Homeowner Ingrid Liew enjoying a cuppa in her chic industrial-style open kitchen.

Moving out of your parents’ home as a singleton is the ultimate declaration of independence, especially in Singapore, where living space is always at a premium. Homeowner, Liew, did it six years ago.

She rented for two years before looking to buy a private property.

“You’re at the mercy of the landlord when you are renting. I had to move twice in those two years because the owners decided to sell the property,” she shares. “So after I did my sums, I decided to buy my own home.”

Who Lives Here: A bachelorette in her 30s
Home: A one-bedroom condominium apartment in Tanjong Pagar
Size: 527 sq ft (or 48.9 sqm)
Interior Designer: HEI Architects

Homeowner Ingrid Liew enjoying a cuppa in her chic industrial-style open kitchen.

One-Bedroom Condo in Tanjong Pagar

Liew had always wanted to live in the central area. After searching for a while, she found her dream bachelorette pad in a one-bedroom condominium apartment at the heart of Tanjong Pagar.

Located in one of the Central Business District area’s tallest residential towers, the apartment had been in its original developer-bought condition when she bought it.

“The interior had a lot of marble and white cabinetry, which the previous owner took good care of, but I found it cold. It wasn’t my style,” Liew recalls. “I wanted something more me – modern industrial chic, like a New York loft.”

Mirrored surface doubles the visual perception of the room while a magnetic storage door serves as a noticeboard.

She enlisted the help of architecture and design studio HEI Architects to realise her vision. The renovation mainly focused on updating the surface materials and cabinetry, with minimal architectural alterations.

The mesh overhead cabinets lends lightness and allows Liew to quickly find the things she needs.

Throughout the home, the original marble tiles had been layered over with wood vinyl flooring for warmth, except in the kitchen area, whose marble floor had been hacked and replaced with visually arresting monochromatic decorative tiles.

The base of the custom kitchen counter hides a washer and dryer.

The kitchen carpentry combines a wood finish with contrasting black steel mesh, which, together with the glossy white subway tiles and smokey IKEA pendant bulbs above, create a cool industrial vibe.

Smeg’s white FAB fridge lends a touch of retro. “The fridge is not magnetic, but we do have a multifunctional cabinet with a magnetic surface,” says Liew, highlighting the storage next to the entrance, which contains the shoe racks and the home’s IT hub.

A custom L-shaped bar counter with steel mesh detailing conceals the washer-dryer and demarcates the kitchen and dining area from the living area.

A print of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon on the floor adds visual interest.

Living Area

The living area is simply yet effectively decorated, featuring a leather sofa from Grey & Sanders, a wall-mounted TV, a cabinet with the same wood- and-mesh aesthetic as the kitchen, a plush rug and a velvet stool.

A pair of artworks – called Love Burns and Love Burns II by Toronto-based artist Lora Zombie – and knick-knacks like a functional vintage typewriter fill the room with personality. The existing bay window has been dressed with the same wood vinyl, tying it with the rest of the space.

Venetian blinds allow Liew to adjust the window’s visibility, which faces a construction site across the road – thank heavens for the double-glazed finish that filters out noises!

The tranquil bedroom features a dark-stained wardrobe with corkboard panels.

Bedroom

The bedroom and en suite bathroom draw from the same material palette. One side of the cosy bedroom is dedicated for the wardrobe, featuring dark wood and cork finish.

Fluted glass sliding doors separates the bedroom and the bathroom.

Fluted glass sliding doors separate the area from the bathroom, which features the same decorative tiles the kitchen uses for its dry area, and concrete-look tiles from Hafary for its shower area.

The bathroom pairs large-format cement-look tiles in the shower area with decorative ones in the sink area for a balanced look.

Renovation Cost: $40,000

Liew moved into the home in October 2020 after a $40,000 renovation that took seven months, including a four-month interruption by the circuit breaker.

“I had given up my lease and had to move back with my parents to wait it out,” she shares. But the wait is worth it; she is now a proud homeowner.

She hopes that by sharing her story, younger and single Singaporeans aspiring to have a place they can call their own – or those on the fence worrying about what their elders would think – would make the jump.