After spending six years in Austria as missionaries, Keh and Dorothy Chew were looking to build a home in Singapore. The home they envisioned, Dorothy shares, is useful and not too extravagant. On top of holding ministry and counselling sessions from their abode, Dorothy homeschools their 12-year-old son and is a consultant in the publishing industry, while Keh has started a branding company.
Just as the couple wear many hats, their three-bedroom HDB apartment must also serve a multitude of purposes. The couple tasked multidisciplinary design practice Waff to handle the project, specifying the need for functional space throughout the entire home as a priority. This was achieved with built-ins and clever space planning, which totalled $80,000 in renovation costs.
"The three of us had lived in a spacious five-room flat but, due to our working and studying habits, we would spend the entire day in one study room. Therefore, we wanted an open- concept home that would allow us to spend time together as a family in the same way," says Keh.
"We also needed to strike a balance between privacy and openness; when 'mom-zilla' comes out during home-schooling (laughs) I need a separate room to work, and, when we do counselling, the room should feel like a safe space. We did away with the walls of one bedroom and replaced them with sliding glass doors, erecting a small study in the living room," says Keh.
When all the sliding doors are open, the home appears more spacious. The designers and homeowners decided to leave the plywood unstained, so that it can age naturally. This multi-purpose study room was designed to fit at least four people, which is appropriate for the couple's counselling sessions that they regularly hold.
Both Dorothy and Keh like natural materials and used to collect waste wood; she carves and he builds. Hence, Waff sourced for unstained plywood and used as little laminates as possible. Beige tiles in the bathroom were chosen to match the plywood carpentry throughout the home.
The couple also mixed contemporary pieces, like the comfy Poltrona Frau couch in the living room, with vintage furniture. "We wanted something simple and nothing too ornate, but also like the lived-in look. The bedroom vintage chair as well as trunk coffee table were owned by my grandmother. We are particularly fond of local vintage pieces as they are closer to our heritage," says Keh.
They could not find a bathtub to fit the bathroom, so the designers cast one with a chamfered edge, and lined it with tiles that match those of the bathroom.
Both bedrooms feature built-in beds. Joinery, as well as the customised bathtub, took up a large portion of the budget. "We chose Waff for their contemporary style and architectural background, which ensures streamlined, well-planned spaces," says Keh.
This article was first published in Home & Decor.