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These Singaporean Homeowners Created A Japanese-Inspired Service Yard In Their Resale Flat For Under $2.2k

8 June 2023 | BY

Homeowners Gary and Hazel take us through the process of creating their very own stylish service yard, complete with custom designed Japan-inspired Shoji sliding doors.

Japanese-inspired service yard

With a dedicated area for laundry and washing, it’s no surprise that houses with service yards attract many Singaporeans seeking practicality and convenience. However, while second-time homeowners Gary and Hazel loved the concept of a service yard, their home search prioritised other factors.

Despite wanting a service yard, the couple chose to purchase a resale flat that didn’t have one but had desirable attributes and a great location – their flat is a high-floor, corner unit with an unblocked view, and is conveniently situated in close proximity to several amenities such as MRT stations, shopping malls, and healthcare facilities.

Since they knew that not having a built-in service yard was something they could work around, Hazel and Gary did not regard the lack of a service yard as a deal-breaker. Instead, with a little bit of creativity, a $2.2k budget, and some help from their reliable contractor; the couple managed to create a stylish service yard within their Japan-inspired HDB resale flat – proving that service yards don’t have to be exclusive to newer BTOs or maisonettes.

Wanted a dedicated space to do their laundry

Service yard resale reno - Original HDB kitchen and service yard renovation worksThe original HDB resale kitchen without a service yard, and the start of the renovation works.
Image credit: Gary & Hazel

For Gary and Hazel, having a service yard was about more than just preventing kitchen odours from soiling their clean clothes. Creating a space exclusively devoted to washing and drying was also driven by the couple’s appreciation for the inherent joy they found within the laundry process.

One-third of the original HDB kitchen was strategically sectioned off to create the service yard. In addition to utilising the proximity of water supply and drainage, the couple took advantage of the natural light flooding in from the kitchen windows to ensure that their service yard would be a bright and airy area.

Custom-designed Shoji sliding doors for the service yard

To ensure that their service yard blended seamlessly into the rest of their Japanese-themed home, Gary and Hazel decided to incorporate Shoji screens – which they view as “one of the most iconic elements of Japanese interior design”. 

Service yard resale reno - Custom-made Shoji sliding doorsCustom-made Shoji sliding doors which can be slid open in either direction.
Image credit: Gary & Hazel

Drawing inspiration from their trips to Japan, as well as sources such as Pinterest and Google, the couple came up with the idea of floor-to-ceiling Shoji sliding doors. 

Guided by specific ideas, their design process aimed at brightening the house through the use of non-opaque doors – which allow light to enter the kitchen whilst keeping hanging laundry out of sight – as well as incorporating a two-way sliding door mechanism to save space.

Japanese-inspired wabi-sabi homeThe service yard sliding doors also match the other doors of the couple’s Japanese-inspired, wabi-sabi home.
Image credit: Gary & Hazel

Spending $2.2k to create a service yard

After refining the ideas with their trusted contractor, Bonzon 2000 Design & Contract, Gary and Hazel received several prototypes for the Shoji sliding door. Once the design was finalised, the contractor engaged his carpenter to bring the couple’s vision to life.

Service yard resale reno - Renovation progressThe renovation process.
Image credit: Gary & Hazel

In terms of the extra renovation works undertaken to create their service yard, Gary and Hazel outlined a breakdown of the costs:

  • Fabrication and installation of floor-to-ceiling Shoji doors between kitchen and constructed service yard
  • Additional LED ceiling light installed onto their Steigen automated laundry drying system
  • Extra light switch and sockets within the service yard area

With a total additional cost amounting to $2,200, the couple views the expenditure as a well-justified investment that enhances their home. The final service yard turned out exactly as they envisioned – a clean, serene, and wabi-sabi looking space that would motivate anyone to wash a load of laundry or two.

Creating a service yard in an older resale HDB flat

Service yard resale reno - Inside the service yardImage credit: Gary & Hazel

Making the most of their service yard, Gary and Hazel equip the area with essential laundry amenities. Alongside a washing machine and laundry baskets, the space is decked out with a Steigen, a fridge for easy access to refreshments, and built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinets that they use to store laundry essentials for maximum convenience and efficiency. 

In addition to drying their laundry and keeping their clean clothes fresh, the couple’s Steigen automatic laundry system also doubles as a fan – the Cool Breeze function keeps them cool and comfortable while they engage in their various laundry activities.

Service yard resale reno - final service yardImage credit: Gary & Hazel

To this date, the couple has had no second thoughts about their decision to create a service yard. Blessed with a reliable contractor who supported their ideas and transformed their vision into reality, Gary and Hazel were completely satisfied with the outcome of their final service yard. 

While service yards tend to be found in newer BTO flats or maisonettes, choosing to construct a dedicated laundry area in a flat that didn’t come with one opens up the opportunity for homeowners to explore unique service yard design ideas to create a distinctive and personalised space.

Ultimately, the couple’s biggest piece of advice for other homeowners looking to embark on a similar project is to invest time in thoroughly discussing finer details with their contractor, as well as explore the feasibility of different ideas to determine what will work best. 

For more on Gary and Hazel’s Japanese-inspired home, check out @houseofgoodcheer.

Read about impressive home DIYs: 

Cover image adapted from: Gary & Hazel

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