Rejuvenating an old walk-up apartment

A Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment is transformed into a spacious, timeless abode that has the perfect balance of old and new

  • Rejuvenating an old walk-up apartment

Home Type: walk-up apartment

Floor Area: 1,249sqft

Text by Deborah Jane Goon

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about living in a walk-up apartment in Tiong Bahru. Perhaps it is the old-world charm, the uniqueness of the area or the rarity of finding a unit up for grabs. The owners of this particular apartment can definitely attest to this.

In fact, their love affair with Tiong Bahru began after seeing a past project of an original walk-up apartment that had been redesigned by Yann Follain from WY-TO. When they finally succeeded a few years later in purchasing a unit in the same neighbourhood that was still in its original state, they went straight to Yann with big dreams in mind.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

The design brief consisted of a few key elements. The family wanted to preserve as many of the original features as possible while allowing for ample light and air flow. In particular, they wanted to retain the original flooring and have a large, functional kitchen that would have ample storage with enough room for a built-in dishwasher.

In order to maximise the space and give the owners what they desired, an open-concept kitchen, living, dining and entertainment space was created and has now become the heart of the home.

blue kitchen island

“The homeowners like to entertain so it was important to have a large open space that they could use for various purposes,” says Yann.

The kitchen itself features a large blue island that doubles as a breakfast bar and entertaining spot. Premium Bosch appliances are housed seamlessly while hansgrohe fixtures keep the design timeless. The addition of the Liebherr double fridge, MUUTO bar stools and plenty of built-in storage keeps the space organised and fully functional.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

This open-concept living space leads out to the balcony, which is blessed with surrounding greenery and allows for a soft breeze to flow through the rest of the home.

“The new layout provides a view of the greenery, whether you are in the kitchen, dining or living room,” says Yann.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

The homeowners now love this area and agree that it is “a large, beautiful space where you can be together as a group and be involved in a joint or individual activity either inside or outside.”

In keeping with the design brief, Yann and his team restored as much of the original floor tiles and windows as possible, and exposed the original brick for a more textured appeal.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

The curved wall at the main stairwell was finished in blue, allowing for the signature art deco element from the original apartment to be redefined in a cool statement-making colour. The original curves in this apartment were also continued onto the ceiling allowing for a classic twist on art deco.

exposed brickwork and arch

A standout feature of this apartment is the marriage between blue colour blocking and the visual feast of patterns throughout the home. The colour blue (a favourite of the homeowners) was used generously to unify the design language and is seen on the large kitchen island, the walls and floors, and in the bathrooms.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

Visually arresting wall tiles in the bathrooms give this apartment a jolt of fun and personality, attesting to the homeowner’s appreciation of unique design.

pattern tiled bathroom

Warm parquet flooring in the bedrooms helps to balance out the cool blue tones and defines the bedrooms as areas of rest.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

The new master bedroom sits comfortably within the renovated home, allowing for maximum privacy, reduced noise level, and ample light and air flow via a large window and stairwell.

Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment

The result is a harmonious juxtaposition of old and new, cool and warm tones while vivid patterns define this home and give it its timeless yet quirky appeal.



Photography by Frank Pinckers

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