The Chic Home: Four-room HDB flat offers a sense of zen

The walls of one bedroom were removed to enlarge the living and dining areas.
The walls of one bedroom were removed to enlarge the living and dining areas.PHOTO: FINBARR FALLON

SINGAPORE - The layout and zoning of a space play as crucial a role in creating a feeling of spaciousness as its actual square footage.

Home to a couple in their 30s - an IT professional and a housewife - and their two-year-old son, this 990 sq ft four-room Housing Board flat in St George's Lane is an excellent example.

Wanting a more spacious living and dining area, the owners turned to local design agency L Architects to transform the standard HDB flat layout into a space tailored to their lifestyle.

Founder and principal architect Lim Shinghui, who helmed the project, says the aim was to create a bright, airy space where the home owners could feel comfortable. "The interior layout has been reconfigured to form fewer but larger living spaces that allow for more natural light."

The walls of one bedroom were removed to enlarge the living and dining areas. Next, part of the kitchen was opened up to flow freely with the dining space, which is the designated social hub of the home.

"They have large extended families, so they wanted a space where they could host large family dinners," says Ms Lim.

The oversized dining table from Timber Capitol is the centrepiece of the communal area.

Tucked in a corner of the living area is the study. It is separated from the communal spaces by a full-height storage wall finished in charcoal timber laminate with open shelves that provide visual connection yet enough privacy for one to study and work.

The material palette is simple, comprising familiar finishes like terrazzo, mosaic tiles, oak, timber laminates and travertine.


Tucked in a corner of the living area is the study. PHOTO: FINBARR FALLON

"These materials have a timeless quality to them. There is no 'new' or high-tech material exploration here," says Ms Lim.

The material palette also has great colour contrast. The charcoal timber laminate pops out in the white- and oak-toned interior, while black and khaki mosaic tiles lend a graphic touch to the bathrooms.

The bedrooms are designed as places to rest. The owners, says Ms Lim, "would like the family to bond through daily activities in the communal areas rather than retreating to their own bedrooms".

In the master bedroom is a mattress on a platform. Ms Lim has a design tip: "A platform bed is a good way to make the bedroom feel a little more spacious." This, she says, is because the bed is often the largest item in the bedroom.


Clever details round off the design, concealing HDB-issue utilitarian elements. PHOTO: FINBARR FALLON

Clever details round off the design, concealing HDB-issue utilitarian elements. A sliding mirror fitted over a bathroom window conceals old-school glass louvres, while full-height cabinets hide the shelter and ventilation sleeves.

The home also provides ample storage space within its minimalist cabinetry, such as pull-out drawers beneath the living room's bench and a hollow headboard in the bedroom.


The upper part of the storage wall comprises open shelves that allows for visual access to the study. PHOTO: FINBARR FALLON

The renovation took 2 1/2 months to complete and cost the family around $120,000. They moved into the home in August 2019.

  • This article first appeared in the June 2021 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the September and latest issue of Home & Decor now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at Home & Decor's website.