I’ve always been fascinated by conservation houses and would love to live in one. When I was in Chinatown the other day, I saw a row of residential shophouses at Blair Road that was going for “only” $ 6 million and above!
There was even a residential shop house going for $4 million-ish but I’m guessing that’s the exception and not the rule, as that plot of land is on the smaller side.
Everton Park and Blair Road Shophouse
Before we start our tour, here’s the Master Plan and the map of the area, for those not familiar with Blair Road. As you can see, the landed houses here consist of 2-3 rows of properties, bounded by Kampong Bahru Road, Neil Road, Everton Road and Spottiswoode Park Road.
As shown above, the houses are sandwiched between a row of commercial shophouses, some HDB estates, a hospital, a few high-rise condos, a bus terminal and a large park.
The land on which the bus terminal sits is subject to further planning but, for now, appears to be zoned residential. Within the landed conservation houses themselves, there are also 7 properties which are zoned as “residential with commercial at 1st storey.”
A Quiet Estate
As well as a covered shelter. I walked by this area on several days, and it was never very noisy or crowded. Based on what I saw on my walkabouts, Everton Park felt like an estate with older residents, and fewer children, compared to, say, Duxton just down the road.
Lots of Eateries & Food
Last look at the HDB estate before crossing the road to the houses.
Note the small coffee shop in the background of the photo, which makes it convenient for residents at Blair Road and Everton Road to get local food. Although being so near to Chinatown, there’s really no lack of dining options here!
Many houses still have beautiful original features. Judging from the modern light above the door (and the fact that some units have swimming pools inside!), it seems that, although the houses are zoned as conservation, you still have some leeway to modernise the properties to your taste.
Walking down the pavement outside the landed properties. I’m not sure who owns the walkway. Do they belong to the house owners or are they considered public land – but many houses have utilised the space outside by placing some furniture and plants there.
There are also some alleyways between the rows of properties.
The sidewalks aren’t flat – there are some steps between certain properties, so people using wheelchairs and prams may find them slightly inconvenient. Sneak peek inside one of the units – as you can see, it can be a steep climb up to the next floor!
However, not all units are built like this. (I used to tutor a girl who lived in one of these shophouses, and her house was much more liveable as they didn’t have these steep stairs.)
However, since they’re open to all and 1st-come-1st-serve, you may not be able to park right outside your unit. I do recall my student’s Mother saying that one of the problems you have staying in a conservation house is the lack of parking!
Also, note how the house in the middle has taken advantage of the fact that there are no neighbours directly facing it and converted the solid wall into a glass one. Conservation houses can be a bit dark, and the glass wall will help to let in more light!
I remember thinking what a great location Blair Road is for eating out whenever I came over for tutoring in the past and even within the estate, just down Spottiswoode Park Road, you can find a few boutiques, a Kith cafe and an art gallery!
If you’re not a fan of Kith cafe, there are more choices just one row down, along Kampong Bahru Road, but I’ll show you the rest of the residential area before making my way over there.
Parking Strictly Regulated Here
Despite that, none of them looks out of place, and the area has a very harmonious look.
Also note how residents here have fewer issues with people parking outside their houses and blocking the roads, as the parking here is strictly regulated. I would know as I got a parking ticket here previously!
I did park in a designated lot but I had parked in the wrong direction. Back when I used to come here for tuition, the area was super quiet and I would be the only person parking on the road.
As shown above, even now, about 15 years later, the area isn’t super crowded and you can still find 1 or 2 empty car park lots (in the day.) Some houses are slightly elevated above street level.
Conservation Houses Pest Issues
Whilst others are not. Another thing that my ex-tutee mentioned about conservation housing – she had lived in several – has potential pest issues FYI.
Whilst these houses (with a front door but no gate) are very charming….
I personally prefer the units which come with a gate, as shown above. This way, you can have an actual garden on the property!
Diverse Architecture Styles
Now the houses here are so beautiful, and so diverse in architectural styles (ranging from Chinese and Malay to Art Deco and Modern), that I could flood you with endless photos of the area, but I figure it’ll be more helpful to show you the rest of the neighbourhood, so I’ll just leave you with these 2 photos of the roads between the houses.
Spooner Road Open Carpark
57 and 59 Blair Road, photographed above, is situated above the Spooner Road open car park – which is zoned residential, subject to further planning, so taller neighbours may pop up here soon.
Near Singapore General Hospital (SGH)
The sheltered walkway also brings you all the way over to SGH (Singapore General Hospital) which is captured in the background of the above photo.
If you turn left at the main road above, you find a bus stop which has many bus connections: 2, 12, 54, 61, 121, 122, 124, 143, 147, 166, 167, 174, 190, 196, 197, 961 and 961M.
Moreover, the nearest MRT station (Outram Park) is only an 8-minute walk away, so you can see how well-connected this residential enclave is. Another nearby MRT station, Cantonment MRT, will also be completed in 2026.
Turn right and you immediately reach a coffee shop which sells prata and Nasi Padang etc.
Kampong Bahru Road Restaurants
There are several other eateries that I’m not showing here but I think you get the idea – there’s basically no lack of choice when it comes to food in the area!
The commercial offering here is so comprehensive, I remember thinking I would like to live here when I used to come here.
Located next to a busy road with traffic noise
The road in front of the shophouses is pretty busy, as you can see, but the row of shophouses helps to block out some of the noise for the residential properties.
I couldn’t hear the traffic when I was within the estate, and I definitely didn’t hear any traffic sounds when I was tutoring in one of the houses.
However, on the note of noise, the soundproofing within the (original condition) shophouses isn’t great, I could sound from both the upper and lower floors within the house.
There are a few other offices, as well as a building that has been turned into a museum (NUS Baba House), after which we find the residential houses.
The houses here have a slightly different style from the ones along Blair Road.
Neil Road Shophouses
Personally, I’d still prefer to live along Blair Road as the houses along Neil Road definitely get much more road noise. Also, do note that the houses in Blair Road are freehold but some of the properties along Neil Road are 99-year leasehold.
We’ve now reached the last shophouse, bringing us back to the HDB estate where we started the tour. FYI there’s a bus stop here too, with buses 61, 166, 167, 196 and 197.
New Everton Park Condominium
Note that there is a condo in the middle of construction down this way but I didn’t hear much construction noise during my tour.
We’ve now reached the end of the tour. How did you find the area?
Personally, I loved the area and I loooooooove conservation housing. However, I must say it’s not for everyone. For example, many Singaporean parents may not find the area ideal as it’s not near any famous primary schools. (The closest are Cantonment Primary and CHIJ Kellock.)
And note how we didn’t spot any playgrounds within the landed enclave (although residents can always use the ones at the neighbouring HDB estates.)
Last but not least, living in a conservation house isn’t the most convenient. I have friends who love it enough to have stayed in several but even they acknowledge the issues that come with the houses- parking, pests, soundproofing etc.
The family that I tutored who lived in Blair Road eventually chose not to renew their tenancy because there was a terrible leak in the house. Another acquaintance used to rent out a conservation property but eventually chose to sell it because there were just too many maintenance issues to make it worthwhile for her.
I would say living in a heritage house is really a passion project: you must love the history and charm enough to put up with the problems!
This story first appeared in Stacked.