How Upcycled Pieces Made This HDB Flat “The Best Home Ever”
This family proves that reusing furniture can still get you great post-reno looks!
“In spite of its age, I’d say that this is the best place we’ve ever lived in,” says Anthony, a businessman who is the owner of this modern-classic resale flat at Kim Tian Road. “Returning home every day is a happy affair for everyone in my family.”
Interior Firm: Versaform
If you were to step into Anthony’s newly refurbished family home, it’s not hard to see why he’d describe it in this way – the 127 sqm space is where old meets new, thanks to a mix of upcycled finds, legacy furniture and mid-century modern accents cleverly arranged throughout every room.
About himself and his family
A: Hi, my name is Anthony and I live here with my wife, our daughter, our helper, plus our 9-year-old dog.
More about the home and design concept
The home's layout, pre-renovation.
A: It’s a resale unit that’s around 20 to 25-years-old and it was in need of a refresh, for sure. Because I work in the hospitality industry, designing good spaces sort of became a hobby of mine.
Our previous home was very industrial, that’s why we wanted to do something different when we moved here. So, my wife and I combed through magazines plus Pinterest to come up with a concept, which is the modern classic theme you see now.
On changes made to the living area
A: As this particular unit is facing the north-south direction, we do get a constant breeze that keeps the house cool. We wanted to capitalise on that airy appeal, so we built special glass block walls in both the entryway plus balcony to allow natural light to seep in.
Sitting atop the entryway’s glass block wall is a series of ventilation tiles. “The combination of glass and tile allows light and air to enter the kitchen, which we had to keep enclosed because of HDB’s hacking restrictions,” shared Anthony.
A: There used to be a recess where the column and pillar meet just under the balcony window. I filled the empty space with boxes that I collected over the years – because of their vintage feel, they not only proved to be a great fit for the space, but also provided us with additional storage compartments.
The balcony used to be sectioned off by sliding doors, but the family did away with them as they “had no need for it” and instead had windows installed in the space.
A: Personally, I don’t really fancy built-ins since there’s nothing you can do to update its design after it's fixed into place. That’s why, I have only included them specific spaces like the living room and kitchen, for instance.
A: I very much prefer using loose furniture as it lets me change up the pieces if I ever get bored of them. In fact, most of the standalones you see in the home are actually from my old urban loft space. The only new addition is my sofa – it has a tufted look, which complements the flat’s retro vibe.
On changes made to the kitchen
A: The house has a lot of brass elements, which creates this high contrast look against the darker colour scheme, and it’s no different in the kitchen.
And really, it’s not an expensive update to make – I managed to save quite a bit because I bought my faucets and handles on AliExpress instead of getting them at Singapore stores. Of course, to ensure that the quality was passable, I ordered some to test first.
When asked why he decided to use mosaics for the backsplash, Anthony shared that he had no difficulty when it came to maintenance since he uses “a protective sheet to cover it when I cook, and then wipe the grease off immediately after I’m done.”
A: I think the biggest regret is my kitchen sink. I really loved the farmhouse concept, but it’s not very practical as it’s too low. Still, I stand for its aesthetic as it matches the rest of the house (laughs).
On changes made to the master bedroom and en suite
A: Your choice of colours can really affect the mood of your space. Our Fengshui master recommended that we use a darker palette, and that made our home look and feel more sophisticated.
“Since swing doors really eat into your space,” said Anthony. “We switched them out for barn doors instead."
A: We took our time to really figure out the shades that we were going to use for our furnishings plus fittings as well. I think we did a pretty good job – you probably can’t tell that our armchair plus track lights are from IKEA, right (laughs)?
Anthony “recreated the luxe look without the cost” by updating the adjacent walls in his en suite with marble-like homogenous tiles.
A: I’d say that I’m the proudest of how the en suite turned out – it wasn’t an easy space to design, I think I spent a huge amount of time going around to source for the right tiles, before finding a graphic one that I liked at Hafary.
I’ve also made changes to the flooring, picking out tiles have a sort of groove in them which makes them less slippery.
On changes made to the study
A: Like the living room, the study has a recessed area below the window. However, instead of using boxes, the empty space is actually filled it in with shelved cabinets this time around.
But, that’s not to say that we didn’t reuse old furniture here – the dressers are legacy pieces, which I paired with a gold-framed mirror from Castlery for visual continuity.
On working with Versaform
A: Even though we had already decided on a concept and had some design ideas, we wanted to find a designer to help coordinate the renovation works. We approached and interviewed around 5 IDs to find out who could produce a proposal that was most in line with the brief that I gave them.
The four other firms were bigger compared to Versaform, but the mockups that I received from them weren’t what I asked for. In the case of Kelton (a designer from Versaform), he proposed something that was 90% similar to the style I had in mind. So, to me, it felt like he was a great fit for the job because he had taken note of what I wanted and integrated them into his proposal.
A: I have quite a few style suggestions myself, but where most interior designers would brush aside my feedback, Kelton is accepting, and I find him easy to work with because of that.
To sum up
A: Having undergone a few renovations, we are more experienced in that regard. So, we found an interior designer who was open to collaborative efforts, allowing us to recreate a space that we envisioned, one that we feel very happy living in.
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