Toa Payoh 4-Room Resale Flat is a Fully Open-Concept Bachelorette Pad
And its lack of walls isn't the only thing that’s unconventional about this house.
The problem with open-concept spaces is the lack of privacy – which is necessary if you’re living with your parents or kids. But that wasn’t the case for Alina, who recently moved into this 4-room HDB flat earlier this year.
“The main thing I wanted was a big, open space,” she explains. “I think I hacked almost every wall in this place – it was pretty expensive, but so worth it.”
View this project by Ovon Design
To her, renovation was an introspective experience – one that starts by considering what she needed, and what she didn't need. So, with the help of Ovon Design, she ended up with a home that was entirely catered to her and her alone, with unique features such as a TV-less living room.
To find out more about this renovation experience, we sat down with Alina for a chat!
About the homeowner and her home
Alina (A): I originally lived in a DBSS flat. But after a few personal events, I decided I needed a hard reset; I ended up selling that place and buying this house, which just so happens to be near my old house.
This house was smaller than my previous flat, so I definitely couldn’t bring all my stuff over. I pulled a ‘Marie Kondo’ on everything – I think I had 40 boxes worth of things, but I ended up throwing out about 25 of them after realising I didn’t really need everything.
About searching for an interior designer
A: A friend of mine was renovating around the same time I was; to save costs, she engaged a contractor. But funnily enough, I think she ended up spending more money, and had to spend a lot of time coordinating everything on her own, which was pretty stressful for her.
Seeing what she was going through, I decided I didn’t want to go down the same route, because I’m not a designer and have no sense of design whatsoever. So, I went to the Qanvast website, where I was recommended three IDs that included Ovon [Design].
I think what really stood out to me about Ovon was that they really listened to what I wanted. For instance, when I told Gary (my interior designer) that I wanted a fully open space, I could tell he really took that into account when he was coming up with the 3D mock-up and gave me a design that blur the boundaries between rooms.
On renovating the living room
A: In my initial brief to Gary, I told him that I didn’t want a typical living room that was built around a TV and a couch. I don’t watch TV, I sit on the floor more than I sit on the couch, and I plan to run small yoga classes for my friends in the future – so I literally only wanted a big, open space suitable for my lifestyle.
The platform was something that Gary suggested, as a way to create visual interest. It adds dimension, and because we used different coloured vinyl for each area, there’s a subtle colour contrast as well.
He also installed recessed lighting around the platform, because I’m one of those people who gets up at 5AM every morning (laughs). It’s not only for safety purposes, but as it’s always dark outside when I wake up, the lighting makes the platform look really cool, as compared to later in the day!
Honestly, I think the platform lighting is the main focal point of the space – it really sets the tone of the house.
About the kitchen
A: Going into this renovation, my thought process was pretty simple – keep whatever’s important to me, and strip away everything that isn’t.
For instance, I don’t cook, so there’s no point having a full induction stove in my kitchen when I won’t use it. All I have is a small induction cooker built into the carpentry, which I can use to boil water for instant noodles, or heat up soups.
Another thing I didn’t want was a regular dining table, as I didn’t see the need of having one.
What I wanted instead was a bar counter and stools that overlooked the greenery outside. At my old place, I lived on one of the higher levels, where you could only look down on everything. But here, the trees are right in my line of sight, and it feels like a real-life portrait – so in a way, the bar counter allows me to fully enjoy this view.
At the same time, I do host pretty regularly, so I also asked for a kitchen island in the middle of the space, so that my guests can congregate around it and mingle.
As you can see, I was willing to fork out more on the infrastructure of the house – like the electrical points, lights, carpentry, and flooring. They’re the foundation, so they had to be durable – and repairing them would be very expensive. So, I was happy to spend more on this to save costs in the long run.
On making over the master bedroom and walk-in wardrobe
A: Instead of a regular door, I chose a sliding glass door to separate my bedroom from the communal area. It was previously just a regular bedroom surrounded by walls, but it made the house seem smaller – so I got Gary to hack them away.
Having enough storage was also an important consideration, as my house doesn’t have a store room. As I have a sizeable collection of handbags, Gary hacked the wall between the master and junior bedroom and built a large glass cabinet for my bags.
Gary also turned that adjacent junior bedroom into my walk-in wardrobe, with floor-to-ceiling storage units that provide more than enough space for all my clothes,
To sum up
A: Gary really – and I mean, really – did everything. Not only did he try his best to design the space around my needs, he went the extra mile to make sure everything was going smoothly.
He was with me when I was moving my stuff, and was onsite everyday to ensure everything was installed properly. He even accompanied me to places like Courts and Castlery, and then did all the liaising and organising. Honestly, I didn’t even have to do anything – all I had to do was show up with my credit card and pay (laughs).
Even while I was travelling, I didn’t have to worry about the finer details – because I knew Gary could take care of it for me. And I was also glad he was upfront about HDB’s renovation restrictions and helped me stay within them – he was acutely aware that I didn’t want to risk redoing the carpentry somewhere down the road.
I think I genuinely have nothing to complain about. I officially moved into this place in early August this year, and I couldn’t be happier!