suburban cafe


Very much in love with the whimsical cafes she’d visited in the Hongdae area in Seoul, Sharon Lim didn’t need to think twice when it came to decor inspirations for her home. Together with her husband Raymond Liew, they conceptualised a home very much inspired by the many indie coffee joints they frequented while dating. Their first home together also reflected two distinct tastes, representing the union of two individuals. But while Raymond recalled how they worked their preferences out, he jokingly clarified, «I looked at the budget while she took care of the design. I’m pretty easy-going.»

The apartment’s quirky character was created with the help of interior designer Wein Goh of Free Space Intent, who blended the couple’s fondness for cafe-inspired interiors with modern vintage and Scandinavian elements to create a distinct look for their nest.


The concept plays out flawlessly in the home’s main area. In line with her obsession with cafe culture, Sharon also bought a Tokyo bike with the intention of working it into the home’s interiors.

The designer had to bring down part of the kitchen wall to realise the welcoming open-plan living area for the home. Appliances such as the oven, fridge, and coffee machine in the «kitchen» are now visible from the dining and living area, adding a nice cafe-like touch to this area.

«These bricks are slightly smaller than standard craft stones, so they look a little more whimsical and country rather than industrial,» Wein explains.


To cap their renovation budget at $40,000, the couple retained the flat’s flooring and the washrooms, but still managed to further personalise their space with his and her areas that reflect their contrasting characters.

While Sharon has her personal library near the main entrance where tomes ranging from Shakespeare to Taiwanese cookbooks are displayed, Raymond’s personal niche is the bedroom which has been converted into an entertainment room. It’s filled with Gundam posters and figurines, and this is where the couple kicks back twice a week to enjoy movies on the projector screen.

In another bedroom, which now serves as their study, pink and blue chairs divide the space accordingly. The walls also reflect this colour-coded zoning, and the couple have the luxury of having their own desk space to read, game, or work here. Their bedroom «is purely for rest», states Raymond. Free of any audio-visual gadgets or fancy decorations, the only change made to this basic master bedroom is a walk-in wardrobe that was designed as a room divider in order to separate the sleep and dressing area.

Located on the top floor, Sharon and Raymond’s home is blessed with a slightly higher ceiling that creates a spacious, light-filled environment that also fits the cafe theme like a glove. Thanks to its three-month facelift, this couple can soak up the joy of sitting in a trendy coffee joint without even needing to step out of their home.

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