A Self-Styled HDB Home That Looks Like It Belongs In A Condo


Walking into this five-room flat located in Bukit Batok, one would be immediately struck by the clean and immaculate lines that stand out in the sprawling communal area. But while you may think that this was the work of an interior designer, it was actually all in thanks to the meticulousness and good design planning of homeowners Gerald Teo and Kelly Hong.

Under the previous homeowners, the 20-year-old resale flat had a layout was not fully maximised. It also featured outdated furnishings and fittings that were not suitable for this modern couple. However, they saw potential in what it could be and put in motion plans for the unit’s overhaul. As Gerald is a designer by trade, he decided to take over the reins for the project. And it was his acute design sense and strong attention to detail that allowed him and Kelly to create their dream home.

One of the main requirements the couple had was to have plenty of storage. Instead of converting the wraparound space of the television set into cabinets, they settled on the expansive wall that starts from the unit’s main entrance and ends just right before the balcony. This was done in part because there wasn’t ample space in the living room and in part because they wanted to keep the television area clean. Making use of white laminates, the full-length cabinets seem to blend into the walls. Meanwhile, as a form of visual interest and a personalised touch, a marble-topped display niche was embedded into the middle of the cabinetry, which also provides a relief from what would have otherwise been an expansive but monotonous surface area.

As the kitchen, dining and living areas all share the same space, using all-white surfaces would have left the space feeling clinical. To counter this, the kitchen saw the use of ultra-matte dark grey scratch- and fingerprint- resistant laminates from EDL‘s Fenix NTM range for the cabinetry. Even though the couple doesn’t cook often, this material provides the fittings with added durability and resistance against accidental incidents. But because they like to entertain, there was a need for a standalone kitchen island. Topped with marble-effect quartz countertops and a base clad in the same laminates as the cabinetry, the island unit encompasses kitchen appliances and storage units on one end and bar stools for seating on the other.

In the balcony, the original sliding doors were swapped out for a pair of pivot doors. Explaining this, Gerald said, “We chose this particular type of door because they could be opened to match the 45-degree angled wall of the balcony. Compared to sliding doors, which only allow 50 per cent of air through at any one time, these pivot doors will allow more air to flow between the two spaces. And when closed, they are fully flushed with the walls, in turn maintaining a fully flat surface throughout.”

Moving on to the private living chambers, the partition wall that separated the original master bedroom and an adjoining bedroom were knocked down to create a larger space that encompasses the bedroom, a walk-in-closet and a home office. But as the entirety of the room had a perimeter wall that angled off at an awkward 45º, the couple squared off the sleeping zone with tea-coloured glass sliding doors – a design trait is also seen in the living room and kitchen. As they wanted the boudoir to give off a warmer and cosier ambience, the space features more wood tones than the outer communal zones. This can be seen from the use of a vinyl wood flooring and light woodgrained laminates on the doors of the full-length series of wardrobe units.

Meanwhile, upping the number of storage options in the bedroom is the installation of a bay window settee that conceals storage beneath. And while most homeowners would have wanted the surface of the settee to be cushioned, Gerald and Kelly decided to leave it bare and embellished it with small round cushions instead. Kelly explained the decision, “It’s easier to maintain this way. When we leave the windows open to air the room, if any dust or dirt falls in, we can easily wipe it away with a damp cloth.” To keep the bedroom flushed and streamlined, a partition wall in front of the bed was extended out, and a recess within the partition houses a sleek television system and conceals the accompanying set-top box and soundbar. In addition, Gerald had bedside tables customised with slots that were perfectly aligned to where the electrical powerpoints were, to prevent any charging cables for electronic devices and other items from cluttering up the space.

The tedious and extensive amount of work that went into this flat’s overhaul meant that it was a long three-month period before the couple could move in and enjoy the fruits of their labour. But the wait was worth it, for Gerald and Kelly have perfectly created and curated for themselves a home that not only combines the best of both aesthetics and functionality but one that will also stand the test of time in an ever-changing industry for many years to come.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the May 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photos by Wong Weiliang