House Tour: Mark Lee - Singapore's Favourite Ah Beng Turned Interior Designer & Art Collector

Step into the world of comedian and TV host Mark Lee and you'll be amazed by his surprising talent for interior design and his impressive art collection. From his knowledge of various interior styles to...

Step into the world of comedian and TV host Mark Lee and you'll be amazed by his surprising talent for interior design and his impressive art collection. From his knowledge of various interior styles to his keen eye for detail, Mark Lee has proven that there's much more to him than meets the eye.

Embracing Interior Design

In his role as the co-host of the popular home makeover show, Home Decor Survivor, Mark Lee has gained valuable insights into the world of interior design. Despite starting with zero knowledge in the field, he dedicated himself to learning and improving his skills. Through extensive research and hands-on experience, he gradually developed a deep understanding of how to create beautiful and functional spaces.

Last year, Mark Lee had the opportunity to put his skills to the test when he designed his own 2,680 sq ft condominium apartment in Upper Thomson Road. Collaborating with the local interior design company Weiken, Mark Lee crafted a modern-looking apartment with a predominantly white palette and vibrant furniture accents. The result is a stylish and inviting space that reflects his personal taste and preferences.

Mark Lee's balcony
The balcony at comedian and TV host Mark Lee's home has been outfitted with seats from Lifestorey to create a cozy nook.

A Surprising Art Collection

One aspect of Mark Lee's home that surprises guests the most is his remarkable art collection, featuring works by Beijing-born artist Wu Qiong. Despite the stereotype of an "Ah Beng" (a term used to describe a stereotypical Singaporean street-smart youth), Mark Lee challenges expectations and breaks the mold.

Mark Lee first encountered Wu Qiong's art in a magazine at his friend, celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee's house. Intrigued by Wu's adorable paintings depicting babies, Mark Lee was instantly drawn to their charm and uniqueness. He ended up acquiring four pieces, including a small statue of a baby with tattoos and a 3m-long painting, which he ingeniously mounted on his apartment's ceiling.

Mark Lee's art collection
Comedian and TV host Mark Lee's art collection includes Wu Qiong's small statue of a baby with tattoos.

Mark Lee's passion for art extends beyond mere decoration. He believes that anyone, regardless of their background, can appreciate and collect art. It's a reminder that interests and hobbies transcend stereotypes, and there's always more to a person than meets the eye.

Personal Touches and Design Changes

In addition to his art collection, Mark Lee's apartment showcases his personal touches and design choices. He redesigned various areas to suit his preferences and enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space.

Mark Lee's dining room
The dining room at comedian and TV host Mark Lee's home. The original island counter has been removed to make space for a dining table.

For example, Mark Lee had part of the false ceiling in the living room raised by 30cm to create a more spacious and comfortable atmosphere. He also replaced the original mustard-yellow floor tiles with elegant marble tiles, elevating the overall look of the room. These changes demonstrate his attention to detail and commitment to making his home a truly special place.

Mark Lee's favorite part of his home is the living room, which he considers the heart of the space. He believes that it's essential for the family to have a cozy and attractive living room where they can spend quality time together. His dedication to creating a welcoming environment for his loved ones is evident in the thought and effort he puts into designing this area.

Mark Lee's daughter's room
This room with cheery pink furniture belongs to comedian and TV host Mark Lee's elder daughter, Calista.

Home is Where the Heart Is

Despite his success and the means to upgrade to a landed home, Mark Lee feels content in his current condominium setting. He values the community aspect and believes that living in a condominium allows his children to interact and play with other kids, fostering a vibrant and enriching environment.

While Mark Lee's talent for interior design is evident, he has no plans to start his own interior design firm. He acknowledges the challenges and responsibilities that come with managing such a business and prefers to focus on his various other ventures.

Discovering Mark Lee's passion for interior design and his stunning art collection reveals a whole new side to this beloved comedian and TV host. It's a testament to the fact that passions and interests can unite people from all walks of life, transcending stereotypes and expectations.

This article was originally published in 2014 on The Straits Times.