"It has to be cat-friendly. And we have to love the look of the house."
This was how Danny Li and Joyce Lye, who have been married since 2013, wanted the overall look and feel of their 90-square-metre BTO flat in Pasir Ris to turn out after renovation. "And it should be ready for my Mum to move in with us when the time comes," Danny adds.
Danny originally wanted the edgy cafe look, but his wife Joyce Lye—the "chief approver", he jokes—was not sold on the idea of dark, raw interiors. Danny showed her photos of Scandinavian interiors and finally got her nod.
"Both of us designed the place and I visualised more on how everything would come together. For each area of the house, I submitted 'mood boards' for her to buy in and then we ended up with our current themes: Muji, barn, minimalist, Scandi, and cat house," he explains.
Scandinavian doesn't need to be boring, the couple agreed, so pops of colour here and there give this home a cheerful boost. Most of the furnishings and decors hint at their love for cats—Danny's passion for cats rubbed off on Joyce and they're now happily living with five charming cats.
"The best thing about our home? We are living in a cat café the whole day free of charge. We call ours the 'Cat Island,'" say Danny and Joyce.
They also peppered their abode with various elements borrowed from other interior design styles. The brick wall that runs along the dining and living areas is responsible for the light industrial feel while the farmhouse sink in the kitchen and sliding barn doors lend the vintage farmhouse look to this lovely home.
Check out Danny and Joyce's cat café-themed home:
You wouldn't have a hard time looking for Danny and Joyce's HDB unit as the front door provides a sneak peek of an a-Meow-zing experience waiting for you inside. There's even a chalkboard sign welcoming you to their "cat café."
The first few metres of this home already display so much cat-titude. The customised storage cabinet by the door holds the couple's knickknacks and some cat-themed decors. Would you dare step on that sleeping cat rug?
As if the foyer was not interesting enough, Danny and Joyce had parked a three-seater leather sofa here and decorated it with Totoro cushions and a wire mesh memo board featuring portraits of their fur babies. A friendly designer neighbour helped them create the wall stunner.
Living and Dining Areas
Danny and Joyce decided to knock down a wall for larger living and dining spaces. Although the lines are blurred between these two, both areas are spacious enough for the couple and their cats. This open-plan layout allows their felines to roam around freely.
Cats are natural climbers and love to sit on high places so Danny installed shelves that he created himself using wood planks from an old IKEA bed. A study table by the window serves as a take-off point for this home's clowder as they make their way to the cantilevered platforms above the TV console. The couple also provided their babies with a modular scratching post.
The dining room is peppered with cat-themed decors, enough to make you feel you're actually dining in a cat café. There's even a laminated reminder on cat care, displayed on the dining table.
One of the recent additions in Danny and Joyce's home is the mini-garden by the dining room window. Here, Danny fused his love for cats and gardening. He built a mini-garden around the kennel to inject some green elements into their home.
This couple's cats are treated like family, they even have their own room in this home! The wooden furnishings and cute decors contribute to the warm and cosy ambience of this space.
"Let your cats have access to high places like shelves or a perch. For elder and fat cats, make sure there are steps leading to these high places," advises Danny on fellow cat lovers. "Let them have places to hide. They like to feel secure in carton boxes, cat caves, or shelters. Also, keep the house neat and tidy, and provide running paths free of easily breakable items."
Stripped of extravagant details, the master bedroom maintains its Scandinavian minimalist stance. A low chair serves as a side table, and the absence of a television in the room conforms to the theme.
The common toilet is fronted by a barn-style door. The inside is a beaut, what with the gold fixtures and honeycomb floor tiles. Danny and Joyce toilet-trained their cats so the litter boxes are housed here.
The bathroom inside the master bedroom is wrapped in white-and-blue mosaic wall tiles and the same honeycomb floor tiles as the other toilet. It's luxurious and stunning, allowing the couple to enjoy bath times all the more.
Danny and Joyce's kitchen is clean and chic, thanks to the subway tile backsplash, vintage farmhouse-style sink, and flower-knobbed cabinetry. Pretty and dainty pieces accentuate this area.
Type of property: HDB 4 Room BTO Standard
Total space: 90 sqm
Contractor: K2LD Builders
Budget: $48,000 for renovation
Time to complete works: About 2 months
Danny and Joyce's tips for homeowners
- Surround the space with things you love to see. Feel the space and enjoy those moments.
- Having mood boards helps you visualise the end product if you do not have actual 3D drawings. It is also easier to explain your requirements to the contractor.
- Check out eCommerce sites for quality and value-for-money purchases for your home.
Get the Look: Scandinavian
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Photos by Samantha Echavez