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Inside A Quirky, Kaleidoscopic Retro 4-Room HDB Flat In Clementi With Major Layout Transformations

16 February 2024 | BY

This retro HDB flat is a visual feast for the eyes but smartly uses yellow to anchor all the colours together.

retro hdb flat

“An eclectic theme that consists of both autumn and summer colour palettes” was the unique brief that interior designer Zar of Ascend Design’s clients gave her. This was easier said than done as both seasons are defined by very different colour schemes—breezy pastels for summer and bold shades for autumn. But Zar still managed to find a way to combine them in this kaleidoscopic, retro-looking design, mainly by using yellow to anchor both seasons and other colours to provide a visual contrast to it.

For those who are also keen on exploring a home design that boasts multiple hues, here’s a peek into this 4-room HDB flat in Clementi that has a quirky colour scheme and is chock full of charming details.

An open-concept retro kitchen with more yellow than Coldplay

retro hdb flat kitchen with yellowImage credit: Ascend Design

The kitchen was one space that immediately caught our eye with its visual vibrancy that one could describe as “Stranger Things-adjacent”. 5 different colours were used here, but rather than being splattered in a rojak method, Zar used them to highlight the areas in the kitchen.

yellow tiled backsplashThe open dish rack was given a pop of colour to help it stand out.
Image credit: Ascend Design

While yellow is the primary colour in this household, Zar used different shades of it in areas like the backsplash and the cabinets to ensure it’s separate yet consistent. The kitchen island features a dark shade of teal, the same shade used for the shoe cabinets in the foyer to create a smoother transition between the spaces.

dark teal shoe cabinets with a yellow wall in a retro hdb flatThe foyer’s carpentry shares the same shade of dark teal as the kitchen island.
Image credit: Ascend Design

Pop art-esque bathrooms with brushed gold fittings

yellow bathroom in a retro hdb flatImage credit: Ascend Design

Yellow, the wife’s favourite colour, can be found the most in the house in the common bathroom. We’re talking about a vanity with yellow cabinets, yellow grouting, and yellow film plastered on the glass wall for the shower. Heck, even the mirror and tap are made from brushed gold, which one could argue is some form of yellow.

yellow bathroom in a retro hdb flatThe yellow grout was purchased from Mapei to match the carpentry’s laminate.
Image credit: Ascend Design

The master bathroom, on the other hand, was given a distinct resort-esque design that is unlike the rest of the home. Zar decided on a half-painted, half-tiled look for this bathroom with green Kit Kat tiles and white paint to balance the top half of the space as fully tiling it would cost more money, look too overwhelming, and take more effort to clean. 

resort-style bathroom with green kitkat tiles in a retro hdb flat. yellow sink.Image credit: Ascend Design

However, just because it has a different overarching theme does not mean it has to deviate from the core aesthetics of the home. The yellow sink, for instance, stands out and ties it back to the yellow theme of the common bathroom. 

Turning a bedroom into the living room for more entertaining space

Aside from the aesthetic transformations, Zar and the homeowners also decided on some structural changes to allow for parties of 10 and more to wine and dine.

After running through several iterations of what the living and dining room might look like, the homeowners ultimately chose to change Bedroom 3 into their living room, while the current living room would become their work-from-home space instead.

retro hdb flat floorplanThe old floor plan.
Image credit: Ascend Design

This new layout would allow the homeowners to fit plenty of their guests into the dining space where people won’t have to be backed up against a wall or a corner.

retro hdb flat dining room with chairsImage credit: Ascend Design

This layout transition also let in a lot more natural light into the kitchen, as it would’ve been blocked by the walls to Bedroom 3 prior.

Renovating a retro 4-room HDB flat in Clementi

retro hdb flatImage credit: Ascend Design

Combining multiple colours into one interior design might pose a risk of accidentally creating unicorn puke. However, having one anchor colour – yellow, in this case – ensured that everything stayed consistent without looking too visually busy. The little accents of contrast that Zar included also balance out the vibrant hues of yellow strewn throughout the home.

Check out other retro HDBs in Singapore:

Cover image credit: Ascend Design

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