You Can’t Tell Now, But This Newton Home Was a Bachelor Pad
Now home to four, this 116 sqm former bachelor pad in Newton was redesigned with spaces for family time.
It goes without saying that a bachelor pad isn’t built for family life, so naturally, after purchasing this 116 sqm condominium apartment at Newton Road last year, one of the first things Jonathan and Serene did was to seek out local design studio Habit. Their goal? To transform what was a dwelling for one into a home for four.
Interior Firm: Habit
The home’s living area prior to the renovation.
“Before we purchased it, the place was previously occupied by just one person, so it was very much catered to his lifestyle,” says Jonathan. “For instance, he had converted one of the bedrooms into a movie theatre. So, when we took over the house, we had to make some configuration changes.”
Subsequently, in the capable hands of Habit’s team of designers – Denise, Yan Ling, Daniel and Lena – Jonathan and Serene’s new apartment was completely transformed across 16 weeks, resulting in a highly-functional home comprised of various purpose-built rooms and spaces. For a before-and-after look at the whole renovation, keep scrolling!
About themselves and their home
Jonathan (J): This apartment is in the Newton 18 development, it’s about 15 years old, and I live here with my wife, our two-year-old daughter and our newborn son. There weren’t many three-bedder units in this particular development, so when we saw that there was one available, we decided to buy it almost immediately.
The current floor plan of the house.
Serene (S): Some of the changes that we made include converting what was a movie theatre room into our daughter’s bedroom and expanding the kitchen.
Jonathan and I are pretty simple in terms of our design tastes, we like the monochrome look – it’s the reason why we chose to work with Habit because we saw their portfolio and felt that their projects were a good match with what we had in mind.
About the living area and its concealed workstation
J: So, the thing is, this space isn’t really our living area per say. Even though it’s in the centre of the apartment, we have a separate room where the TV is – it’s a cosy setting that’s away from this lounge and dining area because we felt that there would be too many activities going on in the same space if we were to have the TV here.
We want our spaces to be familial – if you want to watch the TV, then everybody watches the TV together.
S: For this lounge, we wanted it to have the feel of a fireplace, where we’d be able to relax and have heart-to-heart conversations. The intimate and simple set up of the space helps with that – it’s just a storage bench, which we use to store festive décor when it’s off-season, and two Camerich lounge chairs side-by-side with custom cushions from Blafink for a soft touch.
There’s also a mirror in front of the lounge chairs. Personally, I think it’s an interesting and useful feature to have; Habit suggested mounting one there, and it allows us to see who’s coming into the house or if there’s anyone behind us.
J: Because of COVID-19, we also had to come up with a work-from-home configuration that would work for us. Since Serene and I are on calls all the time, we have to work in separate spaces. The idea of having this workstation was something that Habit proposed. It’s neat and clutter-free. When I’m not using the workstation, all I have to do is shut the pocket doors and it blends into the space.
On the dining area’s makeover
The dining area, prior to the renovation.
J: Serene and I always wanted the dining area to be the focus of the house because we like to entertain and have good conversations with our family. Since moving in, we’ve hosted a few times in this space and we think it's a very nice intimate setting.
The built-ins at the side are mainly for glassware and tableware. Serene enjoys doing arts and crafts, so there are plenty of materials stored in there too. There’s also a coffee machine as well as a wine fridge that was gifted to me by a friend.
If you notice from the photos and the floor plan, there’s a doorway right beside the wine fridge that leads into a passageway with a wall-mounted mirror. On the right is our daughter’s bedroom and on the left is where the common bathroom is; once she closes the door, that section becomes a junior suite where she can have her own privacy.
In a way, this makes it so that there are two wings in the house – we felt this aspect of the layout was interesting and it’s one of the reasons why we were drawn to the property in the first place.
The dining area’s table and droplet chairs are from BoConcept. “Habit said that they would suit the house – and true enough, they did,” says Jonathan.
On the entertainment room’s design
S: The entertainment room or our ‘real’ living room is adjacent to the dining area. It’s a simple space – other than the wall-mounted TV, we have a grey sofa and a side desk that allows me to use the space as a home office. The original parquet floor was also stained a darker brown so that it would match the rest of the built-ins around the house.
We actually had to make this room slightly smaller to carve out enough space for a wardrobe in the master bedroom. Fortunately, the Habit designers are masters at space planning; they recommended getting a 55-inch TV and it turned out to be just right for the viewing distance from the sofa.
On renovating the common bathroom and powder room
J: The entire common bathroom was gutted during the renovation, including the tiles, lights and the shower area. Initially, there was a shower screen with a sliding door, but for space and safety reasons, we preferred to keep it open rather than have a glass panel. Habit also proposed breaking the symmetry of the bathroom by having a single-panel mirror with a shelf for the vanity.
Because this is a kids’ bathroom, Habit built the shelves in the shower area at a slightly lower height than usual too.
The shower and WC areas of the common bathroom, pre-renovation.
S: Aside from the common bathroom, there’s yet another smaller bathroom that’s beside the lounge. It’s purely for guest-use and what’s interesting is that the walls have a special finishing – it’s a Travertino Cement Effect coating from PCI that has the appearance of cement screed but is more lasting than the actual thing.
We got the idea for these walls from an Aesop store that we shopped at, and it took five days for them to be completed because the coating layers had to be applied one-by-one.
About changes made to the kitchen
The kitchen’s entrance and interior before the renovation.
J: On the inside, the kitchen has changed quite drastically. It used to be quite small and dated. In our case, we wanted it to be more functional and also aesthetically pleasing.
There are new ceramic tiles for the floor as well as backsplash, and there’s a new KompacPlus countertop as well. For the fittings and fixtures, we kept to a palette of black and stainless steel for a cleaner look.
Additionally, the kitchen now has two doorways. There was initially only one doorway on the left, but we added another one on the right; we wanted a kitchen island for food preparation and for having quick meals, but at the same time, we didn’t want the entrance to the kitchen to be too small, which is why Habit came up with this idea.
Our daughter likes this part of the home most, she finds the entryway amusing and she really enjoys running out from one door and through the other!
“One detail you might find interesting is that the ‘pillar’, where the kitchen’s light switches are, is actually the back of the shoe cabinet,” says Serene.
About the master bedroom and en suite’s makeover
The master bedroom prior to the renovation.
J: In the master bedroom, there’s a nice wraparound window that allows us to see all the way to Malaysia on a clear day – that’s why Serene and I wanted to have our bed facing the windows, so that we can enjoy the view even when we’re lying down.
The grey cushioned headboard looks like it’s part of the bedframe, but it’s actually built into the wall behind it. We had given Habit pictures of the bed that we wanted to buy, and this was their way of incorporating it into the space.
The side tables are custom-made as well and they have a nice marble finish on the top, but unlike the headboard, they’re loose pieces so we could possibly bring them with us if we ever decide to move.
The inside of the master en suite before (left) and after (right) the renovation.
S: The entrance to the en suite was previously a sliding door with a clear glass panel, but because Jonathan and I wanted some privacy and yet still have some natural light within the space, we ended up getting fluted glass doors as a balance between these two needs.
Once you’re inside the en suite, you’ll see that there’s a his-and-her vanity counter at the front. Interestingly, there was a double vanity originally, so we kept the layout but swapped out the taps, sinks and countertop. The same goes for the WC, which we changed, but left in its original position.
The exterior of the master en suite before the renovation.
Due to the apartment’s shape, there’s a sharp corner in the master bedroom that’s right in front of the en suite, it’s actually dead space.
To maximise this area, Habit created a platform with storage underneath and added power sockets so that we could use it as a reading nook. Because it’s in the corner of the room, it’s also possible for us to work there at night without disturbing anyone else who’s in the room.
To sum up
J: Serene and I got to know Habit through a few friends who had engaged their services previously, and we’re glad that we did. Working with the whole team was a fuss-free experience and they were all very engaging and prompt with their service.
Although Denise and Yan Ling were the ones helming the project, Daniel and Lena provided very good support in shortlisting our furniture and appliances – we didn’t have to scout much at all for the lights, sanitaryware, and all that stuff. All we had to do was to make our choices from the shortlisted options. So, if we were to ever get a new house, we’d surely engage them again if we can!
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