Japandi: a combination of the much-loved Scandinavian style paired snugly together with classic Japanese elements. Although they come from different sides of the globe, they both share similar principles in exercising minimalism.
Owned by a family of three with two dogs, this home is the perfect embodiment of the Japandi style, with the warm woods complemented by industrial textures and reflective surfaces. It's minimalist, choosing to showcase just one or two accent pieces. Designed by Singapore-based interior design agency Voilà, this home appears clean and straightforward, but is full of hidden surprises.
"The lady of the house is Japanese. I think it influences the way we designed this project because the family really embraces the Japanese culture," says Voilà interior designer Eileen Low. "She doesn't believe in having a TV. Also, she does flower arrangement classes at home, so she needs a table with good circulation where she can walk around to guide her students."
On the other hand, the husband wanted something resembling a hidden man cave, with the doors of the house concealed such that it cannot be seen from afar.
Scroll through the gallery to see how a 71-year-old HDB flat was transformed into a cosy home filled with modern-rustic vibes:
The feature that takes centre stage in this house is undeniably the wood panelling that extends along the wall of the living area. "It's a custom-made five-wood laminate panelling," explains Eileen. "In the market, there are pre-made panelling available, but due to the size and the homeowners' specific request for a good mixture of wood textures, so the carpenter had to make it streak by steak."
On the other side is a bronze mirror wall that creates the illusion of a bigger living room. "The husband wanted to incorporate mirror walls as the original living room is quite small," says Eileen. "I thought it would be a good idea to use a tea mirror as it is not as stark and glaring as a glass mirror, so it blends in with the rest of the theme."
Both the wood panelling and mirror walls hide doors to the master bedroom and bathroom respectively.
On the other side is another hidden surprise. This display shelf hides the entrance to the aforementioned mancave, a.k.a the study room.
One thing with old HDBs is that there are a lot of exposed pipes. Boxing up those pipes made the bathroom, that has no windows, even smaller than it was before. "The goal is to make the bathroom feel light and airy. We chose white marble as the base but we mattified it so it doesn't come off as tacky," says Eileen. The tiles are from Voilà's usual tile supplier, Hafary.
An industrial sliding door leads one from the bathroom to the walk-in wardrobe area of the master bedroom.
Instead of using cement screed, the design team chose to use cement effect paint instead to minimise dust and create a safer environment for the couple's 10-month-old toddler and two dogs.
Similar to the bathroom, the kitchen had a lot of exposed pipings for the air-conditioning. To conceal them, Eileen and team used different layers of cabinets but stagger them in sizes so that the homeowners still have sufficient storage. "As the pipes run across the kitchen, you waste a lot of cabinet space," elaborates Eileen. "The top portion has a deeper depth for the aircon piping, followed by a slimmer middle layer and then the spacious bottom cabinets."
This marble honeycomb half-flooring idea came spontaneously when Eileen and the homeowners chanced upon the hexagonal tiles in the shop. "The initial plan was to use 100 by 100 square ceramic tiles to differentiate the wet and dry areas, but we changed our minds when we saw these adorable honeycomb tiles in the shop," recalled Eileen. "And it allows me to experiment with staggered lines, so it's really fun!"