DIY home

To give their home a personal touch, owners Kenny Ren and Ruby Chong created some of the apartment's fittings

Space-loving couple Kenny Ren and Ruby Chong closed off their activity room (above) with tempered glass so that the living room still enjoys an open look.
Space-loving couple Kenny Ren and Ruby Chong closed off their activity room (above) with tempered glass so that the living room still enjoys an open look. PHOTOS: VERONICA TAY; ART DIRECTION: DON TAN

Before they purchased their home, Kenny Ren and his wife, Ruby Chong, already had an idea of what they wanted it to look like - a lively and eclectic space, filled with designs inspired by their ideas.

The renovation for the charming space cost $80,000.

Ms Chong is big on crafts and is not one to buy things that she can make herself. Her passion for do-it-yourself projects can be seen around their home, a 1,215 sq ft HDB flat in Yishun.

An example is the unconventional metal washbasins in the bathrooms.

"Ruby felt that regular basins looked too plain and boring, so when she saw these Graslok plant pots from Ikea, she repurposed them into basins instead," explained Mr Ren.

Several styles of tiles were used in the flat. For instance, hexagonal vintage-style floor tiles (above) lead the way in from the main door.

Some of this has rubbed off on Mr Ren, who asked his contractor to source for chipboard material to clad the walls around the bomb shelter with, including the shelter's door, effectively concealing it. The chipboard surface is now a giant pin-up board, which is great for displaying pictures.

Other inspired touches include a house-shaped bed frame that they commissioned from vintage store Second Charm, creating a whimsical bedroom ambience.

If there is one thing the couple really love, it is space.

Several measures were taken to make the home feel roomy - for example, taking down one of the bedroom walls to create a larger master bedroom.

The activity room is also closed off with tempered glass, so that the living room does not look too confined.

The owners also designed an open- concept kitchen, complete with a movable island countertop that can be wheeled around for more space.

Ms Chong felt that regular washbasins looked too plain and boring, so she repurposed a Graslok plant pot from Ikea into a basin (above) in the bathroom.

"Ruby and I like to see everything at a glance the moment we step into the apartment," says Mr Ren. "It makes the space feel less restricted."

The couple made a bold decision to use several styles of tiles in the flat, most of them hexagonal.

Hexagonal vintage-style floor tiles from Soon Bee Huat lead the way in from the main door, before changing dramatically to wood- lookalike floor tiles of the living room and open-concept kitchen.

The bedroom floor is clad in wood-lookalike tiles in two tones laid in a herringbone pattern.

Flooring is again used to mark the shift to another space, this time from the bedroom to the en-suite bathroom, which sports vintage- style patterned tiles on the floor and a wall of hexagonal white tiles.

The common bathroom echoes the same aesthetic style as the master bathroom, but with white subway tiles for a subtle difference.

• This article first appeared in the April 2016 issue of Home &Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline 'DIY home'. Print Edition | Subscribe