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This Couple’s Home Is Cosy Minimalism at Its Best

June 8, 2018

Even before getting the keys to their 4-room HDB apartment in Toa Payoh, lawyer Charlotte and her banker Bryan had a clear idea of who they wanted to hire for their renovation.

“We got to know about Habit through our friends, and after looking at their homes, we felt that their (Habit's) work was really appealing," says Charlotte.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Living Room
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And found the right person for the job they did. Aside from making the process as smooth as possible for the couple – who were in the midst of planning their wedding while Bryan was working overseas – Habit also delivered a gorgeous new home that feels warm, inviting and all-round stylish.

About ourselves:

Charlotte (C): I am Charlotte, a lawyer, and I am married to Bryan who is a banker. We are both 29 this year.

About the renovation process:

C: I think the most important part about our renovation was that Bryan was actually working overseas at that point of time so I was doing everything by myself. Plus, we were planning our wedding too. Because of that, I wanted a designer whom we could trust to run the show and Habit really delivered in this aspect.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Foyer
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About finding an interior designer:

C: We got to know about Habit through friends, and they had previously worked on some of my ex-colleagues’ homes as well. I have been to their places and thought the style was pretty nice, which was why we reached out to Habit.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Kitchen
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Our must-haves:

Bryan (B): For the kitchen, we wanted a “closed, but open” concept. So if you take a look at the entrance, there’s a transparent glass window above the counter that we can use to shut off the kitchen while cooking.

C: It’s actually pretty convenient, we use it quite frequently to pass food over from the kitchen to the dining area.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Dining Room
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C: Another thing about Habit is that while other designers will do up 3D drawings, they take a more holistic approach instead by asking what we wanted for the house, what our plans were, and what we liked to do. In that sense, we felt the experience was more personalised, rather than generic.

Also, they were on the same wavelength when it came to design choices due to our similar age, and there was no need to micro-manage them at all.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Hallway
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Most memorable renovation experience:

C: Choosing the tiles was my favourite part. The Habit designers went to a tile shop and took videos of everything before asking us to choose between 'A' and 'B'. It was like doing a multiple-choice question on WhatsApp (laughs). Another upside is that it allowed Bryan to participate in the decision-making process as well.

Biggest challenge we faced:

B: Personally, I don’t feel that was much of a challenge, because Habit made things really easy for us.

We only met them thrice before I flew off – once to talk about the layout and to do some rough planning, another to give them the go-ahead, and then the last time was to finalise where the openings between the rooms would be made.

Other than that, most of the arrangements were made via WhatsApp, like the colour schemes and changes relating to that.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Bedroom
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Major works performed:

C: Originally, the master bedroom and study were two separate spaces. Habit then knocked out one of the partition wall to create a side entrance. Also, because the door wouldn’t stay firmly at one position, which we found odd, the designers installed a stopper above the door frame to make sure it would stay in place.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Study
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Thoughts about seeing home for the first time:

C: Although we had a hand in choosing the materials, both Bryan and I had no idea how the final result would look like. And because of that it was quite fun to see how the house turned out when I visited for the first time. To me, everything looked good, but was very, very functional at the same time.

B: I had never came to the house before while it was being renovated, and it was quite pleasant to find a welcoming home like this. So far living here doesn’t feel like you are in an impractical space, everything is well-thought out and looks good.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Bathroom
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Thoughts about Habit:

C: We’d definitely look for Habit again, working with them was a stress-free experience. Unless I felt like ‘kay poh’-ing, there was no need for me to come down at all.

They were also very ok with answering our ‘stupid’ questions (laughs). When buying furniture, we would ask them about their thoughts, and they would be very honest about what looked good and what didn’t.

B: They have good taste and know how to get things done, and that’s what you’d want to look for in a designer.

Toa Payoh HDB designed by Habit - Bedside
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