March 3, 2007

Golden years

It's located in the 40-year-old Golden Mile Complex, but this apartment is far from showing its age

By Tay Suan Chiang

MODERN RUSTIC: The apartment gets a contemporary touch through its sleek furniture and bar counter - a popular hangout spot with guests - but rattan lamps add an interesting rustic twist. -- CAROLINE CHIA

UNDERUSED, OVEREXPOSED: The bar counter looks into the new kitchen, which is hardly used by the home owners as food is readily available downstairs.

UNDERUSED OVEREXPOSED: The exposed concrete ceiling above the bar reveals the structural floor stab and beams of the unit above.

WALK THIS WAY: Sliding mirrors conceal storage space in the walkway leading to the bathroom, which is given a retro vibe with green mosaic tiles. A rain showerhead (not shown) completes the luxurious bathing experience.

SLIDE AND HIDE: A series of sliding doors separates the study and bedroom from the living area for a spacious appearance when open and privacy when closed.

SIMPLE SPACIOUS TRICKS: A mirror along one wall gives the illusion of a bigger bedroom, along with simple furnishings and a light colour palette. But the room is not short on storage, with hidden compartments under the bed.

WHEN a 36-year-old teacher was looking for a home in the city, he gave the modern condominium projects a miss.

Instead, he went in search of older housing projects, such as those in Tiong Bahru, Pearl Bank and People's Park Complex. He eventually found what he was looking for at Golden Mile Complex in Beach Road.

He said: 'I didn't want a place that would be so generic, with many units. I don't need the amenities that condos come with, either.'

His partner, a 32-year-old freelance writer, calls it 'living in an iconic building'.

The building, now a popular spot for Thai workers, was designed in 1967 by architect William Lim. It has retail units on the lower floors, offices in the middle and residential units on the top floors.

The two owners bought the apartment in December 2005, but moved in only last September after renovations were completed. The 930 sq ft flat previously housed about 10 workers, and the terrace had been converted into an extra bedroom.

'We thought the covered terrace was a waste of the apartment's best feature,' said the owner. So, he got their friend, interior designer Koon Wai Leong, to restore the terrace to its original state.

The large open-air terrace, which offers views of the Marina Bay area, is now a favourite spot for drinks, parties and outdoor dinners.

During the course of the $60,000 renovation, the apartment was stripped back to its concrete shell, especially the ceiling which was deliberately left in its raw state. The owners say the exposed beams add contrasting 'grit' to the space and add an illusion of height to the interior.

To save space, their custom-made eight-seater dining table can be folded into a neat console box to be parked under wall-mounted shelves. Foldable chairs can also be tucked away within the console.

The owners love the 40-year-old complex for its convenient location and 'kampung spirit'.

'The cooks and workers downstairs are literally our neighbours.'

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