Telok Blangah is an ideal place for those who want to reside in a peaceful area that is not too far from Singapore’s cityscape. Not only does it offer breathtaking views of lush greenery and the sea, but it is also a place steeped in history.
This is exactly why Terry and Rachel (@cookingpotbay*not their real name for privacy reasons) chose Telok Blangah Towers. With only 3 blocks, it offers good privacy despite its central location.
That and the fact that the unit has the luxury of nearly full-length windows, which is rare to find in HDBs today.
And so to complement that, they sought to keep their home simple and minimalist.
If you lean towards the minimalist type of design, look no further as Terry and Rachel share how they achieved it at their home in Telok Blangah Towers.
Achieving a timeless and minimalist home design
Terry said their budget for the renovation was $60,000. But they didn’t consider it a tight budget. They knew there was always a possibility that they would go over the allowance in case there were certain higher quality materials that they ended up choosing during the renovation.
“Our final renovation cost, excluding furniture, appliances, etc., came to about $70,000,” he revealed.
As they anticipated, some of the reasons the budget went up was due to the choice of more expensive materials such as tile, vinyl flooring, and light switches. “There were also supplements for changes in measurements and other miscellaneous items such as the repair of some walls where we removed wallpaper.”
The couple said they didn’t have a concrete theme in mind, “but we mentioned to our ID that we just wanted something timeless and minimalist,” Terry said.
What they wanted was for their home to look simple enough that they wouldn’t get tired of it anytime soon, without compromising on comfort. Even before starting the renovation, they surfed many personal Instagram accounts, which served as inspiration for the design of their house.
“We realized our house looked a lot like a modern Korean house – clean, with lots of use of muted block colors,” he said in retrospect.
Preparing the house for the renovation means having to tear down the walls of one of the bedrooms. This feat left them with an expanded living room, kitchen, study room, and master bedroom.
Here’s how their house turned out, piece by piece.
As soon as you enter the living room, the combination of clean white colors and light wood flooring creates a modern yet very clean vibe. It is further emphasized by the flood of natural light from the windows.
They also added a curved niche display wall in the living room. “It’s something we knew we always wanted before we even started looking for interior designers,” Terry said.
The biggest change they made to the kitchen was taking down the wall at the entrance. This helped create space to accommodate an extended counter that the couple now use as a breakfast counter.
In the kitchen proper, minimalist and clean lines continue to dominate the design. They opted for open shelving to help open up the space even more and allow light from the courtyard and kitchen window to flow inside the room.
Terry said they decided to add a platform to their bed — not so much for bonus storage, but because they love platform beds for some reason. “Again, it was something we knew we wanted from the start.” We feel that platform beds always feel comfortable, which contributes to that comfortable feeling they were looking for.
Everything else in the room was designed around their platform bed centerpiece. The couple admitted it was a pleasant surprise for them that their ID was able to fit their wardrobe, which sits on an extension of the platform bed. “The resulting effect looks quite Japanese,” Terry said.
Clean lines and soft colors continue to permeate even their bathroom design. Frosted lighting creates a warm ambiance even in this space.
They didn’t make any major changes to the layout of the study room except for the vinyl flooring and wall colors to match the rest of the house. “We wanted to leave this room as a space that we could easily reuse if needed, in the future,” Terry noted.
Bringing vision to reality
Terry and Rachel are both extremely happy with how their house turned out after the renovation since the result was similar to what they had previously imagined.
“We followed our ID plan very closely,” Terry said, “including its 3D render.” He added that they even went so far as to find furniture and accessories that looked like the ones in the 3D render.
The couple did extensive research when looking for identification. Instead of hiring a contractor directly, they contacted Authors Interior & Styling.
“We approached Authors Interior & Styling directly, purely based on the portfolio they had on their social media.”
However, they didn’t have an interior designer in mind at the time. “Jun from Authors was randomly assigned to us, who turned out to be the perfect fit for what we needed,” Terry said.
When it comes to sourcing furniture, the couple were very diligent about it. Terry shared that they visited many stores in Singapore in person. They knew from the start that they would not blindly shop online, especially for big ticket items.
“As with most clueless homeowners, our Google searches led us to Tan Boon Liat. This is something that we think is always a great first stop for new homeowners as there are so many shops to see,” Terry recalls.
While their couch required a little more research, he said they managed to find their dining table at Tan Boon Liat. For their dining chairs and bar stools, their ID provided them with a list of suggestions from Taobao, where they finally got these pieces of furniture.
When asked what was the best part of their home after the renovation, they both said it was, and still is, the living room.
“The reason we purchased this unit was because of the ‘full-length’ white windows in the living room,” said Terry. They believe this was a rare find for them, as most HDB units now only offer three-quarter windows.
“Taking down the 3rd bedroom and the kitchen wall was what really opened up the space for us,” he added. Indeed, it further enhanced the natural light from the living room windows since the windows (in the area where the 3rd bedroom was) provide additional lighting.
Lessons learned from a successful renovation journey
As with most renovation projects these days, COVID-19 has been the one that has offered the greatest challenge to homeowners’ determination and patience. Terry and Rachel couldn’t escape it either.
“Our tiling schedule was delayed 2 weeks due to a lack of workers,” said Terry. They also experienced unexpected delays from their vinyl flooring suppliers, which greatly disrupted the renovation. This affected the entire schedule of deliveries of equipment and devices. He admitted that they chose to lay the vinyl flooring last.
This experience taught them to be patient and to prepare for the worst, including last-minute changes in plans. “There were a number of changes that we made as the renovation progressed,” he said, “deviating not only from our planned schedule, but also from the rendering design. 3D”.
Still, they were lucky that most of their renovation went according to plan.
The Telok Blangah Towers couple leave this advice to new homeowners who are considering renovating their home.
Always be ready to listen to advice from your ID that comes from a professional perspective. At the same time, they also recommend being firm if there are any design concepts you’d like to try. “Ultimately, it will be you who come home to look at your house every day.”