Find Out How This 20-Year-Old Apartment Got Its Trendy New Look


When it’s time to renovate the home, we look at many different sources of design inspiration. It could be a picture we see in a magazine, a cafe we frequent or even a hotel we’ve visited recently. For this home, however, design inspiration came from a source much closer to home; just outside its windows, to be exact.

Derrick Lim from D’Marvel Scale noted that this condominium sits along Bukit Timah Road, and the third-floor unit is privy to expansive views of the lush treetops and rolling hills. With the calming presence of nature in the background, the rest of the interior design quickly fell into place. “We wanted to capitalise on the bright and airy interiors,” says Derrick. “We focused on bringing subtle hints of nature into the home and from there, we then took design cues from the Scandinavian trend.” The result is a home that’s vibrantly playful, with bold and dynamic elements that imbue the room with a feeling of warmth and cosiness.

In its original state, a low drop ceiling made the home feel dark and small. Furthermore, the rooms felt cramped, with under-utilised spaces and an inefficient layout. As such, one of the first things Derrick did was to reconfigure the floor plan. He removed the false ceiling, immediately freeing up space and making the home feel brighter and much more spacious. He then knocked down several walls to combine rooms and encourage natural light to flow freely.

“The original kitchen was completely enclosed and cut off from the rest of the apartment,” Derrick recalls. “It was a dark space that wasn’t very inviting or homely.” To breathe new life into the space, the designer knocked away the wall that separated the kitchen from the rest of the home. In its place, he built a half-height counter that looks out into the dining room. This opening can be closed off with sliding glass windows that still provide a visual link between the spaces.

The interior of the kitchen also received a brand new look. The U-shaped configuration of the cabinets presents a practical and efficient use of space, while the cheery colour palette plays a large role in highlighting the personality of the homeowners. By pairing teal and grey (applied both on the cabinets and on the outside kitchen wall), Derrick sets the scene for a calming yet sophisticated space.

One of the most outstanding features in this home is the customised brass leaf panel in the hallway. “It ties in with the theme of nature,” Derrick explains. This unique design is an abstract representation of nature: the instantly recognisable form of a leaf is scaled up and hugs the space between the living and dining areas. Not only is it an instant talking point, but it also helps to soften the sharp, angular corner in the hallway where the walls meet.

As with the rest of the apartment, the common rooms have undergone a complete makeover too. One of the spare bedrooms has been converted into an entertainment room that can double up as a guest room. With its slate grey walls and contrasting green wave bookshelf, this simple space is now prime for guests to kick back and relax.

This was adapted from an article originally written by Redzman Rahmat published in the September 2018 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: D’Marvel Scale