WAFF shows how with smart design solutions, a comfortable and pragmatic home can still be created out of a small footprint.
2 September 2021
Home Type: 3-bedroom condo
Floor Area: 900sqft
Text by Luo Jingmei
With some creativity, small apartments still harness potential for domestic comfort. This three-bedroom unit in the east of Singapore is one example. A couple and their two young children live here. The husband is the founding partner of a graphic design agency and adventure company, and the wife is a shoe designer. “The client’s brief was to maximise the functionality of the space in smart ways,” says Joy Loo, WAFF’s creative director.
Hence, how a small footprint can be expanded to fit the growing and multiple needs of the family becomes the dominant theme in this home. The proponents are cleverly designed – flexible components employed throughout that are specific to the pragmatics of each zone. In the common area, Joy flips the original layout so upon entry, one encounters a cosy living corner while the dining area, now placed by the balcony doors, is able to accommodate a large dining table without blocking the passageway.
Framing the space is a long, full-height plywood cabinet that caters to living, dining, study, storage and pottery activities (the wife picked up pottery a year ago and spends time by the balcony honing her craft). For example, differently sized niches encase a television opposite the sofa, stacks of design books, and a computer monitor with a pull-out desk and hideaway chair.
The cabinet terminates at the balcony with a plywood pegboard that has adjustable shelves to house the wife’s ceramic works in progress. A large, open shelf by the dining table extends usable surface area as well as the perception of space, while a custom designed bench is hollowed out for more storage.
“Careful planning is critical for a small home in order for the homeowners to fully utilise the space. This allows them to easily repurpose the spaces, hence enhancing the lifespan of a compact home. With the space constraint in mind, designing and detailing the built-in joinery to include smart storage was a key consideration,” says Joy.
Black laminate and metal pegboards give a sense of depth to the niches while simple, circular finger pulls lend a graphic character to the entire ensemble. The use of plywood is practical – being easy to clean, sustainable and cost effective.
We see the material being employed in the master bedroom as a bedframe, bedside tables and a console that hides a flip-up dresser.
In the children’s bedroom (above and below), Joy has detailed panels that flip up to reveal cubbyholes that keep toys away when not in play, and slide out to become a desk.
In the study, the plywood shelving is finished with white laminate to reflect light and create the illusion of more space in the minuscule area.
The ability to tuck way functions when unused, as well as a minimal palette – grey and white dress walls – reduces visual clutter. This is an essential strategy to creating a sense of calm in a small home and an effective foil for the family’s personal items to be displayed.
The family’s previous five-bedroom apartment was larger and moving here, they had to sacrifice a utility room and storage space. Yet, Joy’s well-devised joinery blueprint enables the family to enjoy living here.
Photography by Studio Periphery
This article first appeared in Lookbox Living issue 62
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