Moving from his former four-room BTO flat on the highest level of the block to a three-bedroom unit on the ground floor of the condominium across the road seems to make perfect sense for civil servant Ong Jinxiang.
With the move, the 38-year-old aquascape and plant lover can have a large aquarium without worrying about structural loading. Plus, the Private Enclosed Space (PES) allows him to create his own garden.
He and his wife, Wu Liling, who is 39 and is an administrator in a construction company, fell in love with the unit at first sight. They particularly liked the ample indoor and PES spaces, as well as its layout and high ceiling.
AT A GLANCE
Home: An executive maisonette in Clementi
Size: 1,550 sq ft
Who lives here: A couple in their 50s and three sons in their 20s
ID: Dyel Design
Jinxiang’s cousin from Lush Interior designed the couple’s previous home. They had no qualms about leaving the design of their new home entirely to Don Wong, a designer from the same studio.
Jinxiang, however, had some specific requirements about space management and home ergonomics, aspects of a home that are of great importance to him.
“I wanted to ensure that there are no dead spaces within the home. One of the ways to achieve this is by using sliding instead of swing doors. I also put a lot of thought into the placement of switches and electrical points in relation to how the spaces will be used,” he says.
Despite the modest footprint of the entrance foyer, Don managed to address Jinxiang’s storage requirements by incorporating built-in cabinets on either side of the space without encroaching too much into the circulation.
The cabinets on the kitchen side continue around the corner into the kitchen. Like the rest of the kitchen cabinetry, it is finished in a shade of green that the couple loves and regards as “the new black”.
The green elements visually distinguish the kitchen zone from the rest of the interior.
A settee is integrated into the built-in cabinets on the opposite side of the foyer.
“The arched form was intended to break the linearity and offer a sense of unity. It serves an everyday purpose by providing a place to put on or remove your shoes, pack or unpack your bags or even take a nice photo before you leave the house or after you come home,” Don explains.
Finished predominantly in white against a white-washed wall, the minimalist colour palette extends to the rest of the apartment, differentiating them from the kitchen space.
“White is also the perfect canvas for hanging artwork or putting up festive decorations,” Don adds. Timber accents with a green cushion are a nod to nature and a call back to the kitchen’s green elements.
The existing kitchen wall separating it from the living room and corridor was hacked to make way for an open kitchen with a peninsula island counter.
Part of the wall enclosing the kitchen toilet was also demolished to enlarge the area. Replacing the toilet is a small store room, a sink and some built-in cabinets.
A freestanding aquarium centrepiece next to the living room is Jinxiang’s pride and joy. What started out as a means to educate his daughters about nature has become his passion.
In most homes, aquariums are typically installed against a wall. “In this case, we wanted something different, something that you can appreciate from many angles,” says Don.
Supporting the tank is a custom-made cabinet with a counter at one end where Jinxiang can work on his laptop or have a drink.
A black metal display rack erected against the wall beside the aquarium houses alcohol and other beverages, plants and terrarium, facilitating drinks and chill-out sessions.
The star of the living area is a 100-inch projection screen complete with a surround sound system to recreate a big-screen cinema effect at home.
With a generous 3.6m ceiling height, Don could add a 1.2m loft for storage above the living space and still allow for a 2.4m headroom below.
The living area opens out into the PES, which Jinxiang has lovingly transformed into his garden sanctuary.
This is where the family has dinner in the evenings, accompanied by a view of the pool and the sound of the waterfall.
The bedrooms have direct access to the plant-filled patio.
The lights in each corresponding patio section could only be switched on from within each of the bedrooms, which proved to be rather inconvenient.
This prompted Jinxiang and Don to explore the idea of a smart home to control the various switches, air-conditioning and patio sprinkler system.
Adding a loft bed in the master bedroom not only increases the useable floor but also enhances the privacy of the sleeping area.
The space below the loft is a walk-in wardrobe with plenty of storage space. Even the steps leading up to the loft have been turned into extra storage.
The project entailed meticulous planning and coordination with Covid-19 restrictions and the family living on-site during the renovation.
Despite these constraints, Don and his team completed the work in April 2021, after about two-and-a-half months. The renovation cost was between $80,000 and $90,000, excluding furniture and furnishings.
This article was first published on Home & Decor.