Inside an Open-Plan Bidadari Flat With Smart Home Fittings
How this couple essentially “integrated” their study, living room and kitchen to create one giant space.
For homeowners Hui Qi and Kun Lim, planning for their new home, a 4-room BTO flat in Alkaff Crescent, came almost easily to them. “You could say that we were the excited type – we started planning the design right from the get-go,” shared Hui Qi. “I have a thing for white-wood homes with a cleaner aesthetic, but of course, the space has to be designed to suit our habits, and it needs to be a smart home.”
Interior Firm: Zenith Arc
Aside from tricking out their apartment with automated fittings and changing up the placement of their power points, the couple also relooked their home’s layout to improve it so that it all feels “integrated and flows well”.
For an in-depth look at the very efficient and smart results, keep scrolling!
About themselves and the home’s concept
Hui Qi (HQ): Hi, I’m Hui Qi and I share this space with my husband, Kun Lim. I’m a teacher and he’s a marketing manager. We’re a young couple and recently got married.
Red circles indicate where walls have been hacked away.
I’m very into smart homes, so much of the planning revolves around that. Aside from having a Google Home, we used a couple of smart accessories like automated curtains and lights. Since the both of us rely heavily on our mobile devices, the placement of our electrical plugs has been planned way ahead too. It ensures that they’ll be accessible for use no matter where we are in the home. I’d say that a lot of market research was done to achieve this.
We wanted the home to be bright, that’s why we used white with a couple of wood accents sprinkled in. I tend to attract mosquitoes [laughs], so the brighter palette helps to deter them. We tried to our best to match our appliances and fixtures too.
On changes made to the living room
HQ: My mother’s place was cluttered with things, and that made it hard when we needed to do housework. I guess you could say we learned from it, and that’s why we kept a minimalist look for our own place [laughs].
While the marble-look tiles for both the living room as well as the kitchen look the same, they have different finishes. “The tiles we picked out for the living room are glossy, but we swapped them out for a matte alternative as the kitchen is a slippery space,” shared Hui Qi.
Really, the only additions are the TV console, which was a customised piece from our interior designer, Hugo, and, for the sake of efficiency, automated curtains from Corri Track.
On changes made to the kitchen
HQ: On the flip side, our kitchen actually saw the most updates. It used to be an enclosed space, but because I enjoy hosting friends and wanted to facilitate interaction, we decided to open it up by hacking down the wall.
The feature wall (left) was specially built to conceal their bathroom.
Choosing the material for our countertop took some time – like I mentioned, I was quite fixated on the idea of integrating the separate spaces, but it had to be easy to maintain as well, because we were planning to have our island double as our dining area.
We settled for a marble-look option from Caesarstone. It’s a definitely pricier than the other options like quartz, but I think it’s worth the investment since it’s both heat- and stain-resistant – great for steamboat get-togethers [laughs] – and it matches with our floor for a more cohesive look that flows really well!
This is easily my favourite space in the home – I can work in a chair in the space between the island and the fridge, and it gives me a great view of the Bidadari Park, puts me in close proximity to food plus the power points, which we have built into the kitchen island at an angle for easy use [laughs].
About their feature wall
HQ: Seeing as the bathroom is right next to the kitchen, I wanted to do something to mask its existence. Hugo suggested that we build a feature wall that integrates all the way. If the door is closed, you can’t tell that there’s a toilet behind it.
It’s much better that way too – a guest wouldn’t feel very comfortable if they knew they were eating within close range (to the bathroom) [laughs].
On changes made to the study
HQ: We partially knocked down the wall to our study as well – the only bit that was left in place is a structural element that couldn’t be hacked away – and installed glass bi-fold doors. Because it collapses all the way, we can open up the whole study room and make it feel like part of the combined living area in case we have many guests over.
The L-shaped cabinetry allows the couple to hide their bulky accessories, like the printer, out of sight.
Most of the time, we use the study for work or gaming purposes. When that happens, we just close the doors and turn on the air-con for more privacy.
The both of us don’t have the best eyesight [laughs], so we installed Philips Hue lights underneath the carpentry – they can be controlled via our phone or voice, which is a very convenient set-up to have, especially when I need to do my markings and prefer a brighter setting.
On changes made to the master bedroom
HQ: I think you’ve noticed by now that we don’t have much space to work with. To make the most of it, we had to be a little smarter with our storage, which is why we extended our L-shaped wardrobe with a set of drawers.
Here’s a fun fact: Our wardrobe has no lockers or drawers within them – we let our clothes dry on the hanger when we do our laundry, and hang them back in the wardrobe afterwards, it’s saves us some time this way.
Where most people would have opted for another full-height cabinet, Hui Qi opted for a drawer combination instead because “it allows the light in and keeps the space bright”.
We included a raised platform as well for our bulkier items like our bedsheets and winter clothes. It’s quite easy to access – Hugo designed it in a way where we can lift up the panels from the sides, much like a trapdoor!
About working with Zenith Arc
HQ: We met Zenith Arc’s Hugo at the Qanvast Hangout event. Funnily enough, it was a very random coincidence – we were just looking out for someone who bothered to approach us [laughs].
To be frank, our first impression of Hugo wasn’t the best – we thought he was young, and, therefore, inexperienced. It was only after the second meeting that things changed. By that time, the 3D plans were out and instead of plainly going along with our ideas, he came up with his own suggestions, including the platform bed as well as its system, the feature wall that conceals our bathroom, and the design of our cupboards and how it was all cut.
When we were presented with these, we could feel his sincerity in his work, that he was genuinely trying to help us ensure that everything flowed well. On some level, I guess he really understood our tastes? In hindsight, it could also be because of my teacher instinct – I felt that I should give him a chance, and my husband agreed [laughs].
Whatever the case is, I’d say that hiring him was definitely the right move for us. He provided great workmanship and was very prompt in answering all our queries – it was a very happy process for us. Even so, I’d say tell most homeowners to start early and know their habits. If they rush it, they might miss out certain details or features, and then that would be a bigger hassle because they’ll have to added in after renovating.
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