Take A Peek Inside Singer-Songwriter Annette Lee’s Chic HDB Apartment

For all married couples, getting a matrimonial home is an important step in the relationship, and things were no different for the multi-talented singer-songwriter and SGAG personality Annette Lee, and hubby Raphael Foo. But the work did not stop after they purchased a four-room HDB unit in Toa Payoh, for they still needed extensive renovation works to transform the ordinary home into one that was perfectly tailored to their individual needs and cohesive lifestyle.

Creating a communal space where conversations can flow freely, the living room is characterised by two large comfy sofa sets. On the surrounding walls, a combination of mirrored and high-gloss surfaces help to visually expand the space.

Luckily, finding an interior designer who would be up to the task wasn’t difficult, and they quickly decided on Glynis Ng from zync [studio+workshop]. As Glynis had previously worked on their parent’s home, the couple had a first-hand experience seeing the way she practised her profession. Quickly becoming attuned to the designer and her design sensibilities, it was only natural that they chose her for their own home renovation. Next, it was time to decide on a design theme. Marrying both the designer’s and the homeowner’s tastes, the result is an industrial-meets-vintage concept that boasts subtle hints of Danish design.

Annette and Raphael realised that in order to fully maximise the 1,130-square foot space, extensive hacking works needed to be done. The purposes of some of the rooms were also re-allocated. For example, the first three rooms on the right side of the home’s main door originally compromised two bedrooms and a storeroom. During the renovation, however, the partition walls between these rooms were demolished. The square footage was re-distributed into a study, an expanded master bedroom and an impressive walk-in wardrobe. Leaving the communal living spaces as is, the original master bedroom was then converted into a guest bedroom.

Right at the entrance of the kitchen is a bar counter which not only provides additional storage, but also extends the countertop space for both food serving and food preparation purposes. Next to it is the guest bedroom, furnished simply with mattresses and bed frames from Muji.

Placing emphasis on the industrial theme, the home features a predominant selection of varying shades of grey, keeping the home visually consistent yet interesting. On the floor, the original tiles were hacked away and relaid with a concrete screed that has a layer of epoxy sealant over it, resulting in a hard, long-wearing, abrasion-resistant finish. Meanwhile, one of the many unique features of this home is the use of mirrored panels on the full stretch of wall that separates the outer living spaces from the master bedroom and study. With its reflective qualities, the living and dining areas are doubled in depth, allowing the space to look and feel more spacious.

Another important design requirement for Annette and Raphael was that the home should encompass plenty of storage units to ensure that the overall look of the home would be clean and tidy. “I used to grow up with a lot of stuff lying around my house, so I’ve come to appreciate the clean look, and how having a tidy home does a lot of good for your general wellbeing,” she elaborates.

Because the couple plays host to friends and family quite often, they were adamant against implementing a traditional living room layout where the sofa would be facing a television set. Instead of having a television set as the main highlight, two sets of sofas from local furniture store Fortytwo were set up in the middle of the space. With the seating facing each other, the couple and their guests are able to constantly maintain visual and verbal connection with one another without getting disrupted by the entertainment system.

Complementing the concrete screed flooring is the use of lookalike laminates on the television feature wall in the dining zone that further enhances the industrial look of the home. The space feels cosy and intimate thanks to the use of bright red throws and warm cove lighting.

To further aid in their hosting responsibilities, the dining area located right behind the sofas saw the installation of two sets of dining tables from another local furniture store, Castlery. At a length of 1.65m each, the handsome grey-accented tables are suitable for both big and intimate gatherings. While one side of the table is lined with standard banquet chairs, the other is flanked by a built-in dining bench. “Because the bench is fitted along the entire stretch of the wall, we are allowed more seating arrangements when necessary. Additionally, we are also able to store items on the inside of the bench,” Annette explains.

Still recognising the need for entertainment, the backing wall of the dining table serves as the television feature wall. Made from concrete screed-lookalike laminates, the design feature complements the flooring while adding a different texture to the room. However, to break up the monotony, a recessed niche was included within the design. The niche also encompasses light strips that imbue the space with a warm and cosy ambience.

Compromising a platform bed and a floor-to-ceiling headboard that’s customised from earthy-toned laminates, the master boudoir exudes a cosy vibe. To break up the monotony, the headboard was split into two parts, with the niche encompassing cove lighting for ambience purposes.

A contrast to the communal spaces, all the bedrooms were relaid over with vinyl flooring in a grey woodgrained finish, imbuing the rooms with a cosier ambience while still maintaining an overall industrial look. Whilst unconventional, Annette and Raphael’s bedroom doesn’t have any windows. Despite the lack of natural lighting penetrating through, the room doesn’t feel dark or dingy. Instead, by practising good lighting design, the boudoir is made to feel cosy and inviting. Meanwhile, increasing the number of storage solutions in the bedroom is a platform bed that features hidden flip-up storage units. The platform bed and accompanying headboard’s earthy tones also help to enhance the cosy vibe within the boudoir.

After the long 8-month renovation process, the final result was something that both Annette and Raphael were personally very satisfied with. Not only was Glynis’ professional opinions and clever design sensibilities critical in helping to tie in all the different design elements together, it was also their harmonious partnership that allowed the happy couple to end up with a home that checks all of their boxes.

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