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Having Kids Changed This Couple’s Life, And Also Their Home

June 11, 2020

As the owners of this spacious Yishun flat found out, creating a family home is much different from building a nest for two.

For Jo and Ben, renovating their new family home – a 5-room resale HDB flat in Yishun – was somewhat of a familiar experience. Having put together a cosy nest for two just three years ago, the process of making over an apartment was still fresh in the couple’s minds when they engaged Charlotte’s Carpentry for their second home’s revamp.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

However, what made things different this time round were their two sons, aged one and two. “When we renovated for the first time, child-proofing wasn’t a priority for us,” shares Jo. “But we definitely took it into consideration for this home.” To find out more about the entire renovation, we sat down for a chat with Jo.

About herself, her family and her home

Jo (J): Including my helper, we’ve three adults living here, as well as my two boys. And we moved here for two reasons. One, it’s much closer to my parents’ home, and two, there’s more space in the living area for my sons to run around and play in.

Technically, the entire house is much larger when compared to my previous home and there’s more useable space in every room. For example, there’s no balcony beside the living room, so the communal area is bigger and more flexible.

HDB flat renovation Yishun Charlotte's Carpentry
Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

The front of the living room, before (top) and after (bottom) after the renovation.

Overall, we kept the design of the house simple, because we might move homes again when the kids are older. That’s why there aren’t many built-ins; the only ones we have are custom-made to our liking as well as our needs. We were also inspired by other HDB flats in Yishun that we saw on Qanvast.

About the living room

J: Our previous home had a dark decor theme, and although we retained some aspects of it in certain parts of the home, like the bedroom, we stuck to a much lighter palette for the communal areas. I think it’s important for my children to have access to a bright and airy space because it’s healthier for them.

HDB flat renovation Yishun Charlotte's Carpentry

The back of the living area, pre-renovation

We also don’t have a TV feature wall in the living room, because we wanted to keep the design clean. Instead, we asked for a custom-made TV console; the console isn’t overly bulky, so it fits in perfectly with the simple look that we wanted. Plus, it’s also safer for the kids, because it isn’t too high and hides away all the cables.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

To create a larger living area, the existing entryway foyer was merged with the rest of the flat. Additionally, a custom shoe cabinet was installed in the space.

Another big change was the flooring – the existing tiles were fairly old, so we made the choice to overlay them with vinyl. Also, since most of the walls around the living area are white, we felt that having a wood accent in the space would help to give the surroundings some warmth.

About the kitchen

J: Most of our renovation budget went into revamping the internals of the house, like the electrical wiring and plumbing, because it’s more than 30 years old. And also, due to the flat’s age, we had to completely revamp the kitchen as well.

HDB flat renovation Yishun Charlotte's Carpentry

The kitchen prior to the renovation.

Before the renovation, the kitchen was really dark and it didn’t have much space either. Also, being someone who enjoys having friends and family over, I definitely wanted an open-concept space; we ended up demolishing the existing entrance to allow more natural light to enter the kitchen and the living area.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

With kids, we’re are also cooking and cleaning more often, and the built-ins in the kitchen help us with that.

Although we don’t have top-hung cabinets because they’ll cramp up the kitchen, we asked for long counters on the sides as well as a tall unit near the entrance; this keeps the surrounding area tidy and provides us with places to install our appliances, such as the fridge, steriliser, and oven – which I prefer to have at eye-level instead of underneath the hob.

About the master bedroom and en suite

J: Like the other areas of the house, the master bedroom’s renovation was largely focused on making it a practical space for our day-to-day lives, even though we wanted to incorporate aesthetic elements from our previous home, like dark accents and clean lines.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

There were also some design sacrifices that we made for the sake of safety. For example, although the new window grilles don’t really match the look of the room, we installed them because the kids might start climbing when they get older.

Storage-wise, the previous owner only had a small cabinet in the corner of the room, that wasn’t sufficient for us, so we requested Charlotte’s Carpentry to install a larger wardrobe – and because I prefer doing my makeup standing up, I also asked for a vanity that’s slightly taller than usual.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

For Fengshui and aesthetic reasons, the accent wall behind the bed was painted in a deep green. “Ben really likes this colour,” says Jo. “And I feel it brightens up the room even though it’s quite dark.”

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

The master en suite was revamped from top-to-toe, and we requested for the walls to be covered in grey, stony tiles – they add to the hotel vibe of the bathroom, along with the rest of the fittings; the vase-like sink was a special piece that we wanted, and we deliberately chose not to build under-sink cabinets because that would take away from its aesthetic.

To sum up

J: Our designer from Charlotte’s Carpentry, James, is a reliable person whom we could really trust. My brother got to know him through Qanvast, and after that, he (James) renovated my brother's flat as well as my cousin's home; he was also very accommodating of my work schedule and family commitments.

Yishun Avenue 4 by Charlotte's Carpentry

Initially, we planned to move in by December last year, but James was able to finish the renovation earlier within a two-month period. By mid-July, everything was completed and we could get the keys to our new home – that was great, because I had just given birth in June.

All things considered, I’m very satisfied with Charlotte Carpentry’s work – this home is definitely a place that I look forward returning to after work every day, and it’s also a safe space where my kids can build their childhood memories happily in.

Now's a good time as any to get started on your renovation plans!

Many Singapore homeowners have had to put their renovations on hold due to COVID-19 BUT that doesn't mean you can't start planning for yours now.

Ironing out the kinks in your home makeover plan will enable it to proceed smoothly once circumstances improve, so if you’d like some professional help let us know and we'll link you up with local interior firms that offer virtual consultations!

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