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Before & After: How This HDB Resale Reno Mixes Budget Finds & Design Styles Effortlessly 

12 April 2022 | BY

The ordinary 80s HDB flat was fully revamped into an eclectic beauty – all while sticking to a strict budget.

Yishun resale 5-room boho jungalow

Finding your dream home proves a tedious process, but newlyweds Joy and Eddy stood strong till they found their forever home in a 5-room HDB resale flat in Yishun. And that was after a staggering number of attempts: three failed BTO applications, two Sale of Balance Flats (SBFs) that fell through, and 17 resale flat viewings later. But it was well-worth it since it led them to Ohkur House

hdb resale flatImage adapted from: @ohkur.house

It’s a showstopper of a home, with strong bohemian and jungalow influences coming through. Of course, it didn’t always look that way. Read on to see how this couple fully revamped an ordinary 80s HDB flat into the eclectic beauty of Ohkur House – all while sticking to a strict budget. 

Getting inspired by bohemian & jungalow decor

More often than not, people dive straight into their home reno journey, all armed with moodboards, detailed checklists, and a specific theme in mind. But that wasn’t at all the case for newlyweds Joy and Eddy. This is one easy-breezy couple, simply basing their decisions on “the vibes they wanted to achieve”. 

hdb resale flatImage credit: @ohkur.house

In fact, they’ve admitted before that they have “serious commitment issues”. And it’s not at all because they’re second-guessing their choices, but it’s due to wanting it all – they can’t fully settle on just one theme since a myriad calls out to them. As Joy explained, both her and Eddy work in the creative industry so expressing themselves is at the forefront of everything they do. 

hdb resale flatImage credit: @ohkur.house

If we were to narrow down Okhur House’s aesthetic, it’s a mishmash of bohemian and jungalow influences that’ve shaped it to be the eclectically-designed home it is today. As Joy revealed, they were inspired by home and decor IG accounts like @thejungalow and @bohemiandecor

Different spaces for different moods

hdb resale flatImage credit: @ohkur.house

But Okhur House certainly doesn’t stick to cookie-cutter interior design themes. The couple described it as an intentional process, that they specially wanted a variety of backdrops and even sceneries – so that each space gives off a different mood. Jokingly, they described it as “truly a rojak mix of a lot of styles” that they love with people having told them that it’s everything from farmhouse to mid-century. 

hdb resale flatImage credit: @ohkur.house, @ohkur.house

Take their bathrooms: the common bathroom has a more cheery and whimsical feel, while they wanted the primary bathroom to feature a more soothing, calm design. Both Joy and Eddy also enjoy playing with plenty of textures and colours – after all, it’s a clever way to separate space, such as their living room from the open concept kitchen. 

Bargain buys

One thing that sets Ohkur House apart from other revamped flats? It’s the quintessential example of budget shopping done right. One of their favourite platforms is Carousell, and they’ve proven that they’re far from amateur in their savvy bargain buys. Their absolute favourite find is an embroidered tapestry that’s now hanging front and centre in the living area. 

RugA massive hanging tapestry they scored for just $50
Image credit: @ohkur.house

As Joy shared:

“We were looking for an accent decor piece large enough to fill up that particular wall. Long story short, we managed to chance upon this listing that did absolutely no justice to the item: photo was blurry, cropped badly, description was brief, the price was sus (art is not cheap), and honestly the location to pick up was really inconvenient.”

It was a steal indeed, especially since it works as a statement piece – to help “anchor the whole vibe and look of the house”. 

hdb resale flatImage credit: @ohkur.house

That wasn’t the only gem they found online either, having also clinched two rattan dining chairs from Carousell – rattan is all very in vogue right now, and a similar chair might go for hundreds of dollars in specialty stores. No doubt we’ll all be shopping at Carousell for our home decor pieces from now on. 

Renovating an 80s resale HDB flat from scratch

It wasn’t an easy journey for Joy and Eddy when it came to finding their forever home – but they were elated to finally get started on Ohkur House. 

The before & after process 

According to the couple, coming up with the design and planning for the layout was the easiest. What was slightly trickier though, was the actual sourcing of materials. Since they kept to a strict budget, there unfortunately wasn’t a one-stop shop suitable for them – they spent countless weekends heading down to the different suppliers to check things out in person. 

hdb resale flatBefore and after – living area.
Image credit: @ohkur.house

In visualising their dream home, it helped that Eddy is a creative and perfectly adept in design programmes like Photoshop and SketchUp. This means they could do up technical drawings and 3D renders to show their interior designer exactly what they wanted. 

hdb resale flatBefore and after – kitchen tiles.
Image credit: @ohkur.house and @ohkur.house 

Unfortunately, like most major projects go, they faced a somewhat bumpy situation. It was a series of things: Covid, shipment delays, and worst of all, a strained relationship with their ID due to miscommunications and unmet expectations. But they took it all in stride. Despite their renovation lasting a lengthy eight months, much longer than what was conveyed to them, they kept their spirits high:

“Amidst all the chaos, we still constantly remind yourselves to enjoy the process! After all, nobody said building a home would be easy.”

They finally pulled it off in October 2021 – alongside a stunning home wedding, at that. 

Renovation tips

First things first: always make sure to inspect the little details when viewing a potential home. 

The couple admitted as first-time homebuyers, they weren’t sure what to look out for during a viewing. As such, they completely overlooked the condition of the windows – it was only after the handover that they realised they were in such poor shape that safety became a concern. 

TilesImage credit: @ohkur.house

For those on a tighter budget, they also recommend getting quotations from different vendors and suppliers just to compare which are more value for money. This way, you’ll know what the fair price is of those terrazzo or Peranakan tiles you’re eyeing. 

You should also certainly openly communicate with your partner – to best match what you both want and need in a home. In Joy and Eddy’s case, they agreed to keep all the interior doors and simply repaint them instead, which saved them close to $2,000. 

hdb resale flat doorThey both adored the patterned curve glass details of the original doors
Image credit: @ohkur.house

And of course, it helps to join the home IG community. Joy strongly encourages all first-time homeowners to follow the online home accounts that strike your fancy – not just for visual inspo, but also to “seek advice and opinions” as well as “learn from other homeowners’ reno mistakes”. 

After all, most of us first homeowners have zero renovation experience under our belt, and it could be all very intimidating or overwhelming. It’s a plus that most of these social media account owners are friendly and helpful. 

Renovating a 5-room resale HDB flat in Yishun

It’s never a straightforward task when it comes to home renovations, but Joy and Eddy of Ohkur House tackled it with enthusiasm. As Joy said, “we basically wanted the house to be an extension of our personalities, to spark “joy” at every corner” – pun intended. 

When comparing the before and after, you can see the heartfelt effort that has gone into creating their dream home together. Whether it’s the tedious choosing of materials or decorating the space with rare Carousell finds, this newlywed couple has done an amazing job. 

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