January 10, 2024
January 10, 2024

How A Couple Transformed Their Tampines BTO Into A Cosy Cafe-Like Home With $40k

Renovation Journeys

How A Couple Transformed Their Tampines BTO Into A Cosy Cafe-Like Home With $40k


Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X 5
4 min read

Recently, there’s been an interesting shift with cafes adopting a more homely vibe, inspiring a parallel trend in home design. More and more people are now keen on giving their homes a ‘cafe-like’ feel and look. Reflecting this trend, we visited a unique ‘latte’ home (@thelattehome) in Tampines Greenverge, a BTO flat that stands out with its cafe-inspired aesthetics. This week, join us as we chat with the couple who created this cosy and stylish space, exploring how they blended the comfort of a home with the charm of a cafe.

Budgeting for a BTO renovation

Our homeowner couple, S, got the keys to their BTO flat only in 2021. This was in Tampines Greenverge, and they originally had a tight budget of below $30,000. However, S says that:

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Living Room 2

After meeting with a few Interior Designers and contractors, it didn’t seem possible for what we wanted. We didn’t want to give up certain wants just to keep within a budget. It was below $40,000 in the end.”

They said they were “very much inspired by modern Japanese homes. I watched a lot of Japanese home tour videos on YouTube from channels such as @yourlifeisgood and @Roommy_Roomtour”. The couple also drew some inspiration from images found on Pinterest. The final result was a “cafe vibe,” and despite trimming the budget, the couple felt they did meet the envisioned outcome, and the result is a home that feels cosy.

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Diningjpg 1

Being hands-on with the renovations

S says one challenge was: “Having to check the details of the drawings and quote provided, down to the measurements. A lot of mistakes were found,” and they had to “be detail oriented, and hands-on in decision making and not simply entrust everything to the contractor.”

Due to the mistakes, the couple weren’t fully satisfied with the outcome of a few things; but they did praise the renovation team for their quick response and communication. 

The couple focused on the details, such as the use of wood tones near the windows, and on opening up the space: “We hacked half of the bedroom’s three walls to have sliding windows,” the couple notes, “Having windows also brightens up the whole living and especially kitchen area.”

They also made changes to other parts of the unit:

  • For the kitchen, the windows and door of the service yard have been replaced with an entrance arch. The fridge was moved into the yard, to maximise room for cabinets and countertops. 
Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Kitchen 1
  • One of the bedrooms was turned into a study. The second bedroom is currently a storage room, while a platform bed was installed in the master bedroom. 
Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Master Bedroom 2
  • Both bathrooms have been overlaid, while the master bathroom was tweaked to include a bathtub.

The living room was unchanged, and the couple used loose furniture and kept things minimal to match the vibe. Most of the furniture was sourced online, with some coming from Shopee, EZbuy, and IKEA. While the couple did visit a few brick-and-mortar shops, they didn’t see anything that really caught their eye. 

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Living Room 1

Among all the renovations, S says the highlight for them would be: “Our open kitchen. I think our upper cabinet is unique in a Singaporean context, as most people would go with full height to maximise space. Having the hob on the peninsula, with a suspended counter table in front of it, is also a design that I really wanted as it allows for interaction with guests while cooking.”

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Kitchen 2

Some learning experiences from the renovation

While the renovations worked out well, there are a few areas where the couple would have changed things. They noted that: 

Small tiles and black grouting have a higher chance of looking bad (uneven grout lines), due to lack of skill or tiler wanting to do a fast job. Check with the designer or contractor on the tiler’s skill, and look for pictures of his previous work. We even had to pay more for labour for choosing smaller tiles, so it was disappointing.” 

From their experiences, the couple also have advice for new homeowners:

Head down to the suppliers’ showrooms to see and feel the actual materials you are going to use, don’t just leave it to the designer to recommend or decide based on a small sample piece. 

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Living Room 3

For example, if going for wood design laminates, visit the showroom to see the full sheet, as a small sample piece will not be an accurate representation. I changed my laminate choice after viewing the full sheet as I realised it had too many ‘knots’ in the grain which made it look more rustic.”

The couple suggests looking at different materials early, even before engaging a designer. 

Knowing the materials beforehand also means getting a more accurate quote, when meeting with designers. It will also help avoid any delays as we spent a lot of time choosing our materials.”

Tampines Greenverge Latte Home X Study 2

For more homeowner experiences with renovations, or home-buying journeys, follow us on Stacked. You can also reach out to us directly, if you need help with picking a home or the right interior.