SINGAPORE – A walk-up apartment above a row of nondescript 1950s shophouses, which was later used as a workers’ dormitory, would have deterred most house-hunters, but not this couple.
The pilot and public servant in their 30s were looking for a property in Serangoon Garden and were thrilled when they found this 1,600 sq ft unit.
The $350,000 revamp was handled by home-grown studio Prozfile, whose principal designer Cadine Lim had worked on similar units.
As the building had not been gazetted as a conservation property, the owners and designer did not have to contend with conservation guidelines for the structure. However, they still had to secure endorsement from the Building and Construction Authority.
Due to the unit’s age, piping and plumbing works were also fairly extensive.
The couple were adamant that there would be no stark metallic or vinyl surfaces in their home, as they wanted natural materials in muted and matt hues, and had already decided on parquet floors.
As a former workers’ dormitory, there were many partitions that made the interior feel cramped and dark. With these gone, light from the windows makes the spaces feel bright and welcoming.
The living area is now filled with earthy tones and wood furniture with fabric upholstery, as the couple wanted the furniture to be able to sustain wear and tear, as well as scratches by their cat.
To one side of the living room is a pair of his-and-hers study rooms so the couple have their own spaces. Each room has plenty of built-in storage, since the unit does not have a household shelter or store room.
The double-volume space, exposed-brick party wall, pitched roof with exposed rafters and an overhead beam all add to the spatial complexity of the dining room. A 12-seater dining table, made of untreated wood upcycled from a railway track, is perfect for when the couple have friends over.