A couple working in the creative industry and their two dogs live in this colourful three-room flat that reflects their sunny disposition.
21 December 2021
Home Type: 3-room BTO HDB flat
Floor Area: 700sqft
Text by Stephanie Peh
Built-to-order (BTO) HDB units tend to be small and closely packed, posing living constraints and privacy issues. At 700 square feet, this three-room flat located in the Bidadari estate faced such problems whereby the unit had a direct view of the opposite block. The homeowners, a young couple working in the creative industry, turned to Open Studio who reorganised the unit and turned the focal point inwards.
As a reflection of their bright personalities, the homeowners requested to have gold and pink touches in their new home. “They were enamoured with The Warren apartment designed by Nicholas Gurney,” explains Open Studio’s co-founder Lam Jun Nan. The most striking element within the living space, a gold pod became the driving force in this unit.
“In setting it to suit the functionality of the home, we realised it served as a great object of attention, distracting one from the lack of long views out of the flat,” Jun Nan says. The reflective pod mirrors living moments within the home, turning viewpoints inwards. Apart from dividing the kitchen and living space, it offers the illusion of an expanded area, reducing feelings of claustrophobia. Conventional wisdom may suggest storage spaces to be cast to the sidewalls to ‘save space’. Yet the gold structure, erected in the middle of nowhere, fulfils storage requirements while enhancing space quality.
A yellow-gold mirror surface was selected and matched with white walls and seamless pink microcement floors developed in collaboration with Tsuri Custom Concrete. This combination, enhanced by the reflective pod, enables natural daylight to shine on pink floors, throwing an ambient, rose-tinted glow throughout the living area. “As a dynamic object, the gold pod reflects light, amplifying the effects of the surroundings,” says Jun Nan on the rose-tinted light that softens living situations.
The two bedrooms and two bathrooms were overhauled, removing any notions of a standard three-room flat layout. This may be a bold decision as home investors tend to view such changes as unmarketable. However, the trade-off was substantiated. “We proposed this because we understood our client’s needs,” Jun Nan says. This frees up precious areas for practical day-to-day activities.
Continuing the visual language, the generous powder room features pink curtains to further the rose-tinted allure. Gold fixtures were paired with complementary Rosso Orobico marble to lend a grand touch. The kitchen was deliberately differentiated with a utilitarian palette composed of stainless steel and pale terrazzo floors, ensuring that it is muted for visual hierarchy.
Jun Nam added that BTO flats tend to have an abundance of beams that lower the height of the ceiling. It is often a question of balance between a clean ceiling profile and maximised ceiling height. In this home, the ceiling was kept as clean as possible with the exception of the original bathroom spot where unsightly beams have been concealed, lowering the ceiling height. However, a fitting solution was proposed to turn the corner into a cosy study area within the living room. This way, the couple can still hang out with one another even when one of them is working.
Be it flushed doors or the lack of finishing joints, this seamless three-room flat offers its inhabitants an intimate living space. It is proof that modest spaces can be cleverly detailed to change perspectives and fulfil living desires.
Photography by Khoo Guo Jie
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