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HDB-Style? A Cosy Flat Inspired by Local & New York Homes

Having lived in the U.S. and in Singapore, it was only natural for Korean couple Sang and Herena’s first home to be inspired by their experiences in both countries.

“The overall look is industrial New York style, paired with features of HDB homes,” says Sang. “It’s a unique combination that we created by getting what we liked to work with the foundations of the house. Even though we faced some structural constraints, the end result turned out looking quite nice.”

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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Working with the pair to bring their aesthetic vision to life was Posh Home’s Principal Designer Robin Wong who created a layout that is “neither open nor closed” for the apartment’s kitchen. To find out more about it as well as the overall design language of their house, we had a quick chat with Sang and Herena.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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About themselves and their home

Sang (S): We are a family of three comprising myself, my wife Herena, and our 4-year-old son. We are Korean, but we have lived in Singapore for close to 10 years. We have always been happy about our life here and it’s what led to us deciding to buy our first home here.

An important part of that decision was to find a place that we would be satisfied with and that led us to our current home on the Pinnacle@Duxton. This particular property is special as it has a completely unblocked view of the surroundings; it’s not something that you can get anywhere else.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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On their home’s new look

Herena (H): I used to live on the East Coast in the U.S. and it was during my time there that I got the inspiration for our home’s look.

The whole look is reminiscent of an industrial New York loft, but it was also designed to work with some HDB elements that came in place with the house, like the indoor railings that we could not remove. For example, we installed a black-trim, industrial-style metal door in the main hallway, which I think goes relatively well with the railings.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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On major works performed

S: Basically, we changed almost everything. The floor was re-tiled, and the kitchen walls were demolished, the only thing that we didn’t change were doors for the yard and main entrance.

We invested heavily in the carpentry and it was a worthwhile decision because there have not been any signs of warping or bending, which we know is quite common because of the high humidity here.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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On working with Posh Home

S: It really helped that we worked with a capable interior designer like Robin.

From the start, he was the closest to bringing out the ideas that we had. The renderings that Robin produced of the house were much better than what we had seen elsewhere, and they included all the elements that we wanted. He was also able to answer our questions with the most clarity out of all the designers that we met through Qanvast.

Another thing about Robin is that he is very quick at showing whether a design element is a dead end. By listening to him, we were able to avoid a few major headaches.

H: When you combine all of these factors, it was obvious that we were working with someone who is very dedicated to the quality of his work. And that is not someone who is easy to find.

On the highlights of their home

S: The kitchen is unique in the sense that it’s neither open nor closed. To be specific, there is a cutaway opening at the side, which is like a ledge window that can be accessed via the main hallway.

I don’t think that I have seen anything like it elsewhere; we designed it as a cosy corner for our son to lounge at while we cook. In the event that Herena is doing heavy cooking, there is a window that allows the kitchen to be closed off.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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On managing their renovation budget

S: About our budget, you could say that we were adventurous or progressive for two reasons: one, that we were willing to spend above the average renovation budget for a similarly-sized unit; and two, that we knew from the start that this was going to be an expensive renovation.

I believe we had an initial budget about $80,000. We ended up exceeding it, and not because we wanted to change our design plans, but because we decided to upgrade the quality of the materials used.

However, we feel that the extra money spent was an acceptable expenditure because we received equivalent level of quality in return. At the end of the day, renovating a home isn’t a matter about using cheap materials or getting cheap labour, you get what you pay for.

HDB resale renovation at Pinnacle @ Duxton
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On lessons learnt

S: Time is one of the biggest factors that determines how well a renovation goes. On one hand, you might want to shorten the entire process by one to two weeks if possible, but on the other it’s also important to be comfortable about adding on extra time, lest things end up being too rushed.

The second lesson that we learnt is that it’s one thing to know what you want, it’s another thing to find someone who can bring your ideas to life. And from our experience, being able to do both through Qanvast by browsing pictures and getting designer recommendations is really helpful.

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