Skyline Condo – before + after

Oooh I do love me a good ‘before and after’, I do.  Ever since my first B+A post a comically long time ago {here}, when I was evidently still finding my design-feet {and where, at some point since, WordPress has inexplicably decided to make the text ALL ANGRY CAPS}, I still have a huge soft spot for seeing spaces transformed from uggers version to thing-of-beauty.  I also still ponder that droopy {technical term} silk blind on a weirdly regular basis.

Anyhoo, I digress.  No droopy silk blinds were involved in the design of this masculine, slightly ethnic, very well-travelled bachelor pad, in a rental unit at Concourse Skyline Condo, just next door to Nicoll Highway/Arab Street.

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But before I spill the beans on this project, let’s connect!  Add me on Instagram {here} and Facebook {here} for behind the scenes peeks and current project progress pics.  And the occasional gratuitous heels shot…oh and some rock climbing snaps…and the occasional cookery fail…ok stop now.  And you can click through to my website {here} to access my full portfolio.

So for my Skyline Condo project, we started with a totally blank slate: a very new, rented, 800 square foot, one bedroom condo with combined living/dining space, a good-sized terrace and one stonking view out over Kampong Glam.

SKYLINE CONDO scheme plan

My client already owned a few pieces of furniture and a lot of artwork/accessories that we incorporated into the design, but other than that I had a fairly free rein over the project.  I find that this is usually the case when designing for men who live alone – I just need a budget, any particular likes/dislikes in terms of palettes, materials, and general styles, and then I get on with cooking up a scheme they’re delighted with.

But why take my word for it…?  Here’s what this client had to say:

skyline condo design graphic

Ok enough wiffle-waffle, let’s get into it.


Living space

BEFORE – you know how when someone is walking in front of you and they have too-short trousers on, and you get totally transfixed by the sight of their ankles and have to restrain yourself from suggesting that they get their hems taken down a smidge {or is that just me?  That’s actually kind of mean}.  Well anyway, that is also how I feel about too-short curtains: transfixed and mean.  Especially the shiny-and-with-weirdly-elaborate-pleats-and-also-too-short-to-boot curtains that we were facing in this instance.

before pic living2 skyline condo


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^ Happily my client was down with replacing the curtains, even though it’s just a rental unit – the window is so tall and wide, he’ll definitely be able to re-size and re-use these gorgeous white linen beauties in the future.

^ Because it’s a relatively small apartment, we maximised space visually by keeping to a relatively neutral colour palette.  And then brought in interest through lots of contrasting natural finishes, referencing my client’s love of nature and the outdoors: antiqued brass, all-natural linen, carved wood, tan leather, seagrass, and cotton and jute rugs.

^ I sourced a Japanese shoji screen to disguise the irritatingly-numerous doors leading into the room from the bedroom.  I do not understand why there are three different ways to get from the bedroom into the living room…again, because it’s a rental unit we couldn’t go around making structural changes, but at least the shoji screen reduces how chopped up that wall is visually.

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^ I commissioned a custom dhurrie rug from India, layered over a jute base.  It’s a new piece, custom-sized for this project, but with a stonewashed effect to make it look a little more vintage.  And I heart it big-time, will definitely be using this supplier again in the future.

^ A vintage indigo batik textile from {I think} the Miao hill tribe, picked up in a market in Beijing, and leopard/linen pillows jazz up the neutral sofa.  And an antique cast bronze Thai rain drum side table adds some depth to the scheme.


before pic living4 skyline condo


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^ I had fun styling the credenza, it definitely helped that my client already had a fab art/curios collection!  I had the oversize canvas print of the ocean customised to the space – this is actually one of my photos, I have a large collection clients can choose from if we’re wanting to incorporate travel photography but they don’t have anything quite right.

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^ I commissioned a custom succulent and cacti terrarium for the photo shoot, which I luuurved.  Such fantastic detailing and palettes, my botanicals guys really are very good.

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^ A detail shot of my client’s existing artwork: lots of travel photography and interesting pieces he’s collected over the years like maps and Chinese prints, supplemented with a framed vintage ikat textile by Anserai {here} and that oversize canvas print of the ocean.


Dining space


before pic living3 skyline condo


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^ I created a little bar area in the dining space, including sepia travel photography, my client’s collection of Japanese whiskies, and a Tibetan yak horn objet.  I’m still totally obsessed with this beautiful antique Chinese apothecary cabinet too.

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^ And to create a juxtaposition with the antique piece, I used a light industrial accent for the dining table – this area needed to remain neutral as it shares the room with the living space, but the dining table crazy-legs {another technical term, I’m spoiling you today} stop it becoming boring and blah.


Master bedroom

BEFORE – more uninspiring ankle-y curtains…

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^ …were replaced with light and bright, all-natural linen roman blinds.


before pic master skyline condo


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^ A gorgeous Chinese carved wooden screen serves as the headboard, like with my Joo Chiat Duplex project {here}.  Blue/grey distressed nightstands with rattan detail, a neutral dhurrie rug, oversize lumber pillow in a blue ombre textile, and white alabaster lamps complete the look!

^ Because the view from this room is so incredible, we decided to keep the colour palette of the space quite calm and neutral, so as to not detract too much from it.

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^ For the window seat, because it’s a rental apartment it made no sense to get a fully upholstered cushion, so I sourced a gorgeous vintage kilim rug from my guy in Turkey and just wrapped it around a foam inner.  Because the kilim’s quite heavy-weight it doesn’t wrinkle up when sat on or anything irritating.  And because the vintage piece wasn’t cut at all, my client gets a bonus rug to use in the future.

^ The kilim base cushion was supplemented with a mountain of linen pillows, with slightly different colour backings so that, again, they’ll be easier to re-use in the future.  And a brass/linen plug-in wall sconce gives task lighting for the reading corner.  Plug-in sconces are fantastic for rental apartments, where you {obviously} can’t start re-wiring everything – they just need to be drilled into the wall close to a plug socket, and the job’s a good’un.

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^ I picked up the whitewash tray for a song in Bali, and the Chinese teapot was already owned by my client.  And you can also see the subtle detail on the kilim here, love!

Humour me please, just one more time…BEFORE:

before pic master2 skyline condo

Aaaand AFTER – aaah, so pretty:

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{credits: Elly MacDonald Design}

We’re currently taking on new clients, both for e-design services and full concept interior design services – shoot me an email for further info: elly|at|


  1. Rachel says:

    What incredible before and after shots! I especially love what you did with the window seat and the main living space. You have such a great eye for detail and make everything fit togehter so beautifully. Love love love!

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