Find Out How This Resale HDB Flat Got Its Contemporary New Look


When the new homeowners took over this five-room resale HDB flat located in Marine Terrace, the original layout and styling was not befitting for a modern family. As such, a home renovation was in order. Working with local interior design firm D’Marvel Scale, helmed by principal director Derrick Lim, plans were then put into motion to transform the apartment into a luxurious yet homey modern-contemporary abode.

Not wanting to over complicate the home with a variety of materials and colours that may clutter the approximately 1,200-square foot space, the same design treatment was applied to all rooms. Firstly, the design team kept to a carefully curated monochromatic colour palette, allowing the owners flexibility in choosing loose furniture that would easily complement one another. Secondly, the team also made a conscious choice to use similar materials throughout to maintain visual consistency. As the unit is near to the sea, special considerations were also made use less chrome furnishings and more powder-coated finishes on various fittings to ensure they stay more durable against tarnishing and corrosion.

Even though they share the same area, the living and dining zones are each characterised by their own set of unique features. In the living room, a full-length television cabinet makes for a statement piece with textured laminates from Lamitak. Keeping the audio-visual equipment from sight, the cabinet also features storage units for the homeowners’ household essentials. Meanwhile, the dining room saw the installation of a customised suspended bench that accompanies a dining set. A space saving feature, the bench can be tucked under the dining table when not in use, and can also accommodate more people as compared to standard banquet dining chairs.

Following the walkway, there comes a change in the flooring, from re-polished terrazzo tiles to a vinyl floor. This change in material serves as a subtle demarcation between the living and dining room, and the home office. Clad in a dark walnut colour scheme, the space is transformed into a cosy nook for the homeowners to work in. Serving a double purpose of added privacy and a landing spot for the owners’ book collection, a towering floor-to-ceiling bookshelf was installed, with the louvre design still allowing natural light to flow through, maintaining the open concept design.

As avid bakers, the homeowners spend quite a fair amount of time in the kitchen. As such, design modifications had to be made to ensure that the cooking zone would not only be functional but also comfortable enough for the family who can spend hours here.

“The original kitchen was walled up from the outer hallway, making the space very dark and dreary”, Derrick explains. As such, a non-load bearing partition wall surrounding the kitchen was demolished, transforming the space into an open-concept floor plan that allows for more natural light to flow through. Knocking down the wall also made way for the installation of a kitchen island. Constructed from quartz countertops and a laminated base equipped with storage units, the island unit provides additional worktop space for food preparation, and also allows the owners to continue entertaining friends and family during their baking or cooking sessions.

Inside the kitchen, a predominantly white colour scheme – on the walls and the cabinetry – helps to make the space appear larger and brighter. But to prevent the space from looking too clinical or utilitarian, design elements like marble-effect white subway tiles used on the backsplash and the classic trim added to the cabinets, give the space some added texture and visual interest. Additionally, as the kitchen shares the same space as the utility area, the design team came up with a way to shield drying laundry items from prying eyes. Dark brown louvred panels were fitted into a partition wall to keep the washing machine and clothes hidden from sight without blocking out natural light flowing through the window in the yard.

Both the guest and master bathrooms originally featured a traditional but outdated layout, where the shower, sink and WC were all lumped together in one space. This meant that whenever someone was taking a shower, the rest of the bathroom’s fittings would get wet. Updating this to suit modern tastes, and to also allow the bathrooms to better serve their purpose, the design team added a glass partition feature that would now separate the wet and dry zones. But the renovation works weren’t quite yet complete for the master en suite. Derrick recalls, “The original layout of the master bathroom had the sink right next to the WC, meaning that there was very little space to move about.” As such, the team pushed back the partition wall where the sink originally stood, creating the now luxurious and user-friendly space.

No longer the timeworn apartment of yesteryear, this newly updated apartment now features contemporary creature comforts that the modern family can live and thrive in, in the years to come.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the April 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: D’Marvel Scale