Long before he received the keys to his new four-room HDB flat in Punggol, Mr Muhammad Fahren Jamaan had already been storing decor ideas in his head.
“I used to be a courier and made deliveries to many homes. When I saw nicely designed homes, I would ask the owners questions about the decor,” says Mr Fahren, 32, now a technician.
After four years of waiting for his flat, he and his wife Nur’ain Osman and their two children moved in at the end of December last year. Her parents stay with them on weekdays to look after the children while they are at work. Previously, they lived with his parents in Hougang.
The look of their new home is best described as an industrial-rustic hybrid. Ms Nur’ain, a 34-year old administrative assistant, had no idea what that meant, until Mr Fahren showed her examples of his desired style from the Internet. She says: “My husband did a lot of research via Google. I think the look is unique and cool.”
Apart from the industrial-rustic elements in the flat, such as the pinewood TV console feature and coffee table, another thing that catches one’s eye in the living room is the display of colourful motorcycle helmets. These are a reminder of his youthful days when he belonged to a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who went riding together; two of the helmets were custom-designed for that group’s members.
These days he drives a car more often than he rides his motorbike. Because he is now the father of a three-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter, he says: “I have to hang up the helmets already.”
As Ms Nur’ain says: “What makes us look forward to going home is our children, who are waiting there for us. And, of course, it is wonderful to live in your own home.”
How did you feel when you first moved into your own flat?
Mr Fahren: We couldn’t believe it. After waiting four years for it, I was speechless. I was very happy, but also sad — because it meant my parents’ home, where we had lived for three years, would be a lot quieter now.
When and why did you decide to buy a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat?
Ms Nur’ain: We planned to buy a BTO flat after we got engaged in 2012. We did not consider a resale flat because we wanted a new place. Moreover, we wanted a place somewhere between where our parents lived. His parents live in Hougang and mine live in Bedok South; so Punggol is kind of between those two locations. We did not pay any cash, we purchased the flat with our CPF savings.
Mr Fahren: We also received $20,000 Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and $20,000 Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG).
What do you like most about your new home?
Ms Nur’ain: Actually we like two areas — the kitchen and the living room. The kitchen, because we love cooking, and the living room, because it is where we spend time together as a family, doing things like watching TV shows. Our vinyl flooring is really nice too.
Do you know your neighbours?
Ms Nur’ain: We know a few of them. We have a group chat on WhatsApp to communicate and exchange feedback on home renovation and where to get good products, and so on.
Mr Fahren: We have also met some of them for prata and tea sessions.
What do you like best about your neighbourhood?
Ms Nur’ain: It is near the Tampines Expressway (TPE), which offers convenient access to our workplaces in the east. There is also a beautiful park near our flat — this is good for family time as there is a playground and an exercise area for adults.
Watch how the couple crowd source ingredients from their neighbours to bake a community cake: