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Vintage-chic in this charming 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

Photographers Chloe and Dominic’s fondness for vintage treasures is warmly reflected in their resale flat unit designed by Third Avenue Studio, where industrial-style accents and second-hand finds conjure a worldly eclectic charm.

Home Type: 5-room HDB flat

Floor Area: 1,200 sqft

Text by Lookbox Living

Sourcing for preloved furnishings could well be homeowner Chloe’s second forte, after her day job as a food photographer. Her first home with husband and fellow shutterbug Dominic is a cosy hodgepodge of interesting second-hand pieces. As she points out excitedly where and how she chanced upon certain noteworthy items, she reveals that her hunt for vintage furniture started long before their resale flat was even purchased.

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

“We have our own studio and that gave us the room to store some of the furniture, which also double as props,” says Chloe. She shares that their studio actually sparked off their home’s industrial-eclectic style. In fact, senior interior designer Lawrence Tan from Third Avenue Studio was the designer who renovated their studio back in 2015, and now their home.

Engaging Lawrence again was always on the cards and once the married couple obtained the floor plan of their resale flat, they called him up. It was a lengthy wait of nine months before they could take over the flat. That gave Chloe ample time to comb through garage sales and online second-hand marketplaces like eBay, Carousell and Gumtree. It was such a thrill that she declares that shopping for great deals for her home was her favourite part of the renovation. “I definitely enjoyed finding ‘treasures’ for my home,” says Chloe, beaming brightly. “Seeing our carefully curated furniture and décor pieces come together makes us swell with a sense of homeowner’s pride.”

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

Image:Third Avenue Studio

While furnishing the place is, no doubt, an exciting part of the renovation, the living space wouldn’t look this good without proper space planning. The couple made it known to Lawrence that instead of walls, they wanted steel framed glass panels to enclose their kitchen and one of the common bedrooms. Using black powder coated mount steel with a sleek one-inch frame, the designer paired these clean industrial lines with a hollow brick wall treatment for the adjoining living zone and then whitewashed most of the walls. This presents a fresh and bare visage, which falls in line with the homeowners’ desire to layer with attractive clusters of plants and old and new furnishings.

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

The married couple’s warm hospitality does not go unnoticed, especially in the layout of their home. Dominic loves cooking for his guests while Chloe enjoys playing host. Even though the kitchen is separated by glass panels from the communal spaces, it doesn’t deter guests from wandering in to interact with the home chef. With the floor area maximised with a simple but efficient galley layout, it’s pretty much an open invitation for guests to come in and mingle.

While Dominic cooks up a storm, Chloe takes her entertaining outside in the dining area, which is furnished with a church pew table she found in Sydney. The second-hand 2.7-metre table is certainly different from the regular dining table, which is much broader in width. It turned out to be a great fit for the dining space, as the ‘lanky’ frame complements the flow of the available walking space. “If they had gone with a regular six-seater table, it would have cramped up the walking room,” Lawrence reveals. Chloe adds, “We had doubts initially on whether it would fit into the HDB elevator! Luckily, we called Lawrence to check, and here it is now.”

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

Other than entertaining in the living and dining zones, Chloe is especially fond of her private lounge room, affectionately dubbed the ‘Whiskey Room’. It deserves a special mention for all its cool vintage entertainment systems like the Bose 901 speaker, which is no longer in production. “I love listening to old-school jazz music on vinyl,” she says. “My favourite records have to be ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis and ‘Dave Brubeck at Storyville: 1954’ by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.”‎

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

For the other common bedroom and master bedroom, there were some configuration works done to make the space more liveable. Wedged between both rooms was a storeroom and the couple figured that they needed a larger wardrobe more than a storage space. By taking the walls down, Lawrence utilised part of the room as additional depth for the new wardrobe. It is now neatly flushed with the walls of the master bedroom while the other side of the wardrobe serves as their study room.

Vintage-chic charm in this 5-room HDB flat in Ubi

This practical usage of space promises adaptability and only sweetens the allure of this home with its personable mix of the old and new. It’s obvious that treading on familiar ground for both homeowners and Lawrence definitely helped. Says Chloe, “It was easier working with Lawrence this time because he already understood our sense of aesthetic and lifestyle. We knew we were in safe hands and that saved us a lot of trouble and stress.”


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