Lofty Ideas

The only way is up for a cat-friendly space


July 4, 2019

Feline lovers understand that humans do not actually own cats. In fact, the reverse is true. Hence, cat-friendly spaces often include cat walkways, nooks and climbing shelves whether to proudly showcase the cats or subtly take advantage of unused vertical space.

So when Selina Tay principal designer and owner of Collective Designs was tasked to transform a bachelor pad into a feline friendly space, Tay’s first step was to look up.

Aesthetics aside, the cats safety is a concern. “Cats will pretty much climb anywhere they could. So it would be good to ensure that the surfaces of the structures are not too smooth so they have traction,” shares Khong.


Stepping-stone shelves allow the cats to move without using the floors.

Budget is another constraint which adds to the design challenge. Tay worked with the original flooring, doors and frames, to maximise on design intent. A more minimalist approach was adopted and incorporated elements that help to reduce clutter and bring a lightness to the space, which complements the micro layout.

At only 721 square feet, the apartment is space challenged but is blessed with generous height. Homeowner Earnest Khong’s design brief was simple. He wanted the space to accommodate a pair of feline companions; Chevie and Lexie with room to fit a queen size bed.


A space reconfiguration allows for areas to cook, eat and lounge.



The apartment has a balcony access which is off limits to kitties. The kitchen island features a textured engineered walnut veneer and a Kompacplus countertop in Denver Travertine.

Space Making Measures

Tay focused on turning the cramped apartment into an open-plan contemporary studio that is adaptable to different situations. Contrary to many small apartments that are filled with space-saving solutions, Tay minimised the amount of cabinetry to keep the space open and flexible. Much space reconfiguration followed suit.

To maximise on a generous vertical space, a loft was introduced; large enough for a queen size bed. The original wardrobe in the master bedroom was removed, along with a non-structural wall. Beneath the loft offers a bigger wardrobe space to enable a custom unit with concealed storage.

In the kitchen, an island is introduced despite Khong’s initial disbelief. The island incorporates drawers on one side, which provide extra storage for crockery and utensils. Tay also designed an L-shaped dining table for two on the opposite side. Now Khong has extra working space when he cooks. The spot is also where the avid cook enjoys meals with his girlfriend.

Natural oak parquet floor throughout the house adds a warm tone that complements the clean white walls. For cabinetry, engineered veneer in Walnut and Grey complements the modern aesthetics.


Bedroom is a cosy loft that fits a queen size bed comfortably.


The space below the kitchen island also conceals Chevy and Lexie’s food bowls and cat litter. This provides a designated spot for their daily routines, while maintaining a clutter-free front.


Beneath the loft is a walk-in wardrobe with ample head room and storage.

Feline Intervention

For feeding, Chevie and Lexie go to the island counter which conceals their food bowls and cat litter at its foot.

With pets in the house, unpleasant odours are inevitable. “I use a litter robot which removes and dumps the waste in a separate bin after each visit. Frequent clearing and washing of the litter box would be still the best solution,” reveals Khong.

Playground for kitties are open shelf units placed above the TV console. They can jump in between shelves, which are staggered at different heights, and rest on them. There is also a scratching post built in. “At the point of time I had yet to purchase more scratching furniture for them. There were space constraints, and I also had to observe their scratching preferences before we purchase any. Some prefer vertical surfaces while others prefer horizontal/slope surfaces,” says Khong.

Chevie and Lexie are free to roam the apartment but there are spaces which are out of bounds. “The balcony is off limits unless under supervision. I use a pet screen door so I can have the doors open without my cats wondering out,” says Khong.

 “Cats are inherently curious creatures. They would not be so dumb to jump off a balcony but they tend to overestimate their abilities. And also, accidents do happen.”


To complement the overall modern aesthetics, the kitchen has a neutral palette comprising grey engineered wood cabinetry and a white quartz countertop.

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