Simple yet dreamy, this new family home is warmth personified!
Many homeowners think that designing a child-friendly home means sacrificing on design – but that’s not always the case. The proof: this 4-room BTO flat in Tampines GreenVerge.
“This home belongs to a young couple, who had a baby during the renovation period,” says Attic Studio designer Mia. “Also, they – especially the wife – really like wood and natural accents. We took note of all these things to ensure that the end result is a home that’s aesthetically pleasing, yet child-friendly.”
Additionally, Mia was also tasked to make this home look less ‘cookie-cutter’ – which is a whole other challenge by itself, considering that all new BTO flats sport similar layouts. To see how Mia navigated all of these factors, we chatted with her to find out more!
About the homeowners and their home
Mia (M): When I first met them, the wife was concerned about the colour scheme – she wanted something that would make people feel happy. That’s why we eventually chose a beige shade – something neutral that matches the wood tones while bringing out the warm vibe.
These days, fewer owners opt for built-in carpentry, and my clients are no exception. Built-ins tend to make the space more cramped and ‘heavy’, whereas loose furniture gives you more freedom to play around with the decor.
So, the highlight of this house, I think, is the decorations. Things like plants, paintings, and pieces with organic elements – which are sourced by myself and the clients alike – really help to bring out this warm, cheerful feeling.
About the living room and foyer
M: We kept the living room simple. There aren’t a lot of built-ins here, other than the cabinets concealing the household shelter. We didn’t really like how the [household shelter] door looks, so I thought this was a good excuse to install some built-ins (laughs).
You’ll notice that there’s no false ceiling here. We usually don’t recommend false ceilings, especially if you plan to use a ceiling fan, because it’s not safe.
So, what we did instead was to build a cove. This way, you can install ceiling fans without worry, and it’s also like a divider that separates the foyer and living room area.
We were debating between tiles and vinyl for the flooring, but the owners ultimately chose the latter. It’s not only more child-friendly, but it also isn’t as cold or hard to the touch – more comfortable for the baby to crawl on.
About the kitchen
M: These days, most BTO flats come with the option of having an open- or closed-concept kitchen. My clients chose the former, because they felt that a closed kitchen would feel small and cramped.
But at the same time, they also wanted the flexibility of opening and closing the space – so eventually, we decided to go with a semi-open kitchen concept, with cabinets acting as room dividers, and glass panes that allow you to see into the space.
Most homeowners tend to use a galley-style layout, with the sink and stove side-by-side – but for this project, I wanted to do something different. So, we intentionally created a corner stove, where the diagonal area adds some dimension to the space.
And because the kitchen is quite small, we hacked the wall between the kitchen and service yard, and extended the kitchen cabinets to give the illusion of space. This way the house wouldn’t look so cramped, and will feel more airy and spacious.
About the common and master bedroom
M: Both the common bedrooms have the same type of cabinets – one full-height and one half-height cabinet. The only difference is that one is used as a study, while the other acts as the nursery.
For the master bedroom, the wardrobe is a little different. The owners wanted more wardrobe space, but this was a bit difficult since the room is quite small. Given these issues, we thought that the best layout for the wardrobe would be an L-shaped one.
Again, we didn’t do any false ceilings in any of the bedrooms as we didn’t want to reduce the ceiling height. And since this only allowed us to install one ceiling light, we chose to use track lights instead of your usual one.
In my opinion, it’s the better option as they can highlight multiple areas. The black colour also contrasts really nicely with the white and wood tones.
About the bathrooms
M: A lot of our clients with BTO flats don’t really like the original HDB tiles – they have this warm grey shade that isn’t very nice. So, we ended up overlaying them with fully grey tiles instead.
The walls, however, were left untouched. The original white tiles can match with most colours, so it’s not as bad.
Other than building the vanity, the renovation work here was quite minimal. The only thing we did was to choose black fittings like the mirror and towel rack to maximise visual contrast.
To sum up
M: There were a few minor hiccups here and there. But because the owners and I have a good relationship, it all turned out okay. If we hadn’t communicated properly, there would have been a lot of misunderstandings, and the outcome wouldn’t have been as nice.
Overall, I feel happy about the experience. Looking at the final result, I think it turned out exactly how we imagined it – and since the owners really like it, it makes me feel even happier!
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