Featured Homes

This Woodlands HDB Flat Has A Bird Enclosure Inside, Looks Like A Section In Jurong Bird Park

11 September 2023 | BY

This 4-room resale HDB flat in Woodlands resembles a section of the now-shuttered Jurong Bird Park, complete with a custom-made enclosure!

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - cover

Apart from being the butt of passport-related jokes, Woodlands is also home to a surprising number of hidden gems, from underrated eateries to uniquely themed homes. An example of the latter is a resale 4-room HDB flat that has been lovingly remodelled to resemble a cross between Jurong Bird Park – now relocated and rebranded as Bird Paradise in Mandai – and a fancy cat cafe. 

Glass & mesh parrot enclosure in living room

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - bird enclosureImage credit: Weiken.com

Built in 1996, the flat bears multiple hallmarks of HDBs of that era, including slightly odd layouts – a marked difference from the squarish rooms of BTOs today. The homeowners of this gem of a flat are a young couple who own 2 parrots and 2 cats. Naturally, they decided to create a pet-friendly home that caters to the comfort of their animal companions.

Without a doubt, the most eye-catching feature of this 100sqm Woodlands flat is the custom-built, floor-to-ceiling bird enclosure in the living room.

Speaking to the interior designer in charge of the project, Lucas from Weiken, we learnt that the unique bird enclosure came about as a way to fully utilise an awkward area of the living room, hence embracing the quirks of the old flat rather than trying to hide it.

According to the ID, the homeowners approached him with a clear vision in mind, and they were able to thoughtfully articulate their needs while anticipating lifestyle changes in the future. Together, they were able to collaborate seamlessly to balance functionality, aesthetics, and the renovation budget to produce a one-of-a-kind dream home. 

Lucas further revealed that the perches were handpicked to cater to the homeowners’ two pet parrots, and his client even installed the perches himself.

 “With the goal of providing a space that’s easy to maintain, we veered away from the conventional wire mesh cages and adhered to a requirement of simplicity and hygiene. The design process hinged on optimising the unconventional middle area of the living room, transforming it into a dedicated enclosure for each bird,” said Lucas. 

“The selection of perches played a pivotal role in enriching this enclosure. Sourced online and imported to Singapore, these unique perches not only catered to the parrots’ comfort and play but also introduced an artful dimension to the space.” 

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - living room cat wallImage credit: Weiken.com

On top of their 2 cats, the homeowners also foster felines in need of a home. This means that pet safety was paramount when it came to designing the home. To start off, all windows were secured by invisible grilles to keep the inquisitive kitties safe. The custom-built cat wall in the living room provides the cats with vantage points to people-watch and nooks to snooze in while their humans go about their day. 

Careful attention was also paid to details such as the choice of materials used for the furniture. For one, scratch-resistant fabrics were chosen over leather – anyone who owns a cat can attest to their propensity for shredding furniture with zero hesitation, so this was a practical choice. 

As cat butlers know, cats are notoriously picky about their litter boxes. Hence, the ID and homeowners carefully planned the placement of litter boxes around the house to accommodate the needs of both the humans and their feline friends.

Other thoughtful touches such as a cat bed integrated within the master bedroom’s bench, as well as seamless cat flaps that blended with doors, all come together to create a pet-friendly home that allows curious kitties to navigate their surroundings freely while keeping the overall aesthetic cohesive. 

Seamless home that’ll withstand the test of time 

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - diningImage credit: Weiken.com

Rather than following the latest design trends, the homeowners prioritised a timeless design that will last for years to come. 

Old HDB flats are notorious for being “stuffy”, so walls were hacked to open up the space. The living room and kitchen were merged, as were the master bedroom and an adjacent room. 

And to bring the entire flat up to date, the electrical wirings, bathrooms, and flooring were overhauled. All in all, renovations of this 4-room resale flat cost $80k in 2021. With current market conditions and inflation in mind, Lucas advised that the cost in 2023 would be about 10-20% higher. 

The focal point of the kitchen-cum-dining area is the solid wood table from Singapore’s Wood Capitol. “This particular table is made with Suar Wood and comes with a live edge, giving a more natural finish,” said Lucas. 

To infuse the space with warmth, wood was used throughout the home, thus creating a timeless canvas that invites relaxation. The wooden elements also play well with the stone-look vinyl flooring, as well as other earthy materials used. 

5sqm kitchenImage credit: Weiken.com

Though the actual kitchen only measures 5sqm, the efficient layout meant that they were able to fit a sink, hob, washing machine, dryer, and a laundry rack.

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - bedroomImage credit: Weiken.com

This nifty use of space extends to the master bedroom, which Lucas was particularly proud of. Old HDB bathrooms tend to be gloomy and cramped affairs, but Lucas and the homeowners were able to transform it into a spacious and balanced layout that opens up to the walk-in wardrobe, which adjoins the master bedroom.

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - study and walk-in wardrobeImage credit: Weiken.com

In essence, two rooms and an ensuite were seamlessly integrated to create a flowy space that’s tailored to the homeowners’ daily habits. This includes a thoughtfully sized desk, built-in pet corners, and a concealed laundry basket within the vanity. 

Woodlands Bird Park HDB - bathroomImage credit: Weiken.com

Even though the master bedroom and bathroom were situated close together, privacy was maintained by repositioning the basin and bathroom counter, hence cutting off a direct sight line between the two. This also effectively creates a more generous shower area – a win-win situation. 

How to pet-proof your home

Lucas Ngan WeikenImage credit: Weiken.com

Lucas generously shared with us a few tips to not just create a pet-friendly home, but also make it more resistant to wear and tear.

First, he advises against delicate or difficult-to-clean flooring materials such as parquet. Furthermore, non-scratch-resistant laminate and veneers along the lower sections of cabinetry can make expensive built-ins look aged because of wear and tear. 

“Pets can cause scratches, stains, and accidents that may damage certain material types. Proper consideration of durable materials is crucial,” he added. 

cat eatingImage credit: Unsplash

“Placing food and water bowls near high-traffic areas or noisy appliances can make pets uncomfortable while they eat or drink. A calm and quiet feeding area is important.”

Lastly, just as us humans need design accommodations as we age, so do our pets.

“High gloss floor tiles can often be too slippery for pets to get a grip on. Pets age, just like humans, and their needs change. Ignoring the long-term comfort and mobility of older pets can lead to difficulties as they age,” said Lucas.

Mini bird park in Woodlands 4-room resale HDB

Though the famed Jurong Bird Park shuttered its doors in January 2023, the aviary spirit lives on in Mandai’s Bird Paradise and this 4-room resale HDB flat in Woodlands. Meticulous planning has ensured that this place is a sanctuary for both the homeowners and their animal friends for a long time to come, and we can’t help but to be inspired. 

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Cover image adapted from: Weiken.com

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