A 180° Revamp That Turned This 5-Room HDB Bright & Breezy
At first glance, this 5-room resale flat may look like your average Scandinavian home but it actually packs a punch, design-wise.
Some resale units come looking a little dated, a little worn or a little dark (it could even be a combination of the aforementioned) and such was the case for this 5-room resale HDB, though it’s slightly hard to picture given its fresh new look.
Interior Firm: Neu Konceptz
“We started with a very simple brief and built it from there,” said Neu Konceptz designer John. Together, he and the homeowner worked closely to develop the renovation plans and details. “In the end, virtually nothing was retained from before – the home was given a huge overhaul with the exception of its windows.”
To find out more about the whole renovation process, we sat down with John for a detailed delve into every tweak and update.
About the design brief
John (J): The homeowner just came back to Singapore after spending 3 to 4 years in Hong Kong and bought this flat. She wanted to make the home as bright, airy and spacious as possible since she has a dog.
J: We veered towards elements that allow brightness, which was what led to the whole Scandinavian approach – white to enhance the look and wood to counterbalance the coldness, while keeping it more minimalist to visually enlarge the space.
On the home, pre-renovation
J: The home was dark, which made the whole space feel very enclosed and tight. It’s not particularly cosy or cohesive in style either.
Pictured above: The living room, kitchen, balcony and bedroom pre-renovation.
On changes made
J: Seeing as she doesn’t really cook that often, we decided to hack down a wall in the kitchen to create the open concept look. In its place now stands a counter, where she sits to enjoy a cup of coffee. Further in, the frames of the windows were then updated from green to a white. The glass was swapped out too for frosted ones that allows natural light to flood into the area but also blocks out the less visually appealing pipes in the service yard.
J: This resale flat in particular has a very long living room and the original homogeneous tiles didn’t really jump out to highlight the fact. So, we took it out and used a herringbone vinyl floor – once you step into the apartment, it’s pretty eye-catching from the get-go and imbues an air of sophisticated elegance while still blending in with the overall design.
J: In fact, many of the home’s features may look like your cookie-cutter carpentry or installations at first glance but when you do a double take, that’s where you start spotting the minute differences. Take for instance, the TV feature wall. It’s built out of plywood laminates but we changed it up by bookmatching the wood and applied a sort of moulding effect.
J: The bedroom wardrobe also has a similar application but instead of making something symmetrical and uniform this time, I used different laminates (in varying sizes) – the first is a fabric laminate that softens up the look and the second is a wood laminate to make it look more complementary.
J: Many of the niches or recessed areas in the home were transformed to additional storage compartments like the one found under the bedroom window or in the common areas, where the homeowner took to storing her collection of guitars.
J: The balcony also underwent a complete revamp too despite her earlier interest in keeping it intact. The first priority was to keep the rain out so we enclosed the space by building in a new window. Since the homeowner loves to read, we then removed the door to conjoin it with the living room and turned it into a reading corner.
To sum up
J: Lifestyle is an important consideration when it comes to making a house a home. As the homeowner herself has many interests – reading, playing guitars, entertaining, the resale apartment was revamped to cater to them. Not to say that I completely ignored the technical aspects though. Many of the conduits, wiring and more have been camouflaged or concealed. It’s finding a balance between creative interpretation and maintaining practicality at the same time.
J: While the concept or design may always look the same on the outside, you can actually employ different textures and patterns to switch things up a bit. These subtle details will prevent the home from looking too bland and uninspiring, think of it as introducing character and depth into the spaces.
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