This is the story of 73 Eng Watt


73 Eng Watt is a collaboration between Vince Ong of Ebon Design and Deborah Kay – a ground floor corner unit in a 1930s pre-war building in the heart of Tiong Bahru.

These low-rise art-deco buildings were granted conservation status for their “rich history, unique architecture and familiar streetscapes” in 2003.

Constructed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in the 1930s, the buildings were heavily inspired by a style of architecture called Streamline Moderne, a minimalistic architectural style that abandoned the sometime lavish and ostentatious decoration of the Art Deco movement in favour of simple, functional lines. There are nautical elements built into the residential houses, such as the rounded windows, which resemble portholes, as well as the clean, curved corners that resemble the bridge of a ship. In fact, blocks 81 and 82 are known to the locals as the “Aeroplane” blocks, simply because the elongated layout of the buildings resembles the wings of an airplane.- Going Places, 2013

This 13 month labour of love culminated into two separate, stand-alone apartments both very different in style, yet connecting via a door in the indoor garden.

The front apartment feels like one of the colonial old black and white houses that you find in Portsdown Road or Cluny Park Hill. The lush green wall and the indoor garden, the row of five black art deco grills, double height ceilings and black and white carpentry makes you feel as if you are in a bungalow or a townhouse.

The back apartment feels like an industrial architectural loft with concrete floors and white walls. By erecting a roof over the open-air courtyard, we were able to turn the back section of the old house into a generously sized, open plan space.  My favourite feature: the skylights that we deliberately put around the edges of the roof so as to let light into a completely enclosed space with no windows.

The micro-site was built to showcase the history behind the apartment but now includes my very own local guide in the form of a Google-Map  to the neighbourhood “Debbie Discovers Tiong Bharu“.


A Video of the Entire 12 Month Construction Process



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Why Tiong bahru

I love Tiong Bahru. I’ve lived here for 4 years since I moved back from 12 years away (London, Tokyo, New York, Philly) and I love it more every day.
But I’m definitely biased, so here are some unbiased guides to Tiong Bahru

Real Estate Articles

The World’s Coolest Neighbourhoods – A Street Guide – Vogue
Top 10 Urban Real Estate Markets to Watch – Knight Frank
Did One Man a Real Estate Market Make? (An article that I wrote, originally posted on Medium)

Tiong Bahru Architecture

Tiong Bahru Estate: The Sunday Times : Conserve facade, owners of pre-war units told

Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood Guide

14 reasons to live in Tiong Bahru
The Story of Pre-Hipster Tiong Bahru Will Make your Sunday Brunch Taste More Hip
Honeycomers Neighbourhood Guide: Tiong Bahru
The Best Makan (food) in Tiong Bahru
DestinAsia – Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood Guide
So Hip It Hurts – Say Residents

Guides on Singapore

Find lots of guides on what to do in Singapore:
What to do if you only have 48 hours in Singapore: For Food and Culture Lovers
Things to do in Singapore
Shopping in Singapore
Where to Eat and Drink in Singapore: Monster listicle of 70+ lists of where to eat or dink in Singapore