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This Modern Japanese 4-Room HDB Flat Is A Serene Haven With A Minimal Genkan Foyer & Hidden Doors

17 January 2024 | BY

For just $51K, The Interior Lab transformed this home into a modern Japanese home with a genkan area and fluted panel feature wall.

modern japanese home

It comes as no surprise that plenty of Singaporean apartments draw inspiration from Japanese homes, and one component that we’ve seen more homeowners include in their homes is the Japanese entryway, also known as a genkan.

In this 4-room HDB flat designed by Huang Min of The Interior Lab, not only was a quaint genkan added to its foyer but many components of Japanese interior design were also included. The final result is a modern Japanese home in Pasir Ris that serves as a cosy, serene haven for its homeowners.

Small but functional Japanese genkan entryway

small genkan entryway in modern japanese homeImage credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

In most Singaporean homes, you’d open the main door and be greeted immediately by the sight of the living room or the dining room. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, a transitory landing space like a Japanese genkan will welcome you and your guests into your home in a more formal way. Your friends and family can also take off and put on their shoes here, rather than crowding the corridor.

Huang Min’s version of the genkan for this home includes a matcha-coloured noren – a Japanese curtain – next to a translucent window that helps hide the distracting visuals of the living room while still allowing the space to bathe in natural light.

Cosy living room with fluted wall panels & hidden doors

modern japanese home living roomImage credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

With the constraint of space in mind, many homeowners will choose to combine both the living and dining rooms into one space. And the way Huang Min has managed to create a cohesive aesthetic in this HDB flat that makes it feel cosy with no piece of furniture looking out of place.

The fluted panelled statement wall would make the most sense to be the backdrop of the television, but Huang Min had different plans for this part of the house.

fluted panels and a hidden door Image credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

A doorway to a light-filled hallway is perfectly camouflaged within the panels, hidden away in plain sight, revealing itself only when the homeowners want to retreat to the private sanctuary that is their bedroom.

MUJI-inspired minimalist bedroom

minimalist muji bedroomImage credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

Too often homeowners have extravagant ideas for their bedrooms, which is antithetical to the ideals of Japanese interior design. Huang Min wanted to pay homage to timeless minimalism in the sleeping quarters and thus kept it simple with just shades of oak timber against a pristine white base. 

modern japanese homeImage credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

Inside a modern Japanese 4-room HDB flat

modern japanese home living roomImage credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

While some homes embrace open-concept living, this 4-room HDB flat designed by The Interior Lab makes the most out of doors to separate the spaces. From the genkan entryway to the living room to the bedrooms, every corner of the home has been deliberately designed to be self-contained. Every door is also not an ordinary door, but an elevated passageway that blends into the overall aesthetic of the home too.

Tour other Japanese-inspired homes in Singapore:

Cover image credit: Daniel Koh/The Interior Lab

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