This compact two-bedroom apartment at The Hillier may appear simple and minimalist at a glance, but it’s brimming with brilliant ideas for small-space living.
“The apartment isn’t exactly spacious, but it does have a pretty decent ceiling height of 3.2 metres,” says Choo Yih from Happe Design Atelier. To take advantage of this vertical space, the interior designer decided to insert a loft that could serve as a guest room, a place to chill, and even for storage.
“Regulations dictated that the loft couldn’t be too big, so I kept it to five metres. It hangs right over the kitchen and the access is pretty sneaky too,” he notes. “We initially considered a ladder to save space, but then I had the idea to turn a little nook by the kitchen into a flight of stairs, which can be accessed via a hidden door.”
Within the loft, a series of flip-out panels allow for ventilation and views out, where one can look down and take in activities in the main living area.
Choo Yih also notes how the loft has changed the dynamics of the apartment. “The kitchen ceiling is lowered, and the space feels cosier. Since it’s near the entrance, you get this sense of anticipation as you walk into the unit, and once you reach the living room with its tall ceiling, if just feels a lot more impressive,” he shares.
Since the clients love to cook and frequently host, it was important to ensure that they had enough room to entertain and be hospitable. While the designer did reduce the size of the kitchen slightly to match the loft above, he also added an extra countertop to double as a food prepping, breakfast and work area. Additionally, it made room for more storage and removed the need for bulky upper cabinets.
The hallway to the bedrooms is now concealed with a sliding door that’s been seamlessly integrated with the main feature wall in the living room. The resulting ‘lengthening’ of this wall has allowed the designer to properly centre the living area rather than have it tucked away to one side. It has also made room for a bigger couch.
Instead of keeping the dining area to its original position by the kitchen, the decision was made to relocate it to the balcony, and it is a game changer. “With a 2.4-metre-long table, the dining space is now able to accommodate a crowd. For a special touch, we also replaced the top of the off-the-rack table with a customised design,” says Choo Yih.
Another notable feature of this two-bedroom apartment is that it has not one, but two en-suite bedrooms, where the common bedroom and bathroom are now attached to form a ‘private junior suite’ with a new entrance leading in from the balcony/dining area than the hallway.
Choo Yih reveals that this layout was in part inspired by COVID-19. “Having two bedrooms with attached bathrooms makes it easier if there’s a need for someone to be quarantined. That said, it’s also really great for privacy.”
To make better use of the hallway space, it’s now incorporated as part of the master bedroom and functions as a spacious walk-in wardrobe. It’s large enough to accommodate a built-in desk for work-from-home situations, and even a washer/dryer.
This space is separated from the sleeping quarters further in, maintaining the bedroom as a private sanctuary wholly dedicated to rest.
“When you step back and look at this two-bedroom apartment as a whole, you may miss the little details that make up its minimalist design. However, this home is actually a product of the perfect balance between style, function, and the lifestyle of its occupants,” says Choo Yih, adding, “It may appear effortless at a glance, but in reality, a lot of effort went into creating this space.”
Happe Design Atelier – hda.studio
Photography – Studio Periphery
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