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An explosion of colours, prints and patterns gives this 5-room HDB flat its unique look

This 5-room HDB breaks out of the mould and fully embraces the use of colours, prints and patterns.

Home Type: 5-room HDB

Floor Area: 1,200 sqft

This 5-room HDB breaks out of the mould and fully embraces the use of colours, prints and patterns. By Redzman Rahmat

When it comes to making hard decisions during the renovation of the home, we’re all guilty, at one point or another, of not taking risks and erring on the safer side. Not many Singaporeans are daring enough to introduce colour into their homes, which explains why most of our homes are washed in nondescript shades of white. Zinc Tan however, is an advocate of experimenting with colour. The designer from Mint & Pistachio has a knack for pairing prints and colours in a home, a skill she exercised in this 5-room BTO flat. For homeowners Hui Ying and Desmond, Zinc’s flair for vibrant designs perfectly matched their cheery personalities.

“We saw what Zinc had done in her previous projects and we were really attracted by her bold use of colour,” Hui Ying says. “We’ve always wanted our house to be beautiful, bright and full of life. A lot of houses we’ve seen are just plain black and white and it looks too boring. What we want is a home where we can express ourselves, and having colours seems to be a great way of conveying that personality.” When Zinc found out that Desmond and Hui Ying were open to having printed wallpaper in their home, she was thrilled. “I love that they’re not averse to colours. This meant that I could be a little more adventurous, and they’re willing to take more of a risk.

Almost every surface in this apartment is covered with a bright, bold pattern, with at least 14 types of prints on wallpaper, laminates, tiles and fabrics. The biggest challenge that came with working with many different colours is to ensure there is a cohesive look. “Typically, the owners will pick the main wallpaper and I’ll design the palette around that one standard. It started with the orange wallpaper on the ceiling, so I made sure that everything else would look good with the wallpaper. I wanted strong, contrasting colours in this house, so the sofa for example, stands out from the orange ceiling.”

Zinc picked out a series of samples and present them to the homeowners. From there, Hui Ying and Desmond selected the ones that they like the most. “It’s almost an instinctual choice,” Hui Ying says about the process. “We just look through the samples and we go with our gut feel. And it’s usually a quick decision. We can pick a pattern within five minutes!” The Mint & Pistachio designer didn’t just concentrate on the surfaces of this home. Zinc made sure she addressed the other concerns that the homeowners had. When it came to storage solutions, she built as much storage as possible, hiding them in nooks throughout the apartment and worked them into the décor.

One of the most interesting pieces of carpentry is a ceiling-high partition that Zinc built directly opposite the front door. She fondly refers to it as the “dumping grounds”. This ceiling-high open cabinet is a convenient spot for the owners to store their shoes, hang their bags or even to hook a wet umbrella. And since this cabinet faces the main door, it acts as a privacy screen.The young homeowners are fully aware that not everyone can live in a home as dynamic as this. Even Hui Ying’s friends and family were apprehensive when she shared the design plans pre-renovation. “Who can blame them,” she says with a laugh, “it’s not exactly something you normally see in Singapore. At the end of the day, this is a home that my husband and I will live in and we want it to be as unique as we are.”


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