A non-disruptive way to do a house revamp.
It’s only natural that you’d want to splurge to create your dream home. But sometimes, tastes change, and the aesthetic you loved so much back then may not be as appealing anymore. So what can you do then?
For Doranne, a young mom behind the Instagram account @themerriedlife, the solution was simple: engage the help of an interior stylist. Focusing on just the soft furnishings in the home, it was the perfect, non-disruptive solution for a busy family preparing for a second addition to their home.
But what exactly does the process of interior styling entail? We sat down with Doranne in her beautiful home in Tanah Merah to find out more about her makeover.
Tell us more about yourself!
Doranne (D): Hi, I’m Doranne. I am a mom of one (+1 still baking in my tummy) and I share snippets of my life via my Instagram @themerriedlife. I'm also the founder of Little Happy Haus, a curated modern kids concept store stocking beautiful essentials for little ones.
My husband Charles and I moved into this inter-terrace house 4 years ago. My first son Lucas was born about 2 years after we moved here, and we currently have baby number 2 on the way! He’ll be here in a couple of weeks and we are all really excited to meet him.
Why did you decide that this was the time to do a home makeover?
D: Our home had a lot of black and grey tones since it was in trend a few years back. And since it was just me and Charles back then, we liked the idea of a house that was cool and sleek – something that looked very modern.
But as our family grew, I began to realise that it wasn’t the look you would associate with a family home. It was around that time that I began thinking of doing a house makeover, but nothing really came out of it until we were expecting our second kid. I thought “Hey, what better way to welcome him into the world?”
It sounds silly, but I wanted to do something special for my second child as he is going to be my last one. And that’s when I began looking for an interior stylist to revamp our home.
Did you consider renovating?
D: We chose to engage an interior stylist over an interior designer because we wanted a new look without anything major and with a limited budget in mind. We spent quite a bit on the renovation last time before we moved in as this house was 30 years old, and hasn’t been renovated in ages.
The entire flooring was hacked and replaced, the roof was replaced, all water piping and electrical wiring replaced… you get the drift. So this time, we wanted a new look for our home without spending too much money.
More importantly, since I’m pregnant and we have a young kid to care for, we didn’t want to move out while the makeover was happening – we just wanted to go about our lives as usual.
We engaged the help of Berinda from @gloriousstate and she understood perfectly where we were coming from. She coordinated with the vendors and helped choose all the soft furnishings for us, saving us a ton of time! The actual “reno works” only took two days, which meant very, very minimal disruption. It sealed the deal for us!
**What was the design you were going for and how did you achieve it? **
D: We wanted something warmer and brighter – a house that people will look at and immediately feel right at home. So for paint, we decided to go with a special white paint meant for a baby nursery – the R.Baby from Raffles Paint. We chose this one as we will be spending most of our time in the living room anyway.
We also engaged the help of Jestac, the distributor of 3M DI-NOC Finishes, to revamp fixtures like our bay window area, main door and TV console. I must say, they really did a great job changing the look – they really transformed the home without removing the existing drawers and doors, so there was very minimal downtime for us.
We also wanted to keep some dark elements in the house, like the black and white blinds and staircase planks, which are in perfect condition. But other than these things, we didn’t have a clear idea of what we wanted.
The idea of what we like only became clear when our interior stylist Belinda came up with a design board and we unknowingly chose the happy Scandinavian-themed designs that you now see in our house.
What were some of the changes done to the space?
D: Back then, there was virtually no living room – the area around my sofa was dedicated solely to my son, and the toys and play mats littered all around made it really messy. But while I wanted to change the look of the home, I also wanted to keep it as a play area for my kids.
However, my interior stylist recommended taking back that area to create a room fit for the whole family, and it was honestly one of the best things she did for me. I really love how the house looks now - we can relax here and entertain guests without feeling like we are in a messy playground.
Prior to the revamp, we didn’t really know what to do with this awkward corner in my living room. We had initially used it as a storage area for Lucas’s toys which I thought was an eyesore.
As a solution, our interior stylist suggested redesigning the area to make it a play-and-learn corner to distinguish the area from the main living room space. Our awkward corner went from being a storage area to one which regularly receives compliments from our guests. We couldn’t be more pleased!
One thing I’ve learnt from this styling session - don’t be afraid to go big if you have a big space. I initially thought the dining lights and painting in our dining area console were too big. However, our interior stylist taught us that the bigger size draws your eyes over longer distances and that highlights the space we have in our house.
Although we were a little skeptical at first, we went ahead with it, and we were amazed by how good it looks. We are glad that we didn’t go with the smaller-sized paintings as it wouldn’t look as nice.
Do you have any tips to share with our readers?
D: For current and prospective parents, consider your future plans before doing your house renovation. While we initially liked the monochrome look, we soon realised that it wasn’t as warm and welcoming as what we wanted our family home to be. Perhaps if we had considered our long term plans at the start, we wouldn’t have had to do this revamp.
Also, don’t center the entire house around your kids. While it’s good to have them in mind when renovating, you should instead consider making it a space where the whole family can relax and spend time together. The pictures don’t show it, but we have toys hidden around our living room.
But ultimately, we got the best of both worlds – our house is now a fantastic place for hosting guests without sacrificing the space that our kids need.
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