Personal collection of vintage furniture gives couple's 5-room flat an old-school charm

PHOTO: Home & Decor

Who: A couple in their 40s
Home: Serangoon Avenue
Size: 1,300sqf

To the owners of this five-room flat, vintage style is not just an on-trend phase but also something they embrace wholeheartedly. Their collection of antique furniture and memorabilia has been waiting in the background for years before they bought and renovated this home. The Scientist who designed their home is familiar with integrating vintage elements into a modern shell, but this couple wanted to go the distance.

The interior designers' main role was to achieve the modern-vintage style without the home resembling a bric-a-brac shop.

Old-school charm

  • To the owners of this five-room flat, vintage style is not just an on-trend phase but also something they embrace wholeheartedly.
  • Their collection of antique furniture and memorabilia has been waiting in the background for years before they bought and renovated this home.
  • The elaborate Victorian-style leather sofa and armchair are a contrast to the simple mid-century armchair.
  • The only area with embellishment is in the living room, where a faux mottled brick wall forms a feature.
  • Antiques small and big amassed over the years take pride of place on a sideboard.
  • A commanding buffet laid out with pretty tea-time accoutrements counters the industrial vibe of the brick wall and exposed wiring.
  • The retro lines of the utilitarian plastic stacking chair complement the antique wood furniture.
  • Daylight streams into the "classroom", which is large enough for six students. Original architectural drawings from Mobler.
  • In keeping with the period look, there are no built-ins in the flat apart from the kitchen. Clothing is stored in two antique armoires.
  • The kitchen is true to the period style - from the colour of the wall tiles to the ceramic knobs and, of course, the concrete base.
  • Copper piping cleverly matches the wood wall cabinet and mirror. Stainless steel or PVC would have jarred with the vintage styling of the space. Basin top accessories are from Galanga Living.

The budget of $60,000 enabled them to wipe clean the slate and present the flat as a spare white space with a honey-toned herringbone parquet floor. The back-to-basics style extends to the ceiling (which is devoid of L-boxes and false ceilings) and concrete base kitchen.

Vintage light fixtures, many with glass shades, came from the owners' frequent retro scouting jaunts, and black electrical pipes, which end in old-fashioned switch plates, highlight them.

The only area with embellishment is in the living room, where a faux mottled brick wall forms a feature. This is not too far from the balcony (this "walled" balcony is typical of point block flats from the mid-70s), which has floor to wall ornate tiles.

While the glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles of the 70s were glossy and textured, these modern incarnations are matt and flat. They bring a strong geometric pattern to counter the dark-wood vintage furniture and a touch of modernity.

The kitchen is another throwback to the past when kitchen cabinets were cast in poured concrete and affixed with wooden doors. This style of construction meant the couple could only have bottom cabinets, which they feel are sufficient for their needs. The kitchen walls have square powder-blue tiles laid diagonally, while the floor is tiled black-and-white mosaic style.

As home tutors with no children of their own, the owners could free up two bedrooms to serve as classrooms. The old-school (pun intended) styling of the home befits the sparse "classroom" furnished with simple wooden desks, moulded plastic chairs and a whiteboard.

"Many of our students comment that our home is unique, and some feel that it has a Peranakan feel," offers one the owners.

The other owner is keen to indulge her taste of the vintage and flex her design aesthetics: "Vintage stuff has this timeless appeal, which can somehow can be juxtaposed with any other style. I find this versatility very unique and one of a kind," she says.

Where to go: The Scientist, 706A Geylang Road, Tel: 6743-0363

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