What was once a dark and dated flat has been given a complete facelift. This four-room resale flat in Ang Mo Kio, which was about 38 years old at the time of renovations, is now part-chic café, part-cool industrial New York loft, and 100 per cent charming and cosy. 

The renovations cost the flat owner, a woman in her 30s, $50,000 and took two months to complete. The project’s interior designer Chew Hui Min of local firm Collate helmed the project. “The flat was mostly in its original state from the very first occupant. The second owner that took over probably did some slight renovation to the kitchen cabinets and toilets, but the overall design of the space [when we first saw it] was really outdated,” says Hui Min.

The client’s brief? A mix of eclectic, colonial and industrial. “The owner actually also has a personal collection of décor items that she’s collected over the years, which was mostly suitable for an eclectic interior. So to showcase this part of her personality in her home, the base of the renovation design was mostly conceptualised on a colonial and industrial look.”

You’ll notice a huge transformation even before you step into the flat. The entryway area along the corridor was given a complete makeover. Replacing the metal grill gate with glass doors allowed more natural light to flood in. New tiles and displaying a selection of the owner’s quirky knick knacks also help to brighten and liven up the space.

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Entryway: Before

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Entryway: After

The flat has an odd-shaped floorplan, but instead of disguising it, Hui Min leaned into the unique layout and made it work for the owner.

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Living room: Before 

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Living room: After

“We didn’t try to disguise the odd-shaped parts of the flat. But rather, we made use of them to enhance and influence the design because we really loved how unique the shape of the flat was,” Hui Min recalls.

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It's all about angles in the living room.

She adds: “For the living room, we used the small odd wall as a feature wall for the TV console.”

Also barely recognisable is the kitchen, which previously had a standard and non-descript look.

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Kitchen: Before
Post-reno, the updated kitchen exudes chic café vibes with black cabinets, shaker style details and brass accessories.

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Kitchen: After 

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A closer look at the details in the kitchen.

The dining room went from drab to fab after a contemporary update.

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Dining room: Before

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Dining room: After 

Black framed glass doors now separate the kitchen and dining area, and wooden accents throughout add a warmth to the space, making it great for entertaining.

While the bedroom is kept simple with hints of industrial elements in the décor, the monochromatic mosaic patterned floor tiles in the master bathroom ties in the colonial element in the design.

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Bedroom: After 

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Bathroom: After

Home owners who’ve purchased older resale flats should expect wear and tear, but Hui Min has tips on what to keep an eye out for: “Look out for spalling concrete especially in bathrooms where there's high moisture that can cause the steel in the concrete to rust. Mold issues, especially on the ceiling, should be treated properly before giving the space a fresh new coat of paint. Refitting of electrical wiring and plumbing fitting are also must-dos as they may be clogged or faulty and replacing them early on will save you costs and the hassle of replacing them later after you have moved into the property.”

Photos: Collate