The Straits Times
April 26, 2008
The beauty of this apartment’s raw look is found in the exposed wiring and unfinished walls. CALL it a case of more of the same.
‘We are used to the area,’ she says of the pre-war three-room HDB flat she and her husband bought.
At 947 sq ft, it is smaller than their previous 1,300 sq ft apartment and, therefore, easier for the couple to finance it – the reason for their move.
It is, however, no less a platform for the couple’s favoured theme. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, this new place not only retains the similar raw look of their first home, but it has also improved on the couple’s earlier renovation decisions.
A REEL INSPIRATION: The custom-made iron grille divider replicates a pattern from a movie the home owner once saw. The design is also repeated on the grille at the flat’s main entrance. Folding doors close up space for privacy when needed.
Instead of using one of the bedrooms as a storeroom, which was what they did at their first home, the couple combined it with the living space to make the living room bigger.
SAME TILE STORY: The new, bigger bathroom is the result of combining the original two back-to-back bathrooms, and it features the same mosiac tiles used for the bar counter in the living room.
Ms Fenfei adds: ‘Before, we had things that weren’t practical, such as white mosaic floors that were difficult to maintain. Now, our entire living space is covered with dark homogenous tiles, which are a breeze to upkeep.’
It also helped that the couple got the same interior designer, Kelvin Giam of Intent, who did their first home. He not only enhanced the original raw, industrial theme, but also came up with new ideas, one of which involved a support beam in the dining area.
He says: ‘If we followed the line of the beam, the living space would be pretty small, so I used it as a support for the dining table instead.’
He also drew on the surrounds and architecture of Tiong Bahru, an area rich with heritage, for the home.
As a result, exposed wiring and bulbs on bare wires hang from the ceiling – recalling the austere times of the 1960s and 1970s – while cement walls have been deliberately left unfinished for a raw feel.
The three portholes in the newly built master bedroom wall also echo the motif along the stairwells of the apartment block’s structure.
That’s not all. A false ceiling clad with white aluminium strips – a look commonly seen in old shop fittings – hides the overhead beam above the bed while giving a retro feel to the master bedroom.
CEILING THE LOOK: White aluminium strips, reminiscent of old-school shop fittings, hide the overhead beam in the master bedroom and add texture to the space’s industrial feel.
Also adding character and warmth are some treasures they salvaged from the trash, such as a two-seater sofa, which has since been reupholstered, and an old television set from the 1980s.
ALL HOLED UP: Cubbyholes in the study display the couple’s vintage collection.
All of which goes to show, having more of the same can be a good thing after all.
This spread first appeared in April’s issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.