Big home to host loved ones

Mr Jimmy Lim lives in a 2,067 sq ft flat with his family, including wife Alice Khor, daughter En Yu, 12, and son Yi Chen, six months old.
Mr Jimmy Lim lives in a 2,067 sq ft flat with his family, including wife Alice Khor, daughter En Yu, 12, and son Yi Chen, six months old.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

At his son's baby shower in April, Mr Jimmy Lim hosted about 50 people in his jumbo flat in Woodlands Street 83.

The catered food was placed in his multi-purpose room. "Many guests said this was the first time they saw catered food inside the home and not in the common corridor," says Mr Lim, 40, an insurance agent.

His 2,067 sq ft flat - a three-room flat and a four-room flat combined - is a welcoming and versatile space.

Bought for $850,000 in October last year, the flat has a living room, two master bedrooms, three common bedrooms, a multi-purpose room, a dining room, a kitchen, a service balcony, a walk-in wardrobe and three bathrooms.

Visiting friends and family can stay in one or both of his guest rooms.

When his 12-year-old daughter wants to practise her hip-hop moves, the multi-purpose room becomes a dance studio. At other times, it is also used as a study.

Mr Lim lives there with his wife, Ms Alice Khor, 39, a housewife, and their three children - daughter En Yu, 12, and sons Teck Chee, 13, and Yi Chen, six months old.

Currently staying with them is one of Mr Lim's cousins, as well as two friends whose flats are being renovated.

Mr Lim's family used to live in an executive HDB flat in Sembawang.

When looking for a new place, he considered buying a condominium unit or an HDB maisonette. "But with $850,000, I could only get a condo unit just a little over half the size of this jumbo flat. A maisonette at that price will also be smaller than this. That is why I think jumbo flats have the best value."

He adds: "One day, if I want extra income, I can put up a partition and rent out the three-room flat, while I live in the four-room flat."

The previous owners were a large, three-generation family.

When the Lims moved in, they spent $130,000 on renovations, engaging local interior design firm NorthWest Interior Design to create a modern industrial look, with mostly white walls and either brown or grey furniture.

During special occasions, such as Chinese New Year, about 20 family members come over.

There is also a 151 sq ft corridor decorated with figurines of popular Japanese anime character Totoro, which his wife and children like.

"I like to be able to invite my family and friends over sometimes. It creates a lively atmosphere and a more homely, relaxed environment, compared with meeting in a restaurant outside."

The downside of living in a large place? The household chores.

As they do not have a maid, the whole family chips in, with Ms Khor doing the most.

"In a week, I can spend 10 hours doing housework - vacuuming, mopping the floors, wiping the tables and chairs.

"It can be quite tiring. But it comes with the territory. And this is a big territory," she says, smiling.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'Big home to host loved ones'. Subscribe