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Home Tour: This Dark and Cosy 2-Bedroom Condo under $30K is a Bachelor’s Dream

Entering this 2-bedroom condominium, you immediately sense that this is home to a bachelor. Warm pendants and downlights cast a cosy and somewhat mysterious glow against the dark cabinets and ash grey walls. Mirrors line many parts of the home, so the apartment appears larger than it really is. Lines are clean and immaculate, while the furnishings and decor feel precious.

A moody setting, defined by a dark colour scheme and warm ambient lighting.

This apartment in Sembawang is Shawn’s second home, which he purchased after selling his previous flat in Punggol. He chose it as he fell in love with the location. “I love the quiet, so I like the fact that the apartment was located at a private cluster that had a lot of privacy and serenity,” says the bachelor.

The home from the developer was a blank canvas and came with only the basics, which suited Shawn just fine as he wanted to create a home which he could truly call his own. He decided to engage MMJ Design Loft, which he settled on after shortlisting several interior design firms. He was clear on what sort of interior designer he wanted. “I wanted to work with a smaller firm, as I think they would be able to offer a more personalised service. Also, the interior designer I go with must have the necessary knowledge and is able to propose ideas that I agree with and that suit my taste. Above all, we should click well together.”

Before: The Kitchen

Before: The Living Room and Balcony

Before: The Master Bedroom

Shawn found all the qualities in Joseph and Stephenie from MMJ Design Loft. He was also particularly impressed with their ability to translate his ideas into sketches on the spot. Joseph helped managed the overall project, while Stephenie was tasked to handle the creative details of the interior design. His brief was clear to the designers. He wanted to use the colour black and he wanted elements from the modern contemporary theme in his home. He also wanted to create a cosy ambience through the use of lighting, while using mirrors to create the sense of a larger space in his small 721-square feet apartment.

Mirrors were mainly used in the living room and kitchen to enhance the sense of space.

A mirror backsplash was chosen instead of tempered glass as the former will give the impression of a bigger space.

Joseph and Stephenie got to work, fulfilling his requirements. The entire project took close to two months as there were several hiccups along the way. One of which was placing a metal display rack on the mirror backsplash in the kitchen. Shawn, who is a plant aficionado, wanted a rack where he could display his plants in the kitchen. The mirror backing would allow his plants to be reflected twofold. But because the chosen rack was too heavy, the mirror backing couldn’t take the weight initially and cracked under pressure. But instead of doing away with the idea completely, the designers sought to find a solution that would strengthen the mirror panels. Several tries later and the rack managed to stay in place.

The metal rack had difficulty staying in place initially without breaking the mirror backsplash.

A change of mind with regards to the kitchen counter also caused a delay in the renovations. Shawn initially wanted a kitchen island for aesthetic reasons but decided against it and chose an L-shaped peninsula counter instead to accommodate for more storage and to better serve as a food prep station and dining area. It also had the added advantage of separating the open kitchen from the rest of the home.

An L-shaped counter was chosen over a kitchen island in the end.

The peninsula counter doubles as an eating space as well as a food prep counter.

Despite the hiccups, the renovation proceeded accordingly and the homeowner was presented with a home that fulfilled his aesthetic requirements while still being functional and befitting of his lifestyle. Everything was done for under $30k. The dark colour scheme, coupled with the marble flooring further honed to reduce the appearance of grout lines, provided the perfect backdrop to the vibrant colours of his Bearbrick collection, which he describes as a “canvas for modern expression”.

One of his prized toy sits as a centrepiece in his living room.

His collection, which he started when he first entered the workforce, has grown pretty substantial and now decks several parts of his home. Most of the toys are out on display on a customised display shelf in the master bedroom. Besides serving as a platform for the toys, the display shelf also helps to hide the view of the bathroom vanity sink, separated from the master bathroom, from his view when he’s lying on the bed.

Most of the collectibles sit at a display rack in the master bedroom.

The master bedroom features a similar colour scheme from the rest of the home.

The display shelf helps to obscure the view of the sink from the bed.

The self-professed homebody spends most of his free time in the living room however, where he enjoys cosying up on the sofa and propping his feet up on the ottoman, while admiring his plant collection in the balcony. On what advice he can give to homeowners starting their renovation journey, Shawn advises engaging an interior designer rather than going the DIY route. “You may be looking to save money by not engaging an interior designer, but at the end of the day, you might just end up paying more. The entire process is also really time consuming, so it’s best to engage an interior designer who can supervise the process for you while also helping you turn your ideas into a realistic and practical dream home.” And he should know; after all, he’s living in his.

The living room features full-height cabinets that create plenty of storage space in this small apartment.

Cosying up on the sofa (from Living Instinct) is one of Shawn’s favourite things to do at home.

All ‘after’ photos courtesy of MMJ Design Loft, taken by Henmond Chang of AGX Photographie. ‘Before’ photos are provided by the homeowner.

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