Once sporting a dated theme, this old family home has since been revamped into a modern bachelor pad.
Renovating an old family home isn’t always easy, as it holds so many memories for a lot of people. For Dean – the homeowner of this 4-room flat in Choa Chu Kang – it proved to be especially difficult, since it was the place where he and his siblings had grown up in.
“I’ve stayed in this home for most of my life with my family,” explains Dean. “It’s a place that has a lot of memories. So, as much as I knew that this home needed a renovation, I also felt quite sad to renovate a place that was so dear to us.”
Despite the emotions, Dean was more than willing to take up the responsibility of renovating his old home. Previously worn down and outdated, it has since been revamped into a posh bachelor pad that looks straight out of a hotel catalogue.
To understand the story behind this home’s transformation, we got Dean to tell us more!
About himself and his home
Dean’s home, pre-renovation
Dean (D): I’ve been staying here for over 20 years now, and not once did we renovate the apartment prior to this makeover. So, as you can imagine, the place was quite outdated, and as attached as I was to the memories [of my childhood home], I felt that it was time to give it a fresh new look.
I’ve travelled quite a fair bit, and usually, the main thing that captures my attention are the hotel interiors. I tend to let the hotels decide where I’d go (laughs), so naturally, I wanted to replicate the look in this home.
In the past, I liked the classic look – like the kind you’d see in St Regis or Raffles Hotel. I think I’ve kind of moved on from that, to something more clean and minimalist, with understated luxury.
So, my preference is now for a cooler theme. When I met Godric my interior designer from THIRD PARAGRAPH, I made it clear to him that I didn’t want to use any wood. The last thing I wanted is to make my home look too cosy – rather, I wanted it to look more like a museum, hotel, or an art gallery.
About his living room
Dean’s living room, pre-renovation
D: During that time [of my renovation], I was obsessed with black tiles and cement flooring. So, for the living room, we decided to remove the old flooring and replace it with black tiles cement screed flooring.
Because I needed a false ceiling for my ceiling lights, the space feels a bit shorter. I figured that the best way to combat this is by installing mirrors for my TV feature wall – it doesn’t just look unique, but also lengthens the space.
I also like how clean and unique it looks. I never really liked those bulky TV feature walls that some other homes have as it looked quite messy, so to me, a ‘mirror’ feature wall was the neater, sleeker solution.
About his dry and wet kitchen
Dean’s dry kitchen, pre-renovation
D: Although I do cook regularly, I’d say that I bake more than I cook. Since I had extra living room space, I decided to use part of it as a dry kitchen. Now, there’s an island, dining table, and cabinets where all my baking ingredients are stored.
Dean’s dry kitchen, post-renovation
Utility and aesthetics were important here, since I knew I’d be using this area a lot. The big grey panels are similar to what you’d find in hotels, but they can also be used to conceal my things.
On the right is my pantry area, and on the left is my display shelf – but if I push both panels towards the centre, I’ll be able to conceal the sink area. So, there’s a sort of flexibility to this design.
The steel wavy panel on the ceiling was actually something I saw online. I follow quite a few renovation-related accounts, and one of them posted about a few similar-looking designs on their Instagram page.
After I showed it to Godric, I left everything – from the design to the location – up to him. He eventually went with this particular design and installed it over the dry kitchen, which I feel really adds to the luxe look and makes the space stand out.
All my bigger appliances – like my dishwasher and washing machine – are in the wet kitchen. That’s where all the major cooking happens now. I figured I didn’t need the wet kitchen to be as big since there’s a dry kitchen outside.
On renovating the master bedroom and walk-in wardrobe
D: I don’t really remember what I wanted for the master bedroom, but I think I just wanted it to remain neat and seamless. I also remember not wanting an overly-fancy headboard, so Godric went with built-ins to maintain the minimalistic look.
The floorplan of Dean’s home, pre-renovation
I’ve always wanted a walk-in wardrobe, and since I didn’t need a huge wet kitchen, we used some of the original kitchen space to extend the master bedroom.
The floorplan of Dean’s home, post-renovation
We opted for more open-shelving storage and a swivel mirror as we were going for a look that resembles a retail store. Having a screen covering my clothes would have spoiled the whole vibe, in my opinion.
If you look closely, there’s a frosted glass panel at the back – it’s meant to ‘borrow’ light from the wet kitchen, since this area doesn’t have a window to brighten it up.
About renovating the master bathroom
D: By itself, the master bathroom was already quite small. If I’d kept the en suite’s walls, it would look very cramped. So, I decided to remove the walls and replace it with glass to create an open-concept bathroom – which I think is a feature that a lot of hotels have now.
One of my main requirements here was to include a bathtub and rain shower. And not just the kind with the exposed piping, like a lot of HDBs have – I wanted a proper ceiling rainshower, with concealed piping. This was something I insisted on, because again, it’s what most hotel bathrooms have.
For the bathtub, I purposely chose to use the same tiles as the ones used for the walls. People tend to use different tiles for the shower area and toilet, but I think using the same tiles looks a lot cleaner, and makes the space feel a bit larger.
To sum up
D: Making the decisions was quite tough. Fortunately, Godric and I gelled quite well together – he understood what I was looking for right from the start. He played the part of the ‘rationalist’ while I was the one full of ideas.
Overall, the renovation was quite smooth-sailing for me. I don’t know if my ID will say the same, though, because he really managed everything and made it as problem-free as he could for me.
And more importantly, my siblings like how it turned out, too. It was quite a responsibility to renovate our childhood home that held a lot of memories, but knowing that they like it now was a huge relief.
I’d say that the only person who doesn’t really like it is my nephew, and that’s only because he feels ‘naked’ whenever he has to use the bathroom (laughs).
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