Inside the apartment that slowly became a family home for two footloose designers
The Anglo-Japanese couple Naoko Takenouchi and Marc Webb arrived in Singapore as backpackers, and created their forever home
Browse through Inside, and you’ll open up a world of interior opportunities.
The new book collects together pictures of the homes of sixty celebrated contemporary global designers and decorators. There’s a broad range in there, from suburban family homes through to beach escapes, tiny city apartments, and fairly sizeable country estates. However, in each home, you’ll find some kind of life story being told, as in every case, these creators of other people’s interiors have found the space and time to make their own distinctive home.
Naoko Takenouchi and Marc Webb could have settled in a quiet, UK suburb, or a svelte, Tokyo apartment. Takenouchi, an award-winning interior designer, hails from Japan, while Webb, an acclaimed architect, is British. However fate had other plans for these two creative nomads. As our book explains, the couple met during a hotel project in Chiang Mai, Thailand , beginning “a whirlwind romance that would define their personal and professional lives.”
In 2006 they founded their own agency, Takenouchi Webb, in Singapore, specialising in restaurant, hotel, and bar projects, and in 2019 they bought a top-floor 1950s apartment in a residential block, which was, the pair admit, “quite old by Singapore standards.”
“Originally built close to the water, their two-bedroom home has lost its coastal location due to the city-state’s land-reclamation efforts, but a seaside element remains in the light, airy space and the sweeping views out to Singapore’s bustling port,” says our new book.
The couple stripped the property back to a bare shell, before adding the kinds of materials they’ve favoured in their commercial projects, such as terrazzo flooring, timber and handmade ceramic tiles. They added plenty of plants, commissioned custom-made furnishings, alongside beloved vintage items and family hand-me-downs.
“We both came to Singapore as backpackers and slowly got this family and these objects together, so it’s quite a mix,” Webb says in our new book. “Along one wall of the open-plan living area, a solid teak dining table of their own design is complemented by midcentury chairs and a hanging pendant,” explains the text in Inside. “A large wooden sculpture of a family with two children—an artwork, Webb admits, that he snuck out of his parents’ house during a trip back to England — adds a sentimental touch, while a curved cow’s horn collected from a butcher’s shop in Wales also evokes memories. ‘They’re not priceless heirlooms, but they have lots of meaning,’ he says.
“Throughout, the family’s creativity takes centre stage. In the kids’ shared bedroom, a giant cork board placed over a wooden desk encourages them to hang their favourite artworks. More talent is on display in the primary bedroom, where an abstract painting by Webb in navy and white accentuates the apartment’s nautical character. ‘Because it’s a family home, it’s very lively,’ Webb says. ‘We try to have a very stimulating environment, I guess, for our kids and for ourselves.’”
To see many more pictures from this home and plenty of others, order a copy of Inside here.