The Chic Home: Walk-up apartment in Newton offers staycation vibes

The home owners turned the three-bedroom apartment into a one-room home.
The home owners turned the three-bedroom apartment into a one-room home.PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

SINGAPORE - Walk-up apartments possess a certain quaintness with their low-rise structures and the limited number of units in each development.

Older units often have larger spaces as well - which is what attracted dentist Lam Ying Keat and civil servant Jeanine Tan - to this one in Keng Lee Road.

The home owners, both in their 40s, bought the 1,060 sq ft apartment because of its central location, functional layout, abundance of natural light and freehold tenure.

"Initially, we were not sure because, like all other walk-ups, it didn't have a lift - but the central location sealed the deal. We figured we would rather take one minute to climb a few flights of stairs than spend 30 minutes dealing with traffic," says Dr Lam.

Though the home had been reasonably well-maintained for more than 30 years, they wanted to start from a clean slate, opening up the space and turning the three-bedroom apartment into a one-room home.

The entire interior was overhauled. The original walls, kitchen and adjacent dining room gave way to an open-concept kitchen - complete with an island Ms Tan had always wanted.

A bedroom beside the living room is the new dining area, while a second one next to the master bedroom is now a walk-in wardrobe.

Ms Tan took charge of the transformation while Dr Lam helped with space management. Both wanted a home that would make them feel like they are "living in a staycation" space, with Art Deco elements lending a touch of glamour. The colour scheme is predominantly black and grey, with deep blue and green accents.

The open kitchen sits on an old plinth, with the raised floor giving it the effect of a pedestal. Sitting along the side facing the living and dining areas is a dining counter with a recess for bar stools. Windows that extend the length of the kitchen fill the living and dining areas with light.

As the home owners have an extended family of 16, space planning was crucial. The open-concept zones allow groups to gather in the kitchen, living or dining areas.

And with windows on three sides, the master bedroom and walk-in wardrobe also get lots of light. The sliding doors leading to the balcony have arched top lights that lend an old-world charm, with colours picked for their calming ambience.


With windows on three sides, the master bedroom and walk-in wardrobe also get lots of light. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

The home owners say the project was challenging, especially since neither of them has a design background. "It was a very steep learning curve, but it has made us appreciate what goes into the execution of such a project," Ms Tan says.

The renovation took 13 months and cost about $120,000, excluding furnishings. They moved in in April 2018.

Although this is longer than most renovations, they are thankful that they had the luxury of time. Dr Lam says: "Everything had to be right. We also took our time to source the various materials, furniture and everything else we wanted."

  • This article first appeared in the September 2021 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
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