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This Colonial Style HDB Is Inspired By Raffles Hotel, Where The Couple Got Married

17 March 2023 | BY

One couple was so enraptured by the colonial-chic aesthetic of Raffles Hotel that they used it as the main inspiration for their 5-room flat.

raffles hotel inspired hdb

The Raffles Hotel on Beach Road is one of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks and the OG “It” hotel. Since its opening in 1887, it has undergone 2 major refurbishments, the latest being a 30-month-long makeover that brought the grande dame’s stately design into the modern 21st century. It was also where Arielle and Nandeesh tied the knot.

The couple loved the venue so much that they had it as their main inspiration for the renovation of their 1,216sqft  5-room HDB. They also enlisted the expertise of Danny from Fifth Avenue Interior to ensure that the whole process was smoother than a Singapore sling.

Homeowners wanted to live in Raffles Hotel

raffles hotel singapore exteriorImage credit: Ralf Tooten/Raffles Hotel

“We want to live in Raffles Hotel,” was what Arielle and Nandeesh told Danny during their first meeting. After all, it was where they got married a couple of years ago, and you can’t blame them for wanting to recreate the best night of their lives till the end of time.

And rather than pay $1.3K per night at the actual hotel, transforming their home into a sanctuary that evokes the same colonial aesthetic helps them save so much. To make it not look like a house that belongs in the 19th century, they also incorporated plenty of Indochine and Peranakan references with a sprinkling of homage to the historical black & white bungalows.

Living room

raffles hotel inspired hdb - living room with leather sofaImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

Step inside the house and you can immediately tell that the living room is the heart and soul of the home. White walls and dark wood floors are some of the most iconic design elements of the Raffles Hotel and they make a main appearance here in Arielle and Nandeesh’s home.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - comparison between the raffles hotel residence suiteA living room in Sengkang on the left, and the Raffles Hotel Residence Suite on the right.
Image credit: Fifth Avenue Interior & Ralf Tooten/Raffles Hotel

A full-height, built-in library in a captivating mix of dark blue and green was also placed at the back of the living room as the couple loves to read. Coupled with the classic sconces, it’s easy to see why Arielle and Nandeesh revealed that this was their favourite space at home.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - blue green library with shelvesImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

“It has a really cosy vibe and we love hanging out here either watching TV, listening to our records or reading,” they said.

raffles inspired hdb - details of wainscoting and wall panellingImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

What is most impressive about the space and draws our attention the most is the Victorian wall panelling and wainscotting that lines the walls of the home. 

raffles hotel inspired hdb - living roomImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

Arielle and Nandeesh initially had a $50K budget in mind for the renovation. However, it went up to $70K after all the details were finalised and the labour cost was taken into account. “It was worth it!” they said once they saw the finished work.


raffles hotel inspired hdb - dark wood dining table and white marble kitchenImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

Sitting diagonally opposite the living room is the kitchen. Monochromatic marble and tiles dominate the space, while a stately wood dining table and leather chairs bring some much-needed contrast into the dining room.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - comparison between the kitchen and the verandah corridorThe kitchen on the left, the Raffles Hotel’s Verandah Corridor on the right.
Image credit: Fifth Avenue Interior & Ralf Tooten/Raffles Hotel

Simple shaker-style cabinets – easily identifiable by the recessed panels – and chrome fittings balance out the drama brought into the kitchen by the backsplash and countertop.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - marble floor tiles in a mosaicImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

It is the tiles where Danny put in the most effort, and he said it was one of the biggest challenges in renovating the home. The kitchen flooring is made up of 3 different tiles: 

  1. White matte marble for the main border
  2. Black glossy marble for the inner border
  3. A different white marble with black diamond corners laid in a diamond formation

The pattern and material give the kitchen a luxurious touch while the duo-tone colours tie it all together according to the theme of the house.

Study room/Office

raffles hotel inspired hdb - study room with wood desk and carpet and a leather chairImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

Right opposite the kitchen and dining area is the study room. To adhere to the colonial aesthetic, no sit/stand desks nor modern chairs were allowed through the French doors. Instead, a formal sitting desk rules the space, accessorised by a classic leather chair and an art-deco lamp with an emerald green lampshade for an extra pop of colour.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - wood desk with an emerald lampImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior


raffles hotel inspired hdb - bedroom with white wardrobes, wainscoting, wall panelling and blue bedsheetsImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

One of Danny’s main concerns going into this home transformation was to ensure that the wainscoting was not overdone. This was especially apparent in the bedroom which was kept simple yet practical.

“We also had to consider the practical aspect of living in the house, as each wall typically houses power sockets,” Danny explained. “I needed to make sure that the power sockets were positioned perfectly at the right height or distance from the wall beading so that it will not spoil the look of the wainscoting on the walls.”

raffles hotel inspired hdb - wooden side table in the bedroom with blue bedsheets on the bedImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

The consistent use of wall panelling and wainscoting also helps the wardrobe blend in almost effortlessly into the walls, with only the handles giving a clue about where the clothes are.


raffles hotel inspired hdb - black marble bathroom with mosaic tilesImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

There are usually 2 approaches when it comes to bathrooms at home: they are either a plain old space meant only for “business” meetings, or they are a grand statement where every corner is an photo-worthy moment. Arielle and Nandeesh’s bathroom is squarely in the latter camp.

It was one of the spaces at home where they could incorporate light Peranakan touches without it veering too far from the colonial style. For example, the tiles are in a beautiful mosaic pattern that harken to the grand en suites at the Raffles Hotel.

raffles hotel inspired hdb - residence suite bathroom with bathtub and mosaic tilesThe bathroom in the Raffles Hotel Residence Suite.
Image credit: Ralf Tooten/Raffles Hotel

Consistency is the key here as the same shaker-style cabinets and chrome hardware make an appearance here, too.

Transforming an HDB flat into a Raffles Hotel-inspired apartment

As the dust of the renovation settled down, Arielle and Nandeesh became the proud owners of a home that could rival the spacious suites at the Raffles Hotel.

Sure, they might not have the same butler service as the Raffles; no swanky spa on the ground floor; and no shopping arcade at their doorstep. But that won’t stop the couple from crafting their own Singapore Slings and tossing peanut shells onto their floor. 

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Cover image credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

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