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S’porean Couple Spends S$70K Renovating Condo For Parisian-Style Home, They Met In The City Of Love

24 March 2023 | BY

One couple who met in Paris decided to renovate their condo to look like a Parisian apartment complete with a fireplace made with Italian marble.

parisian condo renovation - cover image

Paris is the most romantic city in the world. One of the ways that the City of Love shows its romance is through the sophisticated interior design that has a certain je ne sais quoi to it. It was this design philosophy that guided Steven and Clarice when they were renovating their home in Singapore.

The couple enlisted the help of Studio Metanoia to bring their vision of a chic Parisian apartment into the streets of Singapore. And after 7 months of planning and careful execution, here’s a look at Steven and Clarice’s slice of France.

Bringing a slice of France back to Singapore

parisian condo renovation - couple with dogImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie 

When Steven and Clarice first decided to add a Singapore base to their real estate portfolio, having it look like a casually elegant Parisian apartment was non-negotiable. Clarice cited creatives like Althena Calderone, Joseph Dirand, and Axel Vervoodt as their main inspirations. “We wanted a marriage of their aesthetics in our home,” she said. 

To really nail that chic French vibe, they also bought an apartment that lets in tons of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows. “My husband and I love bright and open spaces, that’s why we chose to buy this apartment for its light, layout, and windows,” Clarice said.

And unlike most Singaporean homes with plenty of built-in furniture, the couple kept things relatively loose, carefully curating loose pieces of furniture instead to give them more flexibility in the future. However, there were a couple of things that were custom-made for the home, including a stunning fireplace that can rival those in Paris.

Anchoring the home with accents of Italian marble

parisian condo renovation - calacatta viola marble fireplace from italy in living roomImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie 

Even though Steve and Clarice’s brief to Studio Metanoia was to make the apartment “Parisian-chic”, they didn’t want their home to look too French. So they opted to anchor the house with a fireplace and kitchen made with the visually-arresting Calacatta Viola marble from Italy. Everything else was chosen to complement the marble and accentuate its natural beauty.

bare condo living room with cement flooringBefore: the living room.
Image credit: Cher Lin

Getting the marble into Singapore was a whole ordeal. As it can’t be found even at Hafary, it had to be imported from abroad. “It was the most expensive and stressful process,” Clarice said about acquiring the marble. All in all, the cost for marble and the importing came up to around $10k, and that’s not including the $4k spent to design and build the fireplace from scratch.

The fireplace

parisian condo renovation - marble fireplace at nightImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie

One of the hallmarks of Parisian interior design is the fireplace. Real or fake, it is an element prevalent in many Haussmannian-era buildings, and it was something Steve and Clarice wanted in their Singapore abode. So much so that they deliberately chose to view apartments that would have the space for a fireplace to be installed in the living room.

behind the scenes of building a marble fireplaceThe fireplace being put together.
Image credit: Cher Lin

Once that was settled, they then commissioned someone to design a custom fireplace that had a minimal and contemporary look to it, rather than the ornate fireplaces you might usually find in a Parisian Airbnb. The fireplace was built in parts overseas and then assembled locally.

“It is important to note that there are risks and possibly unexpected costs that homeowners would need to bear when customising and purchasing items internationally,” Cher Lin, founder of Studio Metanoia, said.

The kitchen

parisian condo renovation - kitchen with marble backsplashImage credit: Cher Lin

Opposite the fireplace is the kitchen which is dominated by the same Calacatta Viola marble. A large waterfall island that was another must-have for Clarice stands in the middle of the room, while the stovetop sits perpendicular to it.

renovating a condo kitchenThe kitchen mid way through the renovation.
Image credit: Cher Lin

parisian condo renovation - calacatta viola marble kitchen waterfall islandImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie 

“We knew we wanted to mesh the living and kitchen flow and basically used the same layout from the previous owner,” Clarice explained about the space. However, they had everything hacked away to make space for the island and new kitchen countertop. 

parisian condo renovation - bedroomImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie

In a rather unorthodox fashion, the primary bedroom sits just behind the kitchen, a unique layout that not many Singaporeans can relate to. It was also something that Steven and Clarice got some pushback on. “But I’m used to living in studio apartments and I love how everything is so easily accessible to the heart of the home which is the kitchen,” Clarice said.

The couple also feels that this layout is perfect for them, seeing as they work in the kitchen, don’t do much heavy cooking, and love entertaining guests.

When asked about their favourite space in the house, Clarice couldn’t decide between the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. “It has a seamless flow from front to back, so it feels like one big seamless space,” she said.

The bathroom

parisian condo renovation - his and hers bathroom sinks with marblePeep the marble tiles on the floor of the bathroom.
Image credit: Cher Lin

The bathroom was given an extensive makeover to the point where its entire configuration changed. One part of the bathroom consists of an isolated toilet with his-and-hers sinks and mirrors, while the other comprises the shower. Still, both parts of the bathroom get a healthy dose of natural light.

parisian condo renovation - shower with wall nicheA wall niche holds soap and shampoo bottles without the tackiness of a metal shelf.
Image credit: Khoo Guo Jie

parisian condo renovation - shower being builtThe shower room mid-renovation.
Image credit: Cher Lin

Sourcing everything from China, Europe, and the United States

parisian condo renovation - couple lying down on sofa in the living roomImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie 

It’s now commonplace for homeowners to furnish their homes with pieces procured from anywhere but Singapore. The same can be said for Steven and Clarice, who shared with us that everything in their home, from the material used to build the fireplace to the furniture, was outsourced from China, Europe, and the United States.

“We couldn’t find anything we truly loved in Singapore with affordability in mind,” Clarice explained. Patience was also one way the couple approached furnishing their home. “We wanted to live in the space for a while to get a gist of what we truly needed.”

They were so deliberate that they didn’t have a couch or coffee table 4 months after moving in. But the wait was worth it. 

parisian condo renovation - doorway with sofa and dresserImage credit: Khoo Guo Jie

Making a statement in the living room is a custom L-shaped sofa that cost only $2k inclusive of shipping. Sure, it might be made of a high-maintenance material, but Steven and Clarice didn’t want to overspend on the sofa.

Till now, the couple are still on the constant lookout for pieces that will fit in their household like 2 pieces of a puzzle. “I believe that having a home, it is always ever-changing due to lifestyle and preference changes, and having loose furniture gives you that flexibility,” Clarice said.

Building a chic Parisian apartment in Singapore

parisian condo renovation - couple dancing in their living room at nightImage credit: Cher Lin

It’s clear to see why Steven and Clarice chose to design the interior of their home in the style of a Parisian apartment. It embodies all the traits of minimalism without being too stark, and the contemporary elements give the home a warm, continental vibe. However, it’s the Italian marble that stands out and finishes the home off with a luxurious look.

For soon-to-be homeowners that are looking to have a similar design for their house, Clarice cautions against rushing to buy furniture. “It was the best and hardest decision we had to make to restrain from deciding everything before moving in, but we love everything we carefully picked out,” she said.

Clarice also suggests taking time to plan the space properly, considering every single detail and addressing the doubts that surface. “It’s the little details that matter as well,” she said.

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Cover image credit: Khoo Guo Jie

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