ST170 contest winner happy with flat's new look

Mr Richard Chua with his wife Adeline and their daughters Radiant (far left) and Lydia in their living room after the makeover.
Mr Richard Chua with his wife Adeline and their daughters Radiant (left) and Lydia in their living room after the makeover.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Now that their living room has had a facelift, Mr Richard Chua and his family find themselves gravitating towards it more often, to talk about their day and watch television.

It was not just any old makeover. The Chuas - who live in a four-room Housing Board flat in Serangoon North - won a free conceptualisation session with celebrity British designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, a $3,000 living room painting package and $15,000 worth of Courts furniture, including pieces designed by Mr Llewelyn-Bowen.

After winning the prize in the ST170 Treats competition, the room underwent renovations for around a month.

Mr Chua took part in the contest by sending a photo of his living room and a 100-word entry - through the Straits Times website - on why he deserved to win. "I wrote that my living room was very old, and had only minimal changes in 30 years," he said.

First to go were the dull blue and yellow walls, which were replaced by contrasting shades of turquoise and white-grey.

"The designer also added two mirrors on the walls and gave us scented candles," said 59-year-old Mr Chua, a church administrator. "He gave us some of his designer photo frames."

Another change was the wall-mounted television set, which is bigger than the 32-inch they had previously. "With the TV set mounted on the wall, we have much more space," added Mr Chua, who has two daughters aged 19 and 26.

"Our sofa was passed on to us from my wife's niece. It was made of semi-leather, which was quite hard to sit on. Now, we have one that is springy and comfortable."

His wife Adeline, 53, a pre-school teacher, cannot wait to show off the room to her friends and relatives.

"They know we haven't renovated our flat in 30 years," she said. "They are all excited to see what it is like now. But we also have to tell them to not eat or drink near the sofas because I'm afraid of stains."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'ST170 contest winner happy with flat's new look'. Subscribe