Finding an interior designer can be a stressful task - even more so when you’ve just gotten out of a bad experience where a firm absconded with your hard-earned money!
This was the situation that homeowners Rethinam and Alyssa found themselves in when their travel agency suddenly closed down, absconding with the money from their honeymoon package.
Having just been through this horrendous experience, the lovebirds knew they had to tread with caution when finding an interior designer and with help from Qanvast, got connected with some reliable designers. Eventually, they settled on Tan Studio, who renovated their apartment at Skyville@Dawson.
We sat down for a chat with the couple, both physiotherapists, who share with us how important rapport is in selecting a designer and why their designer, Bang is, in their words, “a good man with a good heart”.
When planning ahead for the renovation:
Rethinam (R): We found out in January 2017 that we were going to get our keys around April of that year. From that moment onwards, we began to contact interior designers so that we could start discussing ideas and confirm whose services we wanted to enlist. As our wedding was in September of that year too, we knew that we wanted to focus on our wedding and only commence the renovation works after that.
Our requirements for our home:
R: We knew we wanted a feature wall, a walk-in wardrobe, a platform bed and vinyl flooring. When it came to specifics, I think the subway tiles in the kitchen were the only thing we clearly had in mind. Other than that, we didn’t have a concrete idea in mind for the rest of the design. On a whole, I wanted more wood elements in the home for that Scandinavian feel.
R: Whenever I travel, I stayed at homes from Airbnb so that I can see how people’s homes in various countries are done up. Once, my wife and I went to Copenhagen and we stayed in a house that we really liked so we took some inspiration for our home design from that place. We also went to Norway recently and we realised that our house looks very much like the Scandinavian homes there.
Alyssa (A): Having travelled to London previously too, we knew that we didn’t like the design of the homes there because the colours schemes were quite messy. The homes there also have too modern designs for our liking. Travelling around the world and seeing different homes definitely shaped our inspiration for our home’s design.
On finding an interior designer:
R: We were very careful when finding a designer because we had heard many renovation horror stories and also because we had a bad experience when the firm we booked our honeymoon package with closed down and absconded with our money. Thankfully, we were able to get the money back as we had filed a chargeback claim with our credit card.
This experience taught us to be very careful when selecting a designer and we spent quite a fair bit of time checking through the clauses before leaving a deposit with our designer.
On the assurance given by Qanvast:
R: We were glad to have discovered Qanvast when we were searching for an interior designer because Qanvast has the $50,000 Qanvast Guarantee.
On our decision to go with Tan Studio:
R: We met about three or four designers in total and we felt like we had the most rapport with Bang, the designer from Tan Studio. We liked that he was very genuine. All the other interior designers that we met wanted us to make the downpayment first before sharing their ideas with us and Bang was the only one who willingly shared his ideas with us and even met up with us four or five times before we made the downpayment.
On working with their interior designer:
A: Bang was very helpful. He accompanied us to Hafary to choose our tiles and helped us to pick out tiles that would match the laminates. He was also considerate. It was hard for us to find time to meet him because we have busy schedules and he would come down to Jurong East – the area where I work – to meet up with us.
At times, Bang was quite busy with his other projects and we would have to prompt him for updates. However, that’s understandable because he did tell us from the beginning that he would be busy with projects during the end of year period and despite his heavy workload, he still managed to keep to what he said he would do.
About the furniture:
A: We mostly bought our furniture from online shops like ezbuy and Primero because we find that it’s quite expensive to purchase our furniture from physical shops. Furthermore, we know that furniture does not last long so we didn’t want to pay so much for it.
R: We get some of our furnishings during our travels because we realised that it is cheaper to purchase furnishings overseas than in Singapore where they can be very expensive.
Most interesting home feature:
A: We hacked away the wall between the living room and the adjacent room, replacing part of it with glass panels to create a more spacious look. For now, we are thinking of using that room as an exercise room. In future, it can even be converted into a children’s room.
Since the wall connecting the two rooms has been hacked away, Bang suggested a design for our TV console whereby the cabinet goes the wall and can be opened on both sides of the wall. It’s a unique idea and we like it.
Our family and friend’s impression of our home:
A: My friends love the design of my home. They say that it has a very cosy design and always ask us if they can come by for visits.
R: Initially, when my dad saw the 3D design for my home, he was very impressed and remarked that the design looks like it’s meant for a condominium home. After visiting the home, my parents now want to renovate their house as well [laughs].
Our advice for homeowners:
R: It’s important to find a designer that you have very good rapport with. In addition, you should ask your designer to bring you to one of their previous projects so that you can assess the quality of their carpentry as you cannot tell how good a firm’s workmanship is just by looking at the project photos.
A: Always keep a buffer when you set your budget. Also, expect to exceed your budget because the renovation works can be more expensive than you think they are.