The Chic Home: Pandemic living for couple in two-bedroom condo unit

Home owners Aaron Thio and Mabel Wee secured this 990 sq ft two-bedroom condominium apartment just before Covid-19 gripped countries worldwide. PHOTO: TAN WEI TEE

SINGAPORE - Second-time home owners Aaron Thio and Mabel Wee bought this 990 sq ft two-bedroom condominium apartment at Holland Hill just as countries worldwide were beginning to detect their first Covid-19 cases.

As the apartment had tenants at the time, the couple - both in their 30s - had to wait a few months before starting renovation work.

By then, Covid-19 had become a full-blown pandemic and working from home, virtual meetings and food delivery were the new daily norms for most people, including Mr Thio and Ms Wee, who both work in finance.

Mr Joey Khu, director of Joey Khu Interior Design, worked on the couple's first home. As he knew the couple's tastes, they gave him carte blanche for the second home as well.

To clearly define the threshold between the entrance and the rest of the home, Mr Khu added a sliding timber door. The latticework gives it the appearance of a movable wall feature while a small flap in the door opens to allow access to the wall-mounted intercom system behind it.

The private lift lobby leads to the dining area, where Ms Wee spends most of her time at her laptop on a typical work-from-home day. "Everything is within easy reach, especially my coffee nook," she says. It sits in a corner of the bay window in the dining area. The drawers below provide ample storage for cups and glassware.

Removing one door creates a more seamless flow to the back door at one end of the kitchen. The galley-style kitchen layout maximises the efficiency of the long, narrow configuration. The hood, hob, oven and sink are arranged on one side with a view over the counter, while the refrigerator and washing machine line the opposite wall.

Flipping the position of the sofa frees up the wall that runs along the length of the living room, making space for a series of built-in cabinets, a flat-screen television and a console.

A quirky Driade Roly Poly chair (left) adds a little fun to the living space. A Yamagiwa Taliesin 4 Light in the workspace built into the wardrobe. PHOTOS: TAN WEI TEE

The living area extends out onto a large balcony. Together with the high ceiling - the extra height of which comes from replacing the old, ducted air-conditioning system with wall units - it gives the modestly-sized apartment a spacious and lofty feel.

One of the bedrooms lies directly behind the sofa. Mr Khu removed part of the existing L-shaped bedroom wall to make way for fixed and sliding glass panels. Originally intended as a nursery for when the owners start a family, Mr Khu tweaked the design to accommodate their current work-from-home requirements.

As Mr Thio works at a desktop, he uses the room while Ms Wee is in the dining area. This arrangement has served the couple well since December 2020, after a 21/2-month renovation that cost $120,000. And while they have a work area each, they still enjoy the privacy required for concentration, virtual meetings and calls.

A niche has been carved out of the built-in wardrobes to create a work space and overhead shelves. Mr Khu says: "If this area is used as a bedroom rather than a study, it will have space for baby furniture. We can simply install blinds behind the glass panels for privacy."

By relocating the door of the master bedroom and reconfiguring the layout, what used to be a dead space at the end of a corridor is now a walk-in wardrobe within the master bedroom.

The versatile Spade chair (left) doubles as a hanger, while the Caesarstone vanity top in the master bathroom complements the gunmetal of the bathroom fittings. PHOTOS: TAN WEI TEE

In the couple's previous three- bedroom home, one room was converted into a walk-in wardrobe. In their new place, two rows of full-height, built-in, his-and-hers wardrobes and an additional full-height cabinet leading to the master bathroom meet their storage needs.

The position of the bed follows feng shui considerations and the master bedroom's new layout screens it from view at the entrance. Instead of the usual headboard or feature wall, Mr Khu kept the wall plain, diverting attention towards the bay window and the view by enveloping it with a timber portal frame.

  • 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 the Home & Decor website.

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