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Before & After: A 3-Room Flat’s $50K Renovation Transformed It Into A Minimal Wabi-Sabi Home

There are no doors in this flat, save for the main door and bathroom doors.

Before & After: A 3-Room Flat’s $50K Renovation Transformed It Into A Minimal Wabi-Sabi Home

Less is more for the homeowner of this three-room flat in Bedok Reservoir.

A three-month-long $50k renovation breathed new life into this formerly drab and dated space that had not been renovated since its first buyer. After a massive overhaul, the the 36-year-old flat is now a light, bright and peaceful abode.

The refreshed 721 sq ft apartment is home to a trauma-informed practitioner in her mid-30s. “[My client] knew that she wanted her home to embody the philosophy of wabi-sabi from the moment she started looking for a flat,” Insight.Out Studio’s Roy Teo, the interior designer tasked with the flat’s makeover, tells 8 Days.

The traditional Japanese concept of wabi-sabi embraces transience and imperfections. Translate that into home interiors and you get an aesthetic that emphasises natural forms and raw finishes, coupled with an intentional approach to furnishing.

Naturally, the home owner’s project brief for the flat was for colours, design and aesthetics that imbue imperfection, incompletion and impermanence to take centrestage — nothing modern, sleek, luxurious or shiny.

These decisions reflect the homeowner’s lifestyle. Roy informs us that she has learnt from years of backpacking that “less is always more” and has “leaned into a minimal life over the last decade”.

To fulfil the homeowner’s ideal home wishlist would mean opening up the space big time — major layout changes had to be made.

All the walls in the two bedrooms were hacked, the kitchen was opened up, and the two bathrooms were combined into one.

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