When you’re looking at the floor plan of your new hdb home, you’ll notice a rather curious looking space in the corner of the room. You take a closer look and you notice that it’s significantly big and has enough ventilation and natural sunlight, thanks in part to the many windows and wide space. You then find out that this is the service yard or space, a very unique and useful feature in many modern hdb homes.
In principle, a service yard or space is created specifically for laundry, pressing of clothes and storing of tools and things. More often, it is designed to house a washing machine and occasionally, an ironing board and a clothes rack.
But as of late, many homeowners and designers are beginning to see a more creative aspect with the service yard. Most will agree that regardless of the intended purpose, the service yard is still a space within the confines of the property and like any space, can be converted into something that is as unique and functional at the same time.
Here are a few ideas that homeowners and designers alike are employing in their hdb service yard.
1. NOT YOUR TYPICAL LAUNDRY ROOM
Let’s start with a standard laundry room. Most hdb service yards are designed specifically for laundry and clothes pressing. More often, there would be plumbing provisions for a washing machine. But just because it’s going to be a typical laundry room doesn’t mean you can’t spruce it up a bit. Invest in quality washing machines that can do multiple washes as well as a quality dryer. Position them in such a way that it is integrated into the whole design. You can achieve this by making a cabinet with a hard surface for ironing or folding clothes.
Some popular wood finishes for these cabinets include oak, white ash, wengue, walnut and even marble. If there is space near the windows, consider placing a clothes rack for hanging clothes out to dry. There are many designs for clothes rack ranging from the typical movable rack to the folding rack that is mounted on the wall. You can also have a small cabinet where you can store your iron, your cleaning tools and even your folded clothes before taking them to your wardrobe.
Consider hanging some paintings or interesting artwork in your service yard. Just because you have laundry to do, doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice artwork to lighten the mood. You can also add a potted plant in the corner of your space for that natural feel and natural production of air.
2. DIRTY KITCHEN
Not all meals are cooked in one kitchen. In fact, if there is more than one cook in the household, you can be sure that your current kitchen will be as crowded and eventually full of dishes and the mixed scents of spices and flavors. That being said, have you ever noticed how clean and often unused the main kitchen looks? This is because some households have what you call a second kitchen where majority of the cooking and baking is done. This is called the dirty kitchen.
Now, just because it’s called the dirty kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dirty. It takes its name due in part to the fact that most of the cooking and frequently used cooking appliances are located at. Unlike the main kitchen, or show kitchen as it is called, it utilizes materials that are equally sturdy and cost efficient. Some of the materials being used are laminates, woods and quite recently, steel. You can place a sink and several stainless steel kitchen cabinets in your hdb service yard.
You can also use laminates and if you’re feeling up to it, you can create an extension of the kitchen by adding a counter and if you have a rather nice view, you can have a small breakfast nook added there. After all, you would want a nice place to sit in while waiting for your cookies to bake, right?
3. SMALL GARDEN
If there is one thing that most homeowners like to have, it’s a bit of nature. While some properties have garden plots or even community gardens to enjoy in, not all hdb homes have provisions for a garden. But that should not stop you from having your own little patch of nature. Your hdb service yard, if you look at it, is quite perfect for having a little garden.
Apart from having a good source of natural air and light, you also have provisions for a source of water. Now depending on how big your space is and the kind of garden you would like, you can create just about any kind of garden you would like. If you’re into the tropics, you can create a tropical garden and get some tropical plants such as monstera plants, rubber plants and even money plants. Opt for plants that are not only appealing to look at, but also requires less maintenance. Another cool idea to try is creating a garden wall with hanging pots for plants and flowers.
You can also add a small garden table and chair for that outdoor ambiance. If you’re more of a minimalist person, you can create a Zen stone garden with a small pond and some polished stones and pebbles. You can even have a bonsai plant placed in the center. Be sure to consult a gardening or landscape specialist who can help recommend the most ideal plants and arrangements for you to use.
4. MAXIMIZED STORAGE
Regardless of what it is intended for, the service yard is first and foremost, a space in the home. And in a home with space that is often limited, it is every homeowner’s prerogative to make the most out of every area in the entire unit. And perhaps the most important element is storage.
Storage is the most vital factor since most of us have things that need to be in its proper place without looking too cluttered and disorganized. Take advantage of the service yard’s overall space and create storage cabinets for seasonal things like Christmas decors, linens, umbrellas, housewares, towels and even clothes and coats. If your service yard is near the kitchen, you can actually create a pantry where all your dried ingredients and food parcels are neatly stored.
You can also incorporate a large refrigerator to store your meats and perishables. If you are going to use the space as a laundry area, take advantage of all the wall space possible. You can install some shelves and cabinets to store soaps and fabric conditioners and just for that added touch, you can add a potted plant or two.
5. PRIVATE OPEN SPACE
A rather revolutionary idea to try in your service yard is making it your own personal space. If you’re the type who likes to meditate in the morning, you can create a small meditation room. Simply line your space with the appropriate flooring and place the necessary pieces such as a wall scroll showcasing Hindu characters, a Buddha statue or figure, some small potted plants, pebbles and even some incenses to have a more calming scent about.
If you’re more of a physical type, you can actually create a mini gym in your service yard. Take into consideration the space and the kind of exercise you normally do. If you’re into boxing, make sure you have enough space for you to move around while doing your boxing. Install a sandbag or boxing bag in one corner of the room and some motivational quotes on the wall. Make sure to have appropriate flooring installed. If you’re more of a weight lifter, you can have some barbells and weights placed near the area that has the most ample supply of natural air. You can also add small storage niches for the weights and equipment you won’t be using. It’s all about making a space that is both personal and invigorating.
6. GET PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
You might be thinking that with so many possible ways to reinvent and revitalize your service yard, you feel a bit overwhelmed at so many options. And with that in mind, it is important for you to narrow down exactly what you want and how you want to achieve it. It’s highly advisable to seek professional services like designers and contractors who can help create the ideal design.
Check your local directory for designers and experts that are recognized and recommended by the hdb property, as they are familiar with the rules and regulations of the property such as what materials and appliances are permitted, what plants can and can’t be used and above all, they are aware of the construction regulations. They will be able to provide several options for you to choose based entirely on requirements, space and budget. They will help you decide on the colors, materials and recommended appliances that can work for your space. What’s more, you are guaranteed the promise of a unique and original hdb service yard that will make even your neighbors want one.