Parenthesis transforms an old five-room flat in Hougang – filling it with warmth, nostalgia and industrial influences.
24 August 2022
Home Type: 5-room HDB flat
Floor Area: 1,740sqft
Text by Janice Seow
The owners of this 30-year-old, five-room resale unit in Hougang are a couple with a young son. Both the husband and wife work from home, and they needed their flat to not only be comfortable and cater to family life, but be fit for purpose when it came to fulfilling the demands of work.
“The clients love the raw and industrial aesthetic, but did not want it to take away from the warmth and comfort of a proper home,” says Yanika Gunawan, design director at Parenthesis, whom the couple had enlisted to design their home. “They also appreciate vibrant and bold colours, which gave us the flexibility to explore different material finishes,” she adds.
Having consulted with a feng shui master, the couple required the colour scheme and the placement and facing of the kitchen, master bedroom and kid’s room to adhere to feng shui guidelines. Feng shui also prompted the decision to ‘internalise’ the semi-circular balcony to make it part of the living space, and to opt out of having a mirror in the master bathroom.
Given the age of the flat and the low ceiling height, the unit was not getting much sunlight. As such, the first order of things was to open up the floor plan as much as possible.
Says Yanika, “We knocked down most of the walls to create an open plan and to bring some natural light into the kitchen. We also combined the original master bedroom and bedroom two (study), and changed the position of the master bedroom entrance to create the gantry framing elevation from the living-dining space. Other than that, we enlarged the master bathroom and were able to shift the WC to create a proper shower area.”
With the desire to retain the ‘sense of place’ and acknowledge the flat’s location in a mature estate, the designer has chosen materials that lend to the sense of nostalgia. “We didn’t want to break too much from the nostalgic feeling that comes with living in Hougang, where most of the developments are quite old. Therefore, the hard finishes in the home, such as the brick coloured tiles in the kitchen and master bathroom, and also the kit kat mosaic in the common bathroom were selected to bring in raw industrial touches,” says Yanika. Textured paint was also chosen for the walls and even the cabinet door finishes.
The foyer now leads directly to the newly formed dry kitchen/casual dining area, which was made possible by demolishing a wall to create a wet/dry kitchen setup that’s separated by a reeded sliding door.
The owners had specifically requested for a stainless steel kitchen, as they cook daily and wanted something durable. At the same time, they did not want the space to appear too cold – which can occur with industrial style kitchens.
To counter the coolness of a stainless steel counter that spans both the dry and wet zones, Yanika has introduced warm finishes in the form of wooden cabinetry (dry kitchen) and choice of tiles. Overall, the play on duality maintains the sense of comfort desired by the owners and brings balance to the industrial-inspired space.
While the flat has been designed to be as open as possible, framed entryways on both sides of the living area (balcony, dining/dry kitchen and common bathroom) subtly separate and lend intimacy to the different areas of the home.
The master bedroom is now a wholly private space that one enters through the spacious study, and past blue coloured reeded sliding doors that separate the working and resting quarters.
The bedroom itself features a bay window settee as an optional spot to relax, and the choice of sliding master bathroom doors has been made for space efficiency.
Further in, the master bathroom has been enlarged to accommodate a more comfortable and spacious shower area. And while there’s no mirror here for feng shui reasons, the dresser with mirror is conveniently located just outside the bathroom so the couple can check themselves before heading out.
Photography by Khoo Guo Jie
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