Pilot transforms one-bedroom Seletar condo into spacious bachelor pad

The dark tones and innovative storage spaces transform this apartment into a functional bachelor pad with minimal renovation works required.

Who: A bachelor

Home: A one-bedroom condominium unit on Seletar Road

When Chris Chen collected the keys to this one-bedroom apartment located in what he refers to as his "childhood playground", he was very clear as to the extent of renovation that he would carry out.

"I did not want to touch any of the built-in cabinets and flooring that were provided by the developer," says Chris.

There was also no hacking of walls. Instead, the interior design team from Haelcyon Days - comprising director Richard Lam, and principal designer Vin Leong - focused its design attention on the existing wall with sliding doors on either side, separating the living room from the bedroom.

"As this is a small apartment, there is virtually no storage space except for the kitchen cabinets. It was crucial that we maximised the use of every inch within this small footprint," Richard emphasises.

The duo proposed an all-in-one, multifunction, full-height feature wall that not only maximises the wall space, but also the 3.2m-high ceiling. The side facing the living room has open shelves and a TV console.

By closing off one of the sliding doors, Vin managed to incorporate a bar concealed behind a ceiling-height cabinet door, which had to be hoisted up from the building exterior because it did not fit into the lift.

"The laminate strips on the doorfront are inspired by the architectural lines of the SCDA-designed condominium," says Vin.

He deliberately selected a lighter wood laminate on the inside of the door to contrast with the dark wood used on the outside, as well as the rest of the shelf. This also gets around the utilitarian look of cabinets with typical white interiors.

All these finer points showcase Vin's innate flair for detailing and his design is brought to fruition by the impeccable workmanship of the contractor, Teck Lee Carpenters. Even the air-conditioner did not escape Vin's keen eye.

The recess within which the fan coil unit is mounted was painted black and a black screen was installed over it to create a sleek solution that mitigates what many would consider an eyesore. The screen was hinged to facilitate servicing access.

The other side of the feature wall facing the bedroom comprises a built-in writing desk, cabinets and shelving ledge. The space for the writing desk was cleverly carved out from the bottom of the bar in an interlocking back-to-back arrangement.

Unlike most instances where furniture shopping comes after the interior design, Chris actually bought many of his furniture pieces before he collected the keys to the apartment. Richard and Vin rose up to the challenge and suggested a darker colour palette that would blend in more easily with the pieces.

The darker tones also provide some contrast to the existing light and medium wood toned cabinets and floor, respectively. As seen in this apartment, it is possible to make effective use of a small space without extensive hacking or renovation.

And with some interesting detailing, even a sleek and simple design can create a visual impact.

Where to go

Haelcyon Days, www.haelcyondays.com,