a beautiful study in contrasts, with a subtle mix of vintage and modern elements throughout. Deliberate choices to retain vintage elements like the jade green flooring reminiscent of HDB buildings from the early 80s, simple rattan blinds, colourful retro-esque upholstery, and louvred windowpanes, blend seamlessly with the modern colour palette of neutrals, natural wood furnishings, and modern lighting and accessories.

The kitchen, which had been previously closed off from the rest of the home, was opened to create a more spacious and functional area while keeping the original mosaic tiles on the floor for a hint of nostalgia.

Throughout the home, the original windows which had been covered up were fitted with larger window panes to flood the space with natural light, giving the space a fresh, updated, and airy feel.

Elite Park Avenue by Amanda

The brief to designer Amanda was a clear one – to create a modern home that reflected the family’s proud Peranakan heritage. Rising to the challenge, the completed Elite Park Avenue project results in a stunning two-storey home that seamlessly blends minimalist sophistication with subtle incorporation of traditional Peranakan design influences, all wrapped up in a striking modern colour palette of blacks, whites, and dark woods.

The modern living room space looks just like any other modern space until one looks up to the second floor where intricate louvred privacy panels open up overlooking the space – reminiscent of the indoor courtyards of a traditional Peranakan home.

The kitchen is a minimalist’s dream, with sleek white cabinets and black hardware as a backdrop, with a pop of green mosaic Peranakan tiles as a pop of contrast without overwhelming the space visually.

Lloyd by Derrick

A mashup of multiple styles – modern industrial, oriental, and local vintage, this Lloyd project is one that pushes the creative limit of any designer. Taking on this difficult task was designer Derrick, who successfully helped the homeowners bring to life their vision of a modern home with local vintage and oriental influences while adding a touch of urban cool with industrial elements.

At first glance, the living and dining space shows these seemingly contrasting design styles working together to create a unique and one-of-a-kind space. A simple neutral colour palette works best as the backdrop for eye-catching elements like industrial lighting fixtures, retro overhanging lights, and oriental window peepholes to stand out individually without overwhelming one another.

The kitchen is a sleek and modern space, with a strong slant toward an industrial theme with its predominantly black metal and wooden furnishings. Nonetheless, there’re subtle nods to the other styles still. The pastel green of the tiled backsplash and mosaic flooring that runs throughout the length of the kitchen is a throwback to the vintage colour palettes and patterns any young Singaporean brought up in the 80s would be familiar with, while the oriental peephole is also present as a consistent motif here.

Tanjong Pagar by Leon

The retro-inspired design aesthetic is difficult to get right, but designer Leon has definitely hit the nail on the head with his take on this modern home with retro vintage influences in this Tanjong Pagar project.

Leaving nothing to chance, every nook and cranny of this modern home effortlessly captures the nostalgic vibes of the 70s and 80s decade in Singapore without feeling overwhelmingly kitsch.

The choice of a predominantly neutral colour palette of whites and wood help to set the tone for a modern space, while allowing for a fun and playful contrast with pops of pastel yellow, blues, and greens that lend that retro-vintage touch.

Throughout the home, the throwback to the 70s and 80s is consistent in subtle (or not so subtle) design choices in every room. In the dining space, there’s the wall of retro records; in the kitchen, there’s the terrazzo kitchen countertop and retro grilles; in the living space, there’s vintage movie posters, retro lighting fixtures, and a stunning display wall of patterned ventilation blocks.

172A Toa Payoh Lor 1 by Roy

Inspired by their travels, homeowners of project 172A Toa Payoh sought to bring a little of their vacation vibes back home. For designer Roy, this meant the tricky task of combining the different styles of Colonial, Balinese, and Peranakan influences into one modern seamless design aesthetic.

As soon as you enter the flat, you are greeted by a spacious and airy living and dining area. The subtle ceiling trim and moulding and chandelier lighting fixtures immediately give a subtle nod to classic Colonial design, while the different wooden furnishings give the space a natural and rustic Balinese feel, all perfectly complementing the clean lines and neutral modern colour palette as a backdrop.

The kitchen is a beautifully designed space that perfectly combines functionality and style. The use of dark wood cabinets with gold finishing offers the space a clean and modern design aesthetic, while subtle traditional Peranakan tiles for flooring add a touch of personality to the space.

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