In his every trip to beautiful Bali, Bamm Hardie would always discover that there's something unique about this Indonesian island that would make him feel right at home and at peace. So when he designed their 122-square-metre HDB flat in Choa Chu Kang, he didn't have to think about what interior theme to subscribe to.
"This is my second home and I promised myself that this must feel like a home. Something just triggered the Balinese theme because every time I'm there, I don't want to go home," explains Bamm, who runs Food Rebel with his wife Christina.
He adds, "Ultimately, I wanted a home where my wife and I can go home to and enjoy. We don't have to book a hotel. We can stay here and still feel like we're in a hotel—with more perks."
Christina quickly gives credit to her husband for the homey feel of their 3-room resale flat. "He wanted an apartment that suits our needs and he liked the unit at the end [of the corridor] for a bit of privacy. Wherever we go, even if it was a rented place, we managed to make it cosy with our own touch. There are a few things we recycled, certain pieces we upcycled to create quite a unique look."
Check out Bamm and Christina's gorgeous Balinese home:
The first few square metres of this home already spell calmness and serenity, thanks to the greenery and garden-like foyer. To create a more welcoming feel, Bamm, who loves carrying out DIY projects, created a pocket garden.
"My initial ideas were to build a water wall or a green wall with live plants. But light shines there. Plus, some of our Chinese friends said that if you have a water feature facing the door, it's not good luck," he says. Bamm then decked the wall with a trellis and hung old photos, which proved to be a personalised way of welcoming guests into their home.
The couple's living room is so cosy that there are moments guests would find themselves snoozing here in no time. The neutral palette gives it a serene look and feel.
The living room also holds so much character. The coffee table, for one, was part of a sofa set from Courts, but was assigned a new role when the couple clothed it with a printed fabric. The giant vase at the end of the sofa was someone's trash that they had picked up and turned into a lovely decor. The wall artworks complete the Balinese-style aesthetics of this space.
When Bamm and Christina planned their home's design, they intended for it to be a place for entertaining. The dining area is Bamm's favourite place because he loves making people happy by serving them good food.
The dining table used to be the bar table in the couple's previous apartment. They asked someone to work on the legs and put glass on top. Then they bought dining chairs to complete this area.
The pendant light is a replica of a Moroccan lamp, and it was bought from a guy who used to sell authentic and replica Indian and Moroccan items in the Newton area. The couple also used old Singer sewing machines as furniture pieces—in the dining room, it was repurposed into a table for their mini aquarium.
In the dining area is a glass cabinet that houses nostalgic pieces and the couple's collections: old storybooks (over 70 years old!) that used to belong to Christina's mom, old records, handwritten notes, antique eyeliner applicators, antique tiffin carriers, and more. "Not all of them have personal attachments, but most of them have. And Bamm likes collecting antiques," muses Christina.
The most obvious collection? Books—which can be found on the living room coffee table, on the dining table, on the floor, even in the secret storage by the headboard in their bedroom! "I'm a holistic chef and these are all my books! There's a lot of self-help and cookery books. I also have novels," gushes Christina.
The bar counter welcomes you to the couple's "experimental" kitchen. They recycled the bar chairs from their old home and the wooden lizard decor above the bar counter is from Indonesia that was bought in Singapore. "My grandparents lived in Sarawak so it kind of reminds me of them," says Bamm.
One thing that stands out in their kitchen is the hanging pot rack. Christina explains, "It was Bamm's idea. That's actually a shelf we bought somewhere, then we bought the chains and hung it up there. It could take 200 kilos of weight!"
This little cosy corner—bathed in lots of natural light—is Christina's favourite nook. "This is where we read and relax. It's like a second lounge area." The 15-year-old rattan furniture is made in the Philippines and is one of the couple's favourite pieces in their home.
Behind their king-sized bed is a green feature wall with a DIY wall art. "I had that blank canvas but I didn't have time to paint. Then I realised, why don't I put this cloth we bought in Geylang? It became our headboard wall art since then," shares Bamm.
Beautiful Bali-style decors pepper their private sanctuary and bath space. These include a false window, giant mirror, old sewing machines, and more.
"I could just stay here all day if I don't need to go out. It's so cosy and comfortable," declares Bamm.
Common Bathroom and Service Area
The resort-style look extends to the common bath and service yard, where plants are arranged in a row or hung in the shower area.
Type of property: 5-Room Resale Flat
Total space: 122 square metres
Budget: About $80,000
Time to complete works: About 6 weeks
Bamm and Christina's tips for homeowners
- It's possible to personalise a rental home. They used to live in a rental apartment but they always find ways to showcase their interests and personality, and make it a liveable home.
- Don't leave it all to your interior designer or contractor. The couple hired a designer but they were not satisfied because they were looking for a specific look and feel. So they designed the place themselves and even DIY-ed some decors (look at how beautiful the foyer and steel pot storage turned out!).
- The kitchen should be functional. "There should be lots of space for preparation, the sink must always be next to the cooker or the prep area. Make it people-friendly as well."
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