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Before & After: This Couple Transformed Their Penthouse Into A Pinterest Dream With A Mudroom & Moroccan Balcony

15 February 2022 | BY

Ruby and Kenny are the creative duo who transformed an ordinary condo unit into everything our Pinterest #homegoals are made of.

duplex penthouse before and after cover

Photogenic homes are commonplace in Singapore, especially when there’s no shortage of talented interior designers ready to work their magic. But when homeowners decide to take the reins of their renovation sans the help of an ID, we’re always excited to see the final outcome.

Ruby and Kenny are the creative duo who designed their own home, and run the Instagram account, @hellohomebodies. The account details the extensive renovation journey undertaken by their contractors, Palm Wood, and how they transformed an ordinary condo unit into everything our Pinterest #homegoals are made of.

Before-and-after transformation

Living room

moroccan penthouse living roomImage adapted from: @hellohomebodies, @homebodies

Duplex penthouses are wild Pokemons in their own right, and highly coveted for their dual-floor living and high ceilings. Homeowners Ruby and Kenny highlighted in their stories that the search for the right home was a long and arduous one, with them having viewed over 20 apartments before settling on this one.

A balcony was a must-have for the couple, and Kenny had wanted a master bedroom away from the main living area for greater privacy. This particular apartment came with all the right makings of a dream home – an expansive balcony area, a spiral staircase, an ensuite bathroom – but not without its fair share of obstacles.

moroccan penthouse floor plan 1A screenshot of the floor plan shared on the couple’s Instagram account
Image adapted from: @hellohomebodies

The couple shared in a series of Instagram stories that they were dealing with challenges in the form of an unconventional floor plan, older fixtures that needed a complete overhaul and “awkward beams” around the home.

The original floor plan included a kitchen right beside the entrance, utility store room, two bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor, an open terrace, and the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom on the second.

moroccan penthouse floor plan 2A series of Instagram stories depicting the changes to be made to the existing walls and doors of the home. You can view all the stories on their account under the highlight “HHB V2.0”.
Image adapted from: @hellohomebodies

The plan was for a wider entryway and an open-concept kitchen – this meant that the current enclosed kitchen had to go. To further widen the living area, the couple made the decision to remove the existing utility room and one of the bathrooms to make room for their open-concept kitchen and a kitchen island.

moroccan penthouse staircase 1Apart from a herringbone tile inlay in the entryway, the different spaces in the home are demarcated by distinct tile patterns: herringbone in the kitchen and offset in the living room.
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

The highlight of the apartment is undoubtedly their gorgeous wood-wrapped spiral staircase that’s quite a sight to behold. The warmer wooden veneer used on the staircase brings a sense of cosiness and draws attention to it as the focal point in the home. Special instruction was also given to their contractors to add curves to the structural beams on the ceiling to soften the overall look of the home.

moroccan penthouse staircase 2A close-up of the staircase transformation
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

The homeowners also shared that their contractors had a little bit of a head-scratching moment trying to figure out how to execute their vision, given all the tight corners, but they managed to pull it off in the end.

Balcony patio area

moroccan penthouse balcony patioImage credit: @hellohomebodies

The balcony area is another part of the house that is a true labour of love, as Ruby and Kenny smashed and hand-laid out each and every tile to achieve this palladiana terrazzo look. The built-in, L-shaped seating is fashioned out of microcement that is weather-resistant and the original balustrade was intentionally covered up to create a modern look.

In an Instagram post, the couple revealed that they set out with the intention of recreating a space that would embody the memories of their past travels to Morocco, “where [they] spent mornings sipping mint tea on [their] riad’s rooftop. It needed to be welcoming, bright and actually a space that you’ll want to brave Singapore’s heat & humidity for.”

The other end of the terrace features an irregular-shaped section of astroturf to resemble an outdoor lawn to realise the couple’s vision of having barbecue nights out. 

Master bedroom

moroccan penthouse master bedroom 1Image credit: @hellohomebodies

Two wooden arched windows were custom made by the couple’s carpenter and etched into the bedroom wall to let more light and ventilation into the room. The dated window grills and curtains were also removed and replaced with custom louvred floor-to-ceiling wooden blinds for a more sophisticated look.

moroccan penthouse master bedroom 2Image credit: @hellohomebodies

moroccan penthouse master bedroom wardrobeThe wardrobe in the master bedroom that sits across from the bed
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

Ensuite master bathroom

moroccan penthouse master toilet 1A side-by-side comparison of the bathroom’s evolution
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

A bathtub was a main priority for Ruby, so came the call to push the toilet door out into the bedroom to create a larger master bathroom. Another issue they tackled was the lack of windows in the bathroom, making it a trigger for those with claustrophobia.

The remedy? A faux skylight and window in place of what used to be a wall, and the addition of plants to give one the illusion of nature and the outdoors. The shower was also shifted behind the bathtub to fully maximise the use of space and visually enlarge the width of the bathroom. 

moroccan penthouse master toilet 2Image credit: @hellohomebodies

In place of wall tiles for the shower area, the couple opted for water-resistant microcement for a different kind of look. The space does, however, feature a statement kit-kat tiled wall, a tiled half-wall next to the bathtub, and a marble pez backsplash for their sink area.

Open kitchen concept with nifty built-ins to increase functionality

moroccan penthouse kitchenAn Instagram story of how their home looked midway through their reno process, and a picture of the finished kitchen.
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

The current kitchen stands where the utility room and one of the two common bathrooms used to be. The couple’s sleek, modern farmhouse kitchen is cleverly built to conceal a score of nifty features from a hidden storage room, dish rack, kitchen towel holder and more. An extensive amount of planning happened beforehand to take into consideration, sockets and all the storage they would need according to their cooking habits.

Mudroom and laundry area

moroccan penthouse mudroom laundry 1They’ve even carved out a low wash zone for easy pet showers
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

And if you’ve been wondering what became of the apartment’s original kitchen, the answer is this: Ruby and Kenny transformed it into a mudroom-cum-laundry room where their washers and dryers are situated. Tiny touches like a butcher block countertop, shaker cabinets, and wood-tone corner ceiling fan bring a very American farmhouse vibe into the space.

moroccan penthouse mudroom laundry 2Ruby and Kenny have thoughtfully styled the space with little trinkets and art to jazz up the space
Image credit: @hellohomebodies

Before & after: a Farmhouse x Scandi duplex penthouse

If your social media is an ocean of beautiful homes to inspire your upcoming renovation, then Ruby and Kenny’s Instagram page: @hellohomebodies will be a major source of home envy. On top of regularly posting pictures of the photogenic nooks of their home, the couple also drops top tips on renovating such as how to put together a mood board.

Cover image adapted from: @hellohomebodies

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