Telok Blangah is the ideal place for those who want to live in a peaceful area not far from Singapore’s cityscape. Not only does it have lush greenery and stunning views of the sea, but it is also a place rich in history.
That’s why Terry and Rachel (@cookingpotbay *not their real names for privacy reasons) chose Telok Blangah Towers. Despite its central location, it is only 3 blocks away and it offers a lot of privacy.
This and the fact that the unit has nearly full-length windows, which is rare in HDB flats today.
So, to complement this, they wanted to keep the home simple in a minimalist way.
If you’re leaning towards minimalist design, look no further as Terry and Rachel share how they achieved it in their Telok Blangah Towers home.
Achieve timeless and minimalist home design
Terry said their renovation budget was $60,000. But they don’t see it as a tight budget. They know that in case they end up choosing certain higher quality materials during the renovation process, there is always a chance that they will exceed the allotment.
“Our final renovation cost, excluding furniture, appliances, etc., came to about $70,000,” he revealed.
As they expected, some of the budget increase was due to the choice of more expensive materials such as tile, vinyl floors and switches. “There are also some top-ups for measuring dimensional changes and other miscellaneous things like doing well on some of the walls where we peel back the wallpaper.”
The couple said they didn’t have any specific themes, “but we did mention our IDs, we just wanted something timeless and minimal,” Terry said.
What they wanted was for their home to look simple enough that they wouldn’t get bored quickly, without compromising comfort. Even before they started the reno, they had browsed a lot of Instagram family accounts, which provided inspiration for their home designs.
“We realized that our home looked a lot like a modern Korean home—clean, with lots of muted block colors,” he recalls.
Preparing the house for Reno meant having to knock down the walls of one of the bedrooms. This feat left them with an enlarged living room, kitchen, study and master bedroom.
This is the result of their home, where every room has a room.
Upon entering the living room, the combination of clean white and light wood floors creates a modern yet very clean ambience. This is further emphasized by the natural light coming in from the windows.
They also added a curved alcove display wall in the living room. “It’s something we knew we always wanted before we started sourcing for interior designers,” Terry said.
The biggest change they made to the kitchen was knocking down the wall at the entrance. It helped create a space to accommodate the extended countertop, which the couple now uses as a breakfast counter.
In the kitchen itself, minimalist and clean lines continue to dominate the design. They opted for open shelving to help open up the space further and allow light from the patio and kitchen windows to flow through the room.
Terry says they decided to add a platform to their bed — not for extra storage, but because they just love platform beds for a reason. “Again, it’s something we knew we wanted from the start.” We think platform beds are always comfortable, and it helps them go for that comfortable feeling.
Everything else in the room is designed around their platform bed core. The couple admitted it was a surprise for them that their ID was able to adjust their wardrobe, which is located on the extension of the platform bed. “The resulting effect looks pretty Japanese,” Terry said.
Clean lines and soft colors continue to permeate the bathroom design. Even in this space, frosted lighting creates a warm atmosphere.
They didn’t make any major changes to the study’s layout, other than making the vinyl floors and wall colors consistent with the rest of the house. “We wanted to keep this room as a space that we could easily repurpose if necessary in the future,” Terry noted.
Turn vision into reality
Both Terry and Rachel were very happy with how their home looked after Reno, as the results were similar to what they had envisioned before.
“We followed ID’s plans very closely,” Terry said, “including his 3D renderings.” He added that they even sourced furniture and fixtures that looked like the 3D renderings.
The couple conducted extensive research in their search for ID. Instead of hiring a contractor directly, they contacted Authors Interior & Styling.
“We approached Authors Interior & Styling directly, purely based on their social media portfolio.”
During that time, though, they didn’t have a specific interior designer in mind. “Jun from Authors was randomly assigned to us and he proved to be a good fit for our requirements,” Terry said.
When it comes to sourcing furniture, the couple is very attentive. Terry shared that they have personally visited many stores in Singapore. They know from the start that they won’t buy blindly online, especially big-ticket items.
“Like most ignorant homeowners, our Google search brought us to Tan Boon Liat. We still think this is the first stop for new homeowners as there are so many shops to visit,” recalls Terry.
While their sofa needs more research, he said they managed to find a dining table at Tan Boon Liat. For their dining chairs and bar stools, their ID provided them with a list of suggestions from Taobao, from which they eventually got the furniture.
When asked what was the best part of their home after the renovation, they both replied that it was, and still is, the living room.
“The reason we bought this unit was the white ‘full length’ windows in the living room,” Terry said. They thought it was a rare find for them as most HDB flats these days only offer three-quarter windows.
“The knocking down of the third bedroom and kitchen wall really opened up the space for us,” he added. In fact, it further enhances the natural light flowing from the living room window, as the window (in the area where the third bedroom used to be) provides additional lighting.
Lessons learned from a successful renovation journey
Like most renovation projects today, COVID-19 is the one that presents the greatest challenge to the determination and patience of homeowners. Terry and Rachel couldn’t escape either.
“Our tiling program was delayed by 2 weeks due to a lack of workers,” Terry said. They also experienced unexpected delays with vinyl flooring suppliers, which wreaked havoc on reno. It affects the entire schedule for the delivery of accessories and appliances. He admitted that they chose to lay vinyl floors last.
The experience taught them to be patient and prepare for the worst, including changing plans at the last minute. “As the renovation progressed, we made a lot of changes,” he said, “not only deviating from our planned timeline, but also deviating from the 3D rendered design.”
Still, they were lucky to have most of the renovations as planned.
The couple from Telok Blangah Towers leave this guide to new homeowners planning to renovate their home.
Always be ready to hear ID advice from a professional perspective. At the same time, they also recommend firmness if you have any design ideas you want to try. “In the end, it’s that you go home every day to see your home.”