Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hip Replacement

The Sunday Times (Life!)
March 24, 2007

Hip replacement
By Tay Suan Chiang

IT MAY have had a $50,000 makeover to give its interior the sleek lines of contemporary living, but this 60-year-old flat at Tiong Bahru has retained its heart - in more ways than one.

Some original touches have been kept, such as the cabinet doors in the kitchen, which were sanded down and repainted.

There's also an original built-in mosaic window seat that runs along the length of the living room. The owners and friends enjoy watching the bustle of trendy Tiong Bahru from it.

The owners, a young working couple who declined to be named, faced quite a challenge when they bought the flat.

It wasn't fit to be lived in, they recall of the 925 sq ft flat bought 11/2 years ago

Indeed, the four flights of stairs leading up to it still look every one of their six decades in age.

But step inside, and shabby becomes chic.

While the facade is old, the owners, who moved in last month, said: 'We decided that retro wasn't us and we wouldn't be able to live with it in the long run.'

Major work had to be done, the first of which was the flooring. The flat's old tiles were removed and in their place is cement flooring. As well as giving an edgy, urban vibe, the owners say it is more affordable and easy to maintain.

Small but cosy

The flat also had two bedrooms at the front that have been converted into a bigger living area. A third bedroom nearer the entrance of the flat is now the couple's bedroom.

While the pair love the flat's convenient location, they say there is a downside to living there.

'Space is a real challenge; it is just right for two of us and our small dog,' he says.

So when it comes to buying items for the home, they have to think twice. 'Everything must be small and compact.'

SPACED OUT: To enlarge the living and dining areas, two bedrooms at the front of the house were knocked down. -- LIM WUI LIANG

DOUBLE DUTY: The home owners opted for a horizontal commercial fridge which could also act as a counter top. -- LIM WUI LIANG

AS GOOD AS NEW: An old-style calendar hangs from a restored door of a kitchen cabinet. -- LIM WUI LIANG

TREASURE: A mosaic-tiled seat by the living room window was retained in its original condition, offering visitors a bird's eye view of Tiong Bahru. -- LIM WUI LIANG

JUNK FIND: The grilles with heart-shaped patterns were taken from the home owner's former neighbour in Braddell who had thrown it out during his renovation works. -- LIM WUI LIANG

CLEAN LOOK: White is the predominant colour scheme in the house. -- LIM WUI LIANG