Andrea Savage

Dark is the opposite of light and of course we all know that!  Living in Singapore, we take our brightly lit streets and department stores for granted and why wouldn’t we?  They are a constant in our everyday lives but try imagining Orchard Road at night without it – it would be lifeless, devoid of all its glamour…. a black and white sketch at best.


We use the word “light” so frequently that I doubt we stop and think of its meaning or its true purpose.  How many times do we have ‘a light bulb moment’ when we find the answer to a problem or ‘see the light’ when we accept a situation?  And we comfort ourselves and others when we state that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.


Light is all around us, both natural and artificial. With the latter playing a significant role in our interiors. The placement of light is a vital aspect of interior design and works in conjunction with colour, room size, availability of natural light and furniture selection.  These elements only truly come together when the right lighting is achieved, thereby transforming a room into a seamless combination of functionality and style.

One of my favourite examples of this is the Design Intervention interior below. Light comes from multiple sources; from the birdcage pendants to the Serip chandelier in the foreground and the natural light filtering through the window.  As a result, the whole interior is alive with light, making it glisten and sparkle with intensity and variation.


In countries with specific seasons, the onset of winter and the waning of natural light influences the choice of clothing and seasonal colour ranges, menus and the decoration of interiors.  Take for example this moody interior. Natural light is at a minimum but decorative lighting such as this customized wall light, plays a key role in the design.


Thank goodness for Spring which heralds brighter days, lighter, cheerful colours and a mouth-watering array of fruits and vegetables. One of the charms of Spring is the return of natural light with its promise of longer days and the opportunity for recreational activities.   People shrug off the gloom and darkness of the winter months and feel the need to redecorate with fun colourful interiors which are fresh, bright and inspired!


However, no matter how much natural light we may enjoy through the day, the coming of night and the onset of darkness is inevitable, making us totally dependent on artificial light to dispel the gloom.  These days, lighting is indeed an art form which we enjoy all around us but nowhere as much as in our homes. The era of down lights and track lighting is firmly in the past as lighting today has been taken to a whole new level.  In a way, it has had its very own light bulb moment!  It has become fun and vibrant, quirky and on occasion amusing.  Designers have imbued their eccentricities into their creations and don’t we just love it.



Contemplating the wonders of lighting from a design perspective also reminds me of the unbelievable benefits we enjoy from unseen light – radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays and the list goes on.  All this light has contributed to crucial advances in science and medicine and we are hardly aware of it!  Can we envisage a world without international communication via the Internet?  We would be left floundering and it boggles the mind to even imagine how helpless and bereft we would be.

So I am back to where I started and light is indeed the opposite of dark!  While I crave the light and enjoy a sunny day sitting on a beach as much as anyone, I love the stygian darkness of my bedroom at the end of a long day, the guarantee of a good night’s sleep and some much needed rest for my tired brain.   Renewal for us humans, birds, animals and nature requires a world that is not constantly lit, so bear with me as I need to flick off the switch and plunge my world into welcoming darkness…..




April 27, 2017 0 comment
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Last weekend, while eating an ice cream and savouring a mouthful of its creamy deliciousness, its velvety texture segued somehow into contemplating velvet – the fabric – and its amazing versatility.  Mention velvet to anyone and it immediately conjures up images of a lush, sensuous fabric, its irresistible tactile quality which you just have to reach out and stroke.  Does anyone not like velvet?  Is it even a possibility?


Today, velvet is everywhere it seems, being the current hottest fashion trend – strutted down the catwalks showcasing designer collections but widely available amongst mainstream brands on every high street.   Just the other day I was entranced by a pineapple pair of velvet shoes…. but then I spied a midnight blue velvet clutch and was torn  –  which to choose? perhaps spoil myself and get both?  But that would be very extravagant, wouldn’t it?  So I pondered and salivated…. but then, that’s exactly the siren song of velvet; it tempts and beckons and you succumb!


Velvet is timeless as it has been around since the Middle Ages but did you know that the word velvet actually refers to the weave and not the content of the material.  A distinctive soft pile fabric that we are all familiar with, it is hardly surprising that it was once the symbol of wealth and power favoured by kings and queens as it was woven from silk and therefore only affordable to royalty.  Famously, King Richard II of England stated in his will, that on his death, his body should be draped in velvet.   Aren’t we lucky then, that this sumptuous fabric is so affordable today as we can acquire it in more cost-effective varieties made from cotton, linen, mohair and wool.  So, putting fashion aside, let’s look at its endless applications in interiors.

Used in home furnishings and upholstery, cotton velvet – known as velveteen, is the strongest and most durable.  Adding a velvet sofa will make your living room appear special no matter how simple it is.  The ageless quality of velvet adds a natural depth and warmth and an innate elegance as seen in the two sitting rooms below.  In both cases, the fabric in solid blocks of colour speaks for itself.


Design Intervention Projects

But such is the versatility of velvet, that it is right at home even in contemporary interiors as evidenced in this saffron coloured velvet couch where it delivers a definite pop factor as does this printed tropical velvet by Christian Lacroix.


Design Intervention Projects

And let us not forget how the simple addition of a strategically positioned velvet cushion can provide the finishing touch on seating or when dressing a bed…



Design Intervention Projects

To my mind, the sensuousness of velvet has a definite place in the bedroom, so I just love this image of amethyst velvet covering the walls and draping the windows of a master bedroom and note that it doesn’t even make it onto the bed!  Due to the specific choice of colour, the space is not only visually sensuous, but simultaneously warm, inviting and restful.  It’s tempting me to get myself there with all possible speed, shut the door, kick my shoes off and lose myself in its warm embrace.  Oh my!….


The chameleon-like quality of velvet offers us a vast palette of colour choices in addition to a mouth-watering array of pattern in the way of figured, cut, crushed and devore (or burnout).   The latter many of us are familiar with as we may have a blouse or a scarf in devore but it can prove a very deliberate choice in curtaining which makes a statement while being simultaneously decorative.


Design Intervention Project

Finally, can one overdose on velvet?  I think not!  Who wouldn’t adore a sumptuous leopard printed velvet on a gorgeous statement chair, or an emerald jeweled option on an arm-chair I ask!  Mmm, well, I know without a flicker of doubt that my Mother would….


Design Intervention Project

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Design Intervention Project

Well, I have feasted on velvet and all its many charms, but if you can’t bear the thought of using it in your home, then opt for scrapping the fabric and indulge instead in some simply delicious and much coveted red velvet cake. You see, there is some truth in the fact that velvet is to be found everywhere!






April 3, 2017 0 comment
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We are spoilt, living in a warm climate, we take a blue sky for granted until a succession of rainy days and grey skies makes us long for the return of that blue canopy overhead. The world without blue and all its myriad of tones would be a sad place.

Blue has the power to energise us when we encounter a bright splash of it in fashion and accessories; we enjoy it’s calming influence when we look at an endless blue sky from the ground below.  Gazing at a rippling blue ocean encourages our minor stresses to float away and restores tranquillity and soothes the spirit.

I LOVE blue!  My favourite shade is definitely cobalt and Lapis. Their vibrant hues both in my interior and wardobe never fail to energise me.

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It was the obvious choice in my windowless kitchen to mimic the sky.7

This worked so well, that I used the same colour in the stairwell, where it injects a punch of colour and spirit to the black and white of the carpeting. I can’t help but look at it everyday as I walk up and down these stairs.

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Recalling past projects, I came across one in particular which is interesting because of its juxtaposition with yellow, which works brilliantly.  The combination is simultaneously calming and lively and a major leap from the traditional take on blue and white in interiors.

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If blue has the ability to calm the soul and dining rooms are spaces where we feed our bodies, it follows that blue seating may be a deliberate choice to meld the two!  The curved blue chairs at this round dining table enhance the sense of intimacy when sharing a meal with family or friends.

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Have you ever imagined a BLUE kitchen?  An adventurous client chose this vivid shade which does not overwhelm as it is paired with white but it has a definite wow factor and delivers a huge surprise when you throw open the doors!


If you yearn for a playful touch in the bedroom, consider upholstering your bed in a strong, impactful colour like the turquoise fabric seen here, further contrasted with bright, punchy cushions.  The effect is still restful but with an element of fun and adds lightness and youthfulness to the overall scheme.

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Organic materials such as timber marry very well with blue as seen in the sitting area below both colours of nature which surround us everywhere, everyday.  Here, they are undeniably elegant and refined.

So be happy Singing the Blues, letting them work their magic to calm, soothe or energize you!


March 13, 2017 0 comment
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