A Love for Bali and Industrial Chic Shows in This Cool Home
Previously a dreary dwelling, this Woodlands HDB flat was turned into an eclectic abode following a thorough makeover.
Industrial design and Balinese decor might seem like an unlikely pairing, but it was from these two sources of inspiration that the unique aesthetic of Farrah and Ee Loong’s home in Woodlands was born.
“Ee Loong is a fan of industrial design, which is why we wanted to work in elements of that into the look (of our home),” shares Farrah. “At the same time, we wanted to add some vibrancy and character – and that’s where the Balinese influences, like the rattan accessories and wood elements come in to create our own unique design style.”
But to achieve just that, a gut renovation had to come first. “If you take a look at some of the photos (of the house before the renovation), you can tell that it’s quite old,” says Ee Loong. “It’s about 30 years when we bought it, so we definitely had our work cut out for us.”
About themselves and their home
Ee Loong (EL): This is our first home together! We’ve been living here for about 3 to 4 months, we moved in just before the Circuit Breaker started. My work involves sales development for an IT course academy and Farrah works in the medical field.
The process of creating the look of our home was actually quite easy because it was all about implementing the design ideas we saw online after nailing down the layout.
The living room before and during the renovation. (Credit: Farrah and Ee Loong)
Farrah (F): There was quite a bit of DIY work done for our renovation. Most of our furniture – like our shoe rack and dining chairs – were purchased from Taobao and they all came unassembled, which meant we had to screw and fix them up on our own. Surprisingly, the quality of these items was pretty good, even though they were affordable.
About the living room and balcony’s makeover
F: We didn’t end up changing the layout of the house much, we were too lazy to knock down the walls. [laughs] But we definitely did our best to fill it up with accessories and furniture that matched our tastes. Likewise, we kept the TV wall simple so that we would have more flexibility in the future, if we ever decide to redecorate.
We also ended up having very little built-in furniture. Most of the pieces that you see in the living area are loose, with the exception of our TV console. Other than that, we decided to have a brick veneer wall behind our sofa because it would add to the industrial vibe.
EL: Compared to the rest of the house, the balcony’s design is in a way newer because we recently created a play area for a stray kitten that we adopted. His name is Pebbles! I found him near my office in Jurong West; we weren’t too worried about being able to take care of him since Farrah has four cats back at her parents’ place.
On making over the entryway
The entryway prior to the renovation. (Credit: Farrah and Ee Loong)
F: Aside from the bright blue door, I think one of the things that people will notice when they enter our home is the flooring. Initially, it was just raw matte cement but after that we had an epoxy layer applied over the floor for protection – it’s why some parts are shiny, and some aren’t.
There used to be quite a few built-ins near the entrance. For example, there was a huge altar and even a fish tank, but we replaced all that with our own shelf, which we got off Taobao.
We filled up the shelf with Beatles memorabilia because they have been our favourite band since we started listening to them when we were in our mid-20s. Of course, we still listen to them nowadays. Every morning, in fact!
About renovating the dining area
The dining area, mid-renovation. (Credit: Farrah and Ee Loong)
EL: We left the orientation of the dining area unchanged from the configuration that the previous owners, so there wasn’t much change layout-wise.
Our dining table is from a furniture store called Xclusive Home; we did think about getting a wooden one off Taobao, but we just felt more comfortable having warranties for larger furniture pieces. Also, because our living room TV has a tilt mount, we’re able to watch it even while having our meals here.
On changes made to the kitchen and common bathroom
The kitchen before and after hacking (Credit: Farrah and Ee Loong)
F: The kitchen was quite cluttered before the renovation; it had a combination of dark blue cabinets and blue-white tiles which really reminded us of void deck tables. Naturally, we got rid of all that, although our kitchen shares the same colour scheme.
We chose not to build top-hung cabinets because they would make the kitchen feel too ‘heavy’ like it did previously, so we ended up installing open shelves. The bottom cabinets provide enough storage space for our pots, pans and snacks, so there wasn’t any need for more.
I like marble patterns, so there are elements of that both in the kitchen and the common bathroom, specifically the kitchen countertop and the bathroom walls.
Compared to the master en suite, the common bathroom is more vibrant because of the colourful floor tiles we chose. We also added a sliding barn door because it saves space and has a rustic vibe.
The common bathroom before (left) and after (right) the renovation.
About the master bedroom and en suite’s renovation
F: The master bedroom is one of the spaces that has changed the most. There used to be built-in wardrobes right beside the en suite; we removed them and created an open-concept wardrobe that would give us easy access to our clothes.
The master bedroom (left) and en suite (right), pre-renovation. (Credit: Farrah and Ee Loong)
EL: To change things up a little, we opted for vinyl flooring for our bedroom instead of sticking to cement screed like the outside. But there’s still an industrial vibe going on in here with the black metal trim of the wardrobe screens.
The platform bed is a custom piece with drawers on the side for storage; the console in front of it is from FortyTwo, and so is the mirror. You can’t really tell, but the track lights in the bedroom, and also the living room, can be voice controlled – the same goes for the air con and sound system as well.
F: We wanted to have some form of thematic consistency between the en suite and the master bedroom, so the shower screen also has black metal trim. The herringbone floor in the en suite is new as well and it’s inspired by a hotel bathroom that I saw online.
To sum up
F: I’m pretty pleased with how our flat turned out, it’s spacious and I’ve really grown to like it since we’re spending more time at home together these days, just like everyone else. Even though there are still some issues that require fixing – for example, like water seepage in the balcony on rainy days – it doesn’t change the fact that this place still feels like home.
EL: I have to agree. I also think the DIY aspect of the experience was satisfying because it gave us an opportunity to be more hands-on for our renovation.
Installing a smart home system on your own is also a lot easier than most people would think. Just like sourcing for good buys on Taobao, you’ve just got to do the research to find the right components. I think it’s worth the effort, because the final cost is going to be a fraction of what it would be if you had hired someone else to do the job.
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