The Amazing Homes of Public Officers

We meet public officers who have transformed their regular flats into unique living spaces bursting with personality. 
The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
Mr Teo’s home is like a treasure trove of everyday items used in the good ol’ days. He enjoys collecting relics, from a traditional biscuit tin and old records to an actual trishaw.

With its traditional Peranakan screen divider, fuchsia sheets and beaded curtain, Mr Teo Zhiliang’s master bedroom is a pretty picture from the Peranakan past. The headboard of his bed is decorated with Peranakan tiles from the late 1800s, similar to the façade of his grandparents’ old shophouse along Victoria Street. At just 30 years old, the Bowen Secondary School teacher describes himself as a nostalgic person. He and his wife, Mrs Teo Siew Hwa, 32, an academic staff at Republic Polytechnic, were inspired by memories of old buildings to re-create similar-looking spaces at home.

Window grilles are replicas of those popular in the 1960s and ’70s and discarded traffic signs adorn the walls. Some items, like the sofa cushion covers, were made by sourcing for vintage prints in old heartland textile shops, but most pieces were donated by family and friends. Mr Teo’s collection of retro items extends to a trishaw that was once a display piece at Changi Airport and a clock that runs on electricity. “The same pieces I treasure might be perceived as worthless to others,” Mr Teo says, so all the better for him, as he continues to uncover jewels that preserve the everyday spaces of time past.

The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
The Amazing Homes of Public Officers

To make it yours, do it yourself

Bring together two people with a flair for design and a penchant for things home-made, and the result is a home that is anything but ordinary. Public Service Division Communications Designer Siti Zuraidah, 31, and her visual communications lecturer husband Iskandar, 35, took it upon themselves to design their flat so that they could create their own special space. The end product? Bold colours, simple patterns and textures that give the interiors an edgy, stylish feel.

The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
Craving for fresh designs: The couple is constantly thinking of how to inject new creative ideas into their space. Ms Zuraidah tells Challenge that she is considering repainting her home!
Statement-piece furniture such as a guitar-shaped coffee table and its matching pick-shaped seat, and a shoe cabinet re-fashioned from an old locker, complete the look. True to the DIY spirit, the couple channelled their love for typography into designing a wall with an optimistic decal that reads, “Today is going to be a better day”. In the dining room, a brick wall creates a loft-like, homey feel. It is only upon moving closer that you realise the “brick wall” is actually an effect created by meticulously sticking masking tape on a maroon wall, and paint. The couple plans to keep redecorating their private space. They enjoy the process, they say, to make a home that is uniquely theirs.
The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
The Amazing Homes of Public Officers

Bringing the great outdoors indoors

Tanjong Katong Primary School teacher Rae Wong and sales manager Adrian Chew, both 35, met at the age of 13 and developed a shared love for nature. Today, their home is a reflection of this passion. Outside, Chinese evergreens, dumb canes and money plants deck the corridor. Indoors, the green theme continues. The couple is exceptionally proud of their colourful terrariums – easy-to-maintain plant enclosures that they created themselves. The plants, Mr Chew explains, add a finishing touch to the yellow lighting, whitewashed walls and liberal use of wood, contributing to a warm, cosy atmosphere.

The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
Earth lovers: The couple adores nature so much that they even have a painting of a tree at home. They also cultivate their own little green universes in the form of terrrariums.
Ms Wong and her sister also painted a tree, freehand, on the dining room wall. About eight animals, including a rabbit and an owl, are hidden amongst the branches. But the most special feature is that just half the tree is painted, making it visible as a whole only through its reflection in the glass panels next to it. Ms Wong says this “adds to the illusion of depth” and spaciousness created by the mirrors. Such artful design and manipulation of space allows the couple to overcome the flat’s size limitations, while recreating the tranquillity of being close to nature in their home.
The Amazing Homes of Public Officers
    Mar 18, 2013
    Fiona Liaw
    Justin Loh
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