House Tour: A resale apartment that's been transformed into a bachelor pad with an old school charm
Market risk manager Daryl Foo fondly remembers his childhood days, spending time at his grandparents’ home, a small house in Kembangan. “I still clearly remember the terrazzo flooring and the fabric sofa,” he recalls. When he was house hunting a few years ago, the 37-year-old decided he wanted an old apartment instead of a brand new one. He narrowed his choice to the Outram area, which, while not as hip as Tiong Bahru, offers good coffee joints and is also where he works.
“Older apartments have more character too,” he says of his decision to buy an apartment as old as he is. The deal clincher? The terrazzo flooring in the apartment. “When I saw it, I knew I had to have this apartment. You can’t find terrazzo anywhere now,” says Mr Foo. Luckily for him, the previous owner had maintained it well.
Unlike new home owners whose first impulse is to decide on a design theme, Mr Foo went shopping for a sofa instead. He lucked out when he chanced upon a three-seater moquette green sofa from the Japanese brand Karimouku60. First launched in 1968, the design of the fabric sofa with dark walnut wood legs has largely remain unchanged. And more importantly, it looked very much like the sofa in his grandparents’ home.
He found designer, Mikael Teh, principal of The Monocot Studio on Instagram, and liked his work a lot. For his home, he gave Mr Teh a specific brief. “Daryl told me to design the apartment around the sofa and the terrazzo tiles,” says Mr Teh.
Mr Foo adds, “I’ve always liked the retro look, and wanted the home to fit in with the neighbourhood.”
Besides preserving the terrazzo floor, Mr Teh also kept other existing elements such as the main gate and the louvred windows. Since Mr Foo lives alone, Mr Teh decided to do away with one bedroom to create a bigger living area. The resulting one-bedroom 90 sqm apartment feels warm and yet spacious.
To create that retro feel for the home, Mr Teh carefully selected matching materials. He left the terrazzo tiles in the bedroom and living room, but had the dining area and kitchen paved over with concrete to demarcate the spaces. The cabinets and shelves around the apartment are made from plywood.
“The trick to creating a retro feel without going overboard is to keep the built-in furniture simple and to decorate the home with loose vintage pieces,” says Mr Teh.
To maximise light into the home and also to create a sense of spaciousness, the bedroom is enclosed in glass with wire inlays in them, and paired with privacy blinds. Mr Foo sleeps with the blinds down, but during the day the blinds are lifted, and the bedroom door left open to allow cross-ventilation. A small room at the back of the bedroom has been converted into a walk-in wardrobe and storeroom for Mr Foo’s snowboards.
A bench installed under the windows by the entrance provide extra seating space when Mr Foo has friends over. “Mikael thinks about all the details, so every inch in the apartment is fully made use of,” says Mr Foo. For example, Mr Teh attached a drawer to the bedroom wall near his bed, so it’s easy for Mr Foo to reach over to grab a book for some bedtime reading.
Mr Foo says he likes the flow of the apartment and that it fits all that he wants in his retro home. His favourite spot? “On the sofa, of course, watching Netflix,” he says.
Adapted from The Business Times and written by Tay Suan Chiang.