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Not Your Typical HDB: A Colourful Industrial Flat in Toa Payoh

January 9, 2019

With a desire to tastefully incorporate colours around his home, Edison sought the help of the creative minds at Free Space Intent to put together a colourful mod-industrial home for a bachelor pad.

On the makeover

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

Edison (E): It's an old and small apartment, with just two bedrooms and one bathroom. We tore everything down and rebuilt the apartment from scratch.

I also like open spaces so I hacked away a bedroom to open up the space. The open concept also allows more natural light in.

I also having colours, especially blue, and I wanted to incorporate those colours around my home.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

My designer, Carlos, came up with the design based on my requirements. The initial design he came up with had more of an industrial feel to it and I asked him to tone down on the industrial elements (like the track lights), and introduced more colours to brighten up the space.

I have to say the outcome was better than what I thought it would be; definitely not the typical look for an HDB!

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

On the layout

E: My mum will stay over occasionally so I wanted to set aside a space for her. We decided on this idea where there will be a fold-up bed concealed behind a wall panel so that the bed can be expanded when in use and hidden when not in use. For this area, Carlos proposed a few designs in different colour variations and I chose the one with the yellow shade.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh
Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

On unforeseen costs

E: The costs were mainly from replacement of the windows as they were really old and had to be replaced. As I had a lot of windows to replace, the costs added up. In order to stay within budget, we had to make some changes to the design quotation.

The challenging bit in the renovation

E: We spent a considerable effort on the spatial planning for the bathroom. We had to take into considerations like lifestyle habits and ergonomics (where the sink, washer be placed), the space allowance (as it's pretty tight), and the placement of the pipings.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

About choosing Free Space Intent as his designer

E: While I felt that all the designers I met were good at design, I just couldn’t 'click' with some of them because they were too young. In this regard, Carlos was a good fit.

The quotation was also another consideration. Some of the designers I met could not stick to the budget which I had given them. Some even quoted me costs of up to $20,000 to $30,000 higher than my budget. Unlike them, Carlos was able to stick to the initial budget. He was also more flexible as compared to them.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

On shopping for furniture, decor and appliances

E: Most of my furniture shopping was done online as I do not have the time to go shopping for them. For the art pieces, I went online to search for interesting artworks and got an artist to work on them.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

On the kitchen

E: The yellow Smeg fridge was one of the first appliances I purchased for the kitchen (and I splurged on it!) and I planned the colour scheme of my kitchen around the fridge. I then chose yellow for the backsplash to match the fridge. Initially, they had suggested using yellow tiles but I didn’t want to use tiles because they would be hard to maintain.

Resale HDB Renovation in Toa Payoh

His advice for homeowners

E: Budgeting is very important. Along the way, you might want to add renovation items and something has got to give if you want to stick to your renovation budget. Therefore, you need to be open to the idea of compromising on the design.

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