The chic apartment

Open to change

As the bulky structure leading to the balcony could not be removed, it was turned into a statement piece instead with a pair of Chinese doors.
As the bulky structure leading to the balcony could not be removed, it was turned into a statement piece instead with a pair of Chinese doors.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: LIM YI LING
The kitchen island (above) is where the friends of Mr Richard Lee (left) and his wife gather over drinks and to take in the panoramic views of the sea. With the new layout, the space now flows seamlessly to the living and dining areas (right).
The kitchen island (above) is where the friends of Mr Richard Lee and his wife gather over drinks and to take in the panoramic views of the sea. With the new layout, the space now flows seamlessly to the living and dining areas.PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: LIM YI LING
The kitchen island (above) is where the friends of Mr Richard Lee (left) and his wife gather over drinks and to take in the panoramic views of the sea. With the new layout, the space now flows seamlessly to the living and dining areas (right).
The kitchen island is where the friends of Mr Richard Lee and his wife gather over drinks and to take in the panoramic views of the sea. With the new layout, the space now flows seamlessly to the living and dining areas (above).PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: LIM YI LING

The apartment of Richard Lee and Priscilla Chong was reconfigured to suit their needs, let in plenty of light and maximise views of the sea

New Zealander Richard Lee and his Singaporean wife, Ms Priscilla Chong, bought this four-bedroom condominium in East Coast in 2015.

"It was over 30 years old and showing its age. The layout was very compartmentalised and closed-in, and it did not take advantage of the sea view or the spacious balcony," says Mr Lee, who is in his 40s.

The couple wanted to open up the spaces to maximise views, let more natural light into the apartment and enhance cross-ventilation.

They started with a drawing of what they wanted and passed it to Mr Victor Ting, design director of The Carpenter's Workshop.

Mr Ting says: "Richard and Priscilla were very clear that they wanted the apartment designed around their lifestyle and needs. We reconfigured the apartment, did away with rooms we knew would stay empty and designed spaces that would be well-utilised by the couple."

The 2,239 sq ft apartment's irregular shape not only posed a design challenge, but also provided the opportunity to create potentially interesting spaces.

For example, the original kitchen was in a cramped corner to the right of the main entrance.

The kitchen island (above) is where the friends of Mr Richard Lee (left) and his wife gather over drinks and to take in the panoramic views of the sea. With the new layout, the space now flows seamlessly to the living and dining areas (right).
Mr Richard Lee. PHOTOS: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: LIM YI LING

"It was an odd shape and would not have accommodated the kitchen island the home owners wanted, so we moved the kitchen to where the living room used to be," says Mr Ting.

A four-seat rectangular dining table now sits in the space vacated by the kitchen, while the living area has taken over the previous dining room.

The new layout has proven to be a wise move - the three areas now flow seamlessly and make it easier for the home owners to entertain guests. The vista has also been opened up so that everyone can sit back and enjoy the unobstructed views.

The home owners also wanted plenty of storage and Mr Ting carved out spaces from part of the existing kitchen, electrical room and powder room.

The walls of a bedroom along the hallway have been replaced with sliding glass doors, turning it into a music and reading alcove, but it also keeps a physical and visual connection with the rest of the apartment.

Another bedroom was converted into Mr Lee's home office. It is a versatile space that can be closed off for privacy or opened up to become a family hall-like space.

Mr Ting and his team also combined two adjacent bedrooms into one master suite - comprising the bedroom and a walk-in wardrobe - and created the master bathroom from the bathroom originally attached to a bedroom .

And like the rest of the living spaces, the master suite capitalises on the breathtaking sea view.

Despite having lived in Singapore since 2008, Mr Lee is still accustomed to the space he enjoys in his New Zealand home that is surrounded by a large expanse of land.

"While our Singapore home has more of a city character that provides a great balance to our home in New Zealand, it is nice to be able to feel a sense of space even in a smaller home," he says. "Opening up the original rooms, letting in more light and capitalising on the views definitely did wonders."

•This article first appeared in the October issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the November and latest issue now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter and Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes on www.homeanddecor.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Open to change'. Print Edition | Subscribe