House Tour: High ceilings and ideal location make this loft apartment the perfect home

The double volume living room. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

It was love at first sight when Sharon Foo and Ronald Huang saw the Bukit Timah apartment that they knew would be their first marital home.

First, the location was ideal for the couple - she is an obstetrician-gynecologist, while he is an engineer. It wasn’t too far from where they worked, and her parents’ home. Three days after their first viewing, they bought it. “We were wowed by the high ceiling; we knew it would be difficult to find anything like this elsewhere,” says Dr Foo.

The units in this development already come with high ceilings. But the ground floor units, like the one the couple bought, are extra high at five metres.

The couple's bedroom with steps leading to a loft. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

At 1,300sqf, the apartment - with three bedrooms, a small loft and a basement - sounds big but it isn’t. In fact, the couple had to move their dining table out onto the balcony because there was just not enough space inside. They could have also replaced their six-seater dining table with a smaller one, but decided against it since they entertain often. “It would have been a tight squeeze in the living and dining areas. But we don’t mind alfresco dining, as the balcony is a lovely space,” says Mr Huang.

A seamless connection between the indoor living area and the outdoor dining area. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

This is where the high ceiling comes to the rescue, as it helped architect Tan Sok Tuan from Poiesis Architects to turn that air space into a useable one. For example, she created a loft in the couple’s bedroom, had some cupboards, a dressing table and a full-length mirror installed and turned that space into a walk-in wardrobe.

A loft that has been converted into a walk-in wardrobe. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

A second bedroom is unoccupied, but in the third bedroom, Ms Tan had a pull-out bed installed, so it can be used as a guest room. This room already has an existing loft,  which Mr Huang uses as his gaming area.

However, Ms Tan expanded that loft - it now extends above the kitchen, and overlooks the living area. With the new lofts, the apartment now has an extra 35 sq m of space. The couple also wanted extra storage space, so the steps leading to the lofts all come with built-in drawers.

The loft area which overlooks the living and dining areas. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

While Mr Huang has his man cave in one corner of the loft, Dr Foo’s study is in the extended space. In addition, Ms Tan also created a cosy sitting area in this loft. “We have friends over and the girls usually like to hang out here, while the guys are in the living area,” says Dr Foo. The couple sometimes have their meals in this intimate space too.

Incidentally, this is also Dr Foo’s favourite spot in the home, because she has filled it with some of her most precious things, including a vintage chest from her late grandmother who had brought it from China when she came to Singapore. Other items that are dear to Dr Foo that are displayed on the chest include stuffed toys and artworks from friends and family.

Even though the couple went to the same school years ago, they only crossed paths recently and dated for over a year before getting married in June. Mr Huang says he is the easy-going one, while Dr Foo is more opinionated. So when it came to doing up the home, she had more say.

A colourful painting adds vibrancy to the home. PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

For example, Dr Foo likes blue, and so a feature wall in the living room and some soft furnishings are in that shade. “I told Sok Tuan that Ronald will like whatever I pick,” she says with a laugh. He,  on the other hand, was pleased so long as he had his own private space, and sometimes would gently guide his wife into making purchases that he preferred. Case in point: a painting in the living room which they bought while on their honeymoon in Italy. “Sharon wanted two small pieces, but I convinced her, that a slightly bigger piece would look more impressive,” he says.

The couple’s busy working schedule unfortunately doesn’t allow them to spend as much time as they would like at home. “But the colours and the loftiness of the space make this home very calming which is exactly what we want,” says Dr Foo.

This article was first published in The Business Times. Click here to read the original story.