Luxury homes: The museum-like house of a fossil collector
Home for this family of four is a terrace house with a fossil display, explorer's workspace, and an attic full of pop culture memorabilia.
While most homeowners want large cabinets to store household appliances and crockery, Calvin Chu needs them for his collection of over 1,000 ancient fossils and artefacts.
The avid fossil collector — founder of Singapore Fossil Collectors, whose members organise regular fossil swops and exhibitions, as well as conduct interactive talks to show students how to handle real fossils — owns one of the world’s oldest rocks (4.4 billion years) and a 65 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth. Some fossils sit neatly in the dining area of his terrace home, where he lives with his wife Cindy and their two young children.
His fossil collection include a flying dragon lizard Draco Volans taxidermy (below, left) and the upper mandible of a Tyrannosauridae (right, second shelf) Calvin bought in Kazakhstan.
The couple chose a minimalist, all-white design for the first storey, where the living room and kitchen are. “I wanted to recreate the peace and serenity of a museum, while Cindy preferred a more casual and [coastal] interior seen in many Australian homes,” shares Calvin.
What used to be the backyard is now the kitchen, two bedrooms and lots of cabinetry. To maintain an outdoorsy vibe, Calvin designed a skylight that runs across the kitchen and dining area. On the wall is an Ichtyosaur skeleton cast.
The colour palette darkens as you move up. The interior design also transitions from a museum-esque setting to an explorer’s workspace. The couple’s study, in particular, features antique-style pieces such as apothecary drawers, a telescope, and a banker’s lamp.“
My interest in natural history expanded into history itself, so I started collecting maps and paintings dating as far back as the 1500s, relics, and even items associated with myths. In a way, it also explains my fondness for English-style furniture from past eras.” Shares Chu.
More shelves, clad in dark wood laminate, stretch across the length of the room while a staircase leads to a half-height attic dedicated to pop culture memorabilia, and is where the children sometimes play.
He enjoys pop culture as well, including superhero franchises, the Star Wars series and comic books. “I use the attic to introduce my childhood playthings to my kids. It's become like a memory box."
Two rooms were combined to make way for a study, extra storage space and a staircase to the attic, as well as a walk-in wardrobe. The master bedroom looks like a New York loft.
As a finishing touch to this discovery-themed abode, Calvin designed a two-way door between the study and the walk in- wardrobe.