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Building A Simple Home to Last (for the Next 5 Years)

When you know that you aren’t going to be staying in your house permanently, you may not want to be shelling out a big sum of money for the renovation.

These were Marina’s thoughts exactly as she embarked on her renovation planning. Despite it being a temporary abode for her and her husband Alvin, the couple still wanted a cosy, functional space they could feel at home with for the next 5 years.

Seeking to spruce up their home with a budget of $30,000 or less, Delson from Tan Studio was the one - out of the ten interior designers whom they've met - who really impressed them his renovation expertise. Here, we speak to Marina to find out how Delson made the entire experience fuss-free for the family.

Renovation Journey Tan Studio Bukit Batok BTO
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Her initial thoughts on renovating

Marina (M): We didn’t consider a contractor because we feel it’s a hassle to work with a contractor and it requires a lot of time on our part which we don’t have. After all, when you work with a contractor, you have to spend time supervising the workers and ensuring that they are doing their work properly. Therefore, we felt like the safest option for us was to go with an interior designer.

Renovation Journey Tan Studio Bukit Batok BTO
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On finding an interior designer

M: We met ten interior designers – half of them were recommendations from Qanvast while the other half were designers that I found online. After this first meeting, some of the designers didn’t get back to me while a few of the designers gave me quotations that were above my budget of $20,000. Thus, I narrowed down my choices to Tan Studio and another design firm because they were able to fulfil my requirements for the home and keep within my budget.

Renovation Journey Tan Studio Bukit Batok BTO
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About choosing to work with Tan Studio

M: Both Tan Studio and the other design firm brought me to view their previous projects so that I could judge their workmanship. That firm brought me to a project that was half-completed and I wasn’t able to get a good assessment of their workmanship. Unlike them, Tan Studio took me to one of their completed projects where I could take a look at the materials and the full design of the home.

Furthermore, Delson was the only one out of all the designers we met who told us that he could meet our requirement of having a king-sized bed and a bedside table in our bedroom. As compared to the rest of the designers who told us that there would be no space for a bedside table if we have a king-sized bed, Delson shared with us the pros and cons of this layout and left it up to us to make a decision. He was somebody we felt we could work with so we decided to engage his services.

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On going through the renovation as a couple

M: My husband and I have different tastes. He likes bright colours while I prefer darker colours so it was a bit difficult for us to decide on a colour. Ultimately, we decided to go with a neutral colour palette that has more bright than dark colours as we felt it was a safer look for the home.

On shopping for materials and furniture

M: We would seek Delson’s opinion regarding the colour of the furniture when we were shopping for them. Most of the time though, we would have already purchased the furniture before consulting Delson and he was nice enough to help us to match the design of the room around the colours of the furniture

When it came to selecting our laminates, Delson advised us about the designs and the colours that would match. He also recommended that we use iQuartz for our countertop because he said it will stain less easily than quartz which is a natural stone.

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On designing their daughter's room

M: We’re planning to stay here for five years so we decided to keep the design of our daughter’s room simple since she will only be about five years old by the time we want to move out. Instead of a regular bed, we have a sofa bed in her room because children can easily fall off a bed and we want her to be safe when she sleeps.

On practical advice from their designer

M: We wanted to have an induction hob and not a gas hob. However, Delson advised us to still do up the piping for the gas because it will be very difficult for us to switch to a gas hob in future if we do not want the induction hob anymore. He said that if we did not have the existing gas pipes and want to make the switch, the pipes would have to be left exposed and it wouldn’t look good.

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About their master bedroom's design

M: I’m happy with my master bedroom because it’s designed in a way which fits our lifestyle. My husband and I work shifts so his waking hours can be different from mine, and the layout of the room gives us both a sense of privacy.

For example, if he were to switch on the lights at the wardrobe area, it wouldn’t shine directly at me and I can still sleep undisturbed when he’s getting ready for work.

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On working with Delson

M: Delson messaged me every day during the renovation period to let me know what works have been done and to keep me updated about the ongoing renovation works for the day. He also sent over pictures so that we could see that things are okay. On a whole, he managed the renovation timeline very well.

He was also very helpful and patient throughout the whole renovation. There was this occasion where I outsourced workers to do the skirting for the home because I felt like Delson’s price was a bit high for me. However, they didn’t do a very good job of it and Delson offered to help me to do it up nicely.

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Their final thoughts about their renovation

M: We feel that it was worth it for us to enlist the services of an interior designer. Delson really helped us to do a lot of built-in features like the feature wall, the kitchen cabinets and the built-in mirror storage unit. Therefore, we feel that he it was worth it for us to spend on the renovation.

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