The Chic Home: a handyman couple builds a dream home, Home and design news

SINGAPORE – Walking into this detached home of a couple in their thirties and their two young daughters, it’s hard to believe that the well-appointed interior of this 7,500 square foot home is entirely their creation.

Considering its size and location on Dunearn Road, the renovation – which took around 18 months – was a gargantuan undertaking for an oil trader and housewife with no architectural, design or construction experience.

As the couple – who did not wish to be named – knew what materials, finishes and colors they wanted, they saw no need to work with a middleman. They worked directly with a builder and his subcontractors, as well as a structural engineer.

“We took a functional approach while designing it around our lifestyle,” explains the woman. “That said, we also wanted the design to have flair, so we opted for a contemporary style using clean lines to reflect subtle sophistication.”

The two-story property – which the couple moved into in 2017 – was in relatively good condition and needed only minor renovations.

However, they wanted to enlarge the side of the house and add an attic. They also reconfigured the kitchen and living room as they didn’t like having the kitchen at the front of the house.

The other spaces they introduced were an entertainment room, games room, and library.

The cost of the project was $ 1.18 million, including the integrated carpentry, and excluding the purchase price of the property and the cost of the furniture.

With the exception of the dining table, bed frame and living room seat in the master bedroom, which were purchased on the stand, everything else – from sofas and beds to tubs, chandeliers and speakers ceiling – has been painstakingly researched and imported.

The owners decided to research the furniture themselves due to the multitude of products available overseas.

Another reason, the wife said, was that they had “checked local furniture stores and found that the most unique pieces had to be indented or imported, which involved long wait times and dealer margins.” .

She adds that it was never a question of choosing the cheapest option, but “to be resourceful and get value for your money”.

The couple are avid collector of Lim Tze Peng artwork, and their favorite is this single-character calligraphy piece, “国” (country), which is featured near the staircase. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


The Taylor B bed frame, sofa, lounge chair and chandelier in the master bedroom evoke a sense of Ralph Lauren style, while the clawfoot tub, hanging glass globes and ottoman make up the master bathroom. an indulgent sanctuary. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


A chandelier gives the walk-in closet of the master suite, with doors covered in a single length of fabric, a feeling of luxury. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR

Doing everything themselves was not without challenges. There was constant planning, research, decision making and execution.

“In addition to approving floor plans and details such as the position of switches and downlights, we also had to regularly monitor the construction process to ensure that our instructions to the workers were not lost in translation.” , she says.

She watched YouTube tutorials so that she could plot their interior designs in 3D and map the sizes and locations of the furniture.

Although it is a difficult process, homeowners say they would do it again for their next home.


The eldest daughter’s bedroom has a castle bed, fit for a princess. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


The inspiration for the youngest girl’s bedroom comes from Pottery Barn, with a floor bed and a canopy that hints at a glamping theme. A fish-themed wall element, meanwhile, served as a starting point for the interior design of the bedroom. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


Built-in furniture clad in ebony veneer gives the entertainment room a mens club vibe. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR

The hostess enjoyed the process so much that she enrolled in an interior design course specializing in perspective building, rendering, and 3D computer modeling at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

She has since started her own interior design company, Interiors by JCB, to help others design their dream home.

She advises homeowners: “Don’t get crippled by the plethora of decisions and options. Do your research beforehand and anticipate the big decisions.

“Plus, be realistic about the move-in date. And, most importantly, enjoy the process.”


The owners took the opportunity to modify the facade of the house to match the new design. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


The double height of the volume and the skylight of the library make it the ideal reading place. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR


Most of the items in the house have been carefully researched and imported. PHOTO: HOME AND DECOR

• This article first appeared in the March 2021 issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines. Get the April issue and the latest issue of Home & Decor now at any newsstand or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also discover more inspiring homes on the Home & Decor website.


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About Nell Love

Nell Love

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