Part of the living room can be transformed into a guest room, with the use of foldable partitions. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

Back when he was living in the US, Pastor Jireh Ang lived in a two-storey, three-bedroom, 1,700 sq ft townhouse with garage in Seattle. Home for the 44-year-old today is a much smaller 785 sq ft two-bedroom apartment in Chai Chee.

Mr Ang had been living in the US for 17 years and owned a warehousing and trucking company.

Pastor Jireh Ang downsized from a 1,700 sq ft townhouse to a 785 sq ft apartment. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

He returned to Singapore in 2011 and lived with friends for three years before buying his present home in Chai Chee a few years ago.

"I could only afford this apartment, which was 35-years-old, very dated and in desperate need of a drastic makeover," he says. The space is a lot smaller than what he is used to, but the now full time pastor isn't complaining.

A custom designed black painted steel frame door with mesh inserts serves to create a sense of visual transparency. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

His friend, architect Tan Sok Tuan of Poiesis Architects, found ways to make the space look and feel bigger than it is. "I also wanted a walk-in wardrobe, space for my shoe collection and somewhere to put in a fold-out sofa bed for the occasional guest that I might host," says Mr Ang.

"The key concept for this apartment was to create a transformable space to maximise the limited floor area," says Ms Tan. She threw out the idea of having a sofa bed, because it didn't make sense to have two couches in the home.

Instead, she suggested tucking a queen size roll-out bed under the wardrobe. With the bed hidden away, the living room is freed up to become a much larger living space for Mr Ang to entertain friends. Indeed, Mr Ang has been hosting big groups of friends in the space, which would not have been possible in a conventional layout.

Foldable black laminated partitions are used to close off the extra living room space to transform it into a private guest room with attached wardrobe space when required. On normal days, the sliding-folding partitions are tucked neatly away behind a laminated partition cabinet space which is used for storage.

To make the place look bigger, Ms Tan used colour blocks to define the various spaces. A black zone demarcates the original living room area and the "transformable" guest room while concealing the door to the master bedroom, which is also in black.

Glass doors separate the dining area and the kitchen. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

Escher inspired homogenous tiles are carefully aligned with the paneling of the kitchen cabinetry. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

Continuing along the same idea of colour zones, the kitchen is a white box contrasted against the living room. Escher-inspired homogenous tiles are carefully aligned with the paneling of the kitchen cabinetry.

The master bathroom shower area likewise is finished in black mosaic tile. The ceiling is painted black to offset the muted green and black mosaic tiles covering the rest of the bathroom.

The master bathroom shower space is finished in black mosaic tiles contrasting against the rest of the bathroom. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR & ROLAND TAN YEOW TECK

"This interplay of black and white in the apartment is emphasised by the fact that this unit has a north-south orientation, which creates an interesting contrast with a darker living space versus a kitchen bathed in light by its full width of windows," says Ms Tan. The glass kitchen doors contain cooking fumes, while letting light from the kitchen window into the dining area.

Having to downsize to a smaller space means finding places to store belongings, so Mr Ang opted to have a bed with storage space underneath. Even though the bedroom isn't big, Ms Tan manages to fit in a cosy walk-in wardrobe, which is filled to the brim.

While the apartment doesn't allow him to have as many belongings as before, Mr Ang has turned the space into a cosy home with his selection of mid-century furniture pieces and Matisse prints.

To give the apartment more privacy, Ms Tan custom designed a black painted steel frame door with inserts of expanded mesh of different density and orientation which serves to create a sense of visual transparency within the apartment whilst keeping out unwanted attention from the external corridor.

Having moved from a two-storey home, to a single bedroom, and now to a two-bedroom apartment, Mr Ang says, "finally I have my own space again".

This story was first published in The Business Times. Click here to read the original story