Renovation planning, on the go
Save your favourite home ideas, enquire with firms and explore home deals.
Switch to the app
📢 [27-28 Jul] Skip showroom-hopping! Meet multiple interior designers on one weekend. Find out more ›
ARTICLES

Colonial-Style Semi-D House is a Throwback to Old-School Singapore

It’s a blend of old and new in this charming semi-detached home for four.

Even the most experienced interior designers can learn something new in the projects that they take on. For Chris, that came in the form of this semi-detached house in Yio Chu Kang.

“Over the years, I’ve mostly worked on HDB flats and condominium projects,” says the founder of Bowerman. “Landed home projects have been pretty rare, and even then, I’ve never actually had the chance to build a swimming pool. It's a great learning opportunity.”

Taking on this project all the way back in 2019, Chris eventually found the renovation delayed due to the pandemic – which, in fact, gave him the time needed to conduct his research and ensure that his work was done well.

Semi-detached House renovation
Save to Qanvast Board

View this project by Bowerman

One thing that spurred him on: the design the owners wanted. Fuelled by their love for old-school colonial looks, they were keen on recreating the theme for their home – which, coincidentally, was right up Chris’s alley.

“As a designer, I’m very into traditional designs,” says Chris. “I find joy in paying homage to our history while revamping a space. So this, coupled with the rare opportunity to work on a landed home with a pool, made this a very exciting project for me.”

To see how the house turned out, we got Chris to tell us more!


About the homeowners and the home

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

Chris (Ch): This house belongs to a family of four, who were previously staying in a condominium. All of them are avid sports enthusiasts, and one of them is even a national swimmer, so they eventually decided that they needed a bigger place to accommodate a pool as well as their sports equipment.

During their search, they found this semi-detached house, which happens to be near where they were staying at the time. The main appeal was that it was a corner house, which had more land space compared to the other houses in their row – which meant that they had more space to build the swimming pool they wanted.


About creating the entryway and swimming pool

Semi-detached House renovation
Save to Qanvast Board

Ch: If I had to choose, I would say that the entryway is my favourite part of the house. When you walk through it, you’re greeted with the garden on one side, and these vintage doors on the side.

The owners initially wanted to use heavy-duty aluminium doors, but after we got them, we realised that the look just didn’t gel together. Sometimes, we have to ‘listen’ to the house in a way, and at that time, it was saying that the choice of doors wasn’t right.

So, the owners made the painful decision to let those aluminium doors go. And around that time, I had a contact that just so happened to have these reclaimed door frames from an old police station – so after some discussion, we had them installed here. It’s hard to explain, but the house really looked so much more put together with these doors.

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

At the end of the entryway, you’ll find the pool toilet, which allows the homeowners to refresh themselves after a swim without needing to run through the living room in their wet clothes.

It has a black-and-white theme to match the colonial look we were going for. Even the tap was carefully selected – we were initially going to use locally-sourced fittings here, but I chanced across this two-way vintage tap from the UK while looking online.

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

The pool was hands-down the most challenging part of this renovation – it wasn’t only because this was new territory for me, but also because there were some structural issues that made us reconfigure the layout multiple times.

For example, we wanted to make use of the sizable frontage to host the swimming pool, but we found that this wasn’t feasible as it would get in the way of the sewage pipes. To relocate them would be very expensive, so we eventually decided to shift it towards the side of the house instead.

Also, as this was my first time building a pool, there was a lot of research involved – not only on the process to build it, but also on the technologies to install.

For instance, most pools you know are cleaned with chlorine, which isn’t good for the skin. As the homeowners spend a lot of time in the pool, we didn’t want to do this – so instead, we installed a special filter and pump that only uses table salt to clean the pool. It’s much healthier for everyone.


About the living room and kitchen

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

Ch: The father is the one who really loves the vintage look. To him, it’s not just about the black-and-white colonial theme – it’s also about the patterns and details. It’s why we took so long to source this Chesterfield sofa; it was imported all the way from Europe after he fell in love with it.

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

The kitchen is right next to the living room – we generally kept the space open-concept so it’s easier for everyone to move around.

The family hosts and cooks quite frequently, so they wanted an island and table big enough to accommodate everyone. I proposed combining the two – the island you see is 2.7m, while the table is 2.4m.

When I brought this up to the family, they were a bit hesitant because they didn’t know if their space could fit such a long feature. I think it’s because they were so used to living in a smaller condominium (laughs), but as you can see, it fits the space nicely.

About the bedrooms and bathroom

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

On the second floor, the master bedroom has a similar old-school look as the communal space below. For a pop of colour – and to emulate the bedrooms usually found in old suburban homes in the UK – I suggested using this floral wallpaper.

Semi-detached House renovation
Save to Qanvast Board

I also proposed using louvred doors for the wardrobe. When they’re closed, you’d think the wardrobe takes up the full-length of the wall, but the centre panels are actual doors that conceal the way to the bathroom.

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

Like the pool toilet, the master bedroom’s ensuite has a black-and-white theme as well. To maintain a uniform look, we also used the same subway tiles for the wall, as well as the mosaic tiles for the floor.

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

Because of the way the overall space is configured, one of the kids shares the master bathroom with his parents. His bedroom is on the other side of the bathroom.

Planning the space for his bedroom was a challenge, because he required a lot of storage for his school materials – but at the same time, we also wanted him to have a big enough sleeping area.

Finally, we had the idea of creating a loft. But instead of building a separate frame like what you usually see in other houses, I thought of using the structure of the house as a base instead. If you look closely, you can see that the bed is built into the beams. It’s very stable – more so than the usual loft frames.

To sum up

Tamarind Road by Bowerman
Save to Qanvast Board

Ch: I really, really enjoyed this project. Sure, it had its challenges, but it was a good experience for me. I really learnt a lot.

In terms of design, the homeowners and I got on very well because we had the same vision for the house. I think this relationship is part of the reason why the house turned out so well – we all knew what we wanted, and were willing to do whatever was necessary to bring that vision to life.

Semi-detached House renovation
Save to Qanvast Board

In fact, the homeowners were so grateful that they commissioned an art piece featuring a bower bird – which was the inspiration behind the name of our firm, Bowerman – and hung it on the wall along their staircase.

It’s the first time any of my clients have done such a thing for me, and I was so touched when they told me about this. I have a copy of the art piece in my office as well, as a reminder of this family and this exciting project.


Like what you see?

Get in touch with Bowerman to discuss the possibilities of your new home!

CONTACT BOWERMAN

Alternatively, we can help you shortlist suitable firms when you tell us your renovation requirements below.

Explore similar content
Colonial Style Landed

Renovate with assurance, only on Qanvast. Find and meet interior designers verified by homeowners, with no hidden costs and no commissions involved. Find an ID

We're on Instagram, Telegram and TikTok! Follow us there to keep up with the latest design trends 🙌

Recommended for you
Chat