Bo­hemian, hip and trendy, all in one home

How does one cre­ate a home with per­son­al­ity? In this apart­ment, it seems like a gen­er­ous dose of hand­made touches didn’t hurt. IS­ABELLE TOW has a chat with the DIY en­thu­si­ast who re­sides here.

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY VERON­ICA TAY ART DI­REC­TION NONIE CHEN

H ome ren­o­va­tions typ­i­cally take a few months, de­pend­ing on the size of the prop­erty and the com­plex­ity of the works in­volved. But for Her­man Yap’s three-room Hous­ing Board flat in Telok Blan­gah Cres­cent, it was only after a year had passed that he was sat­is­fied enough to stop all fur­nish­ing and fin­ish­ing works.

In truth, the trans­for­ma­tion of this Ja­panese za­kka-con­cept abode – za­kka mean­ing a mish­mash of ev­ery­day ob­jects to im­prove one’s life – hap­pened in two phases. The first phase, which took over three months, in­volved an in­te­rior de­signer who helped with the foun­da­tional heavy-duty work such as in­stalling the lam­i­nate floor­ing, kitchen cabi­netry, pip­ing and air­con trunk­ing.

However, the over­all de­sign and, most of all, the finer de­tails that catch the eye – from the ty­pog­ra­phy art on the TV wall, to the noren cur­tains and planter frame in the kitchen – were the owner’s own do­ing and took up the bulk of the time. “I like do­ing hands-on, DIY stuff, so every week­end since I moved in last Jan­uary, till Novem­ber, I was do­ing DIY projects around the house, styling a small area each time,” says the 43-year-old, who teaches vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing at the In­sti­tute of Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Col­lege Cen­tral in Ang Mo Kio. “It took so long be­cause I had to make mea­sure­ments and scout for the ex­act ma­te­ri­als that I needed.”

Upon en­ter­ing the mod­est 796sqf unit, one im­me­di­ately no­tices how breezy, bright and open it is. It is these qual­i­ties – a re­sult of the cor­ner unit be­ing on the lofty 12th storey, and the

gen­er­ous length of the liv­ing room and ad­ja­cent bed­room win­dows – that won Her­man over while house view­ing two years ago. The bach­e­lor, who lives on his par­ents’ landed prop­erty on week­days, stays here over the week­ends. With his room at his par­ents’ home decked out in Scan­di­na­vian style, he went for more wood for his apart­ment, com­ple­ment­ing the green of the many plants through­out his home.

The wood el­e­ments come in a va­ri­ety of tex­tures: long wooden slats on the ceil­ing, Ja­panese-in­spired room dividers, and raw branches that he’d picked up by the road­side or bought from Tiong Bahru Mar­ket and Crate & Bar­rel.

For in­spi­ra­tion, he ref­er­enced sev­eral mag­a­zines and Beams at Home, a book series that features the homes of staff work­ing at Ja­panese fash­ion ap­parel brand Beams. “The in­te­rior de­signs are re­ally ca­sual, which is what I wanted for my home - noth­ing too for­mal, with a bit of a cafe feel,” he says.

While most homes just have one fea­ture wall, Her­man’s sports a cou­ple be­cause he “can’t stand any­thing too bare”. The TV wall is one of them, and the in­di­vid­ual parts of the vis­ual en­sem­ble bear el­e­ments of his per­son­al­ity and pas­sions. Fash­ioned in el­e­gant script, the “Make your­self at home” ty­pog­ra­phy art above the TV was hand-painted by Her­man, and is flanked by a white wooden shut­ter board with his own graphic de­signs – in­clud­ing a car­toon il­lus­tra­tion of him­self – and a framed au­to­graphed Mon­o­cle mag­a­zine cover, amongst other items.

His favourite spot is the read­ing cor­ner he cre­ated be­hind the kitchen counter. Com­plete with a mag­a­zine rack and camo camp bench, the cor­ner is made cosy with a rug from Morocco, lantern from Beams, and a 1995 Ja­panese sake poster fea­tur­ing Madonna by French artists Pierre et Gilles. He spends most of his time, however, at the din­ing area where he takes his meals and works on his lap­top.

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