Reader’s home

Posted on Wed, 29 Sep 2010 by midcenturyjo

Paul and his wife Elsa have recently moved into their new home in Singapore (an 86m2/925 sq ft public housing apartment). Turning to magazines and blogs for inspiration they have created this fabulous minimalist apartment, a perfect respite from Singapore’s hectic pace. Emailing with Paul he came up with an insight into Singapore’s growing design scene.

Things have really started to move design and architecture-wise in Singapore over the past 5-6 years. Lots of interesting stuff now, but I think we are still some way away from finding our own design vernacular. There isn’t a “Singapore” look, in the way that there is an American country-home look, or a Scandinavian aesthetic, or even the modern-Australian feel that so many of the Sydney and Melbourne homes that you have put up on your site have achieved. I guess it is a bit difficult with the cookie-cutter government housing flats that 80% of us live in, where everything is pre-fab. For a long time, the government was just trying to put together as much low-cost housing as possible to meet the demands of population growth. So build quality is alright, and the flats are relatively affordable, but they were absolutely zip in terms of design until recent years. More effort is being put in to the aesthetics of the new built flats now, but the one I just moved in to recently is about 10 years old, and was certainly built for function rather than form. I have always been a fan of mid-century modern and minimalist styles. What I tried to do with the flat is to keep it honest to its pre-fab/concrete/city-space background by taking on an industrial feel and meshing it with what the styles that I liked. It was challenging because neither my wife nor I have any background in design whatsoever, but really great fun. There are many other really interesting interpretations of public housing flats though – everything from modern baroque to faux-country house, and from Balinese resort to French petit-Chateau style. It will be interesting to see if all the different styles somehow converge into a “Singaporean” look in the future!

Kevin S. says:

I love the design Paul. I'm currently based in Melbourne and looking for ideas to renovate my HDB pod when I return sometime next year. What sort of flooring and from which company did you use for the master bedroom?

Paul S says:

Hi Kevin, the flooring is just normal parquet that was already there from the previous owners. We just got some flooring people to stain it a very dark, almost black, walnut colour.

Sonja says:

Hi Paul,

For two design newbies, you have done a wonderful job decorating this apartment. My favorites are the reading room and the office space. The desk you have, is exactly what I'm looking for for our new place. Could you tell me where you bought it?

Paul S says:

Hi – the desk was actually built in. I told my contractors what I wanted and we worked on the design a little bit to fit the room.

Sonja says:

As design newbies I think you did a wonderful job with decorating the apartment. I would be happy if our new place turned out half as nice. The reading area and office space are my favorites. May I ask where you got the desk from? It's excatly what I've been looking for.
Thank you,

Sonja says:

I just repeated myself. For some reason I couldn't see my first post … Sorry about that Paul and thanks for your answer.

Riant says:

Hi Paul, I really love what you've done with your apartment. You should consider becoming a part-time interior designer! Lol!

May I ask what kind of sealant did you use for your cement flooring? And if it's not too much to ask, could I also have the contact for your contractor please?

Thank you!

Ex singa pat says:

If there is a "Singapore style" it is a style and design conscious one. A lot of people seem to be much more aware of design classics, new designs and put a great deal of thought and money into their living spaces than in other parts of Asia, not to say the world, also interiors in Singapore often have parts in the decor that look back on Singapore's history, with anything from old bicycle taxis and window bars to old soda bottles and Peranakan style tiles on display.

Take Hong Kong as a contrast, where people in general are obsessed with real estate as an investment, but do not seem to care much about their living spaces and architecture and interior design most of the time seems to come as an afterthought.

Steve says:

I love that clock! Who makes that?

wei says:

The place looks really great!

May i know how to achieve the effect for your bathroom wall?
Is it cement screed? Any maintenance issue with this adoption since the moisture level is high?

I am thinking of cement screed for my bathroom wall but everyone around me discourages saying that crack lines will appear after a few years plus the dampness will result in mold and porous.

So really hope to hear from you. Thanks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are indicated by *