Joo Chiat brings up a particular picture in our minds. A vibrant, eclectic area known for its Peranakan shophouses, local food joints, quirky shops and charming cafes, its blend of the old and new attracts both expats and locals. In his search for a home, the owner of this apartment came across this walk-up apartment.

“I wanted an old-style walk-up apartment, with high ceilings and lots of natural light,” says P. J.S., an Englishman who has been a Permanent Resident for 15 years.

“This apartment had all of this, especially being on the top floor. The windows on both sides provide lots of light and airflow.”

Who Lives Here A bachelor in his 50s and his two dogs
Home A two-bedroom walk-up apartment in Joo Chiat
Size 1,300sqft (120 sqm)
Interior Designer Three-D Conceptwerke Pte Ltd

The design team furnished the roomy living area with a long sofa that highlights the size of the space and introduced accent colours to liven up the room.
The design team furnished the roomy living area with a long sofa that highlights the size of the space and introduced accent colours to liven up the room.

Industrial Loft Design

Drawn to the industrial loft style, he also had a vision for his home. “A friend of mine passed me an image of a loft-style industrial concept, which Three-D Conceptwerke had been responsible for,” he says. “I liked the look and feel, so I reached out for a meeting. The rest is history.”

A global head in commercial real estate in the banking sector, he wanted an open-plan home with a spacious living area where he could entertain his friends. Although almost 40 years old and well-maintained, the unit needed to be treated carefully.

“An unknown before carrying out the works was the structures. As it is an old walk-up apartment, we won’t know what will happen if any reconfiguration is done,” says Dess Chew, the principal designer at Three-D Conceptwerke.

Dess and his team called upon a professional engineer for surveys and checks to ensure everything was in order.

The team removed most of the walls to make this free-flowing apartment a reality. By introducing art, plants, and lighting, the design team brought visual interest and warmth to the home.
The team removed most of the walls to make this free-flowing apartment a reality. By introducing art, plants, and lighting, the design team brought visual interest and warmth to the home.

Structural Beam Design

By stripping away everything in the unit, the design team had a clean slate in designing the home. Removing walls in a home, however, often reveals structural beams and pillars.

In the case of this home, there were several pillars throughout the unit that would need to be considered in the design. That said, the design team was buoyed by the prospects of having the locality and surroundings bring greater cohesion to the interior design.

Over three months, they transformed what was formerly a two-bedroom apartment with demarcated bedrooms and kitchen. Now, it comprises a master bedroom and a free-flowing living area connected to the kitchen and dining area.

Doing away with one of the bathrooms also made way for a large open-concept study area that can be used as a guest room. The pillars were assimilated into the design. Instead of becoming structural eyesores, the beams and pillars strengthened the concept.

Warm Rustic Colour Palette

Given the wide range of interpretations, the industrial loft style served as a jumping-off point. “We have fine-tuned it to become a balance of warm and rustic,” Dess says.

Colours and materials were vital to creating the feel. Materials that mimic natural materials, such as engineered wood flooring and locally produced metalworks, were introduced.

Large pendant lights help to direct illumination across the kitchen counter, creating a cosy look.
Large pendant lights help to direct illumination across the kitchen counter, creating a cosy look.

Kitchen

The kitchen and dining area exude a cosy feel with the blue cabinets and customised carpentry. The living area, furnished with a long sofa and white walls, appears bright and spacious.

The black- framed doorways add a graphic touch that echoes the black-framed doors to the bedroom.
The black-framed doorways add a graphic touch that echoes the black-framed doors to the bedroom.

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom, on the other hand, is enclosed via black-framed glass doors juxtaposing against the earthy brick wall.

Lighting is a critical element in industrial-style homes. Track and pendant lights in black and glass align with the style and add to the overall feel.

A pendant light that hangs low above the bedside table aligns with the industrial style.
A pendant light that hangs low above the bedside table aligns with the industrial style.

Notably, the design team did not compromise functionality. They incorporated practical solutions like ample storage in the kitchen and master bedroom.

Black is also a key colour in the palette, as observed in the masculine dark-tinted glass-fronted wardrobe.
Black is also a key colour in the palette, as observed in the masculine dark-tinted glass-fronted wardrobe.
 All decked out in blue, the customised unit in the study area holds shelves and hides a guest bed.
All decked out in blue, the customised unit in the study area holds shelves and hides a guest bed.

Murphy Wall Bed

The study area serves as a guest room and has a wall bed. That way, it becomes a roomy area where P. J.S.’s two Cavalier King Charles dogs could roam about freely. Other than ensuring ease of movement, the new layout also enhanced the views of the home from different angles.

Aligning the tiles vertically gives a fresh spin to subway tiles. The bathroom feels neat and organised due to the niches in the shower and vanity areas.
Aligning the tiles vertically gives a fresh spin to subway tiles. The bathroom feels neat and organised due to the niches in the shower and vanity areas.
The black- framed doorways add a graphic touch that echoes the black-framed doors to the bedroom.
The black- framed doorways add a graphic touch that echoes the black-framed doors to the bedroom.

P. J.S. took a keen interest in the design process and shared his ideas, which were then merged into the overall design concept.

Not everything has been customised. They opted for loose pieces for the chest of drawers and bedside tables, reflecting the creativity and flexibility of the industrial loft style.
Not everything has been customised. They opted for loose pieces for the chest of drawers and bedside tables, reflecting the creativity and flexibility of the industrial loft style.

“I was very involved in all aspects of the project, particularly the design, and Three-D Conceptwerke was able to translate my many design ideas into a finished product. Their selection of materials for my review was always creative, and quality, and the end product speaks for itself,” he shares.

Ultimately, the home is a perfect fit, one where he could spend more time working from home, entertaining friends, or just chilling out with his dogs.