Almost like having a lift landing and corridor all to themselves

Madam Lucy Tan (far left), with her parents-in-law, Mr Koh Woo Keng, 87, and Madam Chan Mui Gek, 84, and her brother-in-law, Mr Willy Koh, 60, at the lift lobby in between the front doors of their jumbo flat.
Madam Lucy Tan (far left), with her parents-in-law, Mr Koh Woo Keng, 87, and Madam Chan Mui Gek, 84, and her brother-in-law, Mr Willy Koh, 60, at the lift lobby in between the front doors of their jumbo flat.ST PHOTO: MELISSA HENG

This jumbo flat in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 is made up of two four-room units that are a mirror image of each other, with the main doors face to face.

The family bought the 10th-floor units for $28,100 each in 1980, moving there from a kampung in Jalan Hock Chye.

That same year, they applied for a permit from the Housing Board to knock down a wall that separated the storerooms in the flats.

This created a walkway that connects the two units, which have a combined floor area of about 1,900 sq ft.

One of the occupants is senior logistics coordinator Lucy Tan, 62, who is living with the family of her late husband, who died in 1989.

"My husband wanted to live with his family and I did not mind," she says. "So we chose units next to each other and connected the houses. We all get along."

When they first moved in, the home accommodated Madam Tan, her husband and their elder daughter, as well as her husband's parents and his four brothers.

Now, only Madam Tan, her parents-in-law and one brother-in-law live there. Her daughters, aged 39 and 32, have both married and moved out.

She says: "We still have our own space and privacy. I am Catholic while my in-laws are Buddhists, so they have their own living room where they can have their altar."

Having two kitchens, the family uses one to cook and the other for laundry.

Madam Tan says: "I can hang the clothes indoors and they won't get food smells. I don't have to worry that things will be oily."

During an upgrading exercise three years ago, a new lift was added to their floor. There was originally only one lift for the entire block that stopped at three of the thirteen levels.

Madam Tan says: "I used to have to take the lift to the ninth floor and walk up the stairs to my house. That made it a bit difficult for my mother-in-law when she bought groceries."

To build the new lift on their floor, the corridor between the two front doors was extended to create a lift landing.

Now, the space between the two front doors has almost doubled and they use the area to grow potted plants.

"We can also put the buffet outside when we have bigger family gatherings. It is kind of like our own private lift, like in a condominium," she adds.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'Almost like having a lift landing and corridor all to themselves'. Print Edition | Subscribe