At Home With Lucinda Zhou In Her Modern Glam BTO
Sometimes, all it takes is a pinch of luck.
Renovating a home is never easy, especially if it's your first. And it's a feeling that Ohvola co-founder Lucinda Zhou and her husband Ming Hian know all too well.
"We were absolutely clueless. How do you go from a bare, empty flat to what you see on the magazines or on Pinterest? Where do you even start? That was how we felt about the whole prospect of renovating in the beginning." Lucinda admits.
Yet, what might have been dragged into a long, arduous journey had been surprisingly easygoing for the couple, who simply had luck on their side! Opening the doors to their elegant modern-glam abode, Lucinda and Ming Hian reveal how a chance encounter with Eric from Corazon Interior allowed them to achieve their dream space with zero hiccups.
Qanvast: With this being your first home, was it hard to decide on a style?
Ming Hian (MH): We collected our keys almost a year ago, and didn't really start focusing on renovating until the end of the year. Initially, we didn't have a clear idea of what we wanted. We just knew what we didn't want - which was having a lot of woods, like the Scandinavian style. Over the months, as we settled on features that we liked, and casted out those we don't. Soon after, we finally discovered that, hey, actually our style is considered Modern!
Lucinda (L): We researched a lot on Pinterest, and figured we liked something clean and white, with crystals, mirrored finishings and marble. Which was basically what a modern-glam theme is all about.
Qanvast: What were some of the must-haves that each of you wanted for the home?
L: Because we plan to cook more often and I enjoy baking, one must-have was designing a practical but stylish kitchen. I also wanted a marble feature wall for my TV console, an open plan counter and a walk-in wardrobe.
Qanvast: Was it scary having to plan the whole renovation?
L: I wouldn’t say that it was scary (laughs), but we were very clueless. Where should we even start? You know you want your house to look like that at the end, but how do you go around doing it? We were very lucky because Eric, our interior designer really helped us a lot on that end.
L: For example, Eric would help us whittle down to two options to choose from, when picking certain finishes or colours. We don’t have to go round collating materials and thinking all about it by ourselves. And if we didn't like both of the options, he would pick another option for us to consider - that saved a lot of time.
Qanvast: How did you guys come across Eric from Corazon Interior?
L: Our friend who also did up his home highly recommended Eric, and invited us down to see his home's workmanship. Even though it was a completely different theme - more industrial - we could see that the work Eric had done to their place was of good quality and we were impressed.
L: Plus, we liked that he was able to work within our time frame, and was always frank with us about what we should or shouldn't do with our home. For instance, I wanted a French moulding motif for my TV console. But Eric was adamant that we shouldn't do it, as it wouldn't match with our modern look. To be honest, he could have just did as he was told - but that incident simply shows how much he takes our project and our home's design seriously.
Qanvast: How else did Eric go out of his way to make your renovation a breeze?
L: Because we wanted to start after Chinese New Year and finish by April or May, we only had about 6 weeks to complete the renovation. To maximise the timeline, Eric did up a schedule to tell us when different works should be expected to take place. He would plot out days where we can call the lights to come in, a day when the electrician can come over, and so on. He even allocated days where we can deliver our furniture. It was convenient having a planned schedule that we can easily provide the furniture stores with.
Qanvast: What was the most difficult part about renovating your home?
L: Dealing with my own indecisiveness! Even though Eric is nice enough to only give me two options to choose from, it’s hard to pick. Personally because I feel that once you decide on it, that’s it -
you can’t change it anymore! If I was a little more decisive, I wouldn't have wasted as much time on this step.
MH: For me however, it was actually getting the right furniture to fit into the whole theme. We tried to follow exactly the designs shown on Eric's 3D-drawings, but they are hard to find in Singapore.
Qanvast: So, where did you buy your furniture?
L: We searched for ages, but finally, we managed to find most of the major furniture pieces (Coffee tables, bed frame, sofa) in
X'clusive Home. We were also lucky to have met the right salesperson, who gave us a hefty discount for our bulk order. As for other loose furnishings and lighting - I mostly got it from Taobao!
Qanvast: How much did both of you spend in total for your renovation?
L: About 50k on purely renovations alone. Our furniture cost us about $10,000.
Qanvast: What's your home's biggest bargain?
L: I think my biggest bargain are all my decor and accessories, which I shipped in from Taobao. For instance, my hanging lights, the dining room light, and my walk in wardrobe lights. Especially my crystal dining light - I saw it in Singapore retailing at a thousand plus, but I got it for $100!
MH: I would think the big furnitures from X'clusive Home. We were very lucky; we were initially at the store 2 weeks ago, and there was a promotion. But the second time we came over, the promotion wasn't valid anymore. Thankfully, the salesperson who tended to us gave us an even better deal - almost 50% off our furniture as we bought in bulk.
Qanvast: What is the most memorable item you have in your home that you'll never throw away?
L: For both of us, it's the dining room light. We spent 4 hours fixing it together and I really thought that it was special for both of us! We fixed each glass tassel piece by piece. At the end of it, the sense of accomplishment is awesome. I think it makes you feel like ‘oh, you know, you actually built it from scratch!’. And because our walls are plain by the dining table, the crystals bounce off light and create a textured effect on the walls at night - which is a bonus.
Qanvast: Finally, any advice for future homeowners?
L: I think it’s very important to know the theme that you want. It took us some time before we realised we wanted the modern glam look. Know what are your priorities, features that you like in a home and what you don't. I think it helps to crystallise your ideas better and gives you more direction in planning out your space.
MH: Be mindful about choosing the right interior designer. I think they are exceptionally helpful if you're on a tight timeline and schedule like the both of us. Of course, we were just lucky to have met Eric who was able to handle everything with ease. But when it comes to picking the right ID, meet at least 3 before settling with one; and don't go for a 'yes' man who'd say he can do whatever you'd want, but ends up messing up the whole renovation.
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