Using ordinary materials like plywood, concrete and vinyl, Khai Toh of design studio KTARCH has turned his humble Ang Mo Kio flat into a beautiful “sanctuary for the common man”.
12 December 2023
Home Type: 5-room HDB flat
Floor Area: 1,300sqft
Text by Janice Seow
Khai Toh, who runs design studio KTARCH, lives in this five-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. It sits on a high floor and comes with rare views of Bukit Timah Hill and the Malaysian mountains in the distance, which can be enjoyed from different vantage points in the unit.
This 45-year-old flat in Ang Mo Kio has been completely rehauled to create a home that is spacious, airy and light-filled. One room has been demolished to accommodate a large dining and study area. It’s set against a library of books, and this entire area is now the heart of the home where Khai spends much time working, reading, entertaining and having his meals.
With this being a HDB flat, Khai has chosen to use simple, ordinary materials such as plywood, concrete and vinyl to play up what he calls “the beauty in the ordinary”.
Features commonly thought of as unsightly have been turned into beautiful design features. For example, a structural column left behind during demolition works has been turned into a sculptural light lantern that provides ambient lighting for the living space at night. A similar design can be found in the master bathroom to hide the exposed waste pipe.
Another distinctive feature in this flat are the timbered portals in the living area. Not only do they frame the views, but the deep, woody shade of plywood brings loads of warmth and character into the space.
The master bedroom is a minimalist and serene sanctuary. It is deliberately devoid of gadgets, and instead, Khai has used reflected light on walls to play up the room’s ambience.
The minimalist approach continues with the master bathroom, where the entrance is discreetly camouflaged as part of the wardrobe. This space has also been enlarged by “reclaiming” part of the original dining area, and can now fit a generously-sized vanity counter.
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