Warm tones, knick-knacks give industrial-style space a welcoming feel

Who: A couple and their young child

Home: Three-bedroom HUDC flat in Serangoon

Size: 1,650sqf

When Sebastian Gehlfuss and his wife found out they were expecting, they decided to move back to Singapore and into the 28-year-old HUDC flat in Serangoon belonging to the wife's parents - after all, nothing is more comforting than familiar grounds.

"My in-laws were happy for us to buy over their flat, as they found a more elderly-friendly one nearby," says Sebastian.

The couple had lived in London for a few years, where they fell in love with the aesthetics of the old wharf warehouse their apartment was in. To recreate the feel of that abode here, they brought back some beloved furnishings, such as a cowskin rug bought at a London street market and their matrimonial bed.

They also worked with interior firm Box.ID to incorporate industrial elements into their new home; the concrete floor and exposed electrical trunking throughout the flat was a must, as well as a reddish, raw brick wall in the living room.

Sideboards and shoe cabinets were also fashioned out of concrete with mesh wire doors, in a renovation that cost $48,000, excluding furnishings.

The couple also had one rule for the design: It had to feel like home; and they achieved that largely by decorating the walls with family photographs. "We take a lot of photos, and buy nice frames. We knew we had to have a photo wall," says Sebastian.

The cold, industrial look was balanced with warmer tones. For instance, they chose a walnut wood look laminate for their kitchen cabinetry and dining table, and a dark brown leather sofa. The Haiku fan in cocoa bamboo, colourful dining chairs, and Peranakan tiles on the kitchen floor play a part in creating a welcoming, lived-in atmosphere as well.

When asked what his favourite part of the house is, Sebastian says: "Definitely the large living area. It keeps the family together, even if I am eating dinner at the kitchen island while my wife plays with our son in the living room."

Where to go: Box.ID, Tel: 6341-7105

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