Couple inspired by New York lofts in design of 5-room HDB flat

Stepping inside Adam and Thea's Punggol HDB flat, you'll first notice how spacious it is, and how bright. From the entryway, you can see the huge open space appropriated into different areas: living room, dining area, and reading nook.

Huge windows, track lights, mismatched wooden dining chairs, red brick walls, and a cement-like floor echo the aesthetics of the industrial style.

By the brick wall is a drum set and three bicycles, deliberately displayed close together to give the space an edgy touch.

"Our home is inspired by the lofts, the New York warehouse look with the big windows. We started there and it took on a life of its own," begins Adam.

He and his wife Thea have been living here for almost a year now.

Thea adds, "Basically, we like simple stuff. The initial idea was the loft industrial kind of feel. But we also like country.

So we chose the different elements, and we chose what we liked. We didn't want to restrict ourselves to an overall theme."

Indeed, flanked at the corner is a country-themed kitchen, complete with Shaker-style cabinets, subway tiles, and French country-style cabinet knobs.

This mix of industrial and country is brilliant, and credits go to the couple who designed the home all by themselves.

"We didn't have an interior designer. We just engaged our contractor," says Thea.

"Designing wise, we didn't really consult anyone. We just had ideas in mind, and we downloaded this simple software, and we did our design there.

We paid for it, about $50, but it was worth it because we were able to see the design accurately, and therefore we could tell the contractors about it. We chose everything ourselves, from the brick walls to the flooring, to the subway tiles," says Thea.

"We just wanted to keep it clean, simple, and white. That's why we decided to cut the interior designer off," she adds.

Check out the rest of their home here:


Each guest is assured of a warm welcome as soon as they enter the flat-the deep red rug and the mustard yellow armchair cosy up the flat's first few square feet.

This simple arrangement of the bicycle, the chairs, and the rug make for a visually catching tableau and at the same time separate the entryway from the rest of the room.

The country-style storage cabinets by the door provide contrast.

Living room

The couple switches up the position of the two chairs occasionally, but now they're used to define the living room.

One of Adam's bicycles and art decors frame the TV console, which fronts a DIY coffee table made from reclaimed wood and a secondhand sofa.

"The sofa was from our office space, because we recently moved into another office. We had it upholstered and changed the sheets for $100," says Thea.

The epoxy cement flooring occupies the entire open space area, and this was something the couple DIY-ed because the contractors couldn't get the finishing right.

"So we did our own research. We went to YouTube. We did it ourselves. The reno took so long because we were waiting for it to dry," says Adam.

Furniture pieces and furnishings in white and grey go together with the white-walled section of the open area.

The DIY coffee table paired with the epoxy cement flooring reflect the industrial style's raw and rugged design. The richly textured area rug softens the look.

Three decorative pieces form a vignette on the floor: a photo frame, indoor plants positioned in front of three wooden planks, and a painting. This setup gives the place a more charming touch.

One thing the couple likes about their new home is the view of Punggol's lush greenery.

To maximise their viewing experience, the couple set up a reading nook overlooking the outdoors. It's the perfect spot for hanging out especially "when the magic hour comes in," Adam says.

Dining Area

The dining area sits next to the show-stopping red brick wall. Tiles for this wall were sourced by the couple themselves. "We sourced our own tiles, because we had the luxury of free time to go around. Our family chanced upon these red brick tiles in Defu [which we ended up using]. The contractor did present some tiles to use but we didn't like them," says Adam. The brick tile cost a dollar a piece.

The drum kit and three bicycles positioned opposite the dining table give the room an edgy vibe.

The teak dining table ("We got this from Craigslist for only $50."), the mismatched wooden chairs, brick walls, and the screeded floor round up the industrial look. The kitchen counter bar serves as a marker between the industrial-style open space and the country-style kitchen.

Framed bicycle art and inspirational posters stand out against the brick wall.


This simple yet stunning kitchen is wrapped around in white subway tiles and features Shaker-style cabinetry. "For the cabinets, we have a separate carpenter. He took care of all the cabinets in the house, including the full wardrobe. They cost us $16,000 to $17,000," says Adam.

The original walls were hacked to open up this area and provide a space for the raised bar counter.

Home office

One of the bedrooms in the flat was converted into a minimalist home office, which features this beautiful wooden desk.

Adam ordered the wooden slabs from the United States and used them to create desks in their home (one is in their bedroom). The natural grain and texture of the wood provide the home office with a rustic appeal.


Contractors hacked the walls and converted two bedrooms into a spacious master bedroom for Adam and Thea. Its beauty rests on how roomy it is. The bedroom features the wardrobe (whose handles were also meticulously chosen by the couple), the wooden-framed bed, the study desk made from the wooden slab ordered online, and bean bag chair.

The sizeable customised wardrobe and a study/lounge area occupy the other half of the bedroom.

Another lounge chair rests at the corner of the bedroom, creating a snug reading nook. The printed rug and the photo displays enliven the area. Evorich flooring was installed.

For the couple, the rich details of the wooden slab make this piece a worthy investment.


The bathroom is kept simple and unfussy with a few gorgeous details like this stained wood under-counter cabinet.

For Adam and Thea, designing their own flat definitely has its pros.

From conceptualisation to completion, the couple saw it all. "We were hands-on. We played a big part in designing, so it's like we're living in our own project," says Thea.

Adds Adam, "The fact that we spent time and effort to make it into our own home and that we had a say in how we wanted to lay out our's very fulfilling."

Sure there were pitfalls along the way-like the contractor messing up the epoxy cement finishing that the couple ended up doing it themselves- but all in all, the couple was pleased with the results.

The renovation took longer than expected, "but we're not really rush. We'd rather that they take their time than they rush the job," says Thea.

Renovation Details

Type of property: 5-Room BTO flat

Total space: 110 square metres

Budget: $50,000 ($10,000 for the contractor, $16,000 to $17,000 for the carpentry, the rest for furniture and appliances)

Carpentry: Desmond from Hometown Design & Build

Time to complete works: A month for the DIY designing, three to four months for the actual renovation

Adam and Thea's tips for homeowners:

1. Take your time. "Think things through. Source for the designers and contractors that you feel comfortable liaising with, because it's going to be a long process."

2. If you don't have a lot of time, get an interior designer. Get an interior designer if you don't want [the renovation] to take so much of your time. It's actually a tedious process, sourcing everything you need yourself. Not everybody will be up for this endeavour."

Creating better homes and family.