SINGAPORE - Completed in 1975, this apartment building in Marine Vista was one of the first few pilot projects of the Housing and Urban Development Company and built to house Singapore civil servants.
Although these developments were discontinued in 1987, they remain sought-after properties.
Stepping inside this home, one can see why. The five-room 1,605 sq ft flat is generous in size, with a breathtaking view of the sea and greenery.
It is no wonder that the family of four - a couple in their 80s and their two 30-something daughters - are not tempted to trade their home for a newer one.
"They don't build these kinds of apartments anymore," says the 84-year-old patriarch, a former civil servant, who adds that most of the neighbours are the same families that moved in when the building was completed.
He and his wife moved into the apartment in 1978. "You had to put in at least 10 years of service with the Government to be eligible for a flat here."
The owners did not change anything until 2021, when the two daughters decided the home needed a makeover. They engaged Mad About Design (MAD) Interior Studio - helmed by designer Jimmy Li - for the renovation, which took three months and cost around $100,000.
"We've lived here all of our lives, so we more or less know how we wanted to use the space. We want the interior design to be more user-friendly for seniors," says the elder daughter.
The daughters, both lawyers, are avid readers who have amassed a large book collection over the years. Their vision for the home was inspired by British architect John Pawson's minimalist approach to spatial design, as pictured in Anatomy Of Minimum, his 2019 monograph published by Phaidon.
Mr Li translated this inspiration into an airy open space dressed in calming neutral tones.
Pale wood laminates clad the wall concealing the bathroom door, visually tying the space with the bookshelves. The large-format rectangular floor tiles add a touch of formality while a full-height, 2.9m-tall bookshelf fitted with a sliding steel staircase breaks the symmetry of the space, taking centre stage and serving as a functional alternative to a feature wall.
A modular sofa from Originals Furniture presides over the living area. The dining chairs from Danish Design Co, the Mantis lamp on the wall and the Louis Poulsen pendant light above the dining table are new. The dining table was the first one the owners bought, restored and polished by Barossa Furnishings.
The transitions between areas are seamless, with hardly any differences in elevation, to make all rooms accessible to wheelchair users. Doors and railings in the bathrooms can be reached from a seated position. The finishes are also low-maintenance in consideration of the family pet, Bruce, a friendly Singapore Special dog.
The storeroom has been converted into a walk-in wardrobe and dressing room for the daughters, freeing up space in their bedrooms, which retain the original hardwood parquet flooring, plus furniture made with salvaged timber from local upcycling workshop Triple Eyelid Studio.
The elder daughter's bedroom, dressed in "greige" (grey-beige), features a travel theme, while the younger daughter's room sports teal walls and under-bed storage for sports equipment.
The master bedroom is finished with the parents' favourite colour - mint green - and features a teepee for Bruce.
The common bathroom features a cheerful deep green tile with white grouting that lends a graphic touch.
The windows - paired with high-quality linen curtains - are double-glazed and soundproofed. Opening them at night eliminates the need for air-conditioning, while closing them creates a quiet environment.
* This article first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the February 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 homeanddecor.com.sg