Bigger is always better in space-starved Singapore – or is it really? While having more room never hurts, the flipside to a larger home is of course, upkeep.
Faced with this prospect in their 144sqm HDB resale, homeowners Eunice and Vasu wanted to not only highlight their flat’s spaciousness, but also create a home which was practical and easy to maintain. In short, a refuge where they could truly focus on relaxing, without the distractions of (dreaded) housework.
With the help of their ID Jessica from D’Planner, the couple reveals to us how they managed to achieve their clean, cosy space, packed with practical design ideas.
Eunice + Vasu (EV): We both work in the digital commerce industry. For now, it’s just the two of us in this space, so our home has become a refuge. A place where we can truly enjoy some peace and quiet, and most importantly, each other’s company!
About their resale flat
EV: We really had to focus on seeing the potential of this resale when we bought it. While we loved the spacious layout and the view, we weren’t too keen on its existing interior décor, which was over 20 years old.
EV: As such, we knew that we had to do a complete overhaul. Something which would still highlight the wide, open living space and amazing view of the city, but in a style that was clean, cosy and contemporary.
About their home’s design
EV: Before we went meeting with interior designers, we put together a brief so that they could have a better idea of what we wanted. A couple of must haves that we highlighted in that brief included:
- Having a wide-open living area, the moment we walk through the front door
- A mini bar along the living room overlooking the city view
- A clean-cut aesthetic, featuring a combination of white and wood
- A space that’s practical and easy to maintain
- Ample storage to stow everything away
- A decent-sized laundry area where the washer and dryer could be tucked away
EV: We were lucky in a sense that we both had a common preference for white and wood, so there weren’t any disagreements over the look we wanted. Though during the renovation, we did review some of those ideas and the final result was a bit of a ‘fusion’ instead.
About Jessica from D’Planner
EV: We met with about 6 interior firms, but Jessica from D’Planner was by far the most experienced ID we’ve met. We really appreciated her ability to provide helpful suggestions based on her knowledge and improve our existing ideas.
EV: She was also very upfront about what could or could not be done in terms of space planning, material selection and costing. We liked her honesty and as first-time homeowners, it helped to ease our fears of being cheated on or shortchanged.
About the renovation process
EV: We worked with Jessica and our project manager Raymond for our renovation. It was generally smooth, and there was a lot of initiative from the both of them. Jessica is very particular about aesthetics and she’d often push her contractors to deliver their work in a functional, yet visually pleasing way. Likewise, Raymond is always making sure the end products were up to scratch. If they weren’t, he would take the initiative to ask the workers to re-do the works. It minimized a lot of back-and-forth from the get go, and we didn’t have to interfere much.
About their home’s practical, low-maintenance features
EV: With a larger space, we also wanted a design that would make it practical and easy for us to maintain in the long run. We chose to have darker, greyish floors in our bathrooms and our kitchen to mask any hair or dust. We also opted for a kitchen countertop with a non-porous surface that wouldn’t trap any gunk during food preparation.
EV: We also wanted tons of storage for our belongings. As such, we opted for closed cabinets which could mask any visible clutter and prevent dust from building up. Same went for the furniture; we didn’t want anything light-coloured or white that could be easily dirtied.
EV: One more thing that we were really appreciative of was Raymond’s expertise. He would make recommendations that he thought would be best for our needs. For example, he suggested us to get swing doors instead of bi-fold doors, as the tracks could wear out under rough handling.
About the highlights and challenges of their renovation
EV: The best part is definitely excitement and buzz we felt when walking into the house post renovation! Most challenging is probably budget management – we weren’t always on top of tracking every single change. The occasional miscommunication was also an issue.
Some pieces of advice for new homeowners
EV: Do ample research, and always note down every single ad-hoc pluses and minuses in your renovation cost. Take minutes of every discussion – there will be many decisions to be made on the fly, so it’s important to note them down so that you don’t backtrack on those decisions. The experience of the ID, project manager and contractor are so important. Ours brought so much knowledge to the table which saved us time and money.