Less is more

Home: Five-room HDB flat at The Pinnacle@Duxton

Size: 1,010sqf

Who: A couple in their late 30s

Only a wall of full-height built-in storage cabinets and a large island counter come in view when you enter this home - what looks like an upscale boutique hotel's lobby is actually the living room of homeowners Melvin Kwek and Leong Wai Fun's five-room HDB flat.

The space is uncluttered, with a canvas of neutral tones made up of ivory and deep grey tiles, light oak laminate from Lamitak, black granite and dark quartz. In fact, the only piece of loose furniture in the living area is a two-seater leather sofa.

The couple also saw no need for a dining table and chairs.

"We're very casual; we just eat in the living room or even at the study desk, sometimes," laughs Wai Fun. The couple didn't have a distinct design idea in mind, she shares, but they just wanted something "really calm".

Architect and designer Stephen Goh of Metaphor Studio gave them "a lot of open, unobstructed space", ensuring that the full-height windows were not blocked to maximise the amount of natural light entering the flat. "Everything - including appliances - is tucked away to keep the design clean," he says.

Concealed behind the laminate-finished door panels are cooking appliances and storage areas, as well as the corridor leading to the private areas, and a study desk. Stephen added a platform finished with dark quartz tiles to separate the private area from the common one. Not only does this platform give height to and zone the space, it also houses unsightly service pipes, such as the air-con ducting and washing machine plumbing.

On the raised floor area sits the island counter, which has been fitted with pull-out panels that can extend the work surface.

The island also functions as a convenient "quick-dine station" for the couple. The walls of one bedroom were demolished to make way for an open-concept convertible study for two, with sliding glass panels that disappear into the feature wall.

The other two bedrooms were combined to become a larger master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe that's accessible through the hidden corridor.

Through smart space planning, and a concerted effort to create a calm mien, this home looks nothing like a standard HDB flat. The apartment's design also makes it really easy to maintain - the couple have been living here for five years, and it still looks brand new!

Where to go: Metaphor Studio, TEL: 6291-9786

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