Luxury Loft in the heart of Central Singapore

A large white loft with high ceilings and skylights – newly renovated by an award winning young Singaporean architect. This is a very rare conservation apartment from one of the oldest and trendi…

A Labour of Love

This 12 month project began in May 2015 when I bought the house.  This is a 1930s conservation status home in one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods Tiong Bahru.  I managed to buy get my hands on a rare find: a ground floor corner unit which is larger than most, and more natural light as it has windows running down the entire length of the house. Only the ground floor units have the most amazing double height ceilings.

In August 2015, I wrote a Medium post about it!

Did One Man a Real Estate Market Make

Designing something big

I needed an architect/designer and I only had two conditions:  I wanted someone Singaporean and I wanted someone fabulous.  And it was Glen Goei (who has three Tiong Bahru apartments) who suggested that I speak to Vince (who also lives in Tiong Bahru and has completed several Tiong Bahru projects and is familiar with URA conservation rules.).  Vince Ong of Ebon Designs was DesignSingapore’s first architectural scholar and completed his 6-year degree in Architecture in London under an Architectural Association (AA) scholarship. This unnaturally young and extraordinarily talented boy, only graduated in 2009 and has worked for Fosters + Partners and WOHA before setting up his own studio.  

I found this quote in a media article on Vince’s website: 

“He has become the go to architect for a new breed of homeowners who don’t just want art on their walls – they want it seamlessly incorporated into the very building.”

And true enough, Vince has designed my  uber sexy cement screed kitchen countertop, my cast concrete sink and all my floor-to-ceiling, built-in cabinets.  He is now working on sculpting my dining table and my bedside lamps!

What do you do with a blank slate?

73 Eng Watt Drawing


Try something different, something out of my comfort zone

But did I want wood or steel? Concrete or slate? Granite or Graphite? Timber wood or concrete floors? What bathrooms? What lights? What kitchen fixtures?  Round or square? Matt or shiny? What colour? What fabric? What material? The  decision paralysis that resulted from psychologist Barry Schwartz’s “paradox of choice” never been felt more real.

When small things become big decisions

For the first 10 months, I insisted on retaining creative control, wanting to specify every fixture in the house.  I also wanted everything done cheap.

Note to self: Not a good combination.

Compounded by a complete loss of rationality

I have come to realise that that beauty trumps rationality – every ounce of rationality gets washed down the drain once I seen something that is beautifully designed versus the cheap alternative.  1,000X more so than when I see a beautiful dress or a gorgeous pair of shoes.  Architectural / interior design trumps everything else I’ve ever bought in the past! I would never in my wildest dreams have guessed that I would love a ceiling fan as much as I love my Haiku, or my bathroom sink as much as I LOVE my Palomba Hans Grohe Sink! And the green wall? Worth every cent for the auto irrigating, auto-fertilizing green wall, even if all the plants die after a month. They will just have to be replaced.

My hard, rational bias to economise and keep costs low resulted in my insistence that we pick only cheap fixtures, only to realise that I HATED the cheap fixtures and had them all removed and replaced with Vince’s original proposals.  I must have flip flopped and changed my mind a hundred times; like a bipolar, schizophrenia freak.  I’m sure I drove Vince crazy.  To be honest, I’m surprised he hasn’t fired me as a client and still talks to me after what I put him through.

Building a roof!

We had to get planning permission to erect a roof over the back courtyard.

00. 73 Eng Watt (Original)

To see the flat in it’s full glory and metamorphosis, watch this video!

The roof we built has the most beautiful skylights  to allow natural light into the apartment in the annex.  We elevated the floor and added 3 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, installed 2 kitchens, built a green wall!

My Green Wall

The AirBNB Annex

I now get to share  the oasis in which I have grown to call home with the rest of the world. The annex is already on AirBnB and my first guests arrived tonight. You could be the next ones!

Learn more on my micro-blog for the apartment: