If you live on the internet, chances are you would’ve seen one of those viral Cathay busking videos of Jeff Ng going around TikTok or Instagram in 2021. In these videos, Jeff sings JJ Lin songs with such clarity and emotion that some in the audience are moved to tears.
Jeff’s voice is not the only exquisite thing about him, we find, as we are welcomed into his 1,000sqft resale flat in Ang Mo Kio. For about $120K, he and his wife Zona, with the help of their interior designer, Alex from Space Atelier, managed to transform the 4-room resale flat into a mid-century modern condo befitting that of a furniture catalogue.
On a cool October afternoon, we sat down with Jeff to find out how and why he did it.
First look: cosy, modern vibes
When we first walked up to his flat, we were greeted by a smiling Jeff flanked by a bronze full-length mirror on one side and dark wood cabinets on the other. This foyer did not initially exist, Jeff recounts, showing us several videos of the resale flat’s previous layout. For Feng Shui reasons, he had his contractors knock down walls, reshape walkways and add rooms.
“It was all worth it,” he says, and seeing the beautiful result of the renovation, it isn’t hard to see why. Wood-like vinyl tiles and finishings cover the entire home, giving it a lived-in, homely feel. Couple them with marble accents and furnishings – Jeff’s a self-confessed fan – and the whole mid-century modern feel gets a fancy upgrade.
The entryway to the home.
Spacious, modern living room with a karaoke setup
When we reach the living room, the dark, grainy wood gives way to the lighter, more airy vibes more commonly associated with a Scandinavian-inspired abode. The cosy sofas sit opposite the big screen TV, perfect for a quick game on a Nintendo Switch, streaming a Netflix show or a quick karaoke session.
The living room.
Yes, you heard that right. I mean, singers gotta sing, and Jeff’s practice sessions with the karaoke machine clearly explain the gigantic crowd that gathers at the Cathay almost every weekend.
Jeff and Zona’s mics.
The attached dining room is another sight to behold, looking straight out of a Korean drama with its marble table and asymmetrical statement chandelier.
The dining room.
The table is extendable, perfect for hosting friends and family over for a hotpot dinner when they’re too busy to make the trip down to Haidilao. Jeff explains that he happened to chance upon it during a Black Friday sale at one of the nearby furniture shops. Upon seeing the halved price, he bought it immediately.
However, no matter how tasty the food is, the chandelier is always the main attraction, Jeff muses. His friends and visitors alike constantly joke about taking a bolt cutter to the wires and just heaving the whole thing home.
The modern chandelier.
Despite the kitchen being one of the most well-furnished rooms in the house, Jeff admits that he doesn’t use it that often, preferring the convenience of delivery apps. We don’t blame him, no one wants to risk staining the pristine countertops or getting the new dishwasher dirty.
The light and airy kitchen.
Alas, kitchenware is specifically built to be used. One thing that draws immediate attention would be the slim drawers beside the stove, whose unique thin design allows easy access to ingredients and seasoning during cooking. This ensures less cluttered countertops, making for a more pleasant cooking experience, one both his mother and wife seem to love, he says.
The sliding drawers next to the stove.
Other attention-stealers seem to be the double-doored fridge and the pot cabinet with revolving segments, whose organisation inspo comes from Douyin.
The double-doored fridge.
The pot cabinet.
Attached to the kitchen is the laundry section and common bathroom, both high-tech and extremely beautiful additions to the original home.
The 2-in-1 laundry and dryer, in particular, can be controlled remotely by an app. “I can put my clothes in [the machine] in the morning, and then press ‘start’ during lunch. So [the laundry] is done by the time I come home”, he says. Laundry is thus a more relaxing chore now, he states. After all, who doesn’t like being welcomed home by the fresh smell of clean clothes.
His Steigen laundry rack is also app-controlled, and can be extended and retracted throughout the day depending on the location of the sun. Which is important, he stresses, as the sunlight leaves his clothes smelling good and also kills germs.
The Steigen laundry rack.
The common bathroom looks like something straight out of The Crown, with its lovely white marble walls and rose gold taps and shower. Jeff tells us that the white marble of this bathroom matches the black marble in his master bathroom, having both been from the same series, but more on that later.
The common bathroom.
The tap, shower and soap bottle are from Taobao, which Jeff and Zona trawled through for hours to find the shade of rose gold that went perfectly with the marble. The other fixtures are from Bathroom Warehouse.
The common bathroom’s rose gold tap and soap bottle.
Jeff’s studio, lighting by Vlux.
Describing this room as the one both highest in value and closest to his heart, Jeff introduces us to his home studio with a flourish. He spent a whopping $20K on this room alone, so we can easily see how it would be his pride and joy. He even engaged a professional decorator to help him organise a corner filled with his personal treasures like a beanbag chair, shelf with documents and instruments, as well as fanarts and gifts.
Jeff’s little corner in his studio.
Jeff has spared no expense to furnish his state-of-the-art studio, from the sound system and Neumann mics to the multitasker-friendly desktop setup and the thickened walls for soundproofing. This room is filled with a lot of equipment that would probably make his colleagues green with envy.
Jeff’s Neumann mic.
When asked why he needed so many desktops, Jeff sheepishly tells us that his 8-year-old original Macbook Air has been like an employee on constant OT, so the change has been a long time coming. “It used to just hang and die,” he says, “with the desktops I can finally give it a break”. The new desktops make editing his ever-popular covers on YouTube much easier. The 4K displays also help when he needs a background video to set the mood.
Jeff’s studio desktop setup.
The studio’s soundproofing, in particular, was mentioned by Jeff as his most lavish investment. It was worth it, he says, in order to give himself and his students better quality recording sessions. It also helps that in addition to being functional, said soundproofing is also aesthetically pleasing. Gone are the days of chunky, distracting decor, it seems.
The ceiling soundproofing in Jeff’s studio.
5-star, hotel-inspired master bedroom
Jeff tells us that he took on the job of planning and redecorating almost every other room in the house. The one place that was “off-limits”? The master bedroom, which was designed by his wife Zona.
The master bedroom.
Drawing inspiration from 5-star hotels like Pan Pacific, the master bedroom has the vibes of a honeymoon suite. You may notice the floor being a little different compared to the rest of the house, but the couple actually spent quite a bit of time deciding on the colour that would best fit the room’s lighting. They finally decided on cappuccino vinyl, which gives the room a harmonious feeling of both cosy and bougie at the same time.
Their wardrobe is also a major source of envy. With Vlux’s adjustable lights and the smart app-controlled mirror, it really did awaken the vain side in us. After all, who doesn’t want a mirror that can tell you how you look in all angles and lighting? Not to mention the bomb mirror selfies you can take.
Jeff and Zona’s closet.
The smart mirror that can be controlled with an app.
The master bathroom is another awe-inspiring piece by itself. The gorgeous yellow lights perfectly complement the faux wood tiles in the shower and the black marble of the walls. It is serving “washroom in an upscale Orchard Road restaurant” realness, and we really have to applaud the efforts of both Zona and the interior designer. The unique square showerhead and rose gold tap is from Taobao, which Jeff has described as being a “lifesaver” multiple times.
The master bathroom that was inspired by those of the Pan Pacific guest rooms.
Smart home gadgets
When you look around Jeff’s house for the first time, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Take a closer observation, though, and you start noticing the uncanny absence of light switches around the house.
While the contractors did provide him with light switches to be attached to the walls around the house, Jeff says the three-switched one at his bedside table is more than enough. After all, everything in his smart home from the lights to the curtains, to even the door, are controlled by an app in his phone.
The lights are app-controlled.
Jeff’s 4-room dream home
While Jeff dipped into “a good chunk” of his savings for his flat, he doesn’t regret it at all. In fact, he thanks his interior designer, Alex, for planning out and following the timeline, as well as the contractors for the generally smooth renovation process.
When asked if he has learnt anything as a first-time homeowner renovating a resale, he emphasises the importance of planning your budget well and having backups just in case Plan A fails. As for everything else, trust the process and take unexpected issues in stride.
For more reno and design inspo:
- Featured Home: Annette Lee’s 4-Room HDB Is Luxe Yet Cosy, With Unique Travel Finds
- This Couple Turned Their Cookie-Cutter BTO Into A Unique Home With Bold Colours, Travel Finds & Wall Mural
- This 4-Room Farmhouse x Scandi Resale Flat Is Cottage Core At Its Finest
Photography by Huiwen Chan.
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