When it came to bringing her interior ideas to life, besides scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram for inspo, it helped, too, that Fei’s contractor was generous with advice. “We sat down to do Autocad and 3D drawings and that really helped me visualise it better,” she tells us.
Despite not having a background in interiors, Fei’s eye for aesthetics is apparent the moment you step into her home. Her vision? “I wanted something simple, and I really love Bali, and wood elements and plants," she says.
Fei estimates she spent about $100k on renovations and furniture, including big-ticket items such as the couch, a TV console, bed, and a custom dining table. “I don’t mind spending a bit more on pieces that will last,” she says.
The first thing you'll notice as you enter the flat is the wood panelling on the ceiling that runs from the entrance and into the main area, subtly drawing you in to the space decked out in warm wood, complemented by raw textures like that on the exposed beams and neutral concrete tones.
The open-plan living space combines the living, dining and bar counter, three different zones to entertain family and friends.
You could say that the design of the living room — and perhaps the home — centres around the King Living couch that Fei purchased even before renovations began. “I saw it in an ad on an inflight magazine while I was on a work trip and knew immediately I wanted it. I came back to Singapore, went to the shop, and it was on sale, so I ordered it there and then,” she recalls.
Think there's something missing here? “I didn’t want to have a TV because I don’t watch much TV, only Netflix on my iPad sometimes. But I may get a projector eventually for when friends and family are around,” she quips.
Having a touch of nature in the home was important to Fei, who fell in love with the 35-year-old flat in the first place because of the mini park right at her doorstep. To marry indoor and outdoor living, there are some 40 potted plants peppered throughout the home. She also decided to reinstate the balcony which the previous owners had incorporated into part of the living room.
An eye-catching custom concrete island bar counter now stands in what used to be the dining room.
This uber-chic behemoth structure serves as a great landing point and drinks area when friends come over. A full-height storage cabinet stands next to it, housing a coffee counter and a home bar that can be hidden or flaunted easily.
The island also acts as an extension of the kitchen. “Sometimes I have friends and family over to cook and bake together here on the counter,” Fei says.
Fun fact: Because it’s made of concrete, the island had to be built on-site. “It was really scary ’cos they hadn’t installed the storage cabinet yet," she explains. "So I had to physically measure and decide on the size, but if something went wrong, it’s not like they can shift it around. In fact, after they made it, I realised I didn’t measure if there’d be enough space to move my fridge into the kitchen, but luckily it fit. Just barely."
The spacious kitchen’s design was kept clean and simple, punctuated with a few intelligent touches.
Fei cooks quite a bit, so she kept the kitchen semi-open-concept so that smells won’t emanate to the rest of the house when heavy cooking is involved, but it can still be kept open for the occasional baking sesh with Mum.
The home came with an unusually large common bathroom in the kitchen, which meant there was enough space for Fei to carve out a separate utilities room from it. The common bathroom and utilities room share a sliding door, a quirky and space-saving feature.
Muted grey tones are accentuated by a dark walnut mirror in the common bathroom.
A few tweaks were made to the home layout — one of the bedrooms and the storeroom were hacked to form the current dining room.
A sap gum wood custom dining table anchors the space, while a suar wood console table with a framed photograph of a beach in Bali taken by a friend complete the look.
From the outset, Fei knew that she wanted the two bedroom doors to be hidden in plain sight. But even that took some research.
“I wanted a cement look to the walls, and I didn’t want to use normal paint for the walls because if your hands are dirty, you’ll leave marks on the doors when you open or close them. In the end, my contractor found a guy who does managed to do this cement effect on the walls which also prevents stains,” she explains.
The wood and concrete-look design elements carry through to the master bedroom, which also has a roomy walk-in wardrobe.
Meanwhile, the master bathroom melds earthy and contemporary touches in the space. While it’s common for resale flat owners to extend the master bathroom space by borrowing space from the bedroom, Fei kept things uncomplicated and only switched things up by adding a black-framed shower screen and changing the tiles. “Choosing tiles was quite a headache because there were so many options!” she muses.