An Asian Fusion HDB Maisonette That’s Home to One – For Now
While it’s a single’s home, this flat was also designed for family life.
Taking a peek into Benjamin’s first home in Singapore, it’s all too clear what elements appeal to his sense of design. Here, in this 140 square metre HDB maisonette, a collection of oriental furniture mingles with an industrial backdrop, creating a one-of-a-kind bachelor pad where tradition meets modernity.
Interior Firm: The Interior Lab
And although his Bedok flat is now a home for one, Benjamin doesn’t intend for it to stay that way in the long run. “It might be big for a single person, but the size of this house means that it’s a flexible space which can accommodate any needs that my future family may have,” he shares.
For the full tour of this unique, future-proof maisonette, keep scrolling!
About himself and his home
Benjamin (B): I live alone, and I work in the banking/financial services sector. I was originally from the Philippines, and I’ve been working in Singapore for close to 11 years. I bought this HDB maisonette when I was 35, and I had been a citizen for about 2 years by that point.
I love wood, especially good-quality wood, so the design of this home is actually meant to accommodate various pieces of elmwood furniture. I got them customised at a local store called Red House – they may look like Chinese antiques, but they’re actually designed to be modern and long-lasting, which means I can live here for the next 20 to 30 years with them.
The house isn’t completely done up yet, because I’ll probably be adding more of pieces (of furniture) when I get married and have a family.
There’s also a bit of an industrial vibe going on, because it’s a style that’s very accommodative of the furniture and colours that I want. Moreover, it allows me to change the look and feel of the surroundings easily.
For example, I can easily switch out the curtains and sofa for a retro look, or I could bring in more greens and florals to create a tropical theme.
About the kitchen
B: The kitchen is the first main area that you see when you enter the house; there are no walls separating it from the rest of the first floor, but there are foldable glass doors to cordon it off when I have my cooking sessions. It’s where I cook and bake with my friends; the dining area is right next to the entrance and has a large table that can accommodate up to eight people.
Although my kitchen isn’t designed around the triangle concept, it still has good flow between the preparation area, fridge and cooking zone, and I feel that it’s efficient, even if there’s more than one person in the kitchen.
Someone could be preparing ingredients at the island, and at the same time, another person could be cooking at the gas burners, with another washing up at the sink – and there’ll still be enough space for everyone.
About the living room
B: Like the kitchen, the living room is an open area, but I installed a set of side curtains that serve as a false wall to keep the air-con in the space. And if you close them during the day, it feels like you’re in a cinema.
I never had plans to get a coffee table, so the only furniture in the space are a display cabinet that houses my liquor collection as well as a TV console. The idea was to have a movable sofa in the middle of the area, so it can be kept flexible for various activities like mahjong and dance sessions.
About the stairway
B: I told my interior designer that I didn’t like the typical design of under stair closets, and his carpenter came up with the idea of having multiple slide-out compartments instead; the seams between each unit are also hidden between timber strips, which is a nice touch.
The idea to use wire mesh for the stairway came from my designer as well, I thought it was a good tweak as the mesh allows more light to penetrate the area and it can be used to hang art or festive adornments.
While most homeowners would install drop lights to illuminate the stairwell, I asked for lamps to be installed on the sides instead; the trunking adds to the industrial vibe of the house. There’s also a new window that looks into the stairwell, and it allows daylight to enter from the bedroom upstairs.
About the master bedroom
B: The master bedroom is quite simple because I am the only occupant, but I do have future plans for it. I might put in additional shelves and cabinets, and also some paintings just to liven it up a bit more.
One of the major upgrades for the bedroom was the addition of more electrical points, which allows it to function as a home theatre, similar to the living room. In fact, there’s an empty wall that’s facing the bed, so I could actually mount a large TV there if I wanted to.
About the bathroom
B: The original confines of the bathroom were expanded so that it now has wet and dry areas. I like having a clear demarcation between the two, because it makes cleaning a lot easier.
Other than that, there were also new tiles installed on the walls, and on the outside, there’s a new cabinet built between the bathroom and the master bedroom. It’s deliberately positioned there so that it can serve as a shared storage area for toiletries and other communal items, without taking up extra space inside the bathroom.
To sum up
B: I’m probably going to be one of the few homeowners to say that there were no problems with my renovation. There were regular updates from The Interior Lab, which was the design firm that I engaged, plus they paid frequent visits to ensure the renovation went the way I wanted it to.
Their ideas were also very creative and a bit out there; that’s why I picked them out of the five interior designers that I met through Qanvast. Overall, they had the best proposal in terms of what could be done for the house and were also willing to challenge some of my original ideas that probably wouldn’t have worked.
The entire experience was fantastic, and I don’t really have any complaints about it. It was an eye-opener as well, and I really appreciate the time and effort that The Interior Lab put into the renovation – the quality of the carpentry, tiling, and other works turned out great.
Now's a good time as any to get started on your renovation plans!
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