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How a Humble 5-Room HDB Was Turned into a Luxe Home For Two

August 21, 2019
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Definitely a makeover to remember!

For couple Darren and Poh Suan, it was always about creating spaces that offered more, be it in functionality or design. It goes without saying, that a lot of time went into nailing down each aspect of their 5-room BTO unit.

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Interior Firm: Icon Interior Design

“We wanted to create something different from the normal renovation – something different and unique – we started the process of looking for interior designers quite early on,” said the duo. “One and a half years before we got our keys actually.”

Read on to find out how they worked with Icon Interior Design to transform their HDB!


About themselves

Darren (D): I live with my wife and we’re both in our thirties. This is our first home and we wanted something a little more cosy with a luxe feel (much like a condominium’s) which was achieved through this renovation!

About their home’s concept

Poh Suan (PS): We aimed to build our home with the future in mind, that’s why our main priority was to try and maximise storage as much as possible.

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D: We started off with research, so we scoured the usual – Pinterest, Qanvast etc. – to build our moodboards, consolidating designs to find out which style suits us best. This also helped us to present our ideas to our interior designer, Lyn, later on.

On changes made

D: The living room was definitely a concern of ours. Personally, we didn’t like leaving the bomb shelter as is, so we worked on concealing that area with an extended feature wall that’s flushed from the entryway all the way to the bedroom.

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PS: Funnily enough, this accent wall was created by accident. We planned to keep it simple by using black laminates but due to a pasting error, it became two-toned instead. They offered to rectify it, but we felt that this contrast doesn’t take away from the chic look we were going for… rather it adds to the look, a definite bonus in our eyes!

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D: The dry kitchen also has become our little “chill out” area. We’ve updated the space with a generous peninsula that also coincidentally doubles as our dining table.

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D: To breathe some life into the dark cabinetry, we accented it with rose gold lining and then elevated the look with a complementary, marble-like, quartz countertop.

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D: A similar treatment was given to the wet kitchen area as well, only this time the area is finished with an electroplated rose gold fridge.

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PS: Initially, we wanted to include a platform bed in our master but we decided against it in the end and kept the carpentry to a minimum… in fact, the only work you’ll see in the room are picture frame mouldings, coloured in rose gold as usual which adds a hint of warmth back to the area. The cosy vibes is further enhanced with our wood-like vinyl floors too.

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D: Because we wanted something that isn’t stark white, we decided to go with a darker blue. Lyn suggested that we paint the other wall a lighter grey to balance out the moodiness.

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D: We had no plans for a walk-in wardrobe at all. In fact, we were looking to keep things simple by flushing the cupboard to the side, but the idea was birthed during one of our discussions with Lyn. To realise it, we had to give up one of our rooms… it was worth it though.

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PS: It took Lyn some time plus a 3D rendering to convince us [laughs]! We used tiles to fashion the unique accent wall (behind the mirrors). The arrow-like design adds a nice visual pop, while still sticking true to the home’s colour scheme!

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D: Our en suite was given quite a refresh as well. Doing away with the typical HDB fittings, we opted to overlay with black marble and topped it off with rose gold accessories to better match the mood and to get that boutique hotel feel we were after.

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On working with Icon Interior Design

PS: We were doing our due diligence, visiting interior firms before our renovation started and decided to pop by Icon Interior Design on a Sunday afternoon – Lyn was the only designer there when we walked in. Despite us not booking an appointment beforehand, she attended to us, went through our floorplan and answered our queries. To be frank… we didn’t sign a contract on the spot and we went on to talk to other designers. However, we came back to Lyn in the end as she was extremely detailed during her run-through, even going so far as to explain the pros and cons of the materials we’re looking to use.

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PS: We had a few meet-ups with her and our quotation changed quite a fair bit but she was patient through the process. It was a very comfortable experience working with her.

PS: Everyone has a budget to work with and has ideas about what their home should look like. We gave her the details and she managed to work within the constraints of that, with tweaks of course!

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D: But we didn’t just leave it up to Lyn – the home has little touches that reflect us too. After pretty much replacing most of our doors, we went in with decals and alphabet cutouts that
we ordered online.

To sum up

D: Our renovation is slightly longer than most, taking about 5 to 6 months to complete because it started up during the Chinese New Year period and there was a ton of carpentry work involved. But it was a good process and there weren’t any big hiccups.

PS: We’d advice to start your renovation planning early on. If you narrow down your choices, it makes it easier during discussion. Besides getting a more accurate costing when you let your interior designer know you want a certain type of finish or treatment, you’ll also learn the maintenance tips and tricks in one go!

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