Bon and Biwa Mastura make up a fun-loving couple full of joie de vivre, and their Tampines flat is equally vibrant. It's a home that doesn't take itself too seriously, a home dedicated to expressing the duo's personalities and honouring what they love about life. Within their 67-square-metre flat are whimsical designs and bold colours that hint at their spiritedness: one wall is covered in artificial grass patch and another in bricks, and a wall decal stating the #Bibonabode (their designated hashtag on social media, short for "Biwa + Bon's Abode") commandments is proudly plastered on a corner wall. There are vintage industrial chairs, pop culture signboards, reclaimed dining table featuring Peranakan-style tiles, a stark red lacquered chest of drawers, and spider lights spicing up their ceiling.

"We're the very quirky, loud couple, and the house kind of reflects that. At first, I really thought, 'Maybe we could do Scandinavian because it’s simple.' But then I thought 'No, I couldn’t do Scandinavian.' It’s too simple for me and I’m not a simple person, you see," shares Biwa, who works as an artist. "Basically, this house is retro eclectic. I wanted to mix retro, industrial, and vintage. I’m quite happy because our flat reflects our personality."


The happy family: Bon, Biwa, and their baby Ashmath

While the kitchen has a touch of vintage and the bedrooms are mostly contemporary, the living room and dining area are anchored on industrial. To keep the space from looking too serious and cookie-cutter, vintage accessories were added for the "retro eclectic" look the couple's gunning for.

The design of the interiors was conceived by Bon and Biwa themselves, but because they only had a few months to renovate before moving in, they sought the help of an interior designer to take care of some of the key features of the flat. "He did the bathroom, the kitchen, the brick wall, my wardrobe, and platform bed—the rest was us," says Biwa.

Take a closer look at their flat by checking out the photos below:

Living Room


Their interior designer produced the feature brick wall and the floating TV console. The #Bibonabode is filled with inspiring quotes including this vintage signboard in the living room.


The living room features a contrast between the bright colours (the yellow rocking chair and the playful egg-shaped cushions) and neutral and earthy tones.


After the renovation was complete, the couple thought that the wall on the other side of the living room looked too plain, so they decided to deck it with decals. Interestingly, Biwa went to a motor repair shop instead of consulting with a wall decal store. "I went to a motor repair shop which does decals for cars. They do decals for homes also, so I just customised everything. #Bibonabode is our hashtag on Instagram. This one cost us $200, but I really don’t mind since they're my words."


"I don’t think we spent more than $1,000 for all the furniture in the living room...except for that red cabinet. I had been eyeing that since I was 20. I’m 25 now. I got that from Lorgan's Retro Store, and it's one of the most expensive things in my house," says Biwa. Curios and vintage accessories like the transistor occupy the top of the lacquered chest of drawers, and pictures from their pre-wedding and wedding shoots are placed on the floating shelves.


Biwa and Bon proudly declare that they scored good deals with their furniture. "Most of my things in my house are secondhand. I bought most of them from Carousell," says Biwa. The wooden crates were made by a Carousell merchant, bought for $30 to $40 each. "We wanted a coffee table originally, but then we had a bit of miscommunication so when we picked the merchandise up, they were just crates and not fixed into a table with wheels. I was like, 'Okay, never mind.' Besides, we need to childproof the house, so we could just stack the crates on one side of the house."


The sofa is from Comfort Furniture, the $128 yellow rocking chair from Furnituresg, and the egg-shaped cushions were from Bon's brother's office. "The original cushions were worn out and dirty, so we bought fabrics from Spotlight and went again to a motor repair shop to have them stapled for only $20. The cushion store we initially went to asked for $100," Biwa recalls. For the window treatments, Biwa opted for customised black-and-white blinds.

"Our spider lights came from Malaysia," says Biwa. "We got them for only $150." The LED track lights were sourced locally.

Dining Room

Adding to the raw feel of the area is the buffed and semi-matte concrete floor.


Like the other furniture pieces in the flat, the dining table was also sourced from Carousell. It's originally from a bar in Clarke Quay, and Biwa got it for $120 from a price of $150. The industrial dining chairs were from Carousell as well. "It's $60 per chair. I think I was quite lucky, because I didn’t measure the chair but it fit the table," Biwa says.


True to their quirky and good-humoured nature, Bon and Biwa decided to do something fun for the wall by the dining area. For a price of $500, they got someone to cover it with artificial grass patch—enlivening an area that could've looked too serious had it been totally sparse and industrial.

"And then I went to a store and I saw a range of Kate Spade tins on one wall. So I also wanted to have my tin signboards in one place," says Biwa. The couple drilled holes on the wall to display the tins. "I’m proud of what we did. I was pregnant and climbed the ladder and just decorated this green wall. It was very satisfying to have done this on our own."

Kitchen


Biwa instructed their interior designer to create a retro yellow kitchen. "I love green and yellow. I wanted yellow, because my green Delonghi appliances would go well with yellow," Biwa reasons. This clutter-free and clean kitchen sparkles in its simplicity.

Guest's Bedroom

Biwa wasn't pregnant yet when they got the keys to the flat, so they never got around to planning a nursery—they ended up allotting the extra room as a guest room. "We're planning to rent it out soon to help with the renovation," Biwa says. This bedroom is hinged on a minimalist contemporary look. The king-sized bed was also a steal as they got it for only $200 from someone moving abroad.

Master's Bedroom

At the last minute, Bon and Biwa decided to go for a platform bed so they could have additional storage to accommodate more of their stuff. "It’s very small but cosy," Biwa says. It's their favourite room—the couple snuggles up with baby Ashmath in this relaxing enclave. "We're co-sleeping with the baby for the next two or three years because we don't have a nursery," Biwa adds.


The entryway of the bedroom leads to Biwa's makeshift walk-in wardrobe, which also functions as a divider between the platform bed and the rest of the bedroom.

"I’ve always wanted a wardrobe. When we applied for a BTO, we got a four-room flat in Punggol. I was born and raised in Tampines, and I didn’t like the idea of moving anywhere else. So we declined that one, and applied for a Sales of Balance flat. The four-room Sales and Balance flat we got was small and cost half a million, and I wouldn’t want to spend so much on a small four-room flat. We decided to start small and went for a three-room flat. I knew that I have to sacrifice some things, including my plan to have one room as a walk-in closet."

She then asked the help of the interior designer to design a wardrobe-cum-divider that would give her a walk-in closet kind of feel. Flanked at the other end of the bedroom hallway are her other wardrobe necessities: the full-body mirror, makeup area, and drawers for Ashmath's clothes.

Bathroom

The bathroom is kept simple with contemporary updates. A farmhouse sink provides a nice cosy touch.

Bon and Biwa are truly proud of their home, although they encountered one major problem during the renovation. "We should've just gotten a contractor to do everything," Biwa sighs. They weren't satisfied with the works of the interior designer. At one point, they could not even reach him, and they eventually discovered that his company crashed. "We felt that we paid so much for it. In our next house, I would do it myself and just get a contractor. I felt that we oversaw the projects more than him. We would come to see the progress of the renovation every weekend, and he wouldn't be around."

While this married couple considers moving to a bigger flat in the next few years, especially when they would be having a baby girl ("If it's another boy, we can stay—my sons can just share the room together"), Biwa believes she will have a hard time leaving this flat for all the happiness it represents. "In this home, everything says 'us'. It has a lot of sentimental value," Biwa says.

Renovation Details:

Type home: 3-room BTO/Sales of Balance
Total Space: 67 square metres
Budget: $30,000 ($27,000 for actual renovation and $3,000 for the furniture)
Time to complete works: About five months—"but everything wasn't ready when we moved in," Biwa adds.

Design and renovation lessons from Bon and Biwa:

1. "If you know what you want to do with your house, just get a contractor. Just oversee the project yourself."

2. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
"I don’t buy a lot of new things except appliances. Visit online secondhand shops—you can find treasures there."

3. Sit down and talk with your partner. "Couples should sit down and make things fair. You can say, 'This is my section of the house, and that's the section of your house which you can use to express your personality.' Bon likes the same things as I do. If he disagrees with something, he just tells me, 'I don’t like this.'"

Get the Look: Retro Eclectic and Industrial

Check out locally designed retro homes here, eclectic spaces here, and industrial flats here.

For more inspiring designs of retro eclectic and industrial homes, click here, here, and here.


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Photos by Samantha Echavez