Open House

Open House

This huge space - a three-room and a four-room flat combined, was made to look even larger by sticking to a minimalistic design.

Fact File:
Who A couple in their 20s and early 30s
Home A jumbo unit made up of a three-room and four-room flat
Size 1,765sqf

Daryl Ong and Kate Low knew that they'd chanced upon a real gem when they first laid eyes on this roomy apartment, which is a merger of a corner four-room apartment and its adjoining three-room unit. "We viewed it on Saturday, and signed the papers on Tuesday," Daryl quips.

The couple saw the potential in transforming this 22-year-old flat - which the previous occupants had already amalgamated - into the open-plan, minimalistic space that they had always envisioned their home to be, and felt that they didn't need to look any further.

There was also no hesitation when it came to picking a designer who could realise their vision; that was already decided two years ago when they stumbled upon Desmond Ong's home on a design website. "When we met, the three of us didn't need to discuss much either, because all our ideas were aligned," Daryl recalls. "The home was going to have white walls, clean lines and an open layout." Almost all the walls were brought down during the six-month, $64,000 renovation (excluding furniture), and the original five-bedroom flat is now a massive singular space.

The only doors within this gallery-like home belong to the washrooms, and even the sleeping area is left open - which Desmond thought was rather daring. It definitely helps that the couple are used to sleeping without air conditioning as well. "It's funny, because when friends come over and ask for a house tour, I simply tell them to stand at the main door, because you can see everything from there!" Daryl adds with a chuckle.

As aesthetics take precedence in this household, there are only a few powerpoints installed. For instance, the water-heater switch for the master bedroom's bathroom is located in the kitchen, but the couple feels that it was a "small sacrifice" for the home to look good.

"We wanted it very clean, so we chose cove lighting over hanging cables and exposed bulbs, and didn't include any feature wall design for the living room," Kate explains. She also attributed the home's neat outline to Desmond, who is architecturally trained and has a knack for coming up with clever ways to conceal wiring.

The lightness of this minimalistic home is also heightened by the lack of bulky wardrobes. The couple live simply and don't have many belongings, which enables them to keep most of the clutter within the few customised built-in cabinets. Despite being a marketing manager for a fashion retail company, Kate's clothes barely fill one rail. "I used to rent, and I tend to throw away a lot of things whenever I move," says Kate of her habit of living with less.

The couple were also aware that because their home was a fully open-concept space, it had to have one strong consistent look.

So, they went furniture shopping with a plan to buy most of the pieces from one shop, and got the majority of it from Ethnicraft, whose clean-lined designs were aligned with the duo's penchant for simplicity.

Having such wide open spaces is truly a luxury in the context of HDB flats, and Daryl and Kate's choice of an architectural design with minimal decorations for this space couldn't have been a better way to flaunt the extensive footprint of their home.

Where to go
Desmond Ong, Tel: 9886-6425

1. Home & Décor, published by SPH Magazines, is available in print and digital editions. Log on to to subscribe now!
2. Check out more stories at Home & Decor online,

Also, check out the Oct 2014 issue for these stories:
a) Full Spectrum
Learn to define your home using three colour schemes: colourful, chic white-on-white, or dark and dramatic.
b) Your HDB Flat Reno Wish List
Thinking of including a bathtub or kitchen island in your HDB flat? Here’s how to build your dream HDB flat without breaking the board’s rules!

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