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Plot Twist: A Hip Bachelorette Pad, Designed for Elders?

With her parents getting on in age, Leng Leng decided that a revamp was needed to turn their shared condo into a safer, more elderly-friendly space. At the same time, it was also the perfect opportunity to update the outdated look of their 20-year-old home!

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Turning into a refreshing, Scandi/MUJI themed space that’s packed with elderly-friendly elements, Leng Leng shares what went down in her renovation process and how Ray from Space Atelier helped to pull it off.

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About herself

Leng Leng (LL): Hi there, I’m Leng Leng and I work in the payments industry. I live with my parents in our condominium unit.

About planning for the renovation

LL: While the original house was in a relatively good condition, I wanted to revamp the unit to make it more elderly friendly for my aging parents. At the same time, I thought it’d be good to update the space. Some features were cluttered and quite outdated, like our old liver-red granite floors. As such, I wanted to achieve a brighter, lighter look with more storage elements in it as well.

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About finding inspiration for her home

LL: Qanvast was one of the places where I sourced for ideas! (Laughs) I also checked out other websites and magazines, as well as visited a couple of interior designer pages. I wanted more of a MUJI/Scandinavian theme, so I gathered a couple of images in line with that style, collated into a mood board and presented them to the various interior professionals I met.

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About her ID-searching process

LL: I met about three IDs and an architectural firm. The architect was recommended by a friend who knew him personally. The entire discussion was really relaxed, and he gave valuable advice on what ideas could work, what could not. However, he couldn’t provide me a quote off the bat, as it really depended on what materials were used and the type of contractors; plus, there was an additional design fee to boot. It didn’t put me at ease that I could keep to my budget.

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LL: As for the three IDs, two were proper interior firms, and one was a freelancer. I personally felt that the freelancer had good ideas, and he really took the initiative to research on elderly-friendly designs. However, I was concerned that if anything went awry, it would be hard to hold him accountable as he was just an individual, and not a properly registered company.

About deciding to work with Space Atelier

LL: I think the main reason why I decided to go for a proper ID firm was also because of better pricing. They work on a larger bulk of projects, and have a better relationship with their suppliers, which would translate to lowered costs. However, what stood out to me about Space Atelier was that they were very responsible and patient. Granted I did have to provide more input in terms of the design direction I wanted to go for, but Ray was really accommodating throughout and he provided some practical suggestions.

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About the renovation process

LL: I would consider myself really lucky in the sense that after hearing so many horror stories, my renovation was pretty smooth. Even so, there were some hiccups and delays, especially with the carpentry, which was not done up yet despite having to move in the following week. However, Ray assured us that he would settle everything, and the contractors did work overtime to get things done. I’m really grateful for that.

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About the home’s elderly-friendly features

LL: To be honest, speaking to so many interior professionals was a big help, as they offered many elderly-friendly ideas which I’ve incorporated in the house. For instance, all the floors in our house are non-slip, and there are slopes to accommodate wheelchairs in the future. We also paid particular attention to the bathroom – we got slightly rougher floor tiles for better footing and installed grab bars. For the shower, Ray designed a seating area, for my parents to sit and shower, plus a door-less glass panel so that they can easily move in and out.

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LL: Other than that, it’s mainly about going for a neat and streamlined design. No clear obstruction or too much furniture and stuff that might cause them to trip over.

About shopping for furniture

LL: I got most of my furniture from physical stores like Castlery, Comfort Furniture and Star Living, as I was a bit wary of the quality pieces bought from online stores. It’s hard to tell if you can touch and feel it for yourself! I also went to HomestoLife for most of my décor, like the artwork, cushions and smaller furniture.

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Her favourite space at home

LL: Definitely my room! It was done up exactly how I envisioned. I wanted a platform throughout that was not too low, but not too high that it might be hard to climb onto in one step. Ray managed to achieve the right height, and also helped me install a sliding ‘walk-in wardrobe’ as well.

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Advice for new homeowners

LL: Talk to as many interior firms as possible. I think it gives you a variety of practical ideas, and also enables you to gain a better understanding of the industry. For example, what’s the standard in terms of pricing? What works can or cannot be done? By speaking to more individuals, you’ll in turn have a more accurate expectation for your own renovation.

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