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  • Writer's pictureIrvin Chia

Artists' impressions; design literacy. Fernvale BTO!

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

This project is a showcase of the accuracy of our industry's 3D software. The client's was all about the feeling and warmth of the space that only can be communicated through visual perspectives. Hence, our design process involved the heavy use of our 3D rendering software.

Suggested plan by HDB for 5 room BTO

So based on the suggested HDB plan, the client was keen to see a 3D perspective of the proposed layout in a Japandi style. I took a shot in the dark, which is the best way to start the conversation. This process gives the client something to comment on and general feedback. It is an extra step for the designer and can be tedious but I personally believe that it creates a better understanding between each other. Much more design details and intentions would blossom through this process.

Draft 1A Perspective 1

Draft 1A Perspective 2

Draft 1A Perspective 3

The layout of the open kitchen did not feel right, or rather, it could be much better. I presented my own idea.

Draft 1B Perspective 1

Draft 1B Perspective 2

Draft 2 Development

Draft 3 Development

Draft 4 Development
Draft 4 Development


Realisation, The owners had yet to fully move in, and this was one of the few opportunities I could use to take the photos.

Living 1

Living 2

Living 3


Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

Corridor Pinhole Lighting

Common Bath
Common Bath Wall Texture




I actually wanted to push the client into a more wabi-sabi, derelict styled design. But I believe it was not too palatable for them. However, the client was very accomodating to try a less intense version of wabi-sabi textures in the bathroom. This also presented an opportunity to explore microcement. The benefit of microcement in a BTO HDB situation (whereby waterproofing guarantee is voided if tiles were to be changed in the first 5 years), we could simply overlay this material. Unlike overlaying tiles (which would easily cause water seepages due to multiple layering of grout and tiles), microcement application would create a much thinner layer, pretty much a cement layer over the existing tiles which solves a lot of drainage and floor level problems. Cost wise, overall, would be equivalent to overlaying tiles. Win-win.


Microcement Detailing

Microcement Detailing 2

I'd like to end of with the gorgeous izakaya styled bar. Instead of having the usual LED strip light to be at the top of the shelf shining downward (practical), I flipped the light to be at the bottom (impractical space-wise). This creates a totally different effect. Enjoy!

Izakaya Styled Liquor Storage

Bar Height Counter

Uplight Shelf

Takeaways I enjoyed this project very much and 5 room BTOs are really very spacious. I advise everyone to get a 5 room instead of a 4 room if possible. There is much more flexibility and design possibilities. I've also learnt that "Professional Cleaners" are not professional enough. They do not have the ability to clean of construction stains (paint, grout, etc.). They just use soap to wipe down surfaces. Be aware and careful of the method and chemicals that these cleaners use. They have to use the correct methods.


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