Fresh look for 40-year-old flat for winner of Straits Times-Courts makeover contest worth $10,000

The original look of the living room, with its green wall (above). The living room of Mr Ng Seng Kee and Madam Helen Wong (both left, with their daughter Vivien Ng and granddaughter Katelyn) has a new sofa, TV console set and coffee table.
The living room of Mr Ng Seng Kee and Madam Helen Wong has a new sofa, TV console set and coffee table.ST PHOTO: SONG TAO
The original look of the living room, with its green wall (above). The living room of Mr Ng Seng Kee and Madam Helen Wong (both left, with their daughter Vivien Ng and granddaughter Katelyn) has a new sofa, TV console set and coffee table.
The living room of Mr Ng Seng Kee and Madam Helen Wong (both above, with their daughter Vivien Ng and granddaughter Katelyn) has a new sofa, TV console set and coffee table.ST PHOTO: SONG TAO
The original look of the living room, with its green wall (above). The living room of Mr Ng Seng Kee and Madam Helen Wong (both left, with their daughter Vivien Ng and granddaughter Katelyn) has a new sofa, TV console set and coffee table.
The original look of the living room, with its green wall (above).ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

Winning entry for the Straits Times-Courts makeover contest beat 700 others

The winner of a contest that offered a free, $10,000 home makeover has given the prize to family members.

The Straits Times recently teamed up with Courts Singapore, the furniture, electronics and IT retailer, to give away $10,000 worth of Courts furniture and interior design services to revamp one lucky ST subscriber's living room.

The contest, which was reported by The Straits Times in early April, ended on April 14. It was open only to subscribers of ST and was part of the ST+ news with benefits programme to reward loyal subscribers.

The winner, project manager Yong Nguon Huan, 65, let his daughter-in-law Vivien Ng, 33, enter the contest using his ST subscription account.

Ms Ng, a sales manager in the life sciences industry, shares Mr Yong's account, a family plan that allows the paper to be viewed on four devices.

To win the living-room makeover, participants had to explain why they hoped to win. Ms Ng's contest entry beat about 700 other entries.

She said she hoped to help her parents - Mr Ng Seng Kee, 71, and Madam Helen Wong, 69 - rejuvenate their 40-year-old five-room Housing Board flat in Bedok, which is their first home. She added that the living room is important to her retired parents as they spend a lot of time there, drinking tea, reading the newspapers or taking naps.

Before the makeover, the recliner leather sofa in the living room was at least 10 years old. The worn sofa was held together in parts by masking tape. The television console set had a door that was broken.

Ms Ng, who has an elder brother, is married to a 35-year-old process development manager, also in the life sciences industry. They live with her parents during the work week, returning to their own home in Tampines on weekends. Her parents are the main caregivers for the couple's nine-month-old daughter, Katelyn.

Her parents chose a new leather recliner sofa from Courts that is in the same dark brown colour as their previous one. But they left other aspects of the makeover to the Courts team, which included a visual merchandiser who provided advice based on the family's preferences and needs.

Mr Jamie Smith, visual merchandising manager at Courts Singapore, says: "We wanted to use the makeover project with ST to show how it is possible to create an affordable new look for the living room, complete with design tips. For just $10,000, the winner got a plush leather recliner sofa, custom-made curtains and even a custom-built TV feature wall and cabinetry."

The team decided to gift the family with a glass coffee table, worth $399, to complete the look of the room, slightly increasing the total value of the makeover, he adds. The table, which has no sharp corners, is a child-friendly piece for the home.

Mr Smith says: "Thematically, the whole room hinges on one artwork with green and blue tones, ranging from dark emerald to Tiffany blue."

The artwork hangs on the main wall in the space. Inlaid with mother-of-pearl, it features auspicious Chinese emblems and Chinese deities.

In designing the makeover with the artwork as a focal point, Mr Smith replaced the original, green section of the wall opposite the art piece with a feature wall and TV console set in a complementary brown hue.

He also worked with "existing elements" the family had. For example, he displayed Mr Ng and Madam Wong's collection of teapots to better effect on their new shelves in the living room, which have spotlights. Previously, these had been kept in the kitchen and other cabinets.

Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of ST and Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay, Tamil Media Group, says: "Thanks to our partner, Courts, the Ng family will enjoy a new living environment while remaining in familiar surroundings.

"And this is made possible because they are ST readers. It's our way of rewarding our readers who have supported us through the years and showing we appreciate them."

Madam Wong is delighted at the transformation. She says: "We can invite our friends over for karaoke. Before, our furniture was too old. Now, we can show this off to them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Fresh look for 40-year-old flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe