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It’s a 3-Room HDB Flat, But This Home Doesn’t Feel Like One

September 30, 2020

Thanks to a total layout change, this couple's HDB home went from cosy abode to a spacious home for two.

With an average size of between 60 - 65 square metres, 3-room HDB units are typically big enough to accommodate the needs of a couple, but that’s not to say it isn’t possible to live a little larger in these nifty flats!

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Interior Firm: Happe Design Atelier

Wanting a more roomy home for themselves, Evi and her partner Zen requested a complete layout rework for their mid-century modern inspired flat at Crawford Lane to create both extra storage and more space.

“The size of this flat is really just nice for our needs, we wanted to maximise it so that the entire space looks larger and less cluttered,” says Evi. “The whole idea of the renovation was to create a more efficient layout that works better.” To find out more about it, we chatted with Evi about her new home as well as Happe Design Atelier’s role in improving its internal flow.

About herself and her home

Evi (E): I share this home with my partner Zen. It's just the two of us living here. I'm in the banking sector, and he's in the IT industry. I enjoy travelling and I like the outdoors.

Both of us enjoy inline skating; we have at least five to six pairs of rollerblades altogether, so when we requested for the carpentry to be done, we needed to ensure that there was sufficient storage for all our blades and other sports equipment.

Singapore renovation 3-room HDB flat Crawford Lane

The floor plan of Evi and Zen’s home.

We aren’t fans of open storage because we prefer a dust-free environment, so there’s only a couple of shelves, which also makes cleaning easier.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Looks-wise, we wanted something that’s timeless – a more earthy and natural palette, if you want to be specific.

Brown, green and white are the key colours of our home. Zen is also into plants, so the colour scheme really complements the greenery with have around the house. We also have a dog too! Her name is Kimble and she’s the reason why our yard was set aside for pet stuff.

About the living room’s makeover

E: I’d say that the layout of our 3-room flat is quite unique compared to what you usually see because it’s designed according to our preferences. For example, one of the things that we did was to ‘shift’ our living room inwards. How we did this was by converting one of the smaller bedrooms into our current living area.

Singapore renovation 3-room HDB flat Crawford Lane
Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Formerly a bedroom, the living room was outfitted with brand-new furnishings, such as a sofa from Journey East as well as brass lamps from Taobao, turning it into a cosy entertainment space for its current owners.

This idea worked for us because it’s just the two of us living here and we don’t really need the extra room. We also requested for the original cabinets and partition walls in the bedroom to be knocked down, and for a mirror wall to be built in the space; it makes our living area look larger and also hides all of our plugs and power points.

On changes made to the dining area

E: Our dining area is right beside the main entrance and we chose to have it here rather than our living area, because we wanted more privacy for our recreational area.

Singapore renovation 3-room HDB flat Crawford Lane

Another big change to Evi and Zen’s home was the transformation of the previous owner's living room into their current dining area.

Upon stepping in from the main entrance, you’ll see that the entire wall at the dining area is covered with built-in carpentry, both on the sides and overhead; this configuration gives us storage space where we need it, because we don’t have a storeroom.

Nearer to the front door, there’s a custom-made cabinet where we store our roller blades and exercise equipment. We specifically requested for perforated metal doors because that would help with ventilating our belongings.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

We had our dining table custom made at MOKKOMOKKO; it has a marble top and it’s quite long, about 2.1 metres in length. It’s the only table that we have in the house and we use it for everything from eating, to working and entertaining our guests.

On the kitchen’s renovation

E: Right from the start, we knew that we wanted a galley layout for our kitchen. It isn’t very huge on the inside, but we needed a layout that maximises the whole space. So, we asked for top-hung and bottom cabinets that would let us fully utilise the walls on both sides.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier
Singapore renovation 3-room HDB flat Crawford Lane

The kitchen entrance, prior to the renovation.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Another change was the new kitchen entrance. The previous owner had a bar counter that was fronted by a drawer, but since we didn’t really like the idea, we had the opening sealed up, installed a pocket door and had a large cabinet built beside the entrance instead.

About the common bathroom and yard’s renovation

E: The common bathroom is the only bathroom that we have in the whole house and it’s located in the yard area.

We had a bit of a struggle on whether to keep its original configuration; the previous owner had merged the shower and the WC area into a single space, but we eventually decided to split them up again so that it would make washing up in the morning more convenient.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier
Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

On top of that, we installed a new sink on the outside and added a metal structure that resembles the legs of an antique chair or table; it’s just for aesthetics because we wanted some classic elements in the house.

On the master bedroom’s revamp

E: To accommodate the walk-in wardrobe at the back of our platform bed, we had expanded the master bedroom just a bit by ‘eating’ into the room next door, which is our current living area.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

The reason why we wanted to segregate both areas is because both Zen and I wake up at different timings and this configuration would allow one of us to get dressed without waking up the other.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

We also made a unique choice for the headboard by having a mirror installed on it. I especially like how the yellowish-gold sheen of the mirror matches up with the bamboo laminates, which are from EDL.

To sum up

E: I think the biggest challenge was definitely the Circuit Breaker, we were just two weeks away from completion when it was announced! Fortunately, Happe Design Atelier was able to put on the finishing touches without much further delay when the measures were lifted in June.

It was a pleasant experience working with the Happe team because they were really genuine right from the start. They’re also very open-minded about our ideas, and they were able to come up with quite a few fun but practical solutions for our home.

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Overall, I think our home is quite unique as 3-room flats go. Zen and I had started out looking for a 5-room flat that would suit us, but thanks to this home, we realised that a 3-room flat would work just as well in satisfying our needs!

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