Transforming a Tiong Bahru walk-up with IKEA furniture

Nude by Jo designed this quaint Tiong Bahru HDB walk-up with a monochromatic aesthetic that is sensitive to the surrounding environment.

  • Transforming a Tiong Bahru walk-up with IKEA furniture

Home Type: HDB walk-up

Floor Area: 947sqft

Text by Stephanie Peh

In keeping with the look and feel of the old walk-ups located within the quaint Tiong Bahru enclave, and at a reno budget of $70,000, Nude by Jo designed this 947-square-foot unit with a timeless black and white palette that blends in with the surrounding neighbourhood. Existing brown parquet floors were retained and stained in washed out black, creating a sharp contrast with the white walls – akin to the monochromatic architectural elements found within the block itself.

Tiong Bahru walk-up

According to the designer, the homeowner works in the medical technology field and has a hectic work schedule, and thus enjoys spending his free time at home reading to unwind. “We were very keen on making his reading hobby the highlight of the house,” says Jovin Leung of Nude by Jo. Drawing inspiration from his reading habit, the main focus of the living room is the bookcase that display the owner’s collection of books while expressing his personality. After all, there is much to tell about a person through the type of books they enjoy.

Tiong Bahru walk-up

The homeowner also asked for minimal carpentry so that he would have the flexibility to move things around or purchase new furniture in future. Naturally, the starting point of the design process began with furniture selection. Nude by Jo worked with several IKEA furniture, but with slight customisations that lend uniqueness. For instance, the bookshelves were painted black.

kitchen with marble countertop

Designed using the IKEA Metod modular kitchen system, the small kitchen was transformed into a highly functional space with adequate counter areas and maximised storage. Debunking the common perception of IKEA looking ‘cheap’, the designer incorporated a luxurious Italian marble countertop and a tiled white porcelain backsplash from Hafary to elevate the space.

kitchen with marble countertop

The foyer and dining room are separated with a small partition featuring a curved cut-out that keeps the space bright and airy. A black dining table from Soul and Table anchors the area as a centrepiece.

tiong bahru walk-up

The designer opted for roman blinds in the living area to invite soft lighting into the space. Facing green views, a window ledge was installed so that the owner can work or read with natural light filtering in. Various lighting conditions from task to ambient lights were considered so there is no need to turn on the main lights when winding down. 

black and white bedroom

The bedroom was kept minimal as a place for rest, complete with a small walk-in wardrobe concealed behind louvre doors. “Once you enter the bedroom, it makes you feel relaxed and ready to wind down,” adds Jovin. Blackout curtains and day roman blinds were installed to enable the owner to create his ideal lighting condition throughout the day.

Tiong Bahru walk-up

“The owner wanted something evergreen while ensuring that the entire home feels homely,” says Jovin. Complementing the lush greenery outside this Tiong Bahru unit, large planters decorate the entire home, creating a calming effect throughout. 

black and white bathroom

Nude by Jo

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