An Introduction To Tropical Brutalism

An Introduction To Tropical Brutalism
Michelle & Shaun


Bankers Michelle and Shaun reside in a zen sanctuary filled with monochromatic interior finishings, warm wood hues and just the right amount of plants. Raw texture and natural elements hold a perfect balance of cold and warm, brutalism and softness – an equilibrium for recovery and rejuvenation

“We’re both in the banking industry. We enjoy cycling and taking frequent walks with our ‘cockapoo Bailey in the park nearby.”

Cute cockapoo relaxing on beige couch

“We’ve always known we wanted our home to be a sanctuary for us to come back to and we’ve had pretty similar design ideas all along. We wanted raw textures, fluidity and natural elements in our home but we could not put a finger on what the exact style was until we visited The Slow in Bali for a mini-moon.”

DIY beer bottle packaging collage art work framed up in modern brutalist home

“After some research we realised what we wanted was tropical brutalism, but an adapted version as brutalism is really cold and bare.

So we introduced plants and wood for warmer tones, and pops of colour such as our beer label posters. These were made from beers we had together all through the Circuit Breaker period. It was a time where we spent 24 hours of every day together - living, working and growing. It’s our most meaningful and eye-catching keepsake and it definitely reminds me of how it’s possible to still earn a living remotely and with your loved ones around you.”

Philodendron black congo on wooden customised side board

Our ID cleverly suggested to use breeze blocks as a divider to obtain some privacy from the corridor. We loved the idea because breeze blocks have an aesthetic that we knew we wanted in our home anyway.

Modern tropical brutalist home with concrete breeze blocks

M: “Our bath area in the master bedroom is quite a luxury feature that we are really enjoying. Weekday mornings are a mad rush for me because I’m working from office most days so it really helps that our bathroom flows right into our wardrobe area. We are able to get ready for the day together whilst having our own space.

Couple sink with walk in wardrobe in hdb master bed room

M: “Shaun works from home most days so he has a very specific morning routine that he follows to a T which includes having coffee, catching up on what’s going on around the world, bringing Bailey down for her morning walk and then setting up his work station.”

Modern stylish brutalist kitchen in 4 room hdb

“Having our kitchen and dining area converge into one space allows us to go about both our routines together without getting into each other’s way as we can be having coffee and rushing to pack breakfast all in the same space.

White smeg kettle and modern ceramic mugs

We still get to see each other and have little conversations before we start our day separately.”

Suar wood table in modern tropical brutalist home in Singapore

“The open nature of our home, and the freedom of flow between areas kinda reflects how we would like to or rather, wish we could work towards living our lives - Free and with a sense of flow and continuity. Our biggest fear is that our lives become a monotonous trudge.”

Cute brown cocker spaniel poodle

S: “I spend 80% of my time at home at the dining table, which is made of local Suar wood. I work, eat, relax and laze there. To me, it’s a place where I make a living, pursue my hobbies, connect with my loved ones over a beer or a meal, and it’s also a central part of the house, where I can observe Bailey go about her day at home.”

Rattan Second charm furniture at modern dining area

“Our dining chairs are all different because we couldn’t pick a favourite so we got all the ones we liked! We got them from Second Charm which is where we customised our sideboard with fluted wood as well. We also picked out a travertine slab from one of the stone factories to do up our coffee-table as we couldn’t find a suitable one at the retailers.”

Brown cute cockapoo playing with owner

M: “Shaun is a hot sleeper but I’m a cold sleeper. So we turn the aircon on and I steal most of the quilt every night.”

Modern brutalist bedroom with SOJAO organic cotton sheets in White Stone and Forest Green

“We love how the sheets are soft and cool but still fairly thick enough to provide some structure. It’s also nice to know how the cotton was sourced as it serves as a reminder to be mindful of the things we use on a daily basis and their origins which we take for granted sometimes.”

SOJAO organic cotton bedding in White Forest Green and Stone

Michelle and Shaun’s bed is dressed in a Classic Mix & Match Bundle Set with a Classic Duvet Cover in White, a Classic Forest Fitted Sheet, and Classic Pillow Case Pairs in White and Stone.

“We believe in slowly finding what we want instead of mindlessly filling up our space. We haven’t gotten a bedside table for that reason. Furniture sourcing has hence become a more intentional process.”

Cockapoo in Singapore

S: “Home is literally Michelle and Bailey at this moment. Home is wherever as long as we are together.”

“We find that the things we enjoyed the most over the past few years, came unexpectedly and without planning. So we hope that we have more of such experiences this year.”

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