Kim Tian Road

The Kim Tian Road area is a part of the Tiong Bahru housing estate located within the Bukit Merah Planning Area, in the Central Region of Singapore. Tiong Bahru, the oldest housing estate, was constructed in the 1920s by the Singapore Improvement Trust, the predecessor to the Housing Development Board (HDB) and an entity of the British colonial authority providing mass public housing in Singapore. The main estate consists of 30 apartment blocks with over 900 units of two to five rooms. The architecture of the estate is a mixture of Streamline Modern and local Straits Settlements shop-house styles. The flats have rounded balconies, flat rooftops, spiral staircases, light wells and underground storage and shelters. Prior to 1939, the Tiong Bahru Estate was affordable only to the rich. It was once known as Mei Ren Wo (“den of beauties”) as it was where wealthy men would keep their mistresses.  Such are the mythical charms of yesteryears.  Fast forward to present days, this area had long evolved into an enclave of expatriates and yuppies alike.  A cool place where cool people gathers.

When we were first approached by an Australian Expatriate and his Singaporean wife to help with the design of their flat in Kim Tian Road, we were thrilled at the opportunity to participate in this exciting project. Being an old estate, the apartment was in need of some tender loving care. The old mosaic flooring was worn and signs of water seepages and spalling concrete were evident in some areas of the apartment. The place badly needed to be revamped and remodeled to give it a complete facelift and a new lease of life.

The couple has a daughter and a son. They love to cook and to spend time with their children.  Above all, they had in mind an ethnic style apartment in a laid back, relaxed setting. A place to chill and relax, a place to enjoy family togetherness and most of all, a place that will compliment their lifestyle.

We knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the dining to enable easier interactions between the two living spaces. The two areas were demarcated by full length glass doors that serve to contain the smoke in the kitchen during times of heavy cooking. Classic teakwood parquet flooring for the living area and a selection of country styled tiles for the kitchen brought warm and a feeling of homeliness to the place.

Interesting play of colors, clever choice of materials and the careful selection of unique lightings all work well together to further enhance the overall feel of the whole ethnic setting.