Skip to main content



It Cost $80K To Renovate This HDB Executive Apartment That Doesn't Have A Main Door, Home To A Household Of 7

This is a unique project in more ways than one.

As far as renovations go, this one's pretty unconventional, from the layout of the flat right down to the choice of finishings.

For starters, unlike most cookie-cutter HDB floor plans, this 1,400 sq ft executive apartment in Admiralty has an odd, fan-shaped layout with many slanted walls.

It’s also home to seven people — parents and their three kids, the kids’ grandmother, and a helper — so it was paramount that the home accommodates everyone’s lifestyles.

And instead of a main gate and door, the apartment only has a steel gate with a wire mesh glass as the main entrance of the home.

It’s an unusual move to replace the regular HDB gate and main door, but it was a practical decision, as much as it was about aesthetics.

Helming the project is interior designer, Roy Teo of Insight.Out Studio, who revived the 22-year-old EA on a budget of $80K. He tells “We decided not to have a main door as the door will hinder the entrance to the helper’s room [next to it]. Taking away the door allows sunlight into the foyer area as well.”

The issue of security was a consideration, but the homeowners were confident that it was safe enough, especially in Singapore, and went ahead with this radical main entrance.

And yes, people who walk past will be able to peek inside, though they’re greeted by the foyer and a wall of vintage-style breeze blocks, which provides some privacy.

The unconventional main entrance and the glass blocks next to it (an original feature of the building) create a “vintage-looking shophouse look” that echoes the rest of the EA flat’s eclectic vintage vibes.  

For this project, the homeowners had an existing collection of vintage and antique furniture that they wanted to take centrestage, so the main aim of the reno was to create a blank canvas to showcase these pieces.

Naturally, the homeowners leaned into an eclectic vintage theme for the home, albeit with a Peranakan twist.


The Peranakan influences are evident in the photo-worthy foyer, where mixed vintage tiles complement the breeze blocks.

Dining area

Past the foyer is a dining nook where a vintage kopitiam table anchors the space. An eclectic mix of chairs, carpet and sideboard liven things up.

Living room and balcony

Natural light flows into the spacious living room, thanks to the arched bifold doors that separate the living area and the balcony. The homeowners chose not to have built-ins here to keep things minimal and clean. By doing so, the loose furniture — an eye-catching mix of traditional and contemporary pieces — can shine, adding personality and warmth to the home.

To bring the outdoors in, elements of nature were used in the balcony — green walls and natural accents of wood and rattan.  


Of the entire home, the kitchen underwent the most major changes. It was initially quite small and odd-shaped pre-renovation, making it difficult to design carpentry around it. A few walls were hacked to open up and reconfigure the space, and a peninsula was constructed to provide more countertop space.

Master bedroom

All three bedrooms have their own built-in wardrobes, including this generous-sized one in the master bedroom, flanking the entrance of the bathroom.


The vintage eclectic theme continues even in the bathrooms, where ornate sinks add visual interest in their own ways. And, yes, if you haven’t realised by now, it’s all about the details in this home.

Photos: Insight.Out Studio

Related topics

renovation reno journey reno hdb executive apartment hdb ea admiralty

Read more of the latest in




Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.