The Chic Home: Tiong Bahru resale HDB flat gives a young family room to grow

Pops of colour and curves add personality to an otherwise minimalist space. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES
These shelves were originally designed as planters, but are great spaces to display books and art. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES
The living room has no television set to encourage conversation and maximise the view. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES
The free-standing structure near the entrance serves as storage, a privacy screen and a display cabinet. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

SINGAPORE – Mr Julian Tan and his wife Jessie, both financial consultants in their 30s, moved to this sunny, sixth-floor Housing Board flat in Tiong Bahru to be closer to the future school of their two children, aged four and two.

The owners’ top concern for the 1,238 sq ft, three-bedroom flat’s design was how it would cater to the young family’s growing needs, as well as privacy. Tasked with this brief was multidisciplinary designer Ashley Chiam, founder of interior design and creative agency Supper House, and Mr Tan’s client and friend.

Mr Chiam started designing by finding out more about the family’s lifestyle and how it would evolve.

The result: stylish, neat and highly practical spaces with ample storage that balance style, function and budget.

Guests entering the home are greeted with a corridor decorated with the children’s artwork.

Mr Chiam devised a free-standing structure that serves as a storage and a privacy screen sheilding the home’s social spaces from the entrance.

Next to this storage structure is a dining table crafted using an old marble tabletop, which was taken from the family’s previous home and paired with a new base. This area was intended as a formal dining space, but it also doubles as a home office.

Beyond this are the home’s social spaces, comprising a seamless living and dining area with a dry kitchen.

The living area has no television set, which was deliberately sequestered in another room. Instead of a TV console, the area in front of the sofa is lined with multipurpose carpentry that serves as a storage bench and a space for the children to play. This also maximises the view of the greenery.

A 1.9m by 1.9m island takes centre stage in the dining area. A multifunctional breakfast counter and storage unit, it hosts most of the family’s meals and stores tableware, cutlery and a printer, and is the perfect hangout spot for the family.

The major design alterations were in the kitchen area.

The oversized kitchen island’s curved edges and the arched doors lend softness to the look. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

Mr Chiam carved the helper’s bedroom out of the original kitchen and relocated part of it outside as a dry kitchen next to the island. The remaining kitchen area now serves as a wet kitchen for heavy cooking.

He also added arched doors, the curves of which lend whimsy and visual comfort to the interior. The owners kept the original marble flooring and most of the walls.

The home’s most major alteration was done to its mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Mr Chiam rerouted some of the plumbing from the master bathroom to serve the dry kitchen.

The dry kitchen has ample storage as well as a glass surface which can be written on above the sink that functions as the family noticeboard. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

The ceiling was lowered to provide space for the air-conditioning units and cove lights. The ambient cove lighting that runs along the room’s perimeter also clears out the 2.6m ceiling for an airier feel.

The furniture is a mix of old and new, comprising bespoke pieces by independent local designers, boutique brands and mass-market brands such as Ikea and Castlery.

The common bathroom features cheerful pink terrazzo tiles from Hafary. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

Costing $130,000 and completed in April 2022 after five months, this home is still a work in progress, with the aim of being future-proof.

For instance, the benches can be stacked to create more storage, and another room is kept empty while currently serving as a gym. Mr Chiam says: “We’ve prepared pockets for future developments.”

  • This article first appeared in the November 2022 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
  • Get the December 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

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