living room loft apartment
In the home of Mr Kaden Ching, the area under the flight of stairs has been turned into a cosy living room.

A check to fix a water seepage problem gave home owner Kaden Ching the idea to turn his regular condominium unit into a loft-style apartment.

When workers removed the false ceiling in the living room, he discovered it was concealing a lot of space above.

"I realised I could do something different with the apartment. I wanted volume in the space and opening up the ceiling has really changed the look of the apartment," says the 36-year-old bachelor, who is an assistant vice- president at a property developer.

loft apartment
Mr Kaden Ching

He lives with his three silky terriers in a two-bedroom condominium apartment in the Sembawang area.

After he had the false ceiling removed, his unit located on the top floor of the apartment block was renovated to include a staircase and a new level.

Now more airy and brighter than before, the 1,044 sq ft apartment has a ceiling that reaches up to 5.5m, instead of 3m previously.

He is excited to finally live in a loft apartment. Renovations for the apartment, which he bought in 2011, were completed earlier this year for about $60,000.

"A couple of years ago, there were many loft units being launched. I really wanted to live in one. I thought about buying a new flat, then I discovered that there was all this empty space above the false ceiling."

Set against a backdrop of exposed brick, an original feature Mr Ching retained, the new level is a chill spot with a hip vintage vibe.

loft apartment
"This floor is still a work-in-progress." – Mr Ching on the new level (above), which has faux grass and a study.

Faux grass covers the floor, while a bicycle, which he bought as a decorative piece, leans casually against the wall. Further in, there is a small study where he can hang out or get work done. A short golf-putting mat lies on the floor for him to hone his skills.

He says: "This floor is still a work-in-progress. There are no barriers so I have to put those in, but as someone who's hands-on, I want to install the grilles myself.

"It's still safe for now because I don't have any children."

He designed most of the apartment himself, roping in interior design company Inzz Studio to help him tweak the concepts.

Another major redesign of the old unit was the creation of a bigger kitchen, which features a six-seater island counter for dining joined to a wet kitchen L-shaped counter that has a stove and sink. A glass screen separates the two areas so his guests can watch as he cooks.

He says: "I was going for the feel of a cafe, but there had to be that seamless flow between the kitchen and the dining table."

Showing off his do-it-yourself skills, he made a cabinet space for his sauces and condiments out of wine crates, which he drilled and installed into the cement screed walls.

kitchen loft apartment

kitchen wine crates
A cabinet made from wine crates in the kitchen (above).

Centring the apartment is a 15kg steel light that hangs over the island countertop. Mr Ching bought it from a second-hand goods store in Ubi. It cost him less than $100.

He says: "I love it because it looks to me like an inverted lamp post. It's the right size and length for my high-ceiling loft."

Written by Natasha Ann Zachariah for The Straits Times. All photos: The Straits Times.