CREATING SPACES AND FEATURES THAT DOUBLE-UP IN FUNCTIONALITY ALLOWED THIS YOUNG COUPLE TO PURSUE THE LIFESTYLE THEY WANTED IN THEIR PINT-SIZED HOME.
Faced with a space that is only 400sqf large (or small, in this case), Annie Tan of The Interarch Design had to make the footprint work for her clients’ Wendy Lee and Leonard Sim’s lifestyle. The sociable couple wanted a place they could cook and entertain their friends in; and also had an extensive wardrobe which used to fill up one room alone in their previous place.
This apartment in Balestier might be short on floor space, but it more than makes up for it in vertical height. «We were attracted to the unit because of the 4.8m-high ceiling,» says Wendy. This height allowed Annie to create a new loft, connected to the lower floor by a spiral staircase — the loft increased the usable space in the home by about 350sqf. Moving the bedroom up to this new level lessened the space crunch on the lower floor. The living area moved into the former bedroom zone, freeing up space in the open-plan kitchen slash dining area. «Annie has made the place very liveable,» says Wendy. «It’s now sufficient for our lifestyle,» adds the homeowner of the renovation.
PACKING IT IN
With the bedroom moved out of the way onto the loft level, Annie had more room to play with on the lower floor of the home. The couple now enjoys a roomier dining area, with maximised seating provided by the cushioned bench built at the bay window. Continuing the line-of-sight of the kitchenette, the designer extended the top- and bottom-hung cabinetry all the way to the windows, providing much needed storage for the couple’s dinnerware and wine chiller. The new countertop acts as a «buffet table» if needed and conceals a nifty pull-out surface — a multi-use feature that can be utilised for anything from food preparation to a bar counter.
Once stored below the kitchen counter, the washing machine was moved to the space outside the bathroom, formerly the wardrobe. Besides the washer and dryer, these cupboards now store shoes and other household items.
In the living area too, the TV console was built above the bay window to make use of the space. Although it was a challenge finding a sofa of the right size to fit the space, Annie had her reasons for not customising the sofa. «If there are too many built-ins, the couple can’t add things they like,» she explains. Engineered-wood flooring flows throughout this space to create a cosier home environment.
«It’s whiter upstairs,» says Annie of the colour scheme of the newly created loft level, because «it’s really not a big space and white makes the space look bigger.» However, she did manage to squeeze in a customised study-and-dressing table for the couple, with storage cubbyholes below the tabletop designed to house cosmetics and accessories. Mounting the computer monitor from the ceiling is another «neat solution» that frees up countertop space.
Wherever there were available walls, Annie also built wardrobes against them, in order to provide sufficient space for all of the couple’s clothes. The bed frame and bedside tables were also custom-built for a more compact and unified look. Instead of creating a false ceiling to house lighting, which would shave off precious inches from the vertical space (the husband is 1.85m tall), Annie concealed lighting along the windows instead.
Keeping things simple here makes the bedroom appear much more spacious, especially with the abundant daylight streaming in through the windows. «They like the clean and modern look, which doesn’t go out of style,» says Annie. Another requirement was easy maintenance.
With all the boxes on their checklist ticked after the renovation, which took two months to complete, the couple had no problems hosting a party of 15 people after they moved in!