From sake bars to yacht cabins, Singaporeans remodel no-frills public apartments

Owner decorates Singapore's no-frills public housing apartments
MICE consultant Melvyn Yap poses for a portrait in the Japanese izakaya bar-inspired living room of his 35-year-old executive cottage in Singapore on February 5, 2021. REUTERS / Edgar Su

December 14, 2021

By Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s public housing system is prized for providing affordable homes in the land-scarce country, where private apartments can cost as much as $1 million. Singapore ($740,800).

Housing Development Board (HDB) apartments, where 80% of Singapore’s 5.5 million people live, are often pragmatic with tight regulations on ownership and resale.

But inside the towers are usually sober and even, some homeowners let their creativity flow.

Melvyn Yap, a consultant, spent around S$226,000 renovating the old house he shares with his mother to create the vibe of a Japanese sake bar complete with a hydraulic table that opens up from the tatami-mat seating area where he could sip sake.

Yap, who used to frequent Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic said: “If you get a place to live, with nice neighbors, renovate it beautifully, stay in it, make it a a home rather than thinking about making money,” said Yap, who had been to Japan often before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For decades, Singaporeans have been using their HDB apartments to earn extra money by renting or reselling at a profit.

Boating enthusiast Wan Ismail bin Wan Nussin is undeterred by the relatively small size of the 750 square foot (69.7 square meter) apartment he shares with his wife and four children.

He turned the apartment into a luxury yacht cabin with wood-paneled walls and ceilings like a ship’s deck.

Ismail, an interior designer, said: “With limited space in a ship, a small area needs to have multiple uses and that is how I applied this concept to a boxed apartment. small shoe holder” bed.

Maheswari Balan transformed the HDB she shares with her husband into a post-apocalyptic doomsday bunker with concrete walls and floors and a weapon cabinet displaying archery equipment.

“You want to come home to a place where you can be yourself, so just be creative, be yourself and go crazy with the (design) home you want,” says Balan.

(Written by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Edited by Ed Davies and Christian Schmollinger) From sake bars to yacht cabins, Singaporeans remodel no-frills public apartments


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