This walk-up apartment was turned into a chic loft-style home with an art gallery feel, thanks to a blend of natural materials, sleek shapes, and abstract artwork.

For someone as stylish as Annette Dreesmann, who used to be a fashion merchandiser, it only follows that her home is just as elegant as she is.

Situated in the quiet area of Kim Cheng Street, the walk-up apartment is bright, airy, and reconfigured specifically to her lifestyle.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

Annette sought out Artistroom for the design and renovation, having previously stayed in an apartment that the studio designed. She liked the apartment’s decor so much that sh­e contacted the owner to find out who had designed it and was introduced to Artistroom.

Who lives here? Annette Dreesmann, Country club manager
Home? Kim Cheng Street, Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment
Size? 990 sq ft
Interior Designer? Artistroom

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
The charming front door with a retro glass panel opens up to an airy room.
House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
Sunlight through the blinds paints a poetic play of shadow in this corner.

The Artistroom team removed all the existing walls, entirely reconfiguring what was previously a two-bedder HDB flat.

They created a separate wet and dry kitchen and a small service yard area for laundry. The dry kitchen area’s piece de resistance is a large island counter of travertine marble, a statement piece that anchors the open-concept space and serves as the central hub of the communal area.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
Artistroom introduced layered textures to the dining area via furniture and accessories like the dining table, the kitchen island and the wall mirror.

As Annette loves to host, having a generous living and dining area was a priority. The flexible seating allows her to host both large and intimate gatherings and gives her different pockets of space where she can spend time alone without feeling isolated from the rest of the apartment.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

The butterfly wall installation adds a sense of movement and fluidity to the room, as well as reinforcing the art gallery feel.

The space feels like a modern art gallery, thanks to her extensive personal collection of abstract paintings that adorns the walls. Most of these were gifted to Annette by her artist friend, Bianca Kremer.

Fresh flowers lend an organic touch to the room.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

To make the artwork stand out, the Artistroom team designed a neutral palette to act as a canvas, keeping the rest of the walls and furniture in shades of grey and white. “We wanted to have a clean, homogenous look,” says the team.

But the overall look is far from dull or flat. The Artistroom team built layers into the space using materials that lend character. For instance, the internal doors of all the rooms and Annette’s wardrobe were repurposed from the old louvred windows of the original flat.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
Full-height mirror doubles the spatial perception of the master bathroom. Louvred doors of the bathroom were repurposed from the old flat.
House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

Made from solid wood that has been weathered over time, these doors make an interesting yet subtle statement, with a nod to the surrounding architecture of the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
The furniture is a mix of old and new.

Annette’s furniture, brought over from her previous apartment, also contributes another layer of style and character. These consist of an old wooden dining table, a leather Chesterfield sofa and her bed.

Together with a newly-added linen sofa, a boucle armchair, and rattan accents, the overall look invites rest and relaxation. “It helps that she has naturally good taste,” says the Artistroom team.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

Of course, style is nothing without practicality. While the communal area is large and open, the Artistroom team designed pockets of space for privacy.

They reoriented the bathroom and bedroom, so the entrances did not face directly into the living room, and added a vanity area as a transitional space.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)

They also put in several track lights and LED strip lighting in the recesses of the ceiling, so Annette has several options when it comes to setting the mood – whether it’s turning her home into a chic art-gallery space for a party by spotlighting the paintings or creating a setting for unwinding at home with a glass of wine.

House Tour: $140,000 Loft-style reno for Tiong Bahru walk-up apartment at Kim Cheng Road (Photo Lawrence Teo, Art Direction Nonie Chen)
The bedroom is a small and tranquil space designed for rest.

The renovation took five months and cost $140,000 to complete in December 2021. “It was a good challenge as we were able to incorporate colours we’ve never thought of using before,” says the team