An Old Walk-Up Apartment Gets Transformed Into A Cosy Boho-Chic Haven


Whether for a first or second home, when purchasing a resale apartment, it can be tempting to fully overhaul the space and update it with new fittings, fixtures and furnishings. However, there is something inherently beautiful about resale homes, and homeowners actually strive to maintain and honour the integrity of the old house despite sporting a new interior. This is perfectly demonstrated in this walk-up apartment in Yio Chu Kang.

Home to a couple and their toddler, the owners engaged the help of local interior design firm three-d conceptwerke to turn their dream home into a reality. Having already had an existing relationship with the team from a previous renovation project, the owners gave the designers free rein over the ideas and execution of their new abode. Without the constraints of having to follow a specific theme, the designers could then focus on creating a space that would suit the young family’s current and future needs.

To create a greater sense of openness and allow more natural light to filter through the home, the wall looking out into the balcony was torn down and replaced with sliding glass doors. This was then complemented by clean white walls that not only helped elevate the lightness and expanse of the apartment but also served as a timeless backdrop to display shelving adorned with memorabilia, personal artefacts and the like.

Meanwhile, the essence of the home was preserved in a variety of ways. Firstly, as they encompassed the identity and the history of the home, the beautiful Art Deco vintage grilles that adorned all the windows were retained. Next, the upper half of the walls in the dining hall were scraped to expose the brick layer underneath. However, instead of leaving it in its original red hue, the wall was painted over with a fresh coat of white. “By doing so, the contrast between brick and plaster was softened, all while introducing a new level of texture and character into the space,” the designers explain.

As the original orientation of the home had the living room facing the balcony and a busy road, the designers decided to swap this and the adjoining dining area. Away from the noise, the living area is now a peaceful cove where the family can chill and bond while watching television. And now as the first space, the owners and guests see upon walking into the apartment, the main wall of the dining hall makes a grand statement through the installation of a large built-in bookshelf. Comprising open cubbyholes and closed cabinets, the fixture serves as a landing spot for the male homeowner’s repertoire of books as well as other decorative items.

Past the dining area, the balcony comes into view. Given that the owners wanted a space where they could practise yoga, the floor area spanning the length of the sliding glass doors was fitted with a timber decking system from local manufacturer OneWood, effectively creating an ambience where the owners can feel like they’re exercising next to nature.

Although once separated into a cooking zone and a yard delineated by a wall and windows, the kitchen is now bright and airy after these two spaces were combined. Design-wise, a palette of calming neutrals create a cosy ambience where the female homeowner can continually feel inspired during her frequent cooking sessions. With sufficient storage solutions on the opposing wall as well as on the island unit, there was no need for any carpentry works on the wall leading into the kitchen. Instead, it was clad over with white herringbone tiles that subtly created another dimension in the utilitarian zone, and used as the main display space for spices and other personal trinkets.

For their personal chambers, the owners wanted a simple and cosy space. As this room encompassed quite a large floor area, the designers decided to place the bed upon a custom-made elevated platform that would add an extra depth of field into an otherwise straightforward space. Against the unfussy backdrop, the window grilles are once again allowed to be the highlight of the home.
Over in the en suite bathroom, Peranakan-inspired cement floor tiles pays tribute to the age and history of the home while contributing to an updated aesthetic of the private sanctuary. Meanwhile, accents like the black aluminium border of the shower screen and a black-accented contemporary shower system frame the bathroom fittings in a slightly bolder way.

With these bespoke touches and a thoughtful sense of space planning, there is no doubt that the three-d conceptwerke team has created a home that is comfortable, savvy and spacious; where their strong sense of design and dedication has allowed them to rejuvenate the interior as naturally as possible without draining the character and charm of the home’s exterior.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the July 2019 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: three-d conceptwerke