The Chic Apartment

A flat designed around owner's record collection

Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok (above) help show off his record collection. (Left) His living room and dining area. A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom (a
Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok (above) help show off his record collection. His living room and dining area.PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN
Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok (above) help show off his record collection. (Left) His living room and dining area. A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom (a
Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok help show off his record collection. (Above) His living room and dining area. PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN
Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok (above) help show off his record collection. (Left) His living room and dining area. A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom (a
A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom or living room. Quirky pixel-style decals (above) dot a wall of the living room.PHOTO: PROJECT I DESIGN GALLERY
Customised display and storage spaces in the home of Mr Darrin Yok (above) help show off his record collection. (Left) His living room and dining area. A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom (a
A swivel wall for the television set lets the owner watch shows from the comfort of his bedroom (above) or living room. Quirky pixel-style decals dot a wall of the living room.PHOTO: PROJECT I DESIGN GALLERY

Bachelor Darrin Yok's home is designed to showcase his record collection

How do you fit 400 records into a studio apartment? Primary school teacher Darrin Yok's place shows you exactly how.

The design of his home - a 495 sq ft apartment in My Manhattan condominium across the road from Simei MRT station - is created around his record collection by designers Ice Kun and Felicia Leong of Project i.

In his living room, his most recently acquired records are displayed on shelves on placeholders which, when flipped up, reveal hidden nooks where the rest of the collection is stored.

The shelves and storage are custom-built and laminated with a wood-like finish for a quaint feel.

Mr Yok, a 37-year-old bachelor, has always loved records and started collecting them about five years ago. Most of them are shipped from overseas and he buys one record a week on average.

He owns a Pro-ject RPM5 record player from House of Turntables.

Ms Leong says: "He came with a very clear idea of what he wanted, which was to display and house his records. I'm glad we managed to do it up to his taste."

For Mr Yok, one artist in particular takes centre stage.

He is a huge Madonna fan. Two limited-edition Richard Corman prints of the pop star - one 24x24cm and the other 12x12cm - take pride of place next to the television set. They cost about $4,000 in total and depict the singer in her early days when she was on the brink of fame.

Mr Yok also owns a water-bottle cooler in the shape of her iconic conical bra.

Apart from his extensive record collection, which includes indie artists Sufjan Stevens, FKA twigs and Passion Pit, his living room also features a 49-inch television set mounted on a swivel wall between his living room and bedroom. This lets him watch shows from the comfort of his couch or his bed in the bedroom.

He not only collects records, but also Lego, children's books and DVDs. He made his own display case for his Lego figurines using a frame from Ikea.

He also owns framed posters of the films The Hours (2002) and Closer (2004), which are standing against the wall as he was reluctant to drill holes into the wall.

But his greatest guilty pleasure is probably furniture, sourced from various websites. There are at least six differently designed chairs, including a wooden bench on his balcony.

Some of his favourite websites include My Slingshot, where he bought six modular shelves for $600, and Blikk, where he purchased the quirky, retro- looking pixel-style decals now on his living room wall.

He says: "I went to New York on holiday last year and was very inspired by how vibrant and alive the city felt, so I created a mini New York on my wall to remind myself of that."

He bought the apartment in 2011 for about $658,000 and moved in last September.

"I bought the place without looking at the floor plan, so I'm glad everything turned out great," he says.

The renovation took about six weeks, from July to August last year, and cost about $25,000.

Mr Yok, who is also an avid baker, decided to replace the original microwave oven that came with the flat with an oven.

Despite being small, the apartment contains multiple storage spaces, such as the mirrored cabinet in the bathroom and wooden boxes beside his bed, yet still has a modern, clean look.

Even with the variety of furniture, it never feels cluttered but is a perfect space to relax after a long day at work.

However, despite the extensive work done to the apartment, he is there only over the weekends with his dog, a shih tzu. On weekdays, he lives with his mother and brother's family just across the road.

He says: "For me, the apartment acts as a quiet space, away from my brother's kids when they get too rowdy.

"Sometimes, I use it as a gathering place. I had a barbecue party here last week with some of my friends."

•If you have an HDB flat or condominium apartment you would like featured, e-mail Life with pictures, with the header The Chic Apartment, at stlife@sph.com.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2015, with the headline 'For the record'. Print Edition | Subscribe