Between 2003 and 2012, it was left vacant, a time during which its wooden structures were infested by termites.
In 2012, when a project team - including architectural company S.H. Lim Architects, engineering firm K P Chai Engineering & Management Consultants and contractor Tokyu Construction - embarked on its restoration, many of its timber windows and wood carvings were beyond repair.
To make the building safe again, the team strengthened its structure with new beams. Its original 16 columns as well as parapets and balustrades were restored on-site and new windows and carvings, identical to those originally used, were made.
Mr Vincent Song, 41, design director at S.H. Lim Architects, says: "We also replaced the red and beige floor tiles, which was challenging because we couldn't source these locally. Eventually, we had to get them from a supplier in Vietnam."
But what was also important to the team were the activities that were to take place in the refurbished premises.
Hence Warees Investments sought a bakery to occupy the site of the former Red House Bakery on the ground floor of the two-storey building. It decided on a Heavenly Wang cafe, which bakes its own confectionery and sells traditional items such as iced gem biscuits.
The Red House opened in the third quarter of last year as an integrated heritage development consisting of 42 residential units and five commercial shophouses.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority says in a statement: "This project is commended for the energy displayed in re-establishing some memorable and intangible elements of Katong's heritage.
"The dedicated owners have kept alive the building's intangible heritage and, today, the building remains relevant to the community."
Mr Zaini says: "Every commendation is special for us and the team involved - engineers, architects, contractors as well as our community partners.
"The mention also recognises our efforts to restore The Red House's physical elements and, in a way, rekindle the atmosphere of the past."