THE CHIC APARTMENT

Colouring my home my way

The chalkboard wall (above) in the kitchen is painted by home owner Muhammad Hamsani Hashim.
The chalkboard wall (above) in the kitchen is painted by home owner Muhammad Hamsani Hashim. ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI
Mr Muhammad Hamsani Hashim and Ms Nur Arfah Octavia Jaffar (both above) in their living room.
Mr Muhammad Hamsani Hashim and Ms Nur Arfah Octavia Jaffar (both above) in their living room.
The study has hanging white Ikea stools painted with pink “feet” (above).
The study has hanging white Ikea stools painted with pink “feet” (above).

To ensure fixtures match their desired palette, the creative home owners gave them new coats of paint

One of the first things Mr Muhammad Hamsani Hashim and Ms Nur Arfah Octavia Jaffar bought for their marital home in Woodlands was a yellow Smeg fridge.

When they had trouble finding matching kitchen lights, they painted the shades of two silver hanging lamps yellow. That sparked a slew of do-it-yourself projects in the Built-To-Order four-room HDB flat, which involved giving items fresh coats of paint in their preferred hues.

For instance, they painted the white door frames black, a black steel drum in the living room white and parts of the legs of six white Ikea stools a hot pink.

The couple also lugged home a table fan from a flea market in New York, where they were on vacation, because it was a steal at $50 and they had seen similar designs in Singapore for $200. Mr Hamsani, 34, a train operator, then painted the grey fan blades white.

He says: "We had to dismantle it and carry it home in our luggage. It was really heavy, but it was worth it."


A white dining table set complements the light palette in the four-room HDB flat.

While the couple claim equal credit for the creative design ideas, Mr Hamsani executed most of them, such as the painting of the chairs and walls. It took him two days to paint the walls.

The other parts of the 990 sq ft flat - such as the beige brick wall in the living room, vinyl woodgrain-look flooring and built-in cabinets and wardrobe - were done by a contractor.

The two-month renovation cost the couple $24,000 - way below their original budget of $35,000. They moved in in June 2014.

Despite not being trained in design, the couple have a strong colour sense. Ms Arfah, 35, who works in human resources, says: "We knew what we wanted, so we just got a contractor to execute our ideas."

The living room is mostly dressed in light colours, but a green, orange and blue sofa set stands out.

The other spaces each have their own distinct colour scheme.

For example, the kitchen has a yellow, grey and black scheme. The walls are cement screed with a chalkboard wall on one side, while yellow appliances such as the fridge, a blender, a mixer and the hanging lamps add pops of colour.

Ms Arfah says: "We wanted a cheerful vibe for the kitchen and yellow is such a happy colour."

In the study, the white Ikea stools with pink "feet" hang on a grey feature wall. Pretty blush walls complement a grey sofa bed in the guestroom. And a black-and-white palette lends the master bedroom a boutique hotel vibe.

But the design of their home was not supposed to be this varied. Their original concept was a minimalist design, says Ms Arfah.

"But as we put our home together, we realised we like some modern, some retro and some industrial touches."

Going the D-I-Y route has helped the couple save money. For one thing, they did not have to pay for the services of an interior designer. They also went directly to suppliers whenever possible, such as for lighting fixtures, and bought furniture on discount.

For home owners looking to renovate or decorate their homes, Mr Hamsani advises using statement furniture to refresh the look instead of committing to patterned wallpapers or structural changes. Ms Arfah recommends going for furniture pieces "that are conversation starters".

The couple's eye for design and attention to detail have led to television crews knocking on their door asking to use their home for commercials and shows.

The home appeared in Suria channel's lifestyle show Girlfriends a few months ago and a commercial for mooncake brand Home's Favourite last year, which featured 17-year-old actress Eleanor Lee, daughter of television host Quan Yi Fong.

Ms Arfah says: "We like to come back to a nice and cosy home and we love to welcome others."

• If you have a Housing Board flat or condominium apartment you would like featured, e-mail your pictures,with the header, The Chic Apartment, to stlife@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'Colouring my home my way'. Print Edition | Subscribe