An Unconventional HDB Flat That Successfully Combines Cottage And Industrial Styles


While homes with a country-cottage design concept are not a common sight here in Singapore, there was no deterring the homeowners of this four-bedroom apartment from their chosen style. Then, it was down to choosing an interior designer. In came senior designer Alvin Ang from Prozfile, who came to the homeowners highly recommended from their cousin, who was a previous client of the designer. But although what the owners requested for their home’s renovation was a territory that Alvin had never ventured before, it was the instant connection and rapport he felt with them that motivated him to take on the project.

One of the major decisions the designer had to make was to find the perfect wall colour for the communal zone. Because it is the main living area, the homeowners wanted it to make a bold statement, and Alvin knew that the standard wall colours would not be able to achieve that look. After much consideration, he decided on a muted green hue as the colour has a timeless appeal. As he didn’t want to dwarf the room’s height with false ceilings, he installed timber beams across the ceiling instead. Not only are they used for mounting lights and to conceal the accompanying wiring, the beams also help enhance the rustic cottage aesthetic of the space.

The long corridor that leads to the private spaces used to be claustrophobic as all the rooms that were situated along this path were walled up and closed off. As such, Alvin suggested to hack the walls between the first bedroom and the service yard to open up the floor plan.

Used as a space that the family can either engage in some serious desk work or indulge in their musical hobbies, the first bedroom was converted into a study-cum-music room. But keeping in mind that this particular room would require some privacy from time to time whenever the family is working or playing, Alvin fitted the entrance with an aluminium glass sliding door. This way, whoever is in the room can maintain visual contact with the outer areas, but still have a quiet space to themselves. Meanwhile, to provide ample storage for their extensive book and magazine collection, a built-in cabinet that encompasses a mixture of open and closed shelving units was installed.

As the homeowners had a dedicated laundry area at their previous home, one of the requirements they made was to create something similar for their new home. As such, he custom-built L-shaped storage cabinets featuring weathered wood-effect laminates to complement the country-house vibe of the home. Complementing this is a ceiling-mounted drying rack as well as a countertop that can be used for sorting out the laundry pieces. In addition, to straighten out the 15mm drop from the corridor that the yard originally had, Alvin overlaid the floor area with coloured hexagonal tiles from tile specialist Hafary. This design is similar to the hexagonal motifs used for the living room television cabinet, tying the design concept together between the various spaces.

For his bedroom, the couple’s teenage son requested for the style to be fully industrial – a departure from the predominantly country aesthetic of the home. In addition, there was also a need to carve out both a study and sleeping area in this space. Embracing the requests, Alvin took advantage of the room’s 2.75m-high ceilings to create a loft bed. By doing so, the teenage occupant not only has a space for sleeping, but the space below allows for both a wardrobe and a space to chill-out. Echoing similar design sentiments as the study, this bedroom also features a built-in cabinet that has both open and closed shelving units for the son’s book and toy collection. However, instead of the same weathered light wood-effect laminates, Alvin used dark wood laminates to further amplify the industrial ambience of the space.

Moving on to the master bedroom, the original wardrobe doors were removed in favour of a mirror-fronted sliding door. Speaking of this modification, Alvin explains, “We wanted to make the wardrobe feel more like a walk-in closet. And not only does the mirror provide depth to the overall room, it allows the occupants to have one last look at themselves before they leave the room.” But as it doesn’t provide enough storage for their clothes, the designer decided to install another series of full-length wardrobes along the room’s entryway. Clad in light coloured laminates on the top but dark toned laminates on the bottom two rows of pull-out drawers, this colour combination prevents the narrow walkway from feeling too claustrophobic but provides visual interest at the same time.

Summing up his thoughts about the entire project, Alvin says, “This is definitely one of my favourite projects. As I usually work with industrial and Scandinavian design styles, this type of theme is something I’ve never done before. While it was challenging, I am very pleased with the result, and I’m happy that I was able to give the homeowners the country-cottage home that they wanted.”

This was adapted from an article originally published in the May 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credit: Prozfile 

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