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  • Wei Shen

Interior design case study: a modern condo renovation in Shenzhen.

Home is not only where one resides on a daily basis, but a personal connection that lies within each and every one of us. To me, home is not just an enclosed physical space to accommodate our daily activities, it's more supposed to be a paradise fulfilled with one's unique identities that are reflected by an armchair, a piece of art, a color palette, a smell, a specific ambiance, etc...something that can let one feel like their true selves when no one else is around.


Today we are going to have a tour of this 129 m² condo project in Shenzhen, designed by studio FUN. In this interior design project, you will not see some showroom-like types of renovation. Instead, highly personalized tastes and customizations are omnipresent, therefore, inspirations may be found here and there depending on your different focuses. Remember, it's to get inspired, not to copy from. A good design can never be successfully duplicated in another context.


Upon purchasing this condo, the couple planned to simply fulfill this place with some tasteful furniture after basic finishing work (the condo was delivered unfinished, which is the main case for condominium projects in China so that people have more flexibilities on selecting their preferable materials). Not until halfway of the construction did they figure out that choosing all the materials in order to achieve what they wanted was much more complicated than expected, then an interior design team was brought in.


Image from FUN


At this point, it was not practical to change the layout since the project was halfway done, as all the plumbing, electrician and dropped ceiling work had finished, the role of the interior design team was more of a makeup artist instead of a cosmetic surgeon. The couple was quite cooperative during the entire creative process, from major space optimizations to decisions as small as selecting a garbage can, they respected the designer’s guide seriously, for instance, customizing wall art frames from a specific artist, instead of buying an off-the-shelf product.


Bearing the thought that the couple loved a combination of relatively simple construction work and rather stylish decorations, the hired designers successfully transformed this condo into a contemplative world with a restrained retro style, through basic building materials as well as details full of personal touches.



Living room

Image from FUN


Initially, full white walls were planned by the couple for the living room. Given the needs of breaking the monotony, the designer opted for a high black baseboard (or we can say low wainscoting) which adds a retro vibe to this space and indicates the fundamental concept of a classic-modern hybrid. It also gives a reasonable height to the TV console, which emphasizes on the fluency of the space without compromising necessary storage and design details. Wood grills take a good portion of the off-white wall. Again, the monotony of the large wall is eliminated, and textures & layers of the wall area are created at the same time.

Image from FUN


A carefully chosen wall frame, instead of hanging, is leaning against the grilled wall, which allows more possibilities when the occupants want to try it at different locations. Meanwhile, it creates a rather casual characteristic for this cozy nook. Curtains made of natural linen drape to the floor. I really love this kind of detail. It magically changes the atmosphere of the living room, comparing to a cropped length above the floor. Some may complain about the maintenance. In my opinion, linen cleans easily and dries super fast. More importantly, most enjoyable luxurious materials require higher maintenance which we really need to accept, just like the use of marble countertop in many people's homes.

Image from FUN


At noon, sunlight enters the living room through the translucent curtains, painting a warm, cozy and serene atmosphere, super relaxing. The best activity I can think of would be reading a book on this LC4 Chaise Longue, designed by architect Le Corbusier, for an entire afternoon. Definitely an anchor for me to indulge myself.


The marble coffee tables were customized in a local stone factory. Based on the size of the raw stone, designers arranged the cutting plan on the computer in order to guarantee the best patterns within the desired dimensions.



Kitchen

Image from FUN


The designers selected dark gray terrazzo wall tiles as the backsplash for the kitchen and used a grout color that can be found in the wall tiles, which makes the backsplash more like a single slab. This guarantees a monolithic result that the couple preferred.


The countertop is in dark grey as well. It adds elegance to the entire operation area while keeping the maintenance rather simple. To balance the darker tone at the middle height of the kitchen, cabinet doors are painted into a cream color with white door knobs which have a metal detail.


 

Bathroom


This guest bathroom is located beside the living room, facing the dining area. Viewing from the dining table, strong contrast between the black door and the golden tone of the bathroom interior eliminates all the discomfort of seeing a bathroom while dining. The black door is also framing a beautiful and intriguing view for one who is approaching.


In this bathroom, all deliberate considerations of details contribute to a great scenario. For instance, the medium-toned wood texture in a grill form on the cabinet echoes the vertical half-wall tiles; white half-circle handles bring a decent contrast to the wooden door while subtly resonating the circle mirror. But be very careful not to fall into the matchy-matchy look while planning if you have the same concept.

Images from FUN


This guest bathroom is more than a powder room. Due to the limited space in the master bathroom, a clawfoot bathtub is placed here to form the most relaxing corner of this home. It’s a great idea to separate the shower and bath when you have more than one bathroom and neither is big enough to fit both separately. Because while the different functions are accommodating your different needs, you have the chance to enjoy totally different surroundings and setups if heartfully designed at the beginning. In reality, there are many small "forgotten" spaces in our homes which we already paid for. Take advantage of them, maybe decorate them in a more adventurous way? You will be surprised by the potentials of your home that you have overlooked for long.


This guest bathroom, fortunately, has the luxury of a full-height window, which provides a perfect light source for the wood blinds to do a great job of playing with the light & shadow.


The classic clawfoot bathtub is placed diagonally, offering you a dynamic exterior view through the blinds.


Image from FUN


The wood texture, warm yellow tone of the wall, the gold finish of the bathtub faucet, and the constantly varying shadows cast on everything, all together, is forming a soothing, elegant, and serene bathing experience. Yes, it’s all about experiencing the present. You don’t need to pursue such experience at a tourist resort only on vacations, just create one at home. Space is already there, just do something that’s quite different from what’s usually in a product showroom, the result would be surprisingly rewarding.


Bedroom


The general style continues in the bedroom. The wall on the headboard side is finished with wallpapers, patterned in subdued brown grids, which goes harmoniously with the other three walls painted in a brownish-yellow. This tranquil color scheme outlines a soft ambiance that is perfect for a sleeping space.

Image from FUN


A lime yellow bed cover highlights this sophisticated room and adds a good dose of freshness. Customized nightstands and vanity are featured in a rattan front. The vanity chair has a unique pattern in grey & white, which perfectly balances the warmth of the entire room. Together with all patterns on other furniture and the wall, the shape of the bed headboard, and the irregularly shaped mirror, a unique geometry is born, which keeps this bedroom far from being generic and boring.

Image from FUN


A pendant lamp and a wall scone are the main light source for this bedroom, in similar shape, not at the same height, adding a little touch of chic and vitality. White color adorns the major wall while brightening the generally subdued tone.


Image from FUN


Since the interior designers were brought in after all the basic plumbing work had finished, they decided not to change the layout, instead, to work on the proper selection of bathroom furniture.


The toilet is located at a corner, facing one side of the sink. There is not much room for movement in front of the toilet. A solid sink cabinet would put the user at the risk of stumbling, so the designers opted for a console sink which leaves the lower space airier visually and physically, and customized on the other side of the sink a full-wall cabinet with partial open area for frequent operations. Thus the space of this tiny bathroom is quite optimized.


Walk-in & home office


A walk-in closet is on the other side of the master bathroom, where the wife also finds a corner as her study.


On the door side, a desk, a 6-drawer dresser and a red chair constitute a very functional zone for the lady. The dark-toned wallpaper in a delicate bamboo pattern interacts with the cylindrical floor lamp in a very humble way, adding a bit of retro charm of the Chinese style. I specifically love the red on the chair. It's a gorgeous stroke applied to this very personal place.

Images from FUN


On the other side of this walk-in, is a "U" shaped open closet cabinet. The shelves in the shoe cabinet are installed at different intervals in order to accommodate shoes of different heights. The rest is categorized according to the owners' lifestyle.


Say goodbye to clutters! All in all, a highly customized walk-in space.


Images from FUN


Next to the kitchen is the husband’s home office. The designer team chose a Danish MCM style teak desk which has exquisite details on the back. The teak wood shows an opulent golden tone when the window blinds are open for a scenic outdoor view and sunlight hits on the desk. A series of open bookshelves made by the Swiss USM modular system guarantees a substantial storing space, neat but not tedious. Blinds are easily shut down when you need to concentrate on work. A small pot of greenery enlivens the entire room, and most importantly, gives a perfect vista view for people outside this room.


This home renovation is a typical case of how the homeowners' great taste meets with the interior designer's expertise in collecting dots. Many may have a wonderful taste in selecting each item for themselves or their homes, but it can be much trickier than it seems, to create a cohesive look while maintaining a unique style which reflects their personal experience and taste, without compromising the essential function of the space.

Shenwei Design is thriving to accommodate everyone who is passionate about life, who embraces details in the day-to-day living experience, and who loves challenges. Share your thoughts in the comment area below and let me know how your dream home looks like.


Read more:


What can we learn from this former abattoir in Paris before planning a home interior renovation?

When we talk about interior design “style”, what are we actually talking about?


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