This unique and colour-happy 113-square-metre resale flat in Bedok North is Debbie’s home for the past five years. She grew up in Katong so one of the conditions for her next address was its proximity to this neighborhood.

It took her four weeks of hacking and wet works and another two weeks of carpentry works before she saw her dream home come into reality. That Debbie was hands on during the renovation is an understatement. She did not hire an interior designer and designed the whole house all by herself—"I drew the layout plan, perspectives, and measurements to scale using the floor plan from HDB as a template." She only sent them to her contractor so they can review and translate into scaled drawings for executions.

"I wanted a floor plan with a good visual flow of colours from the point of entry to the living room, dining, kitchen, and rooms. To do this, I chose a mature colour palette that are autumn tones—neutrals like slate grey, warm sand, dark olive green, and aubergine. I like walls with colours that have depth as they give a feeling of an enclave. All floor surfaces are muted with floor tiles that are 100% matte finish for a softer, more subtle feel so it gives a sense of a wider space," says Debbie.

These walls became the perfect canvas for her personal collection of artworks from New York, Australia, and France—they provide that unique touch to Debbie’s home and show off a lot of her personality. "I enjoy the contrast of tones and textures. I had two walls deliberately left unfinished with concrete screed instead of plaster and paint. The warm neutrals and contrast of light and dark hues then serve as a background for the punctuation of accent colours."

Step into Debbie’s eclectic and quirky HDB flat:

Living Room

Debbie doesn’t believe in the "matchy-matchy" look and the living room shows just that. A neutral-hued L-shaped sofa, three armchairs ("I bought three retro pieces from a vintage shop and had them revarnished to retain a coherent colour for my living room."), a nest of black acrylic tables, an X-wing coffee table, statement acrylic chandelier, and Oriental furniture pieces that also feature mid-century and modern styles all beautifully blend in this space. "I used black tone as a balance against the accent colours, turquoise and azure blue," explains Debbie.

Kitchen and Dining Room

"The turquoise is continued to the dining space with the choice of placemats set against a black and white colour palette. In the kitchen, simple but chic black floors and dark brown carpentry against the clean white walls provide a strong contrast. The use of linear tiles deliberately positioned toward the vanishing point creates a linear illusion upon entry. I chose a bright lime green as an accent colour in the use of plants, photo frames, and other kitchen tools," says Debbie.

Also housed in the dining area are black and white photos by a New York artist as well as a large canvas print by a French photographer. They help set the cosy and calming ambience of this space.

Master Bedroom

This darling of a space is Debbie's favourite nook in the house—and it's not surprising at all! It's Instagrammable, designer-approved, and super stylish!

"My bedroom is quirky! I have a concrete screed accent wall with a pair of black glass flute lights and a centrepiece of fabric lighting that looks like a jellyfish," says Debbie. The walls are painted in dark olive green and splashes of colours in the accessories (hello, pop-art and shiny silver throw pillows!) further jazz up the bedroom. "Most of the pieces in the rooms were from my previous apartment including a kidney table."

Guest Bedroom and Dressing Room

Sunshine and happy vibes are all over this bedroom—what with the yellow walls, clean lines, and pretty prints. Another statement chandelier towers over this space.

"I converted one of the bedrooms into a full dressing room," she smiles.

Bathroom

Debbie admits her bathroom is dark—and that's the way she likes it. "I used silver-coated tiles on one wall and a complementary dark brown matte titles to contrast it. The black chandelier and a Marilyn Monroe poster up the style of the bathroom."

Renovation Details
Type of property: HDB resale unit
Total space: About 113 square metres
Budget: $110,000
Time to complete works: 4 weeks for hacking and wet works + 2 weeks for carpentry to complete

Debbie's tips for fellow homeowners

1. Choose your contractor wisely! I had some trouble with the contractor who executed my plan and the work quality is not up to scratch.

2. Prioritise your budget on things that you CANNOT change easily. Invest in some good tiles, hardware for the bathroom, and toilet unit as you cannot easily replace these and they have to last a while. Invest in something you enjoy looking at every day.

3. Set aside a 15% budget buffer. I originally set aside up to $60,000 but the entire renovation went overboard. The reason is partially due to the intense hacking of the entire unit plus new wiring. All these costs cannot be “seen” and took up a lot more cash than I planned.


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Photos by David Loh