A Fully Restored 40-Year-Old Home Wins Qanvast Design Award
Whatever your budget or style, there are a few quick and easy ways to sift through a pool of trusted interior designers for your upcoming home renovation. One of the best places to start is through the Qanvast Design Awards. The award recognises outstanding renovation projects completed by reputable Malaysian interior design firms.
Among the recipients of this year’s awards is RK Interior Studio and their winning project; a 2,850 square foot landed home located in Taman Maluri, Kuala Lumpur. The renovation project was a collaborative effort between two designers, Lee Jie Xi and Valerie Tang. We spoke with the design team to learn more about the process of transforming an old double-storey unit into a modern home that her client and family are currently residing in!
Qanvast: Hi, can you tell us a little about your client’s background and how did they come across RK Interior Studio?
Valerie Tang & Lee Jie Xi (VT & LJX): Our client is a married couple with two lovely young daughters. The husband, Adrian, runs a business in the beauty industry, whereas his wife is a full-time homemaker. Adrian contacted us via the Qanvast platform, and from there we started to work together to envision his dream home.
This project is a sub-sale unit in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It is a very old unit that has been around for more than 40 years. Initially, our client contemplated purchasinga newly developed home or a sub-sale. Ultimately, they chose a sub-sale unit as they could incorporate more ideas into the facade.
The house was originally a 2-storey terrace with five bedrooms and three bathrooms and it was only 1,905 square feet in size. Thanks to extensive renovation and extension work, we were able to increase the property's size to 2,850 square feet by utilising the existing compound space.
Q: What kind of renovations have you done to increase the property's square footage?
(VT & LJX): The homeowner really wanted a fresh start so the house was completely demolished, leaving only the main beams standing.
Because our client required bigger parking space, we decided to cut the pillars in between and build new pillars at both ends, adding a bigger cantilever.
The extended front car porch allows us to build a bigger master bedroom on the first floor. Furthermore, we utilise all the space available to expand the dry and wet kitchens.
Q: Can you tell us about the design style you chose for this home?
(VT & LJX): Because they prefer simple designs and neutral colour palettes, the client requested that a modern and minimalist design be incorporated into this home. To achieve this look, we used the “less is more” principle using monochromatic colours and clean lines throughout the house.
Q: What renovation work was done to meet the needs of the client?
(VT & LJX): The client wanted an open space common area on the ground floor that combined the living room, dining area, and dry kitchen. To accomplish this, we removed many internal walls and rebuilt the structural column, emphasising the openness of the space.
We replaced the existing windows and doors and added more windows and sliding doors to brighten up the house.
We also built a skylight on the roof to provide natural light to the stairs. This helps to brighten up the house during the day, saving electricity and serves as the focal point of the house.
The first floor originally had four bedrooms and two shared bathrooms. With the new design plan and a slightly bigger floor plan, we created a family hall and a personal bathroom for each bedroom.
The client also requested a larger master bedroom, so we knocked down the walls between two bedrooms and combined them to create a larger master bedroom and added plenty of storage solutions as requested by the client.
Q: Did you encounter any difficulties while renovating this property? How did they get resolved?
(VT & LJX): Numerous issues came with renovating an old house. When we first did a site visit, there was a 10-inch rise up ground slab that separated the living room and dining room, which is common in older homes. Our client insisted that we demolish the entire 10-inch slab to level the floors and fully utilise every corner of the house while also creating a continuous flow of this open area.
There were concerns about the existing foundation when we removed the slab. To address this, we rebuild the entire ground beam with a pile cap to secure the existing walls.
The entire unit's plumbing was also replaced because the existing ones were poorly damaged and rusted.
Aside from structural and plumbing issues, we also experienced renovation delays due to MCO. However, we’re fortunate that our client understands the situation and didn’t rush us to meet our deadline. The renovation took us approximately 7 months to complete.
Q: What are your thoughts on this project's completion?
(VT & LJX): The whole renovation process was exciting and it’s very surreal to see this project come to life after months of designing, planning, and renovating.
After seeing the before and after photos, our client and team were pleased with the result! It also brought our clients great joy because they can finally move in and enjoy the comforts of their newly renovated home!
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