In a transition from a house to a home, many critical things take place. The space, parameters and monetary value often make up the definition of a house—whether it be a HDB flat or semi-detached house. However, it’s definitely more complex when you’re talking about a home. The adage goes: “Home is where the heart is”—which means it’s dependent on the people that are living in it and what they choose to make of it. There is no fixed formula nor is there a rulebook for cultivating and building a home.
In our new interior series titled ‘What’s in my home’, we profile living spaces in Singapore that are specially curated by individuals from all walks of life. Not only are they aspirational to fawn over, they are stemmed from unique design facets sourced and dreamed up by these homeowners. From unconventional floor-plans to vintage rugs and custom-made furniture, we prodded them on their insider tips and recommendations, as well as uncovering the story behind the home they have built for themselves.
To get the ball rolling, Lauren and Lloyd of @flat_bahru share their story. Just shy of circuit breaker in 2020, the couple, who are both civil servants, moved into their HDB flat in Tiong Bahru and have since filled it up over time. In their leisure hours, Lauren creates her own illustrations while Lloyd dabbles in tech. Now, they live with their pet bird—which is said to be quite the handful addition to the house. Upon first look, Lauren and Lloyd’s home evokes tranquility and zen, with some rooms left bare and untouched. And as you peer into the rest of the spaces, you’re met with quirky and characteristic furnishings, that are meticulously cluttered in their own way. Below, via Lauren, we get to know the couple’s inspiration behind the home, her favourite features and interior recommendations.
Lauren’s personal picks:
1 / 11
We would describe our home as…
warm, vibrant, restful and self-contained.
2 / 11
Our home could not have been accomplished without...
us. Our place was self designed, with some difficulty owing to our lack of expertise. But at that point in time, the sort of unstructured, iterative process we liked was probably not suited for working with an ID. We sketched things up ourselves (badly), YouTubed how-to’s, patched and sanded our own cement floors. Slowly but surely, we got to where we are now.
3 / 11
I was inspired by...
an inexplicable emotion I felt in some spaces—whether it be speakeasy bars, a home I visited in Melbourne—which is to say, peaceful yet invigorated. I felt like I could replicate these settings by focusing on a few things—colours, natural light and soft furnishing.
4 / 11
Our favourite feature of the home is...
the shelf. I spent a fair amount of time designing it with the carpenter, so I feel rather invested in this piece. It’s also where we dump all our knick-knacks, so it reminds me abit of a junk store with all its tchotchkes and probably a very dusty surface. Is it a practical shelf? Probably not, maintenance wise—as many have pointed out. But I love it.
5 / 11
The most recent addition to the home…
are these illustrated prints in the study (courtesy of my illustration arm @dirtydoodies).
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The oldest piece of furniture here is...
probably this endearingly dinky vintage stool, from Hock Siong.
7 / 11
You’ll usually find me at…
our sofa—which is where we read, watch TV and have our tipples.
8 / 11
Something I couldn’t live without in the home is...
my ping pong table from Decathlon. It’s an all-in-one. We use it for table tennis, buffet spreads, beer pong and an extra study table whenever neccessary. It folds up when you don’t need it around, which is never. It is the absolute best!
9 / 11
I got lucky with…
this carpet. I saw this exact carpet in a restaurant overseas, and when I came back, I went around to about 10 carpet shops in Singapore asking if they had this design. But it was the proverbial needle in a haystack. Eventually, I found exactly what I was looking for in this shop, Handmade Carpet Gallery. I was so grateful to put an end to my obsessive carpet journey.
10 / 11
What I learnt from the design process is...
it is absolutely okay to do things iteratively and decide as you go along. It is also okay to be as impractical as you would like for your first home. Seek input as you like, but it boils down to what makes you happy. If we had listened to every piece of advice we got, we would have had a different home entirely.
11 / 11
I love my home because...
it is Lloyd and I, in a nutshell. It is the home to our habits and conversations and we do what we like with it, which is the only place in the world we can.