written by:
November 28, 2010

Paul and Elsa Seah, a lawyer and high school teacher living in Singapore, turned a 925-square-foot government housing flat—complete with bomb shelter—into a sleek but cozy home. The challenge, says Paul, was to be faithful to the prefab, concrete roots of the space and still have a comfortable, well-designed apartment. "I have always been a fan of the industrial-minimalist look," he says, "but I also really like mid-century modern furniture and the Scandinavian aesthetic. I wanted to see if we could meld all these styles without having too much of a mish-mash."

A concrete screed floor connects the open plan living and dining rooms and helps keeps the apartment cool. The white Cineline console from Ligne Roset holds the Seahs' AVR, DVD, and CD players. The sofa, another Ligne Roset purchase, is by designer Philip

A concrete screed floor connects the open plan living and dining rooms and helps keeps the apartment cool. The white Cineline console from Ligne Roset holds the Seahs' AVR, DVD, and CD players. The sofa, another Ligne Roset purchase, is by designer Philip Nigro and the Clock clock is from Oggimai, an Italian company.

1 / 9
Every Singapore high-rise household has a bomb-shelter enclosed behind a blast-proof door—inevitably an eyesore. The Seahs covered the entire wall with mirrors. This solution increased the sense of space and played up the apartment's natural lighting. The

Every Singapore high-rise household has a bomb-shelter enclosed behind a blast-proof door—inevitably an eyesore. The Seahs covered the entire wall with mirrors. This solution increased the sense of space and played up the apartment's natural lighting. The shelter houses Elsa's shoes, the vacuum cleaner and the wine fridge.

2 / 9
During a trip to Australia, the Seahs were smitten by the "Party" photo-print hanging in a Bondi restaurant. They met the artist, Murray Hilton (that's him in the cape in the photo), and came home with the print.

During a trip to Australia, the Seahs were smitten by the "Party" photo-print hanging in a Bondi restaurant. They met the artist, Murray Hilton (that's him in the cape in the photo), and came home with the print.

3 / 9
The white glass table is from Bontempi Case and is extendable. By co-opting the settee (in the first image) and some folding chairs, the Seahs can comfortably seat 10 to 12 dinner guests. The single-blade fan, an Australian design, is more energy efficien

The white glass table is from Bontempi Case and is extendable. By co-opting the settee (in the first image) and some folding chairs, the Seahs can comfortably seat 10 to 12 dinner guests. The single-blade fan, an Australian design, is more energy efficient than air conditioning.

4 / 9
The Seahs love to cook, so wanted maximum counter space as well as plenty of storage. They had to sacrifice two drawers and two cabinets in order to accommodate a microwave and an oven. Virtually all of their appliances are energy-efficient models.

The Seahs love to cook, so wanted maximum counter space as well as plenty of storage. They had to sacrifice two drawers and two cabinets in order to accommodate a microwave and an oven. Virtually all of their appliances are energy-efficient models.

5 / 9
In order to compensate for the storage space given over to the oven and microwave, the Seahs added a metal bar to hang spoons, spatulas and tongs.

In order to compensate for the storage space given over to the oven and microwave, the Seahs added a metal bar to hang spoons, spatulas and tongs.

6 / 9
This specially fabricated metal trolley does double duty as a table and holds pots, cutlery, glassware and Paul's 25-year-old Strathisla single malt scotch.

This specially fabricated metal trolley does double duty as a table and holds pots, cutlery, glassware and Paul's 25-year-old Strathisla single malt scotch.

7 / 9
To keep their bedroom as a refuge, the Seahs banned TV and computers. They hung a thick dividing curtain between the sleeping and wardrobe areas (see next photo) to "add a bit more drama and intimacy," says Paul.

To keep their bedroom as a refuge, the Seahs banned TV and computers. They hung a thick dividing curtain between the sleeping and wardrobe areas (see next photo) to "add a bit more drama and intimacy," says Paul.

8 / 9
The Togo lounge chair by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset "is the most comfortable seat in the house," Paul says. The Coupe Lamp is by Joe Colombo for Oluce, one of Paul's favorite mid-century designers.

The Togo lounge chair by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset "is the most comfortable seat in the house," Paul says. The Coupe Lamp is by Joe Colombo for Oluce, one of Paul's favorite mid-century designers.

9 / 9
A concrete screed floor connects the open plan living and dining rooms and helps keeps the apartment cool. The white Cineline console from Ligne Roset holds the Seahs' AVR, DVD, and CD players. The sofa, another Ligne Roset purchase, is by designer Philip

A concrete screed floor connects the open plan living and dining rooms and helps keeps the apartment cool. The white Cineline console from Ligne Roset holds the Seahs' AVR, DVD, and CD players. The sofa, another Ligne Roset purchase, is by designer Philip Nigro and the Clock clock is from Oggimai, an Italian company.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016