Slide and hide

Slide and hide


Movable panels which conceal spaces and furniture doubling as storage are ways studio dwellers use to maximise their tiny home spaces


By Janice Tai


EVERY night for the past six months, IT consultant S.H. Yong slept in a room not much larger than a king-sized bed with his wife and two kids.


His maid didn’t have much tossing room either – she slept in the bomb shelter the size of an HDB lift.


Their home was a tiny 570 sq ft studio apartment in Icon in Gopeng Street. And they are among a growing breed of Singaporeans who live in super small apartments.


In recent years, the space crunch in Singapore’s prime districts has led to developers building increasingly smaller apartment units, with the sizes of such studios at around 500 sq ft each.


Projects completed this year include Parc Emily in Mount Emily Road, Viz@Holland in Queensway Road and Bellezza@Katong in Ceylon Road.


When Kent Residences in Kent Road was launched in March, one studio unit was as small as 312 sq ft – the size of about two Old Chang Kee kiosks.


Yet such studio apartments are being snapped up even though their prices are sky-high.


Units in areas such as Farrer Park, Balestier and Dhoby Ghaut go for around $1,000 per square foot (psf) and can even go up to $1,600 psf.


When Citigate in Rangoon Road was launched last week, all 18 of its studio units were sold during the preview, says Ms Peggy Ngiam, project director of Huttons Real Estate Group.


She says buyers of studios are a mix of locals and foreigners. Some are single professionals while others are investors looking for good rental yields.


Ms Charmaine Fang, a Propnex associate realtor, says studios can fetch at least $3,000 in rentals a month.


Expatriate online portal SingaporeExpats. com adds that studios in the city are popular among expatriates because they are near their work place and closer to the nightlife scene.


The average Singaporean enjoys one of the largest personal living spaces in the region.


Here, a family of five in the newer four- or five-room HDB flat would have a living space of about 190 sq ft to 235 sq ft per person. It is larger than that in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, where the average living space per person ranges from 75 sq ft to 160 sq ft.


So how have studio dwellers here adapted to such small living spaces?


Trading representative Teo Wen Shuen, 29, opted for space-saving furniture such as mounted LCD screens and a queen-sized bed for his 441 sq ft studio in Soho 188 in Race Course Road.


Others tried to make use of every nook and cranny.


Says Ms Emily Tan, 37, an administrator who also bought a Soho 188 unit recently: ‘I will get a base for the bed that is hollow inside so that it can double as storage space.’


Even the ceiling has usable space for IT consultant Yong. Two ledges – each slightly bigger than an A4-sized piece of paper – can swing open from the ceiling to reveal a storage space.


Others such as housewife X.Y. Luo, 52, adopted visual trickery to make the space look bigger.


Her 549 sq ft unit in Parc Emily has an entire wall covered in mirrors to create the illusion of space.


She also boarded up a planter-box area with wooden planks and transformed it into an outdoor drinking spot.


‘I have neighbours from much bigger units coming over and saying that my unit looks as big as theirs,’ she says.


‘At the end of the day, it’s really about creating spaces or illusions through skilful arrangement and manipulation. ‘



How he did up his home


SPACE EXTENSIONS: When there is insufficient space on the coffee table in the living room, the two-piece TV console doubles as an extra table as it is extendable. It also has drawers to hide knick-knacks so that the living area is kept neat.


FOR six months this year, IT consultant S.H. Yong (above), 38, lived in his 570 sq ft studio in the Icon condominium (below) in Gopeng Street with his wife, two sons – aged four and two – and a maid.


He has since rented it out to a couple from Taiwan, and has moved his family to a two-bedroom condo in Alexandra Road which is twice as big.


‘But when my son plays in the living room now, he can no longer talk to Mummy when she is cooking in the kitchen. The small unit actually helped my family grow closer,’ he says.


Source: Straits Times

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