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Before & After: A $90k Reno Transforms 30-Year-Old HDB Flat Into Mickey Mouse Haven

This four-room Serangoon flat has gone from the house of drab to the House of Mouse.

This four-room Serangoon flat has gone from the house of drab to the House of Mouse.

This four-room Serangoon flat has gone from the house of drab to the House of Mouse.

If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth for Disney fans, then for the homeowners of this Mickey-themed four-room flat, their cosy contemporary abode may come in a close second.

This 1,000 sq ft flat in Serangoon is home to a young couple who are — you probably guessed this by now — huge fans of the iconic Disney character.

Tasked with tackling this major overhaul with a deft Disney touch was interior designer Wein of local firm, Notion of W. “Pre-renovations, the condition of the flat was not good at all, and we had to change almost everything,” Wein tells “The most challenging part of the project was having to make the old rundown unit into a fresh new home for the couple.”

Besides fulfilling their wish for a House of Mouse themed home, it was also important that “the function and practicality of the space that would suit the two individuals’ unique personalities into one single space, and to find harmony within the space”, he continues.

The flat was 30-something years old when renovations started, and revamping the space took four months and $90,000. Taking up big chunks of the budget were major layout changes to the flat, carpentry, as well as rewiring and plumbing, which is common among renovations for older flats.

1 of 15 Putting the Mickey in it

Think Mickey-inspired, rather than a shrine to Mickey Mouse. Wein knew from the start that it was important not to go over-the-top with the theme. Rather than have in-your-face Mickey Mouse motifs around the home, he introduced subtle hints and played around with Mickey accents that are instantly recognisable.

You’ll see it in the custom red barn doors — each leading to the entertainment and second rooms respectively — that are a nod to Mickey Mouse’s outfit.

2 of 15 The Mickey is in the details

Mickey-shaped design handles were custom made for cabinetry as well.

  • 3 of 15 Changing up the flat’s layout

    The first step to revitalise this older flat was to knock down and rebuild most walls in the unit. The storeroom between the kitchen and living area was hacked away for a more seamless — and more spacious — transition between both spaces.

    The configuration of the bedrooms was also changed. Part of the original master bedroom was carved out to add to the common space (spot the unique curved wall feature on the floor plan). Meanwhile, the new master bedroom borrows some space from the original second bedroom, and the two other bedrooms were resized to fit an entertainment room and a second bedroom.

    4 of 15 Entrance: Before

    Drab and dark.

  • 5 of 15 Entrance: After

    The brightened entrance and sitting area of the home sets the tone for the rest of the cheery interiors that is to come. What a difference a fresh coat of paint, the warm tones of the herringbone flooring and wall feature, and new recessed lighting make.

    On-trend curve design elements soften and modernise the space; rattan furnishings and some greenery make this a cosy and inviting nook. The Mickey touches can be seen in the arch cabinet is home to the owners’ Mickey collectibles, and the sliding red barn doors pay homage to Mickey’s classic get-up. A custom Mickey Mouse DB box cover next to the door adds some Disney-approved fun to the now-contemporary space.

    6 of 15 Kitchen: Before

    What’s usually considered to be the heart of the home desperately needed resuscitation.

  • 7 of 15 Kitchen: After

    Who knew modern industrial interiors and Mickey Mouse meshed so well together? The refreshed kitchen features cement screed walls jazzed up with mosaic tiles artfully laid out, and cabinetry in joyous pastel hues. Hacking away the storeroom let up enough space for a wider entrance into the kitchen and even a breakfast bar.

    Can you get a handle on how cute those Mickey Mouse cabinet handles are? It’s a classy, contemporary take on that famous silhouette. Moreover, it can easily be changed up should the unthinkable ever happen — if the homeowners fall in love with another Disney character, that is.

    8 of 15 Common bathroom: Before

    Strictly business only.

    9 of 15 Common bathroom: After

    After the makeover, this has turned into an Insta-worthy space, replete with hanging plants and even a Mickey Mouse decal on the frosted bathroom door. Inside, floors and walls were updated with terrazzo and wood tiles respectively.

    10 of 15 Master bathroom: Before

    Major overhaul required, no butts about it.

    11 of 15 Master bathroom: After

    Grey tones, patterned tiles and a touch of Mickey in the wardrobe’s handles breathe new life into this space. But beyond the aesthetics, practical changes were made as well — the sink was shifted out of the master bathroom to be part of a double vanity area outside to maximise space.

  • 12 of 15 Master bathroom: Before


  • 13 of 15 Master bathroom: Before

    Functional and fun.

  • 14 of 15 Peek-a-boo

    Now here’s a Disneyland-worthy feature in the flat: a mouse hole squirreled away next to the master bedroom's double-leafed doors.

    “It was a fun thing that the owner had mentioned during one of our casual chats, and I said we should have it in the new space, and they loved the idea,” says Wein. Now that’s a convenient entrance and exit should the couple decide to have kids or pets in the future.

    15 of 15 House of Mouse

    More info here.

    Photos: Courtesy of Notion of W

    Related topics

    home matters house tour mickey mouse house renovation

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