Wooden Wonders

Enamoured with Japanese culture, the homeowners imagined their 3-room HDB flat in Kallang Bahru as a tribute to the land of the rising sun.

From Japandi to Wabi-Sabi, Japanese design has been making waves worldwide. But its ingenuity stands out especially on the little red dot, transforming our HDB flats – essentially Singapore’s version of Tokyo’s shoebox apartments – into compact yet clutter-free homes. Keeping the Japanese interiors, culture, and even landscapes in mind, James and June brought Audrey’s vision of zen retreat to life in her 3-room HDB flat.

Living room

Grounded in the belief that less is more, the designer and homeowners opted for a consistent wood grain laminate throughout the entire house, enveloping the living room in an authentic Japanese ambience. Meanwhile, the flooring is crafted with grey tiles simulating a concrete surface, cranking up the contrast and infusing the home with a touch of modernity.

To keep the clutter at bay, they have installed a combination of exposed and concealed cabinets, all stretching from floor to ceiling. The sprawling bookshelf is the star of the show, turning the living room into a dynamic space for children to play, doodle, or dive into a good read.

In line with the philosophy of wabi-sabi, the homeowners have embraced imperfections including exposed pipes and lower ceilings, acknowledging them to be trade-offs inherent in older HDB flats.

Open kitchen

A wall between the living room and kitchen has been demolished, allowing Audrey to engage with the little ones while she’s in the kitchen and fostering a convivial atmosphere for the family of four.

A funky dining bench brings a touch of whimsy to the dining table, deliberately kept as a flexible piece that can be moved around to seat guests on all four sides. In the backdrop, a fabric divider introduces a subtle burst of colour.


The separation of toilet and shower spaces is another shared feature between Singaporean and Japanese homes. The team has injected a playful touch into the grey tiles by incorporating a hint of terrazzo, adding a whimsical element to the feature wall.


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