A Resale HDB Apartment Gets A Dramatic Facelift


Drab and dated, the interior of this 20-year-old resale flat belonging to a pair of newlyweds just didn’t suit their personalities. Moreover, the young owners had their own unique ideas in mind and were eager for its facelift. Together with Derrick Lim, their interior designer from D’Marvel Scale, they came up with creative ways to transform it into a contemporary haven laced with a heritage vibe.

Like most homeowners, plans were in the pipeline for major space restructuring catered to the couple’s creature habits. But what set them apart was the decision to forgo the customary living room alongside its entertainment system and squishy sofa. Instead, the pair decided to assign the dining area as their new, albeit unconventional, communal zone. This uncommon school of thought is refreshing, not lacking.

“The homeowners wanted their dining room to be the centre for social gatherings. As opposed to sitting on the couch watching television, being seated around a table allows everyone to face one another and interact easily,” explains Derrick. “They meant to use this space for work as well.”

It’s of no surprise that this request came from the man of the house, an individual who’s enjoying a career in the teaching industry. As with any well-designed room, this part of the home boasts a prominent focal point. A massive bookcase covers the entire wall on one side of the dining area, armoured in dark wood and echoing the texture of the timber floors and dining table. The cement plastered wall facing the bookcase balances wood’s rustic look and harmonises with the industrial style lighting on the ceiling.

Flanking this new communal area is the entrance hallway that’s bedecked in Peranakan floor tiles. Not only do they serve to visually segregate the living areas, they also imbue a heritage vibe into the interior in an understated manner. With its mix of warm and cool tones, the tiles harmoniously reflect the rest of the abode.

Nearby, Peranakan tiles can also spotted at the kitchen entrance, creating a figurative mat at the entryway. Here, Derrick extended the cabinetry out to create a cool spot for breakfast or a quick snack. Illuminated overhead by industrial light fixtures, this niche boasts a backdrop made by niftily changing up the arrangement of your run-of-the-mill classic subway tiles. The interior designer mentioned that the couple had requested for a unique wall feature here. His ingenious idea satisfied his clients’ request – and helped them cut cost as well.

Further into the apartment, the master suite shares the same reassuring wood tones as the rest of the space. A request for showcase and storage compartments in this room inspired Derrick to craft a platform bed frame with a headboard that’s fitted with recessed LED night lights. Glass cabinets flank each side, while handle-less drawers installed along the bottom of the wall feature and by the sides of the bed provide storage compartment all while omitting visual clutter in the area.

Before the makeover, the master bedroom faced major space constraints. Fitting a wardrobe and bed in was a challenge. As such, a decision was made to merge an adjoining room by completely hacking away an internal wall. This allowed a study station to be set up, but Derrick didn’t stop there. Since the pair wanted a bigger closet space, the design expert also incorporated a walk-in wardrobe in the merged room. A wall was erected to close up and segregate this new zone from the master bedroom. The newly created passageway also leads directly into both the dry and wet areas of the bathroom, making this part of the room a high-traffic area in the morning before they head off to work.

From a weary interior that didn’t live up to the couple’s lively personalities to a haven custom designed with their creature comforts in mind, the lovebirds are now ready to build their future in an abode born in the yesteryear.

This was adapted from an article originally written by Fidz Azmin in the August 2017 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: D’Marvel Scale