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The Syarifs’ Dreamy, Modern-Luxe BTO is Family Home Goals

Having lived with their parents for the past couple of years, getting the keys to their new sale-of-balance flat in Punggol came at just the right moment for showbiz couple Syarif and Malaque.

With two adorable, growing kids, it was the perfect time to build a family home they could call their own! And, it would also finally allow the multi-hyphenate duo (who are co-owners of local churro store Chulop.sg) to create an private abode that’s great for working, living and entertaining in.

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‘We wanted a space that we could lounge around, as we often work from home on top of caring for the kids. So, not too much stark blacks and whites which could be painful on the eyes,’ says Malaque.

With the help of their ID Kai from Tid Plus Design, their once-plain, cookie-cutter BTO unit is now transformed into a posh, cosy crib! Think pastel hues, marbled finishes and the odd glint of metallics for a look that’d put even hotel-suites to shame.

Stepping into their modern-luxe BTO, we chat with the warm and down-to-earth couple as they share their experience renovating a home for the first time:

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About the couple

Syarif (S): Hi, my name is Syarif and I’m self-employed. I’ve been in the Malay showbiz industry for a number of years, and I also co-own a humble churro shop called Chulop.sg with my wife, Malaque. In terms of hobbies at home… well, I’m the kind that just likes to hang out and chill, I guess! (Laughs).

Malaque (M): For me, I’m a full-time mom to two kids, and I’m an avid cook! I’ve done a few shows on cooking, on top of managing the business. That’s why the most important area for me is the kitchen. You’ll notice that the kitchen is more of an island setting, as I wanted a space that was conducive for recording cooking videos.

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About moving into a new neighbourhood

M: This flat wasn’t our first choice, to be honest. We applied for a BTO in an area we wanted, but we didn’t get it in the end, due to racial quota. And because we couldn’t wait to get our own home, we decided to get this sale-of-balance flat in Punggol. Which on hindsight, was a lucky break for us as well.

S: I had this perception of Punggol being really ‘ulu’, but since moving into the place, I’ve discovered that the neighbourhood is really well designed and planned for young families. There are a lot of family-friendly amenities in Punggol, like parks and farms, which makes it great for raising our kids.

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What they wanted to achieve out of their space

In terms of design:

M: We wanted something minimal. For me, I wanted a space that gave a sort of relaxing, lounge-like feeling, especially in our living room – but with a bit of colour. Nothing too monochromatic and stark like black, white and greys. Rather, softer colours like dusty pink which wouldn’t be too painful on the eyes. I think a lot of our aesthetic derived from the Airbnbs we’ve stayed during our travels, and the designs we’ve seen in studios or on Pinterest.

In terms of functionality:

S: Another must-have I initially wanted was a working office. As I sing, I wanted my own recording studio, but we decided to do away with it to create a play space for the kids. Other than that, we wanted a big master bedroom.

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M: Yep, definitely a must have for us! We wanted an en-suite space just for sleeping – nothing else in it. No cupboards, no nothing. For that, we combined two bedrooms and created a walk-in ‘cove’ which just has the bed. Also, the kitchen island as mentioned, as a prep space for me to do baking and cooking.

About working with Kai from Tid-Plus

M: We came across Tid-Plus through Instagram, actually. One of my acquaintances had just finished his renovation with the company, and I went to check out their profile. I liked that their works were simple and clean, and when we met Kai, we just felt that she understood our needs, and was on the same wavelength with us in terms of ideas.

S: Whatever ideas we had, she was able to put it into drawings and words before we could, and she was able to provide even better suggestions to improve the space.

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M: I appreciate that she’s always asking questions, trying to understand our lifestyles and needs to help us shape out a better space. For instance, she’d ask me how I’d usually work around in the kitchen, what kind of food do I usually cook and stuff. And from there, she’d suggest ideas like placing a small cubby (for me to place my baked goods to cool), etc.

About their renovation process

S: One thing I liked about Kai was that she was very responsive. Whenever we asked a question or followed up about an issue or defect, she would reply, even if it was late at night. I mean, I don’t expect her to reply instantly because she has her own stuff to handle, but going that extra mile shows that she’s really dedicated to serving her clients.

S: While we did come down often, it wasn’t really to spot check on her work. But because we were excited! Every week there was something different happening to the house, and we just wanted to document and see everything coming together ourselves.

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Smart ideas Kai has proposed

M: One thing we realised about BTOs is that sometimes the walls are not even. We figured that it probably wasn’t something we could do anything about, so we already made up our mind to ignore it. But Kai told us that we could actually box it up to make a nice wall. Also, she suggested making the most of our bomb shelter space by making a ‘door’ with concealed shoe racks.

Some lessons they’ve learnt through their renovation

M: Renovation is just 40%. The remaining 60% are the nitty-gritty things that you’ll need to make your home complete, like furnishings, accessories, appliances – which also cost a chunk! Another piece of advice? Never paint your door matte black. We thought matte black paint for our doors would look good, but it’s really powdery and scratches easily. Plus, thumbprints and marks are very obvious on it.

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On their home’s hidden surprises

S: We actually concealed our whole service yard behind a ‘secret’ door. As we rearranged our kitchen layout and extended it, we were able to build a concealed panel to give the entire wall face a seamless look. We didn’t want the service yard (and rubbish chute) to ‘spoil’ the look, that’s why we covered it. That being said, the view from the service yard is not too bad! We can see the waterway from here.

Their furniture buys

M: In the living room, our sofa is from Castlery while the coffee table is from Choice Furniture. The beanbag and rug is from MUJI and IKEA respectively. Side table is from an Instagram shop called @esteezaki.lux. We got our standing lamp from an online store called Screed SG. We also got other carpets from this supplier we came across during the Ramadan Bazaar, called Ling Carpets. As for the marbled wall, we got the wallpaper from Tat Ming Wallpaper.

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Their favourite space

S: For me, it’s the living room. I’d head right there to kick back and relax.

M: It’s the kitchen for me. It’s made for hosting and I love that we can simply gather around with friends, over the island, cook food, talk or sing songs.

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