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

PHOTO: Instagram/kunhua_c

If you're lucky enough to step into local DJ Kunhua's house located in the central part of Singapore, you would would be forgiven for feeling like you've been transported back in time.

Or more specifically, to the ye olden days of Hong Kong.

You also would not be faulted for thinking that it bears a strong resemblance to a cha chaan teng (Hong Kong diner) but you best keep that opinion to yourself.

On the Mediacorp series Just Swipe Lah, the 35-year-old said in mock outrage: "I don't really like it when people say my home looks like a cha chaan teng."

That was in response to a remark made by the host Seow Sin Nee who likened his interior design to that of a Hong Kong diner.

His house is decked out in vintage furniture with some vintage collectibles, along with a wall of vinyl records and Wong Kar Wai movie posters placed around the house — a "retro-rojak" design, he called it. As for the colour palette, there're a lot of green and dark wood colours because he likes it.

"It's kind of a retro, nostalgic feel. Some people say that it does have retro Hong Kong vibes. I really visited the furniture shops, one after the other, and slowly got everything for my home."

In a separate interview with 8days, Kunhua shared that the 1,300-sq ft flat cost $800,000 and was above his budget, however, he was attracted to the space and "all the potential it held for a dramatic transformation".

PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube

Kunhua also shared more details behind the retro mood and feel of his place. Unsurprisingly, it came from his love of Kar Wai's films.

"I like Wong Kar Wai films, so I felt my first home should be something that creates that kind of mood. I am also quite a sentimental person, so I have quite a lot of things that are not very new that I want to keep in the house, like my books, CDs, and vinyl records, so this is the best way to showcase them."

Renovations cost $80,000 and took five months, but, he admitted that the delay was partially due to his "fussy" nature and his insistence on finding the best furnishings and fittings for his first home.

PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube

He said: "For example, it took me a very long time to find the deep green tiles that I used for the kitchen backsplash. I wanted a specific shade of green and size, so we went around Singapore looking for it.

"I die die want that tile and was prepared to import it. Fortunately, we found it at a very small tile shop in Defu Lane. That whole process took about two to three weeks."

There's even a piece of his family's legacy that's proudly framed and displayed — the very last plastic bag from a sundry shop that his grandparents used to run in Chinatown.

PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube

"We closed the shop about 10 years ago and this is the last plastic bag that we have. It has a picture of our shopfront and I got the bag framed because I wanted to preserve part of my dad and grandparents' legacy. It's like an heirloom. I didn't manage to preserve the signboard, or I would display it too."

His favourite spot in the flat is a walk-in wardrobe which was converted from a bedroom. It's the least retro looking and has a simple design. Wooden cabinets line the walls and there's a daybed installed.

This is where Kunhua can be found if he needs some me-time.

He said: "This is where I relax and read. I can sit here all day and also sleep on the daybed. Sometimes I will bring in one of the crates [from the bedroom] and do my work here, and when friends come over, we can sit around here, too."

PHOTO: Screengrab from YouTube

When asked what his parents thought of the retro design, he replied that they just found it "nice", adding: "I think my parents find it very weird that their kid likes retro stuff. Why would a young guy like things from their era?"

There was also maybe a supernatural occurrence but Kunhua isn't too bothered by it.

"Just the other day, the TV turned on by itself. I mentioned it on-air and Cynthia [Koh] asked me if I wanted her to introduce a method to cleanse the place. But I'm an optimistic person, so I just brushed it off as something was wrong with the TV. It doesn't bother me."

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