Client interview by Qanvast
This Couple’s 5-Room HDB Haven Occupies Nearly A Whole Floor
Aside from a modern, Oriental-influenced look going for it, this couple’s 5-room flat at Bedok Reservoir also comes with a spacious ‘front yard’.
When couple Darren and Coco first visited the Bedok Reservoir HDB flat that would become their new home, it looked nothing like it does now.
“We didn’t check out a lot of places, and this flat was the probably second or third place that we visited,” recalls Coco, a China-born Singaporean who has been living locally for over 20 years.
Above, homeowners Darren and Coco
“It was quite lived-in, but we saw the potential. It’s the only unit on the entire floor, which was certainly the biggest draw for us. Plus, the house has this whole stretch of space in front (of the entrance) that became our own ‘front yard’.”
Naturally, when it was time to renovate their new flat, both Darren and Coco were eager to capitalise on these features to bring their idea of a bright, tranquil and modern living space to life.
To find out about how everything was achieved with Renolux Interior’s help, we sat down with the couple to chat about their Renovation Journey.
Thanks to the extra space outside their HDB home, Darren and Coco were able to create their own gated ‘front yard’, which features new accent tiles as well as a fresh paint job.
On their must-haves
Coco (C): Our brief was very clear, and we certainly knew what we didn’t want. No rustic, no retro, no Scandinavian, those weren’t what we wanted, but besides that we were open to other ideas. Also, the house was quite dark at the start, so brightening it up was one of our requirements.
Darren (D): Definitely a clean, modern look. A lot of straight lines.
On changes made to their home
C: From a layout point of view, we kept the insides mostly the same. The biggest change was definitely the entire floor.
We wanted it replaced at first, but Jermyn, our designer, recommended that we polish it instead. It was yellowish and dull at first, but it came out looking nice. If you had seen the original, you wouldn’t think that it’s the same floor!
For the dining area, we painted the walls blue to match with a TV console that I got from Just Anthony, it has these Chinese-style handles that I really like.
And then you see the recessed shelves? That was where the original entrance to the kitchen was. Jermyn came up with the idea of sealing the doorway, and it’s now a nice display area.
On the functional side, I definitely wanted an open kitchen. Because I spend quite a bit of time there, my dream kitchen would need an island in the middle and we saw the potential (of installing one) because the space was quite big. The sliding doors are new, and they really help with managing the cooking fumes and reducing stress on the aircon.
Because a lot of our entertaining takes place here, we wanted the bar counter area to stand out. The patterned tiles used here are also the same ones used for the entrance.
For the study and the guest bedroom, we did quite a lot of work too. The first thing to go were the passageway windows looking into the space. I am not sure what they were for, but I guess the previous owners wanted a way to keep an eye on their children.
The rest of the work mostly involved changing the floor and installing new carpentry. We didn’t hack the floors in both rooms, but we did overlay them with warm wood vinyl to cover up the existing tiles. Then there’s the marble laminate feature wall in the study – or as I call it, my husband’s man cave [laughs].
Again, with the master bedroom, we got a new wardrobe, but we had the handles changed to these oriental ones, which match the TV console’s.
For all three rooms, we also installed new siding windows, but only the master bedroom’s ones are double-glazed. I am a very light sleeper, so this makes sure any noise from the nearby expressway doesn’t wake me up at night.
About getting to know Renolux Interior
C: Actually, we got to know Jermyn through Qanvast. While browsing for ideas online, we stumbled on the site and I ended spending quite some time there looking at the pictures, stories and projects. Then, I used the service and got 5 designer recommendations.
At first, we shortlisted a designer who was pretty good, but she took too long to reply. Shortly after, I saw a project by Jermyn and he brought us down to the actual home to take a look. From there on, we felt that he was both honest and earnest, and thus someone we could work with.
About working with Renolux Interior
D: It was a very good experience. Jermyn was very patient and spent a lot of time with us. Once, he accompanied us shopping for furniture and fittings, and he was with us the whole way.
Both Coco and I travel quite a fair bit as well, so Jermyn also had to work based on our schedule. We’d inform him when we would be in Singapore and when key decisions had to be made, he’d spend the whole weekend with us. Throughout the renovation, he also kept us updated constantly via WhatsApp.
C: He made the entire process so pain-free for us. Sometimes when I talk to my friends and colleagues about renovation I hear about all these nightmare stories, but that wasn’t the case for us. Ours went smoothly, and it was on time.
My last house was a rental, and I had to move out by a certain date; Jermyn promised to finish the entire project within 12 weeks, and we managed to move in before Chinese New Year, which was just nice!
To sum it up
C: Number one, have a good ID. We were very lucky with Jermyn, we didn’t really experience any challenges. It was such a breeze for us that we were traveling for work and holidays throughout the whole renovation! [laughs] We weren’t even stressed at all because he was managing everything so well.
If we had one, our only regret is that HDB didn’t let us buy the rest of the corridor area outside the entrance. But what can’t be done, can’t be done right