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This Venice-Inspired BTO Looks Like A Santorini Cafe, Complete With Alfresco Rattan Furniture 

23 May 2023 | BY

Let’s hop on a gondola and visit this 4-room BTO inspired by an anime series called Aria, which looks like Venice IRL.

Venice-inspired BTO - cover image

Design inspiration for BTO flats can come from many different sources, such as furniture showrooms, Pinterest, or even a staycation. But no matter what, the theme you choose should bring you comfort while reflecting your style and character. A Singaporean couple took this advice to heart and created a Venice-inspired BTO look. Their inspo? Anime.

Inspired by the anime series Aria

Venice-inspired BTO - ariaImage credit: Amazon 

The couple initially told their interior designer, Carmen Tang, that they wanted a simple Scandi theme for their 4-room BTO flat. This was subsequently scrapped after the couple watched the anime series Aria, which prompted them to take inspiration from the locale of the series.

Aria takes place in the fictional Aquan city of Neo-Venezia, where canals serve as roads and the main mode of transport is by gondolas. The series draws heavy inspiration from the real-life Venice, though it also incorporates elements of the Greecian island of Santorini, as well as nautical themes.

Though Venice, Santorini, and nautical motifs may seem like an odd combination, the end result is a cosy and chic BTO flat that would look right at home in an interior design magazine.

Venice-themed living room

Venice-inspired BTO - living roomImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

Instead of simply using Venetian features to furnish the house, the couple and interior designer Carmen went for a more unconventional route – transforming the living room to look like a real waterway in Venice.

Tiered cabinets are used as steps that lead to the “canal”, which is represented by a blue patterned rug. On top of it sits a gondola, which is actually a functional coffee table. The outdoorsy feel is amplified with greenery such as hanging vines and potted plants, as well as old-timey street lamps.

Venice-inspired BTO - details 1Image credit: Get Your Guide, IAmCarmenTang

Every corner in the house is decorated in line with the theme. To the left of the TV is an area modelled after a canal bank, complete with mini street lamps, an opened window, and a white balustrade adorned with a life buoy. The cabinets along the wall are made to look like they were made from tiles, with the bottom third coloured blue, calling to mind the waterways of Venice.

Finally, hanging plants artfully draped over the balustrade and trailing from a wall planter act as a finishing touch.

A courtyard to sit and chill

Venice-inspired BTO - courtyardImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

Adjacent to the living room is a space meant for relaxation. Previously a room, the walls in this area were hacked to create extra space and allow the flat to look more commodious. It’s meant to look like an outdoor courtyard. A patterned green rug represents grass, which is complemented by more greenery. 

The impressive feature wall is the highlight of the courtyard. With hidden recessed lighting, the wall niches that hold more plants and books add dimension and a splash of style to the already quirky yet cosy home. We can already picture the homeowners chilling on the rattan rocking chair and admiring the feature wall, which also doubles as a functional storage space on the other side

Venice-inspired BTO - details2Image credit: IAmCarmenTang

The living room sofa is backed by a table, on which stands a replica of the Murano Lighthouse, an iconic landmark in Venice. Opposite the lighthouse is an European-style water fountain that, according to Carmen, is there for feng shui purposes. 

Housed in a patterned niche, the functional water looks extra fancy and makes us feel like we’re visiting the Queen’s palace or something. Just don’t go dipping your fingers into the water fountain for fun, though.

Home office with hidden storage

Venice-inspired BTO - officeImage credit: Carmen Tang Wolf Woof 

The blue wood-panelled door in the courtyard leads to the home office, which has a more monochromatic feel. A navy blue accent wall adds a pop of colour to the setup, and serves to visually demarcate the individual workspaces of the couple.

The home office is neatly furnished with minimal distractions, but it manages to stay on-theme with the help of mini life buoys mounted on the wall.

Venice-inspired BTO - office2The word “vinci” means “to win” in Italian.
Image credit: IAmCarmenTang

To further emphasise the nautical theme in the home office, a shiplap-style wallpaper was used. Again, we see the use of wall niches to hold decor pieces and greenery to give life and character to the room. Look closer and you’ll notice that there are concealed shelves for books and other belongings.

Dining at a Santorini cafe

Venice-inspired BTO - dining areaImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

As opposed to the Venice-inspired living room, the dining area is distinctly reminiscent of Santorini. The pedestal scroll table, coupled with the rattan bench and chairs, transform the space into an alfresco cafe. 

In line with the outdoor concept, the light blue wall behind the bench is decorated with a picture frame made to look like an opened window, as well as planter boxes and a potted houseplant. 

Kitchen with a rustic touch

Venice-inspired BTO - barn doorDecorative anchor and the Italian word for “good” demarcate the kitchen.
Image credit: IAmCarmenTang

Despite being a major fan of spaciousness, the homeowners wanted to shield the living space from the grease and odours that come with cooking. Hence, the kitchen is separated from the rest of the house by a sliding white barn door.

Venice-inspired BTO - kitchenImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

Like the rest of the house, blue and white take centrestage. The couple played with two different types of wall tiles for the backsplashes – one for the cooking area, and another for the washing up area. 

Venice-inspired BTO - handlesImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

Take a closer look at the kitchen cabinets and you’ll find these Mediterranean-style cabinet door knobs with complementing Santorini colours. Sourcing these unique fixtures took a lot of effort, but the subtle yet important detail really elevated the whole theme.

Venice-inspired BTO - spice cabinetImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

The adjacent wall is covered with shiplap, which adds a rustic touch to the kitchen. Beneath the spice cabinet hangs pots, pans, onions and garlic, and decorative fish bones. All in all, this feature wall reminds us of a fishing boat where fresh catches are served up for discerning foodies – very on-brand for their coastal-themed home.

Bathroom after a complete makeover

Venice-inspired BTO - bathroomImage credit: IAmCarmenTang

Apart from the toilet bowl, all the original HDB fittings in their bathroom were changed to better suit the coastal Venetian theme. The couple used 3 different tiles – grey marble for the floor, white horizontal Kit Kat tiles, and Mediterranean-style patterned ones.

The same ornate cabinet door knob in the kitchen is used for the bathroom cupboard underneath the sink. Other key features include a nautical pendant lamp, a Santorini poster, and more greenery – even in the bathroom.

Cosy and romantic bedroom

Venice-inspired BTO - bedroom“Amore”, which means “love”.
Image credit: IAmCarmenTang

Upon entering the master bedroom, we are greeted with a simple yet sophisticated coastal-themed space where street lamps, planter boxes, potted plants, and white Venetian blinds make another appearance. 

The bedroom walls are segmented into two – the top half bears white shiplap wallpaper, while the bottom is painted a soothing pastel blue. Keeping in line with the touches of nature throughout the house, the bedside table is made from a tree stump.

Venice-inspired BTO in Singapore

It’s easy to make the space look cheesy and tacky when modelling a home after a locale. But the interior designer and the homeowners were able to create something sophisticated and cosy, elevated by interesting details such as the gondola coffee table.

Props to the homeowners for boldly taking the road less travelled and bringing the fictional world of Aria to life. Who knew that anime could be so chic?

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Cover image adapted from: IAmCarmenTang, IAmCarmenTang, IAmCarmenTang

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