Derrick Hoh spends $100k to turn 40-year-old HDB flat into this gorgeous smart home

PHOTO: Instagram/Derrick Hoh, Screengrab from YouTube

Stepping into Derrick Hoh’s home, you might think you have entered straight into a Muji furniture catalogue. 

Upon closer inspection, you'd realise the four-room HDB flat is also fitted with various gizmos.

The 40-year-old repurchased unit is the newly renovated love nest of the singer-songwriter, 36, and his wife, who isn't named to preserve her privacy.

In an interview with 8Days, Derrick revealed that it was "a super steal" to snag the flat at its $276,000 price tag when they first saw it listed at their BTO balloting exercise.

He said: “The market price [for flats] around this area is about $440,000. This is the perfect neighbourhood for me. It is quiet and close to my parents’ home. 

“My mum kaypoh around and she found out from the neighbours that the previous owner had passed away of old age. So, we thought that was kind of a good vibe since she lived a long life, and I could potentially do that as well.” 

Derrick shared that they were originally concerned about encountering issues with loan sharks with a repurchased flat. 

In addition, the flat was also in a bad condition. “There were burn marks because I think the previous owner burnt incense," he added.

In December last year, his sister-in-law — a contractor — was tasked to renovate the 980-square-feet space that was stripped bare of fixtures and fittings. 

The total renovation bill came up to $100,000, and the bulk of the cost went into cabinets for storage. The couple spent about $44,000 on carpentry work. 

A whopping five-figure sum also went into fixing Derrick's studio, making it the most expensive room in the flat, he said. 

The bulk of the renovation cost went into building cabinets for storage to achieve the 'clean' look. PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube. 

Flat was designed to ‘make his wife happy’

On the Mediacorp online video series #JustSwipeLah, Derrick gave a house tour after its transformation was completed in June. 

The devoted husband revealed that he made sure every detail of the flat was designed to "make his wife happy". 

Dishing out relationship tips to host Seow Sin Nee, Derrick said: “Always find a compromise, you’ll lead a happier life”. 

Indeed, the centrepiece of the flat is an artwork commemorating Derrick's first date with his wife in Hong Kong on May 19, 2018. 

PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube

Besides a wedding picture made out of Lego bricks and preserving the bouquet he used to propose as decor, Derrick shared that having a smart home is the "secret to a happy marriage". 

The tech enthusiast has connected his home with voice-controlled devices, an automated laundry system with a self-drying feature, and smart speakers so that the couple can "page" each other in their flat. The total cost? About $5,000. 

He added to 8Days: “A lot of things are very ‘extra’, but they come in useful. It’s more about convenience and improving your quality of life, rather than a necessity. It frees me up to do other more important things and can also minimise conflict [with my wife].

“If my wife tells me to turn off the lights, I can just tell Google to do it. You may think these are little things, but they all add up. If you don’t handle them with finesse, they'll affect the marriage. Happy wife, happy life”. 

ALSO READ: Radio DJ Kunhua turns $800,000 HDB flat into 'retro-rojak' heaven but don't compare it to a Hong Kong diner

chingshijie@asiaone.com