Home Tour: Four-room HDB BTO flat in Whampoa with textured finishes



Home, according to married couple David and Sarah Lim, is the most important place in the world.

And they hope that their daughters - Rachel, three, and Rebecca, one - will feel the same way too.

Keeping that in mind, the couple set out to build a dream home for the family when they renovated their new build-to-order four-room Housing Board flat in Whampoa Dew.

Mrs Lim, 31, an IT executive, says: "Our goal is to give the children a very good place to grow up in. We wanted to create a proper living space for them to want to come home to and now, when we go out, they can't wait to come back."

They hired Mr Rick Tay from interior design firm Create, and decided on a "minimalux" (it stands for minimal-luxurious) theme for the 973 sqf flat.

Before he came up with a design, Mr Tay, 37, visited the family at their old home in Bedok, a rented four-room HDB flat, to get an idea of their lifestyle and living habits.

"I could see they needed more storage space. They are both avid collectors - Mr Lim has his books and artefacts, and Mrs Lim has a stuffed bear collection," he says. So he designed modern storage spaces that displayed the couple's collections, helped keep clutter at bay and made the flat feel spacious.

In the living room is a full-height storage unit made of solid wood covered with oak laminates. The television set is mounted on the wall within the unit and kept out of sight behind sliding doors when it is not in use.

The unit also has cubby holes for displaying Mr Lim's biggest books and Mrs Lim's larger Rilakkuma bears.

A tinted glass cabinet with black leather laminates showcases the rest of Mrs Lim's bear collection and acts as a divider between the living and dining areas. Mrs Lim calls it her "bear condo" and her favourite part of the home.

One of the bedroom walls was knocked down to make more room for the dining area for the extended family to gather for meals.

For the flooring, the couple picked sand-tone porcelain tiles with matte finish from Italy, which Mr Tay says is textured yet warm to the touch. This helps to evoke a cosy feeling whenever the family steps into the flat.

Each tile is also patterned slightly differently and the couple personally chose where each one is placed.

For Mr Lim, 40, his favourite part of the home is the master bathroom. It has a rain shower with an LED ring light installed as the light from the ceiling is blocked by the shower head.

The engineer says: "I wanted to have a hotel or resort-standard bathroom because on a staycation or holiday, what makes us so happy is the bathroom."

In Rachel's room, one wall has been turned into a full-height and 3.5m-long wardrobe storage space. Rebecca, who is currently sleeping in her parents' room, will move in with her sister when she is older.

The renovation cost about $60,000 and took more than three months to complete. The family moved in in July.

Mr and Mrs Lim say the design of their new home has earned compliments from friends and family, and they frequently see passers-by looking in when the door is open. Once, their neighbour brought about 15 of his friends over for a tour.

But the couple care most about what their daughters think.

Mr Lim says: "We went out shopping once and had just driven out of the carpark here when Rachel asked if we were going home soon. That melted our hearts because we knew we had succeeded (in making a home our children wanted to go home to)."

Written by Jean Iau for The Straits Times