Working with the existing homogeneous tiles, the design team introduced a neutral palette through the Lisabo table from Ikea, woodgrain laminates from Lamitak and Cesta Table Lamp from Santa & Cole.

Although it is a home for one, when it is a 388 sq ft micro-apartment, space and comfort would still be a nagging concern. While its location at Ipoh Lane is ideal for Yen, she had three main concerns: insufficient storage space, the lack of privacy, and poor kitchen planning.

“There was no full-height cabinet or tall boy, and the appliances had to be laid out on the kitchen countertop,” the graphic designer explains, adding that it would be messy and unsightly.

Home: A one-bedroom apartment in Katong
Who: A graphic designer in her 40s
Size: 388 sq ft (36 sqm)
Interior Designer: Studio Wills + Architects

As a home for one, the living area is furnished simply with an OGK Safari Chair from Skovshoved Møbelfabrik, small accessories and plenty of floor space where guests can sit.
As a home for one, the living area is furnished simply with an OGK Safari Chair from Skovshoved Møbelfabrik, small accessories and plenty of floor space where guests can sit.

Corridor Unit

With the living area and the kitchen facing the external corridor, privacy was also an issue she wanted to be addressed.  

The 9-year-old apartment needed work, so she approached Studio Wills + Architects for solutions. The studio had helped Yen with the foyer design of her previous home. 

“The original brief was somewhat piecemeal in that it was an additional cabinet here and another one there, says William Ng, the principal architect of Studio Wills + Architects.

“We took in all the requirements and proposed a ‘Timber Box’ that brought all the requirements together in a single entity.”

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This space, which connects to the bathroom, is where the homeowner moves to for her shoes and bag before heading out of her home.
This space, which connects to the bathroom, is where the homeowner moves to for her shoes and bag before heading out of her home.

Open Concept Living & Bedroom

William and architect Kho Keguang reworked the layout as well.

“Removing the wall between the living area and bedroom created a continuous flow of spaces, looping through the foyer and anteroom to the living, dining, and kitchen to the bedroom and bathroom and back to the foyer,” William explains.

This loop brings a sense of spaciousness to the apartment. Every part of the apartment is now accessible in more than one way.

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Where once there was no vanity area in the former bathroom, the overhauled bathroom now has one that makes getting ready easier.
Where once there was no vanity area in the former bathroom, the overhauled bathroom now has one that makes getting ready easier.

Wood storage cabinets

Along with the circular movement through the condo unit, the concept of a timber box as a utilitarian core was birthed.

“The idea was to consolidate all the storage needs into a single entity and focus point,” William shares, adding that it achieves a clean, uncluttered look and feel. 

The timber box also fulfils Yen’s brief for a full-height cabinet for her appliances. So, the coffee maker and other small appliances can be kept out of sight when not in use.

Additionally, there’s more kitchen and general storage with the introduction of upper and base cabinets. For Yen, having additional storage in the kitchen to keep her appliances out of sight has been a plus when she has friends, colleagues, or family members over.

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The designers matched the wardrobe with the existing timber flooring and furnished the bedroom with a futon from Muji and other accessories.
The interior designers matched the wardrobe with the existing timber flooring and furnished the bedroom with a futon from MUJI and other accessories.

Minimalist bedroom design

Along one side of the timber box is the wardrobe, which accompanies the low bed in the bedroom in a simple and fuss-free arrangement. The woodgrain laminates complement the furnishings in wood and soft, muted colours. This material palette was central to the cohesive look. 

The interior designers also strived to keep as many existing elements as possible, including the flooring, walls and doors. They pulled this off through material matching on site.

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Sheer curtains were introduced to soften the space. They demarcate spaces and provide privacy when needed.
Sheer curtains were introduced to soften the space. They demarcate spaces and provide privacy when needed.

Sheer curtains

Another concept the designers introduced was that of layering via sheer curtains.

“Other than privacy, it achieves a layering and sense of delayed space as one traverses from space to space, a slowness away from hectic city life,” William says.

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A makeover for the bathroom consists of new timber-looking flooring and wall tiles from Hafary, new sanitary ware fittings from Toto, and accessories.
A makeover for the bathroom consists of new timber-looking flooring and wall tiles from Hafary, new sanitary ware fittings from Toto, and accessories.

Warm Lighting

Yen’s favourite part of the apartment is a critical element of interior design but often underappreciated: the lighting.

Yen explains, “I enjoy the warm lighting, and especially the various settings in the bathroom, which allows me to change the ambience depending on my mood; it’s a special feature that elevates the atmosphere so that I feel like I’m in a chic hotel bathroom, even when I’m at home.”

3 Month Renovation

Yen has settled in after moving into the home in October 2022 following the three-month renovation. With the customised features designed and placed to cater to her specific needs and habits, the designers ensured a smooth experience at home.

Yen says, “The shoe cabinet is in the anteroom, accessible from the bathroom so that I can put on my shoes, grab my bag and head out after getting ready. I just love how the placement of everything helps my daily flow go even more smoothly.”

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