Bring In Heritage To Your Home

Spaciousness and a laidback vibe give the home its timeless appeal (green vase and crochet vase from Tangs)
Spaciousness and a laidback vibe give the home its timeless appeal (green vase and crochet vase from Tangs)
Spaciousness and a laidback vibe give the home its timeless appeal (green vase and crochet vase from Tangs)

This nostalgia-themed HDB flat does its newlywed homeowners proud of their cultural roots

Newlyweds Melissa and Gopal M spent a considerable amount of time looking for a home where they could start their life together.

When they finally chanced upon this five-room resale HDB flat, the young couple was eager to start a new chapter in their lives.

However, the original state of the home was an unliveable mess. Instead of viewing this as an obstacle, Melissa and Gopal could see the hidden potential that the 1,313-sq-ft apartment held.

They came up with a mood board that brought together their ideas of how their future home would look like. To help them execute the look, Melissa and Gopal approached design firm Wee Studio to manage the project and handle the nitty-gritty details.

Let the Light in

A strip of Peranakan tiles, embedded in the cement-screed floor, runs from the main entrance to the kitchen, like a paved walkway (orange pitcher from Tangs)
A strip of Peranakan tiles, embedded in the cement-screed floor, runs from the main entrance to the  kitchen, like a paved walkway (orange pitcher from Tangs)

Space was a major concern for the couple, so every single design decision was made to ensure that the floor plan would be maximized to its fullest.

For example, all the windows throughout the house can swing open without grilles or shutters obstructing the light. Walls were also knocked down to achieve an unconstrained living space.

Another main inspiration for the look of this home is a sense of nostalgia that harks back to simpler times. Cement-screed floors and a brick wall add rustic texture, and the furniture pieces were chosen for their mid-century shapes and designs.

Of note are the colourful Peranakan tiles that line the floor from the entryway, through the dining hall and into the kitchen entrance.

Gopal shares that they spent a long time trying to find the perfect pattern. “We went to several shops, and spoke to a lot of different dealers. And when we finally found these tiles, we had to wait a long while for the dealer to import them!”

Blend of Old and New

Complementing the tiles is a metal grille partition, designed to look like the window grilles found in Singaporean homes in the early 1980s. The homeowners chose the design for the eclecticism it brings into the home, and as a reminder of their roots.

“Since our living room faces the front door, we thought it would be good to have some sort of partition to block the entrance,” explains Melissa. “But we didn’t want a wall that would just make the room look smaller.”

For first-time homeowners Melissa and Gopal, the home is a careful blend of old-school nostalgia and contemporary living. Its look is distinctive and also wholly practical as far as matters of space and light go. It is, as they had hoped, an ideal nesting place.

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A subdued ambience fills the bedroom with parquet flooring (green vase and crochet vase from Tangs)

Design Highlights:

  • Design elements like the Peranakan tiles and cement-screed floor contribute to a sense of nostalgia that celebrates the homeowners’ cultural heritage.
  • Despite having an old-school look, the kitchen is fully equipped with state-of-the-art lift and drawer systems.
  • Removing the grilles and shutters on the windows enables light and air to move freely throughout the house.
  • A cosy mood permeates the master bedroom. Wood elements like the parquet floors and solid wood bedframe lend to the warm ambience.

By Redzman Rahmat

Photography by Justin Loh, Shining Head Medi

Article first published in Lookbox Living #34, Nov/Dec 2013
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