Paws and Personalities

Feature walls and open-concept spaces aren’t anything new, but this home has been radically reimagined to accommodate its four-legged inhabitants.

Whoever claimed that dogs don’t have much space to roam in an apartment clearly hasn’t seen what Adrianne and Tingyan have accomplished in their new home.

As HDB flats shrink in size and homeowners lean towards open-concept spaces, the couple in their thirties has taken this preference to the next level, all for the comfort of their two Singapore Specials, Bambi and Forrest.

“We’ve had Bambi all her life but adopted Forrest when we moved in two years ago,” said Adrianne, introducing us to her two black beauties, aged 14 and 13 respectively.

“Many senior dogs are not that active. They really just need a comfortable retirement home to live out the rest of their days happily. We wanted to incorporate dog-friendly choices, which would result in a very open concept.”

The prospect of a vast canvas excited Kristie, their interior designer from LemonFridge Studio, who resonated with their vision of a seamless home.

“It aligns perfectly with what I enjoy working with. It’s refreshing and conventional,” Kristie remarked.

“In this house, there isn’t a defined theme. Rather, it resembles a gallery showcasing the owner’s beloved items, which reflect their personalities.”

Canine comforts

The first order of business was tearing down almost every other wall in the space, unifying the hallway and bedrooms. But they didn’t stop there. Instead, they eliminated most doors – except for the bathroom, of course – so Bambi and Forrest could come and ago as they pleased,

“All the rooms feature consistent flooring to ensure that it doesn’t draw attention away from other focal points,” Kristie pointed out.

According to her, the homeowners also wanted to steer clear of built-in furniture, making cleaning a breeze and the common areas decidedly airy. Consequently, the living room is filled with loose pieces that make minimal contact with the floor’s surface.

The adjoining dining room boasts acrylic accents, including display shelves transformed into a mini-library and a mismatched chair positioned around the dining table. This chair stands out against a backdrop of pantry cabinets, not only concealing clutter but also introducing a pop of blue, adding a playful touch to an otherwise neutral setting. Meanwhile, another burst of colour awaits in the service yard.

“We constructed a customised dog shower at a height tailored for the dogs, which has proven to be incredibly useful and convenient (for the homeowners),” Kristie said.

“Adrianne handpicked the vibrant yellow tiles because of her fondness for the colour. While initially hesitant about using such a bold hue, I found the result to be surprisingly charming!”

Hole in wall

The dog bath may be an attraction in and of itself, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the true centrepiece of the home—a circular opening right smack in the middle of the house.

“The focal design is our ‘moon gate’, which demarcates the living and sleeping spaces. It’s actually inspired by the Chinese palace gates,” Adrianne beamed.

What could possibly top a moon gate? The answer: two consecutive moon gates, which is precisely why another arch spans the room, linking the bedroom to the walk-in wardrobe and second bathroom.

“With its double-layered shape, it creates an illusion of overlapping, giving the impression of additional depth to the space,” explained Kristie.

“The walk-in wardrobe was designed in accordance with the owners’ preferences for raw finishes, such as cement floor wardrobe and plywood.”

As these materials came with a hefty price tag on the quotation, Adrianne had to roll up her sleeves and source them herself.

“Because I wanted to use plywood instead of laminate, we went to the factory to personally choose the wood,” Adrianne said.

“But there are things I regretted outsourcing, like the concrete screed floor because the vendor ended up delaying our entire renovation process. So there are pros and cons!”

Speaking of renovation regrets, Adrianne candidly revealed that living in an open-concept space has its downsides as well. Despite enjoying the benefits of both privacy and demarcation, they overlooked an important factor: soundproofing.

“One thing we do regret is not building a “silent” space. For example, if the TV is on, there is no place in the house that is quiet,” she lamented.

These imperfections, however, are eclipsed in the grand scheme of things, as both the couple and their beloved furkids have settled in comfortably. Tingyan’s favourite spot is the living room couch, where he can admire the two moon gates, while Bambi’s preferred spot isn’t too far away.

“She likes her bean bag in the living room, because she can see anywhere in the house and check where we are at all times,” Adrianne said.

For the dog-loving couple, being able to provide their senior dogs with a safe haven to enjoy their golden years has brought them the greatest joy of all.

“Forrest lived in a shelter most of his life and being able to watch him transform from stray to pet dog has been very rewarding for us. You can feel how happy they are to have a home now.”