$2,000 to transform HDB room into jungle hideout for man and his pet spiders

PHOTO: Facebook/StaceysSWDC

Spiders may seem to be more of a pest than pet to many, but not for one homeowner in Singapore.

Recently, Facebook user Kelvin Lee wowed the internet with photos of his "nature-themed" work cum gaming room.

Kelvin wrote that he had built the room about two years ago when he needed a home office but only got around to posting the photos on Sept 19 due to "procrastination". 

The room not only serves as a "man cave", but also happens to house three pet spiders — Coffee and "her husband" Siew Dai, as well as Hershey, a new addition. Coffee, an Asian Hermit Spider, is Kelvin's unabashed favourite, and the couple even gets pride of place beside his desk in the room.

"I found Hershey on a wall of a condo lobby and brought her home. I don't actively search for spiders to keep, but if I do bump into one day that might be in a little need of help, then I'll bring it home!" Kelvin told AsiaOne.

This is Coffee's little corner. I had raised Coffee ever since she was an egg, so naturally I love her the most. She has her own little corner on the desk beside me, right beside the pantry.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

To commemorate his unique space and interests, Kelvin's Facebook page is cheekily named "Stacey's Web" — Stacey being one of his earliest pet spiders who has since died. "It's a page for happy stuff," shared the 34-year-old, who's also a keen photographer.

In the description, Kelvin noted that "Stacey's Web Development Company" or "SWDC", is "a company run by spiders for spiders".

This is the SWDC office today! A little haven for spiders and humans alike. It's surprisingly easy enough to maintain, I...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

"It's a joke name I gave the room after Stacey started building webs all over my room," wrote Kelvin, who very incidentally, works as a web developer and graphic designer himself. 

Because of the Facebook page, Kelvin has even received inquiries from unsuspecting "customers" looking for tech expertise.

The description added: "We are terrible at making money, but will win your heart over with adorable spiders and cool photos." 

We're not so sure about the adorable spiders, but from the photos, the 3m by 2m room is indeed impressive. Based on the before-and-after photos, it's hard to believe that it's the same room.

This was how it started. It used to be my bedroom, and has since been sitting dormant just collecting dust.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

First of all, with its dark, full-carpeted interior brightened by pops of green from the plant walls, the room looks much more expensive than the $2,000 it cost Kelvin to build.

On the left is the spiders' office. Stacey and Pepper used to live in the little jungle with 2 vertical vines to attach their webs to. Coffee lives on her own desk beside mine.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

What's amazing is that Kelvin DIY-ed the entire project himself, using a combination of upcycled and new materials.

When asked about the inspiration behind the room, he replied: "I love nature, and I love tech, so I did my best to combine the two into a modern design."

The car-modification enthusiast stated that the reason for going the DIY route was because he "loves building stuff". Kelvin added that the project was a "good distraction" from the time when he was going through a difficult period in his life.

With tools and "some expertise from modifying cars", deciding to do everything himself was "a no-brainer", said Kelvin.

Besides painting the walls black with the help of his wife, Kelvin did his own mounting for ceiling spotlights, installed the feature walls, built his own tabletop as well as carpeted the entire room, among other things.

I hung them off the ceiling with some thick metal chains. They contrast really well with the black ceiling!

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

I then added the jungle plants by simply jabbing them into the foam. If you think they look familiar, it's because they...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

The gamer and audiophile also made sure that the room was soundproof and spent some time in his Facebook post describing all the equipment that lay well-concealed in the room. 

This is my PC, which used to be a white NZXT. I built it to a black and orange color scheme with a vent cut at the top...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

All the wires coming from the PC are hidden in a thick, leafy vine attached to my table. All wires are hidden below the...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

There’s even what we think would be every gamer's dream set-up — a massage chair with a keyboard facing a large overhanging screen. Kelvin called the recliner "his wife's throne".

The wife's throne. I built her a desk using a spare board from my IKEA Lack table. It's just enough to use the PC...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

The whole process of the renovation, shared Kelvin, took a couple of months of planning and experimenting through "trial and error". 

Professing to be "very particular" and stating how he “hates” exposed wiring, Kelvin added that with his own project, he can “take the time to perfect every measurement, hide every cable".

With his exacting requirements, he was also sure that no one would have wanted to undertake this project.

"Knowing how everything was built makes it easier to do any modification work in the future," said Kelvin.

And what about the spiders? 

Yes, it's a room where man and spiders have learnt to coexist harmoniously, it seems. 

Pepper's webs grew bigger, encroaching on my wakeboards and my wife's massage chair. But oh well, that's what you get when living with spiders.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

And now, introducing the free-roaming spiders of SWDC! This is Stacey, a gigantic Golden Orb Web Spider proudly watching...

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

With four "web developers" in one room, it sure can get a tad crowded in there. 

Kelvin noted that certain parts of the room such as his standing desk and the area near the window have become the spiders' favourite spots for spinning webs. 

One of Pepper's favorite locations, right above my workstation. It was a little annoying, but I do enjoy seeing her there very much. And at least she left space for me to close the windows.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

Wrote Kelvin, who chooses to leave the webs as they are, untouched: "That's why my standing desk is no longer a standing desk".

Surprisingly, his long-legged friends "don't encroach often" into his space. He added: "I feel that it is my decision to let them roam free, so I do my best to not destroy what they have built."

Pepper's webs grew bigger, encroaching on my wakeboards and my wife's massage chair. But oh well, that's what you get when living with spiders.

Posted by Stacey's Web on Sunday, September 19, 2021

Kelvin told AsiaOne that his passion for spiders started when he was about eight years old, "catching and rearing spiders and sneaking off to nature reserves without my parents' knowing".

"I just always found small wildlife interesting when you really look closely," he shared.

The internet's response to the elaborately done up room has been overwhelmingly positive, but understandably mixed when it comes to the spiders.  

Screengrabs from Facebook/StaceysSWDC

Of course, there was at least one Spidey joke thrown in.

Screengrab from Facebook/StaceysSWDC

However, fans can expect new changes coming up soon, as Kelvin noted that he intends to renovate the room once again, to "remove the carpet and set up a live plant / high humidity area for free-roaming spiders".

"Also to paint the ceiling a lighter colour so I can attach some cove lighting and brighten the room up," he wrote.

candicecai@asiaone.com