As a family grows, the priorities and needs for a home changes. And with two growing boys, things for this family of four are no different. Having already grown accustomed to this five-room flat in Hougang, they didn’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new place all over again. So, they opted for a renovation instead. With a modern-contemporary design concept in mind, they commissioned interior design studio Icon Interior to create their dream home.
“In addition to a desire to update their existing abode to something more modern, they also wanted a bold and edgy design language for their home as well,” says Max Lee, the design director of Icon Interior and designer-in-charge of this renovation project. The design team responded to the request by keeping to a monochromatic colour scheme throughout the home. Pristine white walls were layered with a series of off-black and grey laminates, timber carpentry and soft furnishings for a rich, luxurious effect. Meanwhile, large format homogeneous tiles in a matte stone-finish were selected for the flooring to help create a more elegant living space.
One of the main gripes the owners had with their home’s previous configuration was the lack of storage, which led to visual clutter being a frequent sight in the home. With the male homeowner being a pilot, he had plenty of model airplanes and souvenirs he wanted to display. This is further supplemented by the large collection of textbooks and storybooks accumulated by the two sons. But while storage was an important factor, there was also still a need to keep the overall design neat and clean.
This gave rise to the main living room wall being converted into a television-cum-storage feature wall. Constructed out of dark wood laminates with open shelves and closed cabinets, it allows the owners to display their favourite decorative pieces and trinkets, which is backlit for maximum dramatic effect. Besides storage purposes, the feature wall is also kitted out with neat tricks. For example, one section of the feature wall can be pulled open to reveal the home’s second entrance, which creates a unique feature in the home that only the owners are privy to. Another neat trick about the feature wall is the sliding door that conceals the television set. “We did this mainly to prevent any dust particles from settling on and around the television set. But it also conceals the TV when it’s not in use, which in turn creates a seamless look for the feature wall,” Max explains.
Opposite the feature wall, a cushy black sofa offers an inviting lounging spot for the family and guests. In order to cater to the owners’ love for drinking, a dedicated bar counter was in order. Situated right next to the sofa set, a bespoke glass cabinet houses their prized alcohol collection, where the bottles glow softly against the backlit wood-laminated panels. Additionally, a bar counter – constructed out of a marble quartz countertop and a laminated base – and bar stools provide a space for the owners and their guests to sit and have a casual conversation while having a drink.
Before the renovation, light distribution in the living room was quite bad, where there was only a single ceiling light illuminating the whole space, making the home seem dark and dreary. This then led to the installation of a false ceiling, complete with a series of downlights, in an effort to brighten up the communal space. Meanwhile, other works to the ceiling were partially boxed up to conceal the air-conditioner units, with the exception of slatted panels for ventilation purposes. “Standalone air-con units actually look quite boxy and unattractive, so we decided to conceal them to make the space feel cleaner and neater, and also more pleasing to the eye,” Max further elaborates.
For the kitchen, a request was made for a tough and durable space that would be able to keep up with the family’s regular cooking sessions. This was fulfilled by the designers using marble quartz and black marble slabs for the countertop and backsplash respectively. Meanwhile, everything in the kitchen is kept neat and streamlined thanks to a series of upper and lower cabinets that were constructed out of grey laminates with powder-coated handles, providing design and visual consistency to the monochrome colour palette in the outer living spaces.
Under the previous layout, the owners’ private sleeping quarters were divided into two sections: a sleeping area and a walk-in wardrobe. However, these two individual spaces were tight and cramped, which would not have been a conducive space for them to spend time in. As such, the space was opened up. Adopting a predominantly monochromatic scheme, the sleeping chamber’s cosy and homely atmosphere is attributed to the generous King-sized bed and is further complemented by a custom full-height wardrobe unit that runs parallel to it. Constructed out of black tinted glass, it allows the occupants to see the items on the inside without having to physically open up the doors.
Moving on, the master bath continues the sleek design profile as the rest of the home. Doing away with the pre-existing ceramic tiles, Italian stone-lookalike homogeneous tiles now takes its place, imbuing the space with a refined and classy look. “The owners actually wanted to use marble tiles in the bathroom, but because marble tiles are prone to being slippery when wet, we persuaded the owners to get the textured Italian tiles instead, which still gives off a luxurious look while still being practical for the bathroom” Max explains. It is also worth noting that the stone walls in different textures and colours create a tactile contrast against the monochrome palette.
It’s clear that this HDB flat successfully revives its old features with modernity, and it is all in thanks to the carefully curated material palette and clever design sensibilities by both the homeowners and designers alike.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the December 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: Icon Interior