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How a Gaming Hobby Influenced This Couple’s Bidadari Home
You’ll never feel bored in this home!
Having lived in a ‘shoebox’ room previously with her husband Clemence, homeowner Candice was naturally very happy about moving into her new 4-room BTO flat at Alkaff Crescent, which has plenty of space for everyone, including the couple’s two pet dogs.
“We knocked down walls in the flat to make it feel less restrictive, then designed each of the spaces around the activities that we really enjoy doing, such as gaming,” shares Candice about the design concept of her new open-plan home.
Interior Firm: Design 4 Space
To achieve all this, the couple had engaged the help of Design 4 Space designer Kevin Thiam to re-work the standard BTO flat layout, so it could be turned into a fun-filled abode that’s spacious enough for all their hobbies. Here’s how the process went!
Clemence (C): Hi, I’m Clemence and this is Candice. We’ve been married for about 4 years now, and we live in this 4-room flat at Alkaff Crescent with our two dogs.
About the home
The home’s layout, pre-renovation. Red circles indicate where walls have been hacked away.
Candice (Ca): One of the first things I told Kevin was that I didn’t want a Scandinavian look, since it felt too generic and cookie-cutter. Building an entertaining space was our main focus. We wanted room in the living area for our Playstation, an open kitchen, a gaming station, as well as a TV corner in the master.
Because the couple has two aged dogs, they decided to use tiles for flooring, instead of the usual parquet or vinyl, to offer their pets a better grip.
On changes made to the living room
Ca: The both of us spend a lot of time playing Japanese RPGs, and that influenced our home’s palette to a degree [laughs]. I quite liked the idea of introducing coloured walls to the home – it feels more vibrant and less bare yet gives us the freedom to layer things on top.
Ca: We have two installations in the living room, our TV console plus a series of modular shelves from Journey East that we use to display our collectibles. Their set up proved to be quite a challenge – the shelves couldn’t be too high up the wall or too cramped, and it had to reflect the light well. It took a bit of time, but we managed to find the perfect placement.
On changes made to the household shelter
C: This BTO’s floor plan was particularly interesting – once you step into the home, the living room is right in front of you, and the household shelter is right smack in the middle of the space.
Ca: Kevin helped us to make it more discreet. Inspired by the chevron feature in our bedroom, he reused it here to cover the shelter up, and colouring it grey to match our kitchen space.
Because the space has an open concept now, the couple relies on colour to demarcate kitchen and the living room.
On changes made to the kitchen
Ca: The kitchen had an outcropping, but we hacked it away to make it feel less restrictive. With that out of the way, we constructed an additional island. Because we couldn’t run our piping in the prep area, we had to install our sink there as well.
C: We stuck to a cleaner look for the top-hung cabinets but included brass handles for the bottom ones since it’s more convenient that way. They’re handmade, from a store at Joo Chiat.
On changes made to the gaming room
Ca: This room was designed purely for entertainment. We keep the sun out with the black-out blinds and hide the cables of our gaming stations within our desk for a cosy and clutter-free space.
If you take a closer look, our shelf has cubby-holes for our manga and books. They’re all in different sizes because it breaks things up visually.
Candice said that she saw “the gaming room as an extension of the living space”, and that’s why the same shade of blue was used for visual continuity. It also serves as a guest room when they have friends over.
On changes made to their newly expanded bedroom
C: The master bedroom saw the most structural change. Since we didn’t plan to have any kids, we hacked a wall to expand it. The partition was built in afterwards so that we could have an entertainment corner in bed.
Ca: I wanted a seamless look so flushing the switches on the solid wall is out of the question. Kevin suggested that we use a headboard idea to conceal all our cables, and installed lights within it so that we could have soft lighting in the room.
Candice had originally planned on using green throughout the bedroom, but Kevin convinced her to include a wash of grey when he showed her the 3D design.
C: The extra space was converted into an area for our wardrobe. This was where Kevin first proposed to use the chevron pattern. We decided to use brass handles again since they pair well with the gold trimmings.
On changes made to the bathrooms
Ca: To be honest, a huge amount of time was spent shopping with Kevin [laughs]. In fact, we picked out the tiles for our bathroom with him.
Our en suite has a much darker aesthetic. We complemented the tiles with black fittings for a cosier ambience, more hotel-like look.
C: We stuck to a lighter tone for our guest bathroom because we wanted to make our friends feel more at home.
On working with Design 4 Space’s Kevin and challenges faced
Ca: My friend engaged Kevin’s services when he was renovating his Canberra flat, and another had also hired him for minor reno work. The two of them had recommended Kevin to me, and that was when we started interacting.
Clemence and I are busy working – the whole point of us looking for an ID was because we didn’t have time to micromanage the renovation. It’s actually surprisingly hard to find someone who could translate our vision into reality without much intervention in between. We met up with five to six other IDs but felt that Kevin was the one who understood our ideas and aesthetics the most. Most importantly, it was done with minimal supervision, something that was extremely important to us.
C: The working relationship – how the project is being managed, the communication process, and also the attitude – between the homeowners and IDs should be a two-way street. I’m sure many homeowners would like to work with experienced IDs, but some of them can be really pushy with their reno ideas. Though Kevin is young, he understands that we, the owners, are the ones who will be staying in the home for a long time. He doesn’t impose his ideas on us, unlike others.
To sum up
C: Renovating a flat makes you feel like you’re getting married again [laughs] – the prep work is a headache, but the results are entirely worth it.
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!