"Kent Vale Apartment Renovation"
Designer(s): Joseph Lim, Singapore
Category: Interior Design, Professional
About the Artist
Two apartments in Kent Vale Housing were refurbished to accommodate Senior/Distinguished Visiting Professors for periods of time which would make it more viable for the National University of Singapore (NUS) to consider as an alternative to five-star hotels.
The refurbishment of one 160 m2 apartment is described here. The existing three-bedroom flat was configured as a collection of rooms with doors off a corridor from the living/ dining space (including the kitchen). This made the living, dining space small in spite of its 48 m2 floor area. For the purpose of Visiting Professors, a larger space with fewer bedrooms was preferred to an apartment with small rooms more suited for full-time staff with families. Although the brief was for a five-star equivalent, the university budget was limited to not more than USD$70,000 for the 160 m2 apartment.
The design strategy was to remove the two brick walls between the three rooms viz the living room, bedroom 1 and the Master Bedroom. Bedroom 1 was converted into a study space, informally set as a parlor with a view out to the terrace and connected to the living room with a sliding timber screen.
The Master Bedroom is a surprise that unfolds from a sliding travertine wall. Both screen and wall enable study parlor, living room and master bedroom to be connected as one continuous space covering 75 m2. This had the effect of transforming the apartment into a space of a large hotel suite enabling the university to adapt the configuration of the apartment by expanding or contracting the spaces of the three rooms.
The timber strip floors of teak wood set off the travertine wall and the furniture pieces in fabric, wood and cane. Built in shelves were constructed of plywood finished in veneer of reconstituted wood in clean lines to compliment the lines of the furniture pieces. When the travertine wall slides open, a landscape painting stretches across the entire width of the wall above the headboard of the master bed. The oil painting in dark colors of Prussian blue, indigo, iridescent white and Emerald green and was painted by the architect to compliment the night view from the living room window.
The kitchen space is extended as a niche from the dining space with a frosted glass panel screening off the yard railing. Bathroom doors and wall panels are also finished in frosted glass to consistently set off the plaster walls along one side of the corridor leading to the bedrooms. The budget of the refurbishment was kept to USD$400 per square meter when completed in 10 September 2007.