In conversation with interior stylist Priscilla Tan of Styledbypt
No kidding… we’ve saved half of Styledbypt’s Instagram page to our decor inspiration board. It’s undeniable – her spaces are charming, on-point and peaceful in equal parts.
Shuttling between Singapore and New Zealand, this interior stylist’s uber-fresh spaces aren’t the only testament to her skills. Design prowess aside, her clients appreciate the energy, enthusiasm and trust she brings to the table – evident from those Facebook reviews.
We caught up with Priscilla to chat about her unique styling service and take a look inside one gorgeously styled black and white conservation home.
When did you realise you had an eye for design and a unique Pinterest-worthy aesthetic?
Priscilla Tan: My background in fashion design definitely trained the eye for design, colours and textiles (which is a huge part of interior styling). Working in the fashion line and later on in jewellery meant I had to create gorgeous styled imagery worthy of a magazine feature to create a desire for people to shop.
I love collecting design books and I spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram gaining inspiration daily. I have many design heroes in all art forms – be it from food, art, fashion and interiors – from whom I draw inspirations. I think being creative means having an open mindset and keen observation skills.
Take us back to Styledbypt’s origin two years ago.
Priscilla: I’m trained in fashion design and had my own clothing line where I designed corporate uniforms. When fast fashion came, it affected my business. I closed it down and moved to jewellery design. This experience taught me so much about bespoke customer services and marketing. I had many opportunities to design retail spaces and offices for the jewellery company I worked for.
At the same time, I had friends and family asking me to design and style their homes after visiting my home. I always thought it was fun but never thought interior styling could be a career as I was quite fixated about being in the fashion industry.
With time I realised that creativity has no boundaries. To be able to create, design or style, irrespective of the medium, is my passion. It brings me joy. Before I got the courage to do interior styling full time, I was blessed with two clients who had so much courage and trust in me… even before I founded Styledbypt!
One day, while watching HGTV with a girlfriend, it dawned on me that interior styling is lacking in Singapore and I could have a part to play in styling homes and creating beauty in someone’s life.
What made you pick this niche?
Priscilla: In Singapore, most homes are beautifully renovated but they lack soul and personality. Friends or family members used to often tell me how they struggle with finding the right furniture pieces, decide on artwork or the size of rug to display in their homes.
So I thought it would be nice to offer a home styling service which is a huge thing around the world but not very well known in Singapore when I started two years ago. By going the bespoke way, I could make sure all the homes I designed and styled would avoid a cookie-cutter look.
Walk us through the services you offer…
Priscilla: I offer clients two main styling plans. One is E-design – it’s a DIY approach where I provide my design consultancy and sourcing skills to complement their existing spaces. This is a plan for homeowners who’ve just renovated but feel the need to add warmth and cosiness through styling. I guide them through the steps on styling spaces on their own with the shopping list and curated looks we discussed together.
The other plan I have is full-suite design and styling consultancy where I work with homeowners from start to finish. I put on my interior designer and stylist hat and help them navigate through options from building the home (finding the right tiles, flooring, lighting, floor plan decisions) to finishing the home with the right furniture and decorations.
Our ‘design-from-scratch’ approach involves understanding their lifestyle needs and preferences and offering them solutions they have not thought of themselves. Often my clients have existing furniture items which they hope to re-use, or they wish to combine a few functions in one room such as blending a workspace, guest room and storeroom all as one.
Thinking out of the box and listening to their requests and designing these spaces that fit their needs is one of the most important things I do in my creative work.
Who are your clients and what do they usually sign on for?
Priscilla: I initially thought I’d be targeting young couples around my age group (early-to-mid-30s) who might have just gotten their first homes. My main pool of clients is working mums who need help to get their dream home as they are time-starved with successful careers and a family to take care of.
Many of them have gone from clients to friends and I am super grateful for their trust when I first started to build my business.
I have offered interior design as part of my services on top of my styling services as most of my clients prefer a one-stop design service.
Walk us through the styling and decoration of this gorgeous black and white conservation home.
Priscilla: My clients used to stay in a penthouse and I had worked on their old home. After they found this lovely black and white – their dream home – they got in touch again. I was so thrilled that they wanted me on board to help them style this amazing structure. The bones of the home were a great base to design and worked with.
After identifying the function of each space, we got down to identifying the home style. We were going for a ‘modern colonial with heritage’ look. My favourite part of styling this home was adding little touches of patterns. Through the powder room, we were able to bring in a gorgeous protea wallpaper print that made the entire bathroom pop. It introduces an element of surprise whenever a guest enters the powder room.
I was so excited when my clients approved my wallpaper plan for the home, and seeing it all come to life was such a highlight. My clients also got their cousin to paint a few artworks that meant a lot to the family and their heritage.
We were able to re-use all of their existing furniture, lighting fixtures and even decorative items such as rugs, artwork, decorations and throw cushions in the new space while giving it a completely new look.
That made my clients really happy as we were able to re-use the pieces they already love. It also allowed them to allocate more budget towards renovation costs and get their dream building materials. We did some major changes to the space, especially in the kitchen, master suite and new bathrooms.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Priscilla: Oh gosh, I have absolutely no idea. Personally, my goal is to create a home for my clients that truly represents them. When their family/friends come over, they must go, “OMG this home is so you!” I love creating homes that mean something and are unique to my client’s own style rather than just a pretty home without a personality or one that is just driven by trends.
Working from home is the new normal. What are your decorating tips and tricks for a home office/study?
Priscilla: I’ve got five tips to create home office that’s bound to help up your productivity.
- Create a cosy designated space to work: Add throw cushions to your new work chair or place a rug under your work desk to help create a personalised designer home office.
- Choose pretty stationery: Anything that aligns with your home style, colour and mood. Colourful or monochromatic pencil holders, fancy paper trays, stylish notepads and sticky notes can instantly elevate the work desk.
- Get good lighting: Move your desk near a natural light source or get light bulbs that are easy on the eyes for work. This is so important for the health of your eyes and it allows you to be focused and bring a part of your usual work environment into your home.
- Add plants: Plants have magical powers to bring a sense of cosiness to a space and it helps filter the air. Having a daily routine to water the plants makes one feel really purposeful as well.
- Find yourself a nice view: It could be looking out at the window or placing a gorgeous piece of art above the table, or even a family portrait to spark positive vibes in your new home office.
You’ve worked on more than 35 projects in a short span of time. Which one are you most proud of and why?
Priscilla: Ha, is this a trick question! I am proud of every single one. I am beyond grateful for each opportunity and I am most proud of the relationships I have formed with each client and to get a glimpse into their life stories.
That is something I hold dearly in my heart. A home journey is an intimate insight into someone’s life and I am honoured to be a part of that. To see them excited, happy and in love with their homes is just the icing on the cake.
I remember a client telling me how much pain they are going through to get their kids to sleep in their rooms and not with them. After the kids’ bedroom makeover was done, the kids never wanted to leave their own sanctuary. They would make the effort to keep their space tidy and neat because they love their room. And the kids even invited their friends over to show their room… without asking their parents for permission!
All photography by Louis Po.
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