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These Homeowners Turned Their Old 3-Rm HDB Flat Toilet Into A Wabi-Sabi Sanctuary With A Soaking Tub

6 March 2024 | BY

Jump on the wabi-sabi trend by transforming your bathroom into a Japanese-inspired haven.

wabi-sabi toilet reno

Between getting ready for the day, washing up at night, and nursing a hangover over the toilet bowl, it’s true we spend more time in our bathrooms than we think. That’s why your bathroom also deserves the same amount of love as the rest of your home.

And that’s what the homeowners of 61 Telok Blangah Heights did. For their 3-room HDB renovation, they invested in a swank ensuite bathroom and turned it into a wabi-sabi sanctuary with a custom mini tub.

Wabi-sabi toilet reno with ensuite bathroom & mini bathtub

wabi-sabi toilet renoImage credit: Insight Out Studio

Inside the bathroom, muted tones of grey and cream take centre stage and can be seen in the micro cement finish and stone tiles. With a generous use of micro cement, the ID is able to give the bathroom a tactile quality that’s both industrial and luxurious. It also creates a sleek and contemporary look that fits the wabi-sabi aesthetic.

The traditional mirror is being shunned in favour of a frameless irregular mirror that’s minimal but modern. A half arch wall is incorporated to separate the toilet and the shower area, but still retains the overall open and airy feel. This feature helps make the bathroom feel more luxe. Together, these curves soften up the space and create a more soothing atmosphere.

wabi-sabi toilet renoImage credit: Insight Out Studio

Other subtle details that champion the simplicity and imperfection of the wabi-sabi trend include the vanity that’s fashioned entirely out of micro cement, as well as a mini shelf and a simple open shelf for under sink storage.

wabi-sabi toilet renoThe arch wall feature helped hide HDB pipes and created the opportunity for an in-built wall niche in the shower area for a more luxe look.
Image credit: Insight Out Studio

The ID also installed a soaking tub within the bathroom. This compact tub not only evokes a profound sense of relaxation but also imbues the bathroom with a serene, Japanese-inspired ambiance. Its presence is a nod to embracing beauty in simplicity and imperfection, transforming an ordinary space into a tranquil retreat.

wabi-sabi toilet renoImage credit: Insight Out Studio

wabi-sabi toilet renoImage credit: Insight Out Studio

The walls leading to the bathroom from the kitchen have also been given the same microcement finish for a cohesive look. Overall, the design is minimal and cosy, yet elevated, thanks to a handful of coveted features like the built-in bathtub, the inclusion of a wall sconce in the toilet area, and the pops of silver thanks to the bathroom hardware.

Mosaic arch master bedroom door

bedroomImage credit: Insight Out Studio

Beyond the bathroom, the rest of the flat also evokes a sense of peace and tranquillity. The living room sees the return of plenty of soft curves, this time in the form of a mosaic arch master bedroom door and a round-edged stone kitchen counter. 

arch doorThe choice of mosaic tiles here weaves in a sense of nostalgia that echoes the Chinese interiors of the 70s and 80s in Singapore.
Image credit: Insight Out Studio

Minimalist kitchen with a concrete bar niche

kitchenImage credit: Insight Out Studio

In the kitchen, the same microcement we saw in the bathroom makes reappearances in the kitchen and service yard. To balance the coolness of the home’s colour palette, a rich, warm wood vinyl wraps the kitchen countertop and backsplash. Its grains add warmth and authenticity to the space.

wabi-sabi toilet renoImage credit: Insight Out Studio

The recessed curved bar niche illuminated by its “small light”, a single pendant light, gives the space a grunge-like quality. It also creates a sense of intimacy and turns what would otherwise be an ordinary countertop into a standout feature.

3-room HDB flat with wabi-sabi toilet reno

Granted, we’ve featured countless wabi-sabi home designs, but this Japanese-inspired bathroom at 61 Telok Blangah Heights is one of a kind. It’s the imperfect fixtures and unfinished surfaces, together with the use of natural materials and muted colourways, that make this bathroom a soothing haven for some much-needed R&R.

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Cover image adapted from: Insight Out Studio

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