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A Maisonette in Simei Goes Mod-Industrial

As first-time homeowner, Magdelene had arranged to meet up with not just a handful but twenty interior designers in their search for a suitable interior designer! Her search led them to Xavier of Dyel Design, as the firm had an in-house contractor, and she was sold.

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About their home’s design

Magdelene (M): We wanted a modern-industrial design because I felt like an industrial design in silo looks raw for everyday living.

In terms of colour, there are greys, blacks and blues, and pops of orange (at the kitchen backsplash) to match our sofa. The reason I wanted these dark colours is because I have a dog and I don't want to the dog hair to be visible.

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I watch a lot of HGTV and I was very inspired by Joanna Gaines’ country designs which often feature barn doors. Therefore, I knew I definitely wanted a barn door in my home.

We're quite particular on the design details - be it the type of fittings (including the hair trap and door stopper!), materials used etc, and we even took detailed measurements such as the height of our shoes, clothes, books, appliances and gave them to our ID.

Their favourite thing about their home:

M: I like that staying here feels like going on a staycation. When we stay in, we don’t feel like going out at all because we love how cosy our home is. Some of my friends who have seen my place have even commented that my home looks like a resort.

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On finding an interior designer:

M: We met about twenty interior designers at 'Meet-the-IDs' event. Following that, we arranged meetings with all these designers. Every weekend, we would meet about three designers and after three to four consecutive weekends of meeting designers, we felt very exhausted.

It was around this period that my boss introduced Qanvast to us and we decided to drop in a quote request because we knew that Qanvast is an interior designer expert who can recommend us designers that will match our requirements, and we wanted to get an opinion from a neutral party.

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On selecting Dyel Design as their interior designer:

M: Dyel Design’s biggest selling point was that they had an in-house contractor. Since they are collaborating with their own team of workers, we felt like this would make our renovation journey with them smoother.

Also, since the carpentry is done by Dyel Design’s workers, they are able to redo it if there is anything that we are not happy with.

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On working with Dyel Design:

M: As I wanted an industrial design, it was important to incorporate cement around the home. There were some restaurants with very nice industrial concrete designs and I showed these pictures to Xavier. He passed them on to his cementer and the cementer was very confident that he could help us to replicate the feel.

Dyel’s team of workers – their painters, carpenters and cementers – have all been in the trade for thirty to forty years. As such, they are very experienced and they take pride in their work. They won't tolerate a bubble or a bumped surface in their works.

Our working relationship was pretty direct - we planned the design and left it to Dyel Design to execute the ideas.

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We encountered some issues with regards to the Private Engineer (PE) endorsement - our project manager quoted $3,000, which we felt it was too expensive, plus the drawings submitted by the project manager were incorrect as well.

After doing research and reaching out to HDB, we decided that it would be more cost-efficient for us (at about $1,200) to engage an external PE to handle the endorsement.

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On the service and workmanship:

M: The project manager that was put on our account isn't very experienced and we had to dive into the technical details to correct him. He also didn't had a keen eye for design and we had to do the shopping for the right hardware and fittings.

On the plus side, they were very responsive and whenever we flagged out issues, they rectified them quickly. Same goes for the after-sales service.

The workers are commendable - I'll have to give it to Dyel Design for getting these professionals to do up my place.

About the furniture

M: Most of our furniture like the sofa and the fridge are taken from our old place. Besides that, we did travel around quite a bit to find furniture. We took our time though and slowly made our purchases. We didn’t have the mindset that we must have everything ready when we moved in.

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We also drove up to Kuala Lumpur to buy our lights because they were much cheaper there. For example, if a light were to cost $70 in Singapore, it would cost us about 70 ringgit. Hence, we felt like it was definitely worth it to make the drive up.

Major works performed:

M: It was an overhaul for the old maisonette. We wanted a bigger master bedroom that can accommodate a TV lounge within it because I do not want the TV to be directly in front of my bed. Therefore, we hacked the walls so that the master bedroom could be bigger and there can be space for a little lounge area within the room. I decided to do it this way because I really want that sense of spaciousness.

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