Rare HDB Flat Has 5.5m ‘Ski Slope’ Roof and IG-Worthy Rooms
Originally built in 1984, this flat in one of Potong Pasir’s ‘ski slope’ HDB blocks was recently renovated for a young family of four.
“Definitely dated.” That’s how this HDB flat in Potong Pasir was like before its renovation, according to Joanna Chia from Mr Shopper Studio. When the interior designer visited it for the first time with its owners, a young family of four, the inside of the 37-year-old apartment struck her as “a little old and in need of work”, but it certainly had potential.
The living room before the renovation.
“Although it’s a 4-room flat, it’s a fair bit larger than a BTO flat of the same type. On top of that, because it’s a top-floor unit in a unique HDB block in Potong Pasir, there’s also a sloped roof that’s visible on the inside,” says Joanna about the home’s most prominent feature.
Image credit: HDB MyNiceHome
“The highest point (of the ceiling) is in one of the kids’ rooms and it’s about 5 to 5.5m high by my estimate. It’s almost twice the height of a BTO flat’s ceiling which is usually about 2.6m high.”
While the primary focus of the renovation was to turn the house into a functional home, the process also saw the creation of several aesthetically-pleasing spaces for its occupants, including a botanical-themed master bedroom as well as a pair of boy-and-girl kids’ room painted in bright blue and pastel pink respectively.
To find out more about the entire makeover, we sat down for a chat with Joanna!
About the design brief
Joanna (J): The owners are a family of four, they’ve a toddler son as well as a new-born daughter. So, design-wise, they were looking for something that’s fairly calming and family-friendly, but also fun at the same time.
The floor plan of the home, post-renovation.
Because of that, we created a more tranquil, minimalist look for the living area and the communal spaces outside, however for the bedrooms, each of them has a unique appearance that’s customised for their occupants. For instance, the female owner is into gardening, so there are botanical accents in the master bedroom.
The flat’s old study, which was torn down to reinstate the master bedroom to its full size.
The homeowners were also open to tearing down some of the walls to improve the layout of the house; the previous owners had opted to split the master bedroom up by building a partition and creating a private study, but that was gotten rid of so that the bedroom could be reinstated to its original size.
About the living room’s makeover
J: The lowest point of the flat’s ceiling is in the living room right beside the windows, and even so it’s close to 2.6m high, which is about as tall as BTO flat’s ceiling. That’s also where we built a number of new features, including the shoe cabinet as well as the cushioned settee.
Having these seats beside the window gives the homeowners a spot near the entrance where they can put on their shoes comfortably and also hang out if they want to. On the other hand, the shoe cabinet was customised to be full height because we wanted to maximise available vertical space and use it to conceal the power distribution box.
For the communal area itself, the colour scheme was kept neutral to match the overall minimalist concept; only three colours are used for the TV feature wall – white, light grey, and slate grey. We incorporated them in the form of triangles, not just because they’re simple accents, but also because they would emphasise the ceiling’s angle.
The living room was also outfitted with furniture from Castlery as well as a built-in TV console, customised with tinted glass and dark wood laminates.
The flat’s original study was replaced with a simple home office setup, comprising of a desk and a custom cabinet positioned beside a structural column in the centre of the flat.
On the dining area and kitchen’s renovation
J: The dining area was intentionally kept compact because the owners didn’t want to compromise on the kitchen’s space as they cook frequently. The dining table was from the owners’ previous home and it’s why there are light wood tones throughout the house because the owners wanted their built-ins to match this particular piece of furniture.
Even though it’s an old HDB flat, the house didn’t have a closed-off kitchen; the previous owners had a glass sliding door entrance and the current owners liked it, so they chose to have the same setup. This entrance works well because with it, they’re able to see into the kitchen and out of it, plus the space looks more spacious this way.
Additionally, the homeowners requested for more countertop space, so we built an extendable one that can be stowed away when it isn’t needed.
“Initially, the homeowners considered using KompacPlus for the backsplash, but at last, they decided to use patterned tiles as a call-back to the geometric theme,” says Joanna.
On the common bathroom’s new look
J: Like the living room, the common bathroom also has a monochrome colour scheme for a minimalist look. And to match that, most of the tiles here have a plain design with the exception of the pieces used in the niche shelf – those were deliberately chosen to draw attention towards the deepest section of the bathroom.
Another unique feature of the common bathroom is the shower screen; it has two sliding doors in the middle, because having the entrance facing elsewhere would mean that either the WC or vanity would be in the way.
About renovating the master bedroom and en suite
J: For sure, the biggest obstacle in the master bedroom was its odd shape – the room terminates at a sharp corner near the door to the en suite, so that meant one less place to position the bed. In the end, we went with the current layout, which is similar to a hotel or resort’s, because it allows the entire room to be maximised.
As one of the owners is a fan of plants, a botanical wallpaper was chosen for the wall behind the headboard. “Also, the wall is rather tall and it had a recess, so leaving it empty would be make the bedroom look quite bare,” explains Joanna.
The bathroom vanity was shifted out from the en suite to create a larger bathroom and to maximise the empty space beside the windows.
Moving the bathroom vanity out of the en suite gave us extra room to work with, and we were able to work in a larger shower enclosure at the request of the homeowners, it’s about 1.5m long and almost just as wide.
The original flooring was replaced with wood-look porcelain tiles and an accent wall featuring a 3D geometric pattern was built so that the shower area would look less bare. And to create a more masculine, industrial-like look for the bathroom, only black fittings and accessories were used.
On designing the kids’ room
J: The owners’ toddler son loves planes, which is why the bedroom has an aviation theme to it. The colours in the room were coordinated so that the space would look like a bright, blue sky and there’s also a couple of fun touches, such as the cloud-shaped knobs on the wardrobe doors.
For functionality, a small homework desk was placed at the front of the bed while a compact bookshelf was mounted on a wall at the opposite end.
About the revamping the nursery
J: The nursery was designed for the owners’ baby girl, so we chose a soft pastel pink for the walls – the laminates around the wardrobe’s handles are in the same shade of pink as well. Overall, the layout of the space is very simple; there’s just a changing area in the front and the back is occupied by a cot and a nursing corner with a canopy for privacy.
Also, because it’s designed as a room to be grown into, most of the furnishings in the nursery are loose pieces, which gives the owners the option to switch them out when their daughter is older.
To sum up
J: For this project, there were quite a few challenges that both the homeowners and I had to face, particularly COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker. Because of the situation, there was a lack of manpower on the ground, and we had to be more flexible with the renovation timeline.
For instance, the fabrication of the carpentry built-ins took longer than expected, which led to the project’s completion date being pushed back by 1 to 2 weeks.
That said, this project was a pleasant working experience; the homeowners were very friendly and it was easy to understand their needs and wants for their new home. Personally, I doubt that I’ll have the opportunity to renovate an HDB flat in a block that’s as unique as this one again – or at least not so soon!
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