6 in 10 BTO flat buyers opt for open kitchens

The HDB has offered the open-kitchen option since September last year to give home buyers more flexibility in designing their flats.
The HDB has offered the open-kitchen option since September last year to give home buyers more flexibility in designing their flats.PHOTO: HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD

Interior designer Jolland Lee, 57, has taken a fancy to the spacious look of open kitchens, having designed many of them for HDB flat owners over the years.

That is why he was happy to be given the option of not having a kitchen partition wall built in his new flat in Yishun.

Mr Lee, who applied for a five-room flat in July this year, is among many flat buyers who are choosing an open-kitchen option offered by the Housing Board.

Having an open kitchen will give his family more living-room space, he said.

About six in 10 flat buyers in 30 Build-To-Order (BTO) projects over the past year have requested their homes to come without kitchen partition walls, said the HDB.

An HDB spokesman said it has offered the open-kitchen option since September last year to give families more flexibility in designing their flats.

"This option also saves home buyers the hassle and cost of hacking down the walls if they prefer an open-kitchen layout," said the spokesman.

Flat owners said they can save about $400 from hacking down the wall to create an open kitchen. It would also take contractors about about four to five days to hack down the wall.

Another flat owner who opted for the open-kitchen option is finance executive Ben Chia, 30. He plans to have an island table in the kitchen of his five-room flat in Teck Ghee, in Ang Mo Kio.

"The open-kitchen concept suits our lifestyle. My wife and I cook healthy meals. So we are less concerned about oil and smell travelling to the other parts of our home," he said.

The HDB piloted the open-kitchen option in its September 2012 BTO project Teck Ghee Parkview. About 70 per cent of flat buyers in the project took up the option, and the first batch of flats will be ready in the first quarter of 2017.

The open-kitchen option is part of the Optional Component Scheme, introduced by the HDB in 1989 to allow flat buyers to customise their homes to suit their needs.

The scheme has been expanded over the years and offers different options for flooring, doors and sanitary fittings.

ameltan@sph.com.sg