How This Family Transformed Their Space To Create More Bedrooms In Their 5-Room Flat


When the new homeowners took over this 1,560-square foot unit in Yishun, it originally had only three bedrooms. But the new family had a total of six people, and they were definitely not keen on sharing rooms. In addition, the pre-existing look and feel of the home was dark and drab, and still had furnishings and fittings that had not been updated for a very long time. As such, a renovation was in order, and they soon decided on interior design firm Ethereall for their home’s overhaul.

On the whole, as they didn’t have a preference towards a particular design style, the homeowners left it up to the Ethereall design team to come up with various options. And it was the proposal of an industrial-style home that won them over. Splashes of white, black and grey tones were used all throughout the apartment to achieve the desired look. But to prevent the home from looking too heavy and cold, elements of dark and light wood tones were included in the design, imbuing a warm and cosy ambience throughout the unit.

Additionally, to keep things in the home visually interesting, colours and textures were also used by the designers. For example, the floor area directly beneath the dining set and the adjoining sink-cum-shoe cabinet was clad with patterned tiles from tile specialist Soon Bee Huat. Meanwhile, the opposing wall to the dining set features a bright blue colour palette, and the same hue is used throughout the entire corridor. Of the choice to use a variety of materials and finishes, Ethereall’s design director Gwenn Chua explains, “We wanted to do something different. So we used these design elements as our way of injecting added style into the space, to prevent the unit from looking and feeling the same”.

In order to squeeze an additional two bedrooms into the flat, it meant that some luxuries would have to be compromised. Instead of a dedicated area for meals, the dining zone was relocated next to the kitchen. To prevent the new kitchen-cum-dining area from feeling too claustrophobic, the designers demolished the partition wall that separated the space and the home’s entryway.

However, there was something that the family wouldn’t compromise on, and that was having ample storage units for their personal and communal items. As such, Gwenn and the design team converted empty walls into storage units wherever possible. From the outermost communal spaces to the innermost private living chambers, each space features wrap-around cabinets and towering floor-to-ceiling rows of wardrobes respectively.

The most tedious part of the renovation had to be the realignment of the floor plan to suit the new family’s lifestyle. Almost all of the pre-existing partition walls had to be demolished, but once the design team had sectioned out the square footage and had the necessary five bedrooms in place, they then had the task of designing each space to suit each occupant’s preferences and needs. For example, the master bedroom – which belongs to the homeowner’s parents – was kept relatively simple to suit their low-profile nature. As the homeowner’s sister is a part-time model, the design team custom-built see-through wardrobes and a vanity table framed by light bulbs in her bedroom for her daily makeup and dressing requirements.

Meanwhile, for rooms that required even more storage, the designer had to creatively work with the remaining spaces available to come up with storage units that serve a double purpose. For instance, in the master bedroom, a settee was installed along the bay window, which also doubles up as flip-up storage beneath. Another such design modification can also be seen the third junior bedroom, where a customised glass-topped display cabinet for watches and belts also acts as a divider screen between the room’s entryway and the occupant’s bed set.

While not commonly seen in homes around Singapore, realigning an apartment’s entire floor plan just to squeeze in an additional two bedrooms forces both designers and homeowners to review just how pre-existing dead zones can be revived into fully functional spaces. Fortunately, it is through the ingenuity and unconventional thinking by both parties here that allowed for the transformation of this unit into a space-maximising and welcoming home.

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

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