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Making space for yoga and meditation in his Bukit Panjang HDB resale flat

Having finally found his dream home, this freelance writer wants to fill it up with everything he loves in life

When Mr Daniel Teo turned 35, he started searching for his own home as a gift to himself so that he could indulge in his passions such as yoga. PHOTO: SPH MEDIA/KOH MINGGUANG

In his search for his first home, Mr Daniel Teo, a 36-year-old freelance writer, was greatly inspired by Apartment Therapy, a 2017 American reality TV series on home decor. “A homeowner featured on the show once said, ‘Your home becomes a love letter to yourself’. That really resonated with me. I told myself that I would fill my future home with what I love, just for myself,” he says.

To that end, Mr Teo envisioned his future home to be one that allowed him to fulfil and indulge in his passions, which included space for practising yoga, baking and reading.

With special areas dedicated to his passions of yoga and cooking, watch how bachelor Daniel Teo transforms his resale HDB flat into a love letter to himself. 

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With these requirements in mind, it was clear to him that one of the most important criteria in choosing his home was sufficient space. So, he went on an extensive search which involved viewing some 30 properties over a span of a year, before he finally find “the one” in November 2020.

His house-hunting journey began by viewing one- and two-bedroom condominium units and executive condominiums.

In the process, it quickly became clear to him that he would not be able to meet his space requirements if he bought a private condominium. With his budget of $600,000, his options were largely limited to smaller condominium units under 500 sq ft – something that he was not particularly keen on.

He expanded his search to include larger Housing Board (HDB) flats and eventually found his perfect match in a 970 sq ft resale flat in Bukit Panjang.

He says, “This flat ticked all the right boxes – unblocked view, greenery, near my parents’ home, plus it has just hit its MOP (Minimum Occupation Period) and is very new.”

In designing his flat, Mr Teo opted for a clean, timeless design and a neutral colour palette. PHOTO: SPH MEDIA/KOH MINGGUANG

Budgeting and finances

Mr Teo acknowledges that purchasing a property is a huge commitment. That is why he has always been prudent with his personal finances.

“I have been squirrelling money away since I started working full time more than 10 years ago. Together with my CPF savings, I had enough money put aside for this,” he says.

The four-room flat (above) offered Mr Teo the space to fill with the furniture he loves, such as a large sofa (below). PHOTO: SPH MEDIA/KOH MINGGUANG

To find out more on the buying process for resale flats, he visited the HDB Flat Portal to get information. “There are many factors to consider in deciding how to finance a home, but the HDB portal makes it easy to navigate these options,” he observes. To his surprise, he discovered that he was eligible for about $37,500 in grants for the resale flat, which was sold to him at $435,000.

These include the Singles Grant of $25,000, Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles) of $2,500, and the Proximity Housing Grant of $10,000.

Redesigning his flat

As the flat was well-maintained and did not require major renovations, Mr Teo could immediately focus on designing it for his needs.

By combining the original master bedroom and its adjacent room, Mr Teo can now enjoy me-time in a nook he carved out for reading and meditation. PHOTOS: SPH MEDIA/KOH MINGGUANG

Being a yoga enthusiast, he chose to combine two rooms to create a large master bedroom. He shares: “I make it a habit to do yoga first thing in the morning and I wanted to be able to just roll out of bed and onto the mat – which means I am more likely to keep to that habit. That’s why I decided to have a large bedroom with that space in the middle. I can just unfurl my yoga mat when I wake up and do my poses for the day.”

He also created a meditation corner in the room, complete with a comfortable armchair located right by the window. He meditates there for 20 minutes daily after his morning yoga session, a practice he finds useful to help his “mind and body shift out of stress and anxiety”.

Another priority was the kitchen which he had entirely reworked to suit his needs – the original kitchen had been well-used by the previous owner and Mr Teo wanted new cabinets and shelves to store his cooking and baking necessities.

The original kitchen (above) was well-used by the previous owner, which was why Mr Teo, a fan of cooking and baking, knew he had to give it a complete makeover (below) to suit his needs. PHOTOS: DANIEL TEO

“I focused on the kitchen because I love to cook and bake. And I wanted a kitchen that was functional for my needs,” he says. A large counter space in the bright and airy kitchen makes it easier to knead the dough for breads and inspires him to cook more. He adds: “Because I have my own kitchen now, I find myself experimenting with more recipes.”

On the overall aesthetics of his flat, he says, “The eventual décor is a combination of contemporary and minimalist design themes that feature neutral colours, and it emphasises the sleek architectural lines of the flat. This makes the home bright, clean and calming.”

Space for me-time

Pre-pandemic, Mr Teo used to spend time in cafes, sipping coffee with a book in hand. “The aroma of coffee as I immerse myself in my book just works for me.” So, he designed his service yard to include a bar-top counter where he can indulge in some personal time while enjoying the surrounding greenery and a cup of espresso.

A unique feature is the built-in counter-top at Mr Teo’s service yard, where he seeks quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of life.” PHOTO: SPH MEDIA

He offers advice for first-timers who are just beginning their search for the “love letter” to themselves. He says, “Be very clear what you are looking for in a home. This will help you find the right one.”

This is the second of a four-part series on how first-time HDB flat owners can utilise the various housing grans available to them to create their dream homes for life. Find out more about home buying and renovation here at the MyNiceHome website.

In partnership with the Housing & Development Board

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