This brilliantly coloured HDB flat is a funky and happy home that draws inspiration from the homeowners’ personalities.
10 July 2023
Home Type: 4-room HDB flat
Floor Area: 1,130sqft
Text by Janice Seow
Be not afraid of colour. That seems to the design mantra in this four-room flat where colours come together unabashedly to create a funky and happy home for a married couple.
“We shared a deck filled with images from Pinterest for how we envisioned our home to be – it was basically references of different areas from different houses that implemented the balanced use of bright furniture, unique tiles, accent walls, etc in the way we wanted our home to look and feel,” say the homeowners. “Jade Cham, our interior designer at Knock Knock Studio understood what we wanted immediately, and from our first meeting we worked closely through every step of the process to select the colours, materials and finishings for the houses,” they continue.
In designing this colourful home, Jade was deeply conscious of creating a space that would ultimately reflect her clients’ personalities. “There were lesser ‘design rules’ bound to it, which allowed the homeowners and I to really play around and have fun throughout the process!” she shares.
Her biggest challenge though, was to ensure that the colours wouldn’t clash. She reveals: “When planning the colours, I would ‘zoom out’ to see if there was a connection to every part of the house.”
To work within a $80,000 renovation budget, the bulk of the reno focused on tiling and hacking and less on built-in carpentry. Even before collecting the keys, the designer visited the flat with her clients to see what could be retained and what needed to be removed to determine the necessary spend.
Jade and the owners both loved the original terrazzo flooring and decided to keep it. The flooring was in fact one of the reasons that led the clients to purchase the unit, and keeping it would also help keep cost down. “Honestly, it was a good choice. I love that the terrazzo floor is shiny (after polishing). There is a huge contrast between the solid colours from the purchased furniture, and it creates a unique dynamic within the space,” she notes. Other examples of the way cost was managed was painting over instead of concealing electrical and aircon trunking.
The main door frame was removed and red mosaic was used to hide the resulting damage done to the terrazzo floor. This has since become a talking point when guests first enter this colourful home. “With the main gate in striking blue, the combination is not something you’d miss even from far,” Jade notes.
The dining area features a 1.2 metre lilac coloured table that’s compact enough for the clients to move about comfortably. The designer proposed a dimmable bulb for the IKEA pendant lamp to cater to different activities from working to chilling. A little DIY went into this space too, where the clients painted their white IKEA shoe cabinet yellow to carry on the theme of colour.
To create a large kitchen with a long island that the owners desired, Jade demolished the kitchen wall, which left remnants of a raw wall surface in its place. Instead of covering it up, as would be the common practice, Jade decided to leave it and give it a loving lacquer treatment instead to highlight this ‘imperfection’.
“I wanted to create a little story of the space for them to talk about if they have guests over. The raw wall is linked to the mosaic tile that borders the entire kitchen to separate it from the dining. Our tiler took out part of the mosaic sheet one by one to lay the flooring that way as the original tile design was something different,” Jade shares.
The island wraps around a structural pillar. It’s where the homeowners spend much of their time, and the open space allows easy communication all across the communal areas. Given their preference not to have anything ceiling-mounted, the kitchen is free of bulky cabinets. Yet, it is still highly functional where the undermount sink leaves room for a freestanding Joseph Joseph dish rack that can be stowed away easily when desired, and a discreet towel bar beside the island and near the laundry area can be used to hang towels or even laundry.
The KompacPlus counters are double profiled instead of the usual 6mm slim, giving off a studier appearance and going well with the cheery combination of blue kitchen cabinets and yellow handles.
Like everything in this colourful home, the entrance to the store room is a playful design. White doors blend in with the wall, while the red handles pop out defiantly as if to say “look here”. “We proposed bifold doors so the store room could be easily accessed without blocking the walkway too much,” Jade notes.
Objects around the house were largely sourced by the homeowners and reflect their quirky and individualistic tastes while enhancing the playful character of the home. The large Swatch clock in primary colours was purchased from Carousell, while the aeroplane seats were props for a shoot that the husband had been on (he brought it back a year before they even got the house). Being a movie enthusiast, the husband got a Baby Driver poster from Poster Hub that now sits against the wall, somehow matching the decor.
The doors to the rooms are all a different colour in blue, green and pink. To enlarge the master suite to accommodate a longer wardrobe, the designer chose to reduce the size of the adjacent store room. Interestingly, the store room floor was not levelled with the bedroom flooring. Instead of hacking the beautiful terrazzo flooring in the bedroom for a levelled surface, the designer created a slope down using mosaic tiles that inject a quirky detail to the space.
The entrance to the master bathroom was also repositioned to face the wardrobe. Not only did it enhance the convenience and ease of getting dressed and ready, but it also meant that the sleeping area no longer had to face the bathroom and could be the couple’s private sanctuary.
Both bathrooms are happy places to go get ready for the day. The common toilet has white tiles and blue grout, while the master ensuite features blue tiles and pink grout. Both have ceilings to match. In the master bathroom, an undermount sink was selected to make it easier to sweep splashes of water from the countertop into the basin. The mirror and shower frame match the handles, so even as colourful as the interior is, like everywhere else in the flat, every selected shade is intentional and carefully considered.
Photography by Marcus Lim
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