Find Out How This Buangkok HDB Flat Achieved Its Picture-Perfect Tropical Look


Everything about this HDB flat spells relaxation, so much so that you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to breezy Bali while in Buangkok. Forming an incredible marriage between modern comforts and serene resort-inspired accents, Principal Designer Raymond Seow from Free Space Intent completely captured the tropical getaway experience into this humble HDB flat unit. It is evident from the minute you walk in, as foliage-inspired carvings greet you from the fretwork dividers.

“We actually customised this 2.1-metre divider which is made of MDF panels,” reveals Raymond of this full-height panel which is striking as it is lofty. It is integrated with dividers with Balinese carvings at the sides which were bought from Thailand. Featuring a majestic-looking tree motif, the front of this three-sided divider becomes a modern interpretation of the intricate craftsmanship synonymous with Balinese carvings. The seamless harmony of the contemporary MDF cut-out panels with the traditional ornately-carved dividers also becomes a running theme in the home where he skilfully fused these new and old elements as one.

Outdoor-indoor living is the Balinese way of life and while we live in a concrete jungle with limited foliage, Raymond managed to make it work in this HDB flat setting. “We were influenced by the truly unique and organic forms of the huts in Bali,” he says of this distinctive Balinese architecture. While it wasn’t possible to build the exterior of grassy thatched roofs, he replicated the experience of being in these airy steeply-roofed pavilions. Using customised fixtures with a wood-effect laminated finish, he formed an inclined skirting around the ceiling which plays up the feeling of being in a cooling hut, while being sheltered by the tropical elements of sun and rain.

To complete the look, a raised platform was installed at the communal zones and this anchored the cosy corner of the home. Its curvy and organic form adds a fresh contemporary twist to the overall resort setting. Raymond utilised a lightly-distressed wood finish for both the platform and the attached settee for a seamless style.

Breath-taking vistas of nature are then worked in by putting up wall coverings that depict bold and beautiful botanical motifs. These large mural-like coverings add punchy accents of colour which pair well with the warm wood textures from the resort-style furnishings and customised embellishments.

Speaking of woody textures, it is the key feature of the kitchen’s material palette. Raymond first hacked away the boundary walls to establish an open setting and then erected a half-height wall for a clean-lined demarcation. With the kitchen out in the open, he used laminate finishes sporting rich wood textures and teamed it with porcelain flooring tiles of a similar woodgrain finish. To temper these strong textures, he selected a quartz countertop and tempered glass backsplash in sleek monochromatic colours.

In the private areas, a common bedroom has been merged with the master bedroom to create a larger and more comfortable sleeping suite. Within the newly expanded bedroom, Raymond has segregated the sleeping quarters from the walk-in wardrobe, dressing area and ensuite bathroom with the use of thick drapes. The softness of the velvety drapes contrasts well with symmetrical tilework of the feature wall which resembles woven rattan. This exotic resort getaway experience is heightened by the woody accents of Balinese artwork and the complementary custom-designed touches.

Through ingenuity and with a keen design eye, Raymond has created an easy transition between authentic Balinese accents and the custom design elements which serves up a successful resort style. He adds, “The finishing touch was to add in plants, lots of it, and luckily the homeowners were on board with having so much greenery in their home.”

This was adapted from an article originally written by Disa Tan published in the June 2019 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: Free Space Intent