Couple overhauls 2-storey Jalan Besar penthouse, converts master bedroom into bar with beer-on-tap

PHOTO: Lendl Chong, Karen Tan & Allen Tan, Bam Visuals)

IT professional Lendl Chong (47) and his wife, PR professional Karen Tan (39), have had quite a property journey, which intertwined closely with their romantic life. Having worked for 42 years combined, they made their first property investments more than 13 years ago with a freehold condo apartment at The Nexus , Bukit Timah, and The Esta at Katong.

Then, in 2008, Lendl bought an 893-sqft, 2-bedder penthouse apartment at Jalan Besar with the profits of his last property at The Nexus. He paid S$838,000 (S$938 psf) for the freehold condominium.

“For the past 13 years, I’ve been renting the penthouse out. The location makes it easy for me to secure a tenant as it’s at the fringe of the CBD,” Lendl said.

With the convenient location, which is within walking distance from three different MRT stations, the tenancy was easy. So when they got married, 2021 is the first time both Lendl and Karen decided to move in and live at the property, having previously rented in Novena and Katong.

As the property is more than 10 years old and to make their matrimonial home more suited to their lifestyles, a major overhaul was planned before their move.

Here are the floor plans depicting the renovation works that transformed the once underutilized space to its maximum potential:

Here are before-and-after images:

“We did consider continuing renting out the apartment and buying another condominium, but we decided that the central location and potential of this apartment was great for our first owned matrimonial home,” Lendl said.

After the last tenant vacated the property in January 2021, Lendl and Karen began to plan their renovations. After a six-month period meeting with interior designers, banks and contractors, the actual renovation works started in July 2021 and took about four months.

“I must say that as a 2-storey penthouse, the apartment design allows us to make it unique. For example, we converted the upstairs master bedroom into a bar as there’s an open terrace beside it – which makes it ideal for this sort of setup.”

Lendl’s right. The apartment’s terrace overlooks many hipster cafes and F&B joints like Chye Seng Huat Hardware cafe, Druggists pub, etc., which have popped up in the neighbourhood. Anyone yearning to experience a bon vivant lifestyle knows this is the right place to be, especially if it’s right from your doorstep.

By the end of November 2021, all renovations, furnishings and installations (estimated at $130,000) at Lendl’s and Karen’s 2-storey penthouse were complete.

Beyond the design elements to create an industrial luxe home that was chic and cosy, efforts were made to ensure the space was fully functional with plenty of storage space and the ultimate smart home with everything automated (including their curtains, lights, locks and sound systems) and controllable from their phones.

Of course, there were quirky elements that showcased their interests like a light installation wall, a kegerator (home beer dispenser) that serves beer on tap, and a beverage fridge that was inspired by one too many visits to the supermarket.

With the apartment overlooking the Jalan Besar/ Lavender neighbourhood, there are plenty of food and transport options including a variety of hipster cafes and famous hawker stalls right at their doorstep.

It’s clear that the renovation was a major overhaul that completely changed the layout of the space, tearing out all existing structures and reconfiguring the original floor plan. It was a redesign that worked for their lifestyle, with different areas to chill out and work, making it a perfect space for the couple to finally call home.

“We want to thank Hui Hui Poh, our interior designer, and Nigel Ng, our contractor from Nao Interiors for their great help to recreate this space,” the couple shared.

This article was first published in

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