Michael and Kristy Lin, a couple in their mid-30s, love New York City’s industrial lofts and wanted to bring elements of that into their first home. Michael, in particular, subscribes to the notion that “there is no perfection this side of heaven”.

“I did not want finishes such as marble or parquet. My selection was based on materials that would gain patina and age with time,” says the legal professional.

Located in a quiet, mature estate near Michael’s mother’s home, the nearly 50-year-old flat had not been renovated for a few decades. The couple approached Three-D Conceptwerke to overhaul its interior.

Who Lives Here? Couple in their mid-30s
Home: A five-room HDB in Geylang Bahru
Size: 1,300 sq ft
Interior Designer: Three-d Conceptwerke

The $120,000 project took about five months to complete and involved hacking most of its non-load-bearing walls and extensive layout reconfiguration.

Michael approached Three-D Conceptwerke as he feels that the team shares his vision for the home.

Michael  approached  Three-D  Conceptwerke  as he feels that  the team shares  his vision for  the home

The design team considered the clients’ preference for industrial style and materials with a raw and unfinished look that will age over time. The brief also requested a guest room and feng shui elements.

Read More: House Tour – A 50-year-old Joo Chiat Walk Up Apartment with New York City Loft Vibes

A House Meant to Age

The entrance foyer is semi-outdoor, much like the front porch of a landed home. The walls were kept unplastered to create a natural, unfinished look that sets the tone for the rest of the interior.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru
Vintage flip-up cinema chairs at the entrance foyer

Even though the couple had bought the access area from HDB, they decided to have an outer gate and an inner door to facilitate deliveries when nobody is home. A one-time password for the gate allows packages to be safely deposited in the foyer.

The glass  block wall  between the  dining area and  bathroom add  a retro touch  while allowing  diffused  light into the  bathroom.

The glass block wall between the dining area and bathroom add a retro touch while allowing diffused light into the bathroom.

To the immediate right of the main entrance is an L-shaped kitchen whose walls were hacked off to open the space. Barn-style cabinet doors and drawers give it a distinct character, while the patterned floor tiles add a pop of colour.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru
Cement-screed flooring, unfinished walls and exposed pipes reinforce the notion of imperfection.

Built-in furniture in the living room has been minimised to allow Michael and Kristy the flexibility of rearranging it. An exposed red brick feature wall reinforces the New York loft theme.

The existing Rockstone ceiling was retained to maintain an unfinished look. Michael did not want the usual black or PVC trunking in the ceiling, so the team went with metal trunking inspired by neighbourhood coffee shops.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru
The long dining table from Journey East has an unsanded table top.

The dining area was converted from one of three bedrooms. Its elevated platform helps establish a spatial definition befitting a focal space. It also serves to conceal discharge pipes for the aircon system and electrical outlets that come in handy when the dining area is used as a work-from-home space.

Unique hollow block shelves make quite a design statement while being utilitarian too.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru

The design team created unique shelves using hollow blocks and glass panels that allow for air circulation. The adjustable glass shelving achieves a floating effect and has a porosity that allows light to reach the deeper part of the home and make the space feel more expansive.

Two existing bedrooms and the old dining room have been reconfigured into a series of interconnected spaces comprising the master bedroom, guest room, study and walk-in wardrobe.

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Master bedroom, guest room, study and walk-in wardrobe are all interconnected via an efficient circulation without compromising on privacy.

The efficient layout offers flexibility while maintaining privacy.

The designers combined the existing common bathroom and the adjacent master bathroom into one large luxurious bathroom.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru

Circulation spine demarcates the private areas from the rest of the home.

Its footprints were also enlarged in line with the existing columns, resulting in a much more spacious bathroom that can accommodate a separate shower and WC compartments on one side, and a three-and-a-half-metre-long precast concrete sink on the opposite.

The copper piping and steel doors were selected because they will acquire greenish and orangey patina as they oxidise and rust over time.

House Tour: $120k Industrial Reno for a 50-year-old 5-Room HDB in Geylang Bahru
Spacious shower compartment even has a sitting ledge

“A bathroom is usually a very utilitarian space, but ours is also a very comfortable place,” Michael comments.

It has been over a year since Michael and Kristy moved into the home in September 2021. Although this is their first home, and despite only being in their mid-30s, Michael reckons that it is unlikely that they will move away.

He is delighted with how the design turned out, and from the looks of it, he seems perfectly pleased to have found his forever home with all its deliberate imperfections.