Notes from a really tiny island

The Home

Our home is a 4-rm HDB BTO flat with an open kitchen and no OCS. Look at all those abbreviations! Which reminds me, while enquiring about a home loan, the bank guy asked if we had the OTP with us, and I was like, “One-time password? Just use SMS?”

Option to purchase. OTP also means option to purchase. #truestory

Anyway… who loves floor plans? This is ours! A 4-roomer that’s 90 sqm, sans the air-conditioner ledge (that’s 3 sqm btw).

A typical-ish 4-room Built-to-Order flat by HDB, Singapore, 2017

Small? Moot point. Having stayed in apartments in New York and Japan, we would say this is a perfectly cute size for a family of two to four?

What we love about this layout is that the household shelter aka The Bomb Shelter or most likely, a glorified reinforced junk closet, is separate from the kitchen. Having the shelter attached to the kitchen just limits what you can do with the space (how many of you are nodding furiously to this sentence?).

We didn’t go for the Optional Component Scheme, which would have included flooring, sanitary fittings and doors for the bedrooms and bathrooms, so our house is as far from turn-key as it gets. We opted for an open kitchen. It would have been great if HDB could offer a no doors/partition option for the service yard plus an option to have the windows at the service yard installed.

The service yard is what you’d probably call a laundry “room”. But it’s neither an actual room nor is it a kick-a-ball-and-grow-your-own-veg type of yard.  There are no windows here, so it’s kinda like an outdoor-ish section of the house (veranda?) for things like drying racks, taps, pipes and drains plus there’s also a ledge for an air conditioner condenser or two. An Aussie friend of ours termed it “a balcony” but the reality is definitely much less romantic. Ours has a waist-high parapet and a thoroughly utilitarian feel. Oh, and it looks directly into the neighbors’ service yard.


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