Recently, I came across PropertyGuru’s post about the “Hong Kong”-ization of Singapore property – a very apt description of the double whammy of shrinking space and spiraling costs inflicting new property offerings in Singapore.
Call them studios, shoeboxes, micro units, or god forbid, “boutique luxury residences”, these tiny smaller-than-500-square-foot hutches are becoming a steady reality for single folks like myself if we want our own place and can’t fork an arm and a leg to go for full-sized domiciles. The ex-CEO of prominent Singapore property developer CapitaLand has called out shoebox units as “almost inhuman” – a statement irking many property developers (including CapitaLand itself), probably because they realize the immense profitability in selling shoeboxes under the guise of affordability.
PropertyGuru’s post also warns of the (un)liveability of such miniscule homes for people who actually have to live in them – with a good anecdote of some Hong Kong home toilets so small “that one can only enter it by reversing in”. Which definitely puts me in mind of a friend’s Hong Kong 600-plus square foot apartment where its tiny kitchen was truly where only one person could enter at one time, and had to do so laterally (!)
In fact, I still remember a Singapore showflat visit a few months back, where I asked just where the bedroom of the 400-plus square foot 1-bedroom unit was. The salesman pointed to the top, bumping his head as he did so. And when I pointed out that the unit is actually a studio, he insisted that it *is* a 1-bedroom – just that the bed was on top – with a straight face, as he bent his knees to avoid another headcrack（￣へ￣）.
Then, this came in my Pulse news feed and it was a thing of horror, at least for me. My bed is where I read (voraciously), surf (compulsively), blog (recently), work (if needed), eat (if I’m lazy) and sleep (in all its forms of nightly rest, lazy weekend naps, and illness recovery). I cannot imagine my constant place of comfort being something more of a circus trapeze act where a light and airy feel takes on new meaning in a ba~a~a~d way (*´ 0｀*)I notice pushing up beds and pushing out bedrooms to free up floor space is becoming a common design theme. Does it mean designers imagine, of all the living spaces in our home, we should place less importance in our bedrooms? If they are taking a leaf from The Princess And The Pea (ladders, ‘lofty’ heights, little to do other than sleep … badly), they would do well to remember that the poor girl didn’t get much rest and was pretty cranky the morning after @ _ @ Of course, an option is to lower the bed to manageable heights and still utilize the space below. But given that most apartment ceilings are low, you’re still likely to inhale ceiling dust every night. And you can’t be too tall to properly reap the benefits of your ‘freed-up’ space (lest another noggin knockin’ happens, this time against the bed base). If I really *really* have to resort to a loft bed for my future shoebox home, I wouldn’t mind having this Living Cube loft bed by Till Koenneker – a cool multi-tasker (as cool as the designer himself, that’s him in pictures below ;)) Going back to the issue of shrinking home sizes, Savills Research shares a good reminder that shoebox living should never be glamourized as smart modern living, with an interesting report of 2012 shoebox data and trends in Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Singapore and London.
Indeed, I pray coffin homes will not be the norm one day, such as those where Hong Kong’s disadvantaged folk endure a life within 50 square feet and less as a necessity, not a lifestyle choice. And when all you have are four walls and little else, where you can lie down to rest your weary head becomes the only living space that truly matters.
Now that was a tad rant-y right? Then, cute kitties will make everything better over at A Purrrrr-fectly Good Time at Tom’s (Cat) Cafe, Hongdae
Furry felines not your cup of tea? Food will feed your weary urban soul at The Streets Of Seoul Are Paved With (Delicious!) Snacks
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