photos INSIGHT.OUT STUDIO

Homeowners Ellie and Jonah would say that their home did not have a design theme. “It’s a combination of what we like and how we would love living in this space,” says Ellie.

Ellie and Jonah, a senior executive and a system engineer, recalled that they were brimming with ideas and possibilities for their home.

The couple had found the perfect unit for them in a quiet Toa Payoh neighbourhood. But the 40-year-old flat, which they purchased from the first owners, was in its original state and would need an overhaul.

They identified several areas that needed extra attention: the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area. The bathrooms were too small for their liking. The couple also felt that the original kitchen layout did not fully use the space available. Long and narrow, the kitchen and laundry area shared one space.

Who Lives Here: A couple in their 30s
Home: A 5-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh
Size: 1,281 sq ft (119 sqm)
Interior Design: Insight.Out Studio

The dining area enjoys plenty of natural light from the windows and balcony.

Curve wall design

“We loved that the unit is squarish, which meant that we could dream and reconfigure the space to suit us,” says Jonah.

“We were hoping to find an interior designer who would be open to our ideas and yet could complement in giving strong inputs.”

A friend recommended interior design firm Insight.Out to them, and the couple found they had a great partner in interior designer Edmund Yap. Among the many suggestions he gave them was to curve the walls of the master bathroom.

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Even with a revamped layout, the living area remains spacious, also thanks in part to the windows looking into the kitchen.

Curve interior design

Initially, Ellie and Jonah were undecided on whether to extend the space. They decided to go ahead with it, but by introducing curves into the master bathroom, there was more space to move. The idea also tied in with the curved corners already existing in the unit.

Edmund explained that the unit’s curves, found in the balcony, the master bedroom, and another bedroom, became a strength. The newly added interior design features blended in with the existing structure, making curved lines a feature of the home.

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The choice of lighting also helps to transform the home into a cosy cabin.
Wooden sliding doors and cabinetry add a touch of rustic minimalist feel to the kitchen area.

Wood kitchen cabinets

Catering to the couple’s love of wood and cement finishes, Edmund designed a kitchen clad in a rich wood finish. They paired the cabinets with a stainless steel kitchen countertop, something the couple also wanted for their home.

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With woodgrain upper and bottom cabinets, the kitchen risks feeling dark. Hidden lighting adds to the ambience and ensures sufficient lighting for tasks.

Japanese cafe inspired kitchen

There’s more to the kitchen, though. To carve out space for a service yard that can be closed off from the kitchen, they knocked down the store room next to it, making it part of the kitchen.

Wood-clad walls fitted with internal windows wrap around the kitchen. As a result, it becomes a feature that can be seen from the living area, also furnished with a sofa in a similar brown shade.

“We actually got the idea from a Japanese café, where the framing and glass were used at the kitchen entrance,” Edmund says, adding that the windows bring more light into the home.

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A little nook for the homeowners to get ready in the mornings.

Wood shoe cabinet

Of note, a shoe cabinet merges with the kitchen, whereby the top portion serves as additional kitchen countertop space.

Like the living area, the dining area and balcony were minimally furnished, which gives the home an airy and spacious feel. The design team removed the old tiles on the balcony walls and smoothened the textured walls for a pared-down look.

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The balcony used to have wall tiles. They were removed, and the walls were painted over in white for a crisp look.

Curved wardrobe design

The interior design team made the master bedroom bigger and decked it out in white walls, a light wood wardrobe and flooring.

Instead of fully extending the wardrobe to the curved corner, they created a nook for a vanity area. Configuring it as an L-shaped vanity area was a clever solution that made use of what could have been an awkward or under utilised corner.

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Wall tiles elevate the feel of the common bathroom, which was also extended.

Grey bathroom design

The common bathroom was also made bigger. These reconfigurations result in the living and dining area walls aligning for a neater space.

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Mustard-coloured wall tiles elevate the feel of the common bathroom, which was also extended.

Store room louvre door

With the original store room gone, one bedroom houses a store room with louvred doors. This room is also designated as a study. The couple set aside the remaining bedroom for their future kids.

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The couple intended one room to be turned into the study. They opted to move the storeroom into this room.

What was a surprise find in a quiet neighbourhood has turned out more than they expected.

“Ultimately, we were looking for a place where we can foresee ourselves raising our children in the near future,” Ellie says. “It’s a blessing coming back from work to a beautiful home.”

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