Flat Hopper

Bite-Sized Portions Not Served Here.

Lessons From A Little Flat In Japan

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In Japan, much like Singapore with our apartments and condominiums, there are apartos (apartments) and there are mansions. Mansions here are not bungalows like you might intuit, but are instead more like apartments without swimming pool/tennis court etc. An aparto is in a usually fairly old two story building. A mansion is usually a newer building and built higher. Something of a rare sight in Singapore these days.

Seen on Apartment Therapy, this Matsudo Mansion by design studio BAKOKO embodies renewal and opening up of cramped space. I think we can all find inspiration in the tight constraints of this wonderful apartment.

You want to do your work here. (No Jedi mind tricks needed)

A touch of personality with the planter box

Note the soft light above the door

Nothing red here officer

Now you can deck up your shower too

On a not so related note, here’s how to get out of bed and changed for work in under 5 minutes, and have a breakfast to boot. Cheers!


Written by L

February 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Review: Holland Residences

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Holland Residences

Need To Know
Taman Warna
District 10
Land Tenure Freehold
Units 83 in 5 Storeys
Expected TOP Jun 30, 2013
Developers Allgreen Properties Limited
Facilities Multiple swimming pools, Half basketball court, Covered BBQ pit

Unit Types
1 Bedrooms 10 units, min 602 sqft
2 Bedrooms
20 units, min 957 sqft
3 Bedrooms 34 units, min 1,356 sqft
4 Bedrooms 2 units, min 1,872 sqft
Penthouses 17 units, min 1,614 sqft

Sales Info
Sales Open
Feb 2009
Average PSF $1,600 @ Jan 28, 2010

Everyone has heard of the age old mantra of “Location, location, location” when it comes to buying property, and Holland Residences fits all 3 of those stringent requirements. And sometimes thats all you need to know.

Holland Residences is nestled amidst the rustic terrace houses of Chip Bee Gardens on the edge of Tarman Warna. Its enviable location blends the best of both worlds with privacy from the hectic Holland V crowd with easy access to the main road (Holland Road) and the future MRT.

Location! Location! Location!

A 5 storey condo with 83 units, Holland Residences is well divided into 1 to 4 bedroom units along with lofts and penthouses. It interestingly follows the Multi-Generational Living (Studio + Loft) layout of the SkyVille@Dawson with 1st storey lofts with the small 1 bedroom units on the 2nd floor. The showflat features this loft unit with a Jacuzzi patio.

Souped up patio and jacuzzi rocks

All the 3 bedroom and above come with a private lift lobby, barring of course the 1st floor units. Most of units also come with 2 entrances, one from the kitchen to the service lobby and stairs. This layout is the norm for condos with private lift lobbies, as you might still need to walk if the elevator breaks. If you ask me it looks like a great place to stash unsightly stuff when you have visitors, i.e. during CNY.

Even despite the awesome location, the units do have its charm. The 3 bedroom loft has a decked up patio with a private jacuzzi that overlooks the condo’s many themed pools. Most of the units also have well-appointed balconies that also share the views. I’m usually against large balconies but here, they fit the outdoorsy green-garden feel of the locale. Also the inner layouts doesn’t look cramped.

No qualms with balconies here

There were some nice touches with the toilets too. The shower area is recessed slightly behind the sink which helps prevent splashing and also makes the toilet more spacious. I also love the glossy white lacquered kitchen cabinets and the built-in Miele fridge. I only noticed a small hiccup with the loft which is the master bedroom does not have a view into the living room, other than from the stairs.

Love the professional white facade

The Low-Down

I was there on the first day of sales, and the prices were already skyrocketing. For a 5 storey condo, the prices ranged over $100 psf from $1570 to $1680 for the units put out for sale, and the developers seem to be revising their prices upwards by the minute. There are some blocks which are not as desirable, in particular stacks 05/06 and 16/17 where you could look opposite into your neighbour’s house without those trusty binoculars.

Close encounters of the ... close kind

Facilities-wise there isn’t much. Beyond the watery landscape of swimming pools, there is only a jogging track and a 3-point basketball shooting area. I’m not even sure there’s the standard gym. And you have to pay loads for it. 3 bedroom units have monthly maintenance fees around $500 due to the limited no of units.


Holland Residences is definitely a buy for me. There’s not much wrong with it apart from the dollar amounts. It has a great location, rustic privacy with easy access to Holland Village and the MRT. Rental should not be a problem given how popular the nearby Chip Bee Gardens is with expats.

I personally prefer the smaller units (3 bedroom and below) namely because at the price of the penthouses, I much rather buy a landed property tear it down and rebuild it. The 3 bedrooms gives you the feel of a landed property but with the security and some of the facilities of a condo.

Written by L

February 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Classic furniture I would love to own

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I tend to be unadventurous when it comes to new things. I read reviews, surf for positive opinions on just about anything before giving it a go. If there’s a new movie out, I rotten it. A new place to eat at Vivo? I will be googling ieatishootipost or ladyironchef.

Furniture for a new home? I m going straight for classics where a million bums have sat on and raved about. It’s unimaginative but when space is limited, I rather err on the side of quality.  So here are some of the furniture pieces I would kill to have.

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

There isn’t one I sat on that I have not been blown away at how comfortable it is. XTRA had a few limited edition all black pieces, and I have seen some messed with in plaid or even refurbished in green floral that actually looked quite nice. You can’t go wrong with this one regardless of taste.

Barcelona Chair
Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Chair

Literally designed for kings, this chair was designed in 1929 for the King and Queen of Spain at Barcelona’s World’s fair. I love it in black but the rusty brown is fabulous too. Now I wish I had bought the used pieces from Massimo Dutti where they were renovating their Liat Towers store.

Tulip Chair
Designed by Eero Saarinen

Tulip Chairs

I think these would make great bar counter chairs if you have an open concept kitchen with a low bar counter. The backing helps for those who haven’t had their coffee yet after getting up from bed.

Swan Chair
Designed by Arne Jacobsen

Swan Chair

The swan chair was created in 1958 by Arnes Jacobsen, who is also famous for another animal inspired chair – the ant chair. Would be great in the living room complementing without outshining the other furniture.

The question now is how to fit them all in.

Written by L

January 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Posted in Architecture

Ideas to style a studio with black

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Black is not one of the colours you are going to find in Ikea. Black and white is not warm enough and too cliche. Too much black in a small apartment and you get a confinement cell. But this studio in Copenhagen gets all ticks for its inspiring black and white design and still keeping it real.

Black and white bar-kitchen

The grey sofa and parquay tiles brings out the warmth

White shower accented with saturated blacks

Thanks Apartment Therapy.

Written by L

January 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

An expanding table for a shrinking space

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From Furniture Fashion, This Janus Expanding Dining Table is a solution for managing space in a small place. You will see its cousins (the square to circle tables) in Chinese restaurants this lunar new year. So here’s a pre-LNY idea for your summer cleaning and renovation.

From Mahjong Table

To Candlelit Dining

Go here to see the vid on how it transforms. “Ree Rawt Row Ra Reet!”

The Transformers Transforming Sound Effect

Written by L

January 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Tan Quee Lan Suites Scavenged

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Post-Christmas (by the way the best time to buy Christmas gifts), I plonked myself down in Page One while J went on a rampage in Vivo. I came across a book on WOHA, the award-winning design firm who designed many of  the gorgeous buildings in Singapore.

The Church of St Mary of the Angels, in Bukit Batok is one of the them, and is a beautifully crafted modern Catholic church.

Credit to LifeInMacro on Flickr

On the residential end, WOHA has also designed Newton Suites, which encapsulates the idea URA was really going for when free planters were introduced.

Credit to amorphity on Flickr

WOHA is also not without it misses, and the Iluma, opposite Bugis Junction is right up there in the butt-ugly column, IMHO.

Credit to amorphity again

Most recently, the firm is the news for one half of the massively oversubscribed BTO in Dawson – The SkyVille@Dawson, which unfortunately does not resemble the awesome submitted design.

For WOHA's sake I will only show the original design

Tan Quee Lan Suites

But what I saw in the book that was really interesting is the little known project of Tan Quee Lan Suites. It is actually a mixed development of office and residential units. It was a winning URA Heritage Award in 2006 which describes it best as

Comprising six pre-World War II Transitional shophouses, the development incorporates a new rear block to double the usable space. Currently, shops and restaurants reside at the ground level while offices were on the second. Apartment suites occupied the rest of the floors.

The full view of Tan Quee Lan Suites

As you can see, a modern rear block was added to the back of the shop-houses to increase the available space. This creates that juxtaposition of heritage and modern imagery which we all try to capture with our first camera. At least I did.

The residential units at the top of the rear block is another example of unique living spaces. Tan Quee Lan Suites houses only 26 residential units from 3rd to 5th floor, with what seems like terraced houses on the top floor. They even come with a private sanctuary.

I managed to scavenged a few pictures of the suites, unfortunately all artist impressions. Credit goes to Habitat.com.sg.

Model of Tan Quee Lan Suites

The suites seem to have views on both sides, and along with the garden creates such an airy, open space. In Chinese we say 通风 to describe the air flow.

The Living Area

The bedrooms and study are well located on the 2nd floor, creating a nice separation of living and bedroom areas. This is kinda like the Miro lofts, but I’m not sure if  Tan Quee Lan Suites has a loft area.

The Study

I love unique living spaces. Lofts, conservation houses, shop-houses, etc, they have a boutique feel to them. Tan Quee Lan Suites is no exception, in fact it takes the cake by mixing the old and new in city living and even plonking terrace homes on top of 6 shop-houses. If you own one of these units, think of it as owning a piece of history and the future.

Awesome Singapore Conservation House

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Saw this on Furniture Store Blog, featuring a conservation house right here in Singapore. If you are one of the lucky few who managed to secure this uniquely Singapore home, I suppose you would have the means to renovate it like this.

The very conservative conservation house exterior

And wait for it …

Legendary new world inside

Who says you can't have a pool in a shophouse

Fake books but awesome shelving

Who can forget the stone bath?

For more pictures check out the full post at the Furniture Store Blog.

Written by L

January 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm