All images: The Straits Times.

In Joo Chiat, Eastville Apartments is a 1960s building with 16 units. While some of the apartments are rented out, most of them are occupied by their owners, who tend to be well-travelled or work in creative industries. The mix of nationalities includes Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indians, a German and a Canadian. 


For the younger set, many chose to move in because they love the spacious interiors. The old architectural features here are a draw too. There are two stairwells that have patterned ventilation holes punched into the facade of the stairwells.


For the owners of this fourth-floor Eastville Apartments home, a vintage style was the perfect look to go with the building's old exterior.

Old wood furniture, original wrought-iron window grilles and a pared-down palette of white and concrete walls lend an old-school vibe to the unit that Ms Felicia Koh, 40, owns with her best friend. The former colleagues, who have co-founded a content production firm, like the simple look as it allows them to add furnishings of different styles.

The two friends bought the 1,000 sq ft Joo Chiat apartment in 2009. They wanted a quieter space after eight years living in a walk-up in Little India. Ms Koh's friend, who is in her 40s, is married to an Italian and shuttles between Singapore and Paris, where her husband is based. Ms Koh, who is single, says: "When we walked into this apartment, we could hear the birds. The estate just felt peaceful and chilled out. We… like old apartments."

They moved into the Joo Chiat property four years after they bought it – they rented it out during that time – and changed the layout. A third bedroom was removed to create a big, seamless communal area that serves as living room, dining room and kitchen. The interesting furniture pieces they have include two 1960s vintage Dutch cupboards and a coffee table they picked up from a friend who was clearing out his late grandmother's apartment. The table was missing a leg and had a worn top. The new owners replaced the leg and had the wooden table sanded down and polished. It now takes pride of place in the living room. 


Ms Koh says: "We love retro pieces, so that was how we wanted to decorate the apartment. We picked up pieces when we were travelling or salvaged items here and there." A quirky piece is the balcony's roller shutter separating the space from the dining and living areas. Such shutters are more commonly used in stores in malls, but the home owners chose it as it was cheaper than foldable wooden doors. "Every morning and night, it is as if we're opening and closing a store," Ms Koh says with a laugh.


Adapted from The Straits Times.