How we designed a Five Bedroom HDB apartment – featured on Squarerooms Magazine 2014

One of the reasons for our dedication in our work is the ultimate result of having our works being selected as a feature on magazine. We have picked out our featured work selected for the October 2014 issue of Squarerooms magazine to share the insides of what goes on behind the scenes:

Given a brief requirement on a typical BTO five-bedroom floor plan, we had the freedom to decide upon any style/ concept we would like to have for the living-dining area.

We were told that the same floor plan was given to the five other firms to design too. Hence each firm will express each of their own ideas on the same given plan.

It was a rather tight schedule to meet – a timeline of only about 8 days – to produce the 3D drawings of the entire concept. Nonetheless, we’ve done well.

Here are the following steps that we took:

Step 1: Space Planning

Our task was focused on designing the living/dining areas only. Before jumping into the style or concept, we first plotted out the space layout of the furniture, the space of walkways and any other built in carpentry. Creative thoughts are given to space planning and definitely require a sufficient amount of time to finalise on the most space effective layout.

At Story Of Us, we emphasize the importance of Creative Space Planning.

SquareRooms Feature - Original Floor Plan

SquareRooms Feature – Original Floor Plan

As shown above, the given layout is quite similar to other units that we have previously worked on before, such as Greenleaf Tampines and Waterwood Crescent HDB apartments. Having similar floorplans given by different clients, our aim is to achieve different looks for each home – each with its unique style.

After much thought, we came up with the idea to hack down the wall between the kitchen and the living room. What we had in mind was to accommodate for a kitchen with specific wet and dry areas. We thought an island kitchen would be unique for a HDB apartment. In addition, this gave us the opportunity to modify the kitchen area into specific wet and dry areas.

SquareRooms Feature - Hack Wall

SquareRooms Feature – Hack Wall

Having this idea in place will allow the homeowners to do their heavy cooking within the wet kitchen while entertaining of guests and prepareation of food could be done in the dry area. This helps to create better workflow and cleanliness can be easier maintained.

SquareRooms Feature - Dry Kitchen Layout

SquareRooms Feature – Dry Kitchen Layout

On the lounge area, we wanted it to be as spacious as possible without making the rest of the living/dining area any smaller. So, we planned a concealed passageway that links to the TV feature wall, accentuating the impression of a larger space. We felt that this feature is able to create a visually larger space to echo the luxurious sleek aura of the apartment.

In addition, we planned a 6-8 seater dining set in the dining area to let the homeowner fulfill their desires for entertainment of guests, which is perfect, as most HDB apartments do not have enough space for such a luxury.

SquareRooms Feature - Completed Layout

SquareRooms Feature – Completed Layout

Step 2: Conceptualizing / Configuration

After we have finalised our layout, we need to know how each fabrication piece should look like in order to cater to our theme of modern contemporary. By expressing this style through our built in carpentry pieces, it can help to enhance the overall ambience. At this point of designing, it is also important to take note of the specific dimensions to ascertain that every item was well in proportion.

Configuration of Living  Storage Cabinet and Conceal Passage Way

Configuration of Living Storage Cabinet and Conceal Passage Way

Configuration Dry Kitchen Area

Configuration Dry Kitchen Area

Overall Concept

Overall Concept

Step 3: Material and Colour Selections

Following this, we went on to pin down the exact colours and materials for each piece of furniture. In fact, colours and materials play a large part in design in order to create the overall look and ambience to suit the theme. There are a wide variety of choices to choose from, such as wood laminates that come in many different tones and textures. A brighter wood tone will lighten up the overall feel as compared to a darker wood tone. However, having a dark wood tone can also create a luxurious modern look. Hence, these choices are best made by placing all the materials side by side to view the overall feel, before making a decision.

Once the materials for the carpentry items are selected, it is time to dress the walls. Paint colours are a simple yet inexpensive way to enhance the ambience of the concept. However there are many other options such as stucco, wallpaper or tiles that can also bring out textures upon the wall itself. All in all, the colours of the walls have to complement well with the floorings of the house.

Material / Colour Scheme Application

Material / Colour Scheme Application

Introducing Raw Brick Texture on Wall

Introducing Raw Brick Texture on Wall

Step 4: Lighting and Styling

It is time for all the other loose furniture to be set in place. Keeping in mind – every piece of item should always reflect the style and concept to avoid any mismatching.

Lastly, we decided on how the lightings were laid out. Lightings create the mood at night, you can choose for warm lightings if you are the cosy type, or cool white temperature should you prefer something brighter. Avoid using daylight temperature lighting as it gives off some bluish tone through the lights and are often seen as some ghostly shadow effect. In this apartment, we have chosen track lightings in black to give off a more clean-cut gallery feel.

3d Rendered Drawing - Living and Dining Area

3d Rendered Drawing – Living and Dining Area

3d Rendered Drawing - Dry Kitchen Area

3d Rendered Drawing – Dry Kitchen Area

Placing everything together comes with great time and teamwork.
At Story Of Us, we constantly share our ideas and are proud to present our works to show our creativity. We hope that you continue to follow up on our articles to stay tuned to our updates on design tips and thoughts! Thank you for your time and we hope to continuously inspire you with our works.

If you have anything you like to read about in our next article, drop us an email at


About souinterior

Story Of Us offers Interior Consultation and Renovation Services.

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