Getting involved at every stage of their home’s renovation is what many would do, but not the owner of this classy 3-room flat at Race Course Road, Lester, who handed over the reins to Schemacraft designer, Martin Ngo, for the most part.
“Basically, when I was looking for a designer, I wanted someone who could handle everything,” he says. “I simply didn’t have the time to go into the details of what needed to be done because of how busy I am at work.”
Luckily for him, Martin was able to run the show smoothly, from to start to end. And more importantly, plan, build, and deliver a restful abode in just 2 months.
“Based on what I have heard about renovations from my friends, I don’t think anyone other than an experienced designer, like Martin, would have been able to tear down and rebuild a 30 year-old flat in such a short amount of time,” says Lester.
“So, if you have a busy lifestyle, and you need someone who knows the ins-and-outs (of renovating a home), you know who to find.”
About plans for my home’s design:
Lester (L): At the point when I purchased my flat, it was already 30 years old, so everything had to go. It was a whole gut, the wiring, the windows, and the fittings were swapped out for new ones. I think the only thing that was kept was the main door, which was repainted.
My wife also requested to have plenty of clean lines in the house because of how they make the space look sleeker, which allows her feel more at ease.
Thoughts about the house, post-renovation:
L: I am very satisfied with what Martin did, he really exceeded my expectations. My favourite space at home is, I guess, my living room. It’s nothing fancy, but I like it because it serves my needs, and the whole layout is very pleasing to the eye in my opinion.
About getting to know Schemacraft:
L: Martin and Schemacraft were recommended by one of my friends. Like everyone else I had met up with a couple of other designers, but I chose to work with Martin in the end because I felt very comfortable with him. There was good rapport between us, and he didn’t overpromise nor underdelivered.
On working with Schemacraft:
L: Even though this is my first home, I didn’t have time to run the show. So, when the renovation started, Martin constantly updated (me on the progress) by sending emails and photos.
At some point, I noticed that the hot and cold water pipes were left exposed, which I did not like. Martin had informed me about them beforehand and I hadn’t taken notice, yet he addressed the issue without question once I told him about it.
About sourcing for materials:
L: For the house’s flooring, I went shopping with Martin, and I chose a set of tiles with a certain design. But after thinking about them for a couple of days, I changed my mind and wanted a different set.
At that point, I believe that Martin had already ordered the tiles, and was about to have them installed. But, once again, he accommodated my request despite the tight timeframe, and that's something I am really appreciative of.
L: To be honest, I think Martin is a very bad salesman (laughs). He really undersells his service. Also, he doesn’t try to sell you on an idea, but tells you what he feels is practical for your home – that’s what makes him a great designer to work with.
About quoted price:
L: In terms of price, Martin may be on the higher side compared to others, but I know of homeowners who were quoted a lot less initially but ended up paying more.
In fact, Martin once called me up while I was working, to tell me that he had overcharged me on the amount needed to smoothen out the walls and asked if I wanted to redirect the money into other works – I don’t believe you’d get a call like that from anyone else.
To sum up:
L: The only thing I would change about this experience is the amount of time and effort I put into the renovation. Doing so would, in my opinion, have equipped me (with the knowledge needed) to make the space work even better for my needs.
I also learnt that it’s worth working with someone with a proven track record, even if it means paying a bit more.
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