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Forget Scandi, It’s Real Retro in This HDB with '70s Style

As much as present-day trends matter when it comes to creating an ideal home, looking towards the past can yield unexpectedly good-looking results too.

Such was the case with first-time homeowner Elaine’s new BTO apartment at Telok Blangah, which incorporates yesteryear influences to create a stylish, contemporary look that comes across as more modern, than dated.

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“My husband and I have always had a thing for the old-school look and vintage pieces, and we knew from the get-go that it would make the perfect theme for our first home,” says Elaine, who very much wanted her dwelling to be different from those featuring Industrial and Scandinavian influences.

For more on how this character-filled abode was created with Versaform’s help, read on for the highlights from our interview with Elaine!

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About her home and its look

Elaine (E): When it came to designing our home, both my husband and I wanted to include plenty of vintage furniture as part of the look. We love the old-school style of furniture design and its details, especially pencil-legged, wooden retro pieces because they are great for conveying a yesteryear feel.

We also made sure to include some contemporary elements that we felt would go well with our vintage-style furniture, like our living room’s feature wall. The idea of embedding real brass strips in cement screed came from Kelton, our designer. It looks best when the overhead lights are turned on; this way you can see the metallic outlines very clearly, which gives it more depth than if we were to use gold paint.

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On practical requirements for her home

E: I was expecting when the renovation was taking place, so one of the main requirements we had for the house was that it has to be baby-proof. We made sure to have rounded corners wherever possible, and we also equipped the baby’s room with loose furniture so that we would have a flexible layout and enough space for a play area.

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On working with Versaform

E: Throughout our renovation, Kelton proved to be a responsible individual; working with him was a seamless process. It also helps that he also a retro lover who collects vintage watches.

We had a very tight timeline because I would be due about 3 to 4 weeks after the renovation, plus we received our keys (from HDB) much later than expected. Fortunately, Kelton was able to handle most of the heavy lifting, plus he would also update us regularly by taking and sending us pictures of the site’s progress every day.

The only time my husband had to pop by was when Kelton wanted to discuss where the electrical and lighting points would be placed, the rest of the work was left entirely to him.

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On challenges encountered

E: The main challenge was definitely the tight timeline, the whole renovation took 7 weeks from March and April this year, which was 1 week more than what we initially planned for. The latest that the project could have been completed was early May, because I would be due by the end of the month.

We also wanted at least one month to tidy up the place, move our belongings in, and air it out, so it was great that the renovation was completed in April.

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About the furniture and decor

E: The living room’s sofa is a talking point in the space, it’s from the Karimoku 60s range that is sold by Retro Colony. The store owner, who is also our friend, explained to us that their pieces are handmade in Japan, and assembled by hand locally.

We also have a one-seater in moquette green, that is also from Retro Colony, which we love for its retro shade; it fits the living room perfectly because of its compact size. Another highlight is the bedroom’s dresser (pictured above), which is something special, because it was handed down from my mother-in-law who used to be a seamstress – it’s more than 30 years old.

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On her favourite spot in the house

E: I love the kitchen because it’s easy to maintain and clean, plus it’s done up in a retro style too. The top cabinets have see-through glass doors, which is great for displaying the vintage glassware that I got from my mom. It’s a minor detail, but we also had the backsplash built higher than usual so that the back of the dish rack isn’t just a bare wall.

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Advice to first-time homeowners

E: I would say that the initial planning stage really matters, you have to tell your designer about your lifestyle before he/she is able to create spaces that suit your needs. Also, make sure to keep things practical so that you get a functional home at the end of the day.

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