Both with experience in the gaming industry, our tech lead Zhenjia and his wife Rini, were inspired by the intricate Baroque and Victorian interiors that pervaded their games.
- Size: 113 sqm / 1216 sqft
- Location: Rivervale Crescent
- Cost of Renovation: $58,000
- Cost of Furnishing: $20,000
For almost a year, Zhenjia and Rini played interior designer, taking charge of their home's design and renovation project management. Stepping into their home, you'd be impressed with the amount of work done with the budget they had.
They show us their mood boards and share more...
On their home's distinct European style
Rini (R): I really like European design – especially Baroque, Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. However, I did not want my home too look too dated so we included some modern elements.
To achieve a European look, we did wall panelling. We also custom-made our French doors as it was not something which the contractor provided under his basic quotation.
For our corridor kitchen, I like the décor in the PAUL restaurants so we used that as our inspiration. We actually wanted to do a lacquer Victorian wall which is similar to the one at PAUL’s but it was too expensive so we scraped that idea.
Zhenjia (Z): We also wanted our home to have a ‘hotel suite’ feel so that staying in our home feels like staying in a hotel - for our kitchen and bathroom counters, we did granite tops with a pearly sheen. Coincidentally, many luxury hotels also include European elements in their design.
R: We also noticed that luxurious hotels like the Four Seasons often have flowers in their room so we took a leaf from their book and included flower arrangements around our home.
We also imported a Chesterfield sofa from the UK as we really like the distinctive leather colour of the sofa which looks different from the plain leather sofas in Singapore.
On finding their contractor
Z: We were actually quite lucky to have found our contractor as we were just walking around our estate and going from home to home to take a look at the renovation works going on when we happened to come across this particular home.
R: Since the homeowners were around, we asked them if we could take a look at the carpentry and after feeling the edge of the cabinets and assessing the workmanship, we found that it was really good. Our soon-to-be neighbours were very nice as they recommended their contractor to us. They even gave us recommendations on where we could purchase our furniture.
On conveying their ideas to the contractors
R: I used Photoshop to put together a mood board which collates images of European design to show to our contractor.
Z: I came up with a 3D model of the design so that our contractor could envision what we wanted. It also helped him with getting the calculations and measurements for the built-in carpentry right.
On working with contractors
R: When you work with a contractor, you assume the role of the interior designer so you have to show the contractor the design that he has to put together. You also have to make sure that you really do your research on everything from the pros and cons of the various renovation materials to the colour of paint that you want to use in the various rooms.
Z: If you do not have a design in mind and you do not want to personally manage the project, it’s better to find an interior designer. However, homeowners who enlist the services of an interior designer must not let them override the design they envision - the homeowner should always have the final say.
However, if homeowners know what designs they want and are comfortable managing the renovation, they can consider working with a contractor.
On things you should really look out for
Z: The paint colour as seen in the catalogue can look different when it is painted on the walls - we initially chose an orange off-white shade for one of the walls but after painting it, it looked more yellow. We should have been more careful and tried some of the paint out first before painting the entire wall with it.
It's important to know what's included in your HDB as some of the existing features like the standard off-white tiles can affect your home's design. Be prepared as there may be colour differences in the tiles of the common toilet and master bedroom toilet.
R: We're definitely pleased with how our home turned out. We felt a sense of satisfaction because we came up with all the designs and seeing the home was like witnessing our idea coming to life.
Bring Your Design To Life
Have an idea of how your dream home should be? We have the right experts to help! Send us your request and we will match you with 5 trusted interior firms that can guide you on your renovation! All recommendations made by Qanvast will be protected under the Qanvast Guarantee scheme, up to S$50,000.Not ready to renovate yet? Download the free Qanvast app from the App Store or Google Play to browse and save home ideas, costings and reviews of firms in Singapore. It's never too early to start your research.