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Perfectly Imperfect: A Peek Into Valerie Wang's Home Studio

Slow down; accept and appreciate things as they are, work with it and you will find it’s beauty. That defines the design of the home studio in this old shophouse.

Embracing the aged melancholy décor with a modern spin, Lifestyle Instagrammer @Valerie Wang warmly opened up her studio and shared with us her renovation experience with Keats and his team from The Local INN.terior.

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Qanvast: How did you and your designer settle with this design concept?

Valerie (V): While on a work trip in London, I stayed in an apartment that was converted from an old industrial building. It was love at first sight – big full-length windows with lots of natural light seeping in. It has some bit of raw touch and little imperfections, which I totally adore! It is the perfect imperfection! I knew clearly I wanted the same kind of vibes for my Studio.

Though some people may view these imperfections as a bad or undone job, I insist of keeping the essence of it. I had a lot of ideas and shared it with my interior designer (Keats), he’s a very experience designer and knew clearly what is possible or impossible to achieve within my budget. Though some of my ideas fell through due to budget constrains, Keats was determined to help me achieve the look that I visualised. We switched materials, simplify some designs and eventually all turn out to be great and I was truly satisfied with the final outcome.

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Qanvast: Did you try looking for contractors since you already knew what designs you were gunning for?

V: I did but got frustrated after waiting for quotes. Also, I gave a thought and realised there were many things I was unfamiliar with such as the electricity wiring and the voltage, wet works etc. When I got the keys to my Studio, I was scheduled to leave the country in two weeks and to travel for a month. Feeling a little desperate after failing to coordinate and find the right contractors, I approached The Local INN.terior, a firm where a friend of mine is working in. I expressed my concerns, and was given a neutral analysis; there were no pressure in signing contracts or anything of that sort which I did prepare myself for it. After thinking it through, I felt that it will be better to let the Interior firm handle the job since they have a network of suppliers and are able to secure quality at reasonable prices as compared to myself approaching the individual vendors.

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Qanvast: What key takeaways did you learn from this experience?

V: Sometimes, you can’t have everything your way. [laughs] I had to work with budget and building constraints.

I was really relieved that I engaged an interior firm. Keats and his team are really efficient and responsive. He answers to all my doubts and questions almost immediately all the time and even brought me around to get sanitary wares and lightings. Everything was settled swiftly, I was kept updated throughout the renovation even when I was away.

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Qanvast: Was it costly to renovate this place?

V: If we were to base on the original ideas I had in mind, honestly the quote skyrocketed. It took us some time to modify the design and substitute materials in order to achieve a similar look at a lower cost. For example, the black-framed sliding door, aluminium was used instead of solid metal and the height was reduced.

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Qanvast: How will your home design be like?

V: I’d probably stick to a monochrome palette; it’s easier to match with furnitures and is incline to what I like. I will probably have some raw elements and add a polished touch with curated décor pieces.

Qanvast: How is this place different from the previous one?

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V: The previous place, which is my first studio ever was much smaller and easier to managed. The basics like flooring, electricity and air-conditioning were ready when I shifted in. As compared to the current one, it was almost a bare unit and lots of work had to be done.

I have always liked the vibes of a shophouse unit and I feel that it can be a nice place to stay in as compared to offices or industrial warehouses. I usually work late into the night and it becomes tiring and much of a hassle to travel back and forth from home to studio. Having this current shophouse is simply perfect! Although I have to deal with occasional leakage from roof, uneven walls, non-symmetrical windows, it is still perfect because it’s a comfortable place for me to work and unwind.

To me, there’s beauty behind any imperfections – wabi-sabi.

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