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Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

September 30, 2015
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Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

At A Glance

  • Ming & Daphnie, in their early 30’s, marketing and communications
  • Home to: 2 adults with 2 cats
  • Size: 1001 sqft / 93 sqm
  • Location: Costa Ris
  • Cost of renovation: $50,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $15,000
  • Interior design firm: Flipside Design
  • Interior designer: Renee

Having spent more than half their lives with one another, Ming and Daphnie now have a place they call their own home, along with their two feline loves, Tako and Nami. Being two artistic individuals, Ming and Daphnie have been hands-on throughout the renovation, putting their design ideas together and scouring for furnishings with their efforts.

Renee, from Flipside Design stepped into the picture and helped the couple realise their dream home by enhancing and implemented their creative ideas. It was a challenging project for both first-time homeowners and Renee.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: How did you begin your renovation journey?

Ming (M): We got our keys in September last year and we spent around two months searching for the right interior designer to do up our place for us.

It was through a platform (that deals with contractor) that we came to know about Flipside, but the platform was not very diverse and they did not provide many home ideas for us to look at and refer to.

It was only when we started to research more on the theme we wanted that we chanced upon Qanvast, and saw Flipside listed on Qanvast.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: How has Qanvast helped you in your renovation?

M: Qanvast is full of resources and is a great place for design ideas and inspirations. One of the most critical factors when it comes to renovation is the budget. I appreciated how Qanvast gave the breakdown so that homeowners can have a clear picture on what to expect. We might have a theme that we like and a number of things that we want for our home, but it all boils down to the prices at the end of the day.

Daphnie (D): We pretty much already had in mind what we wanted, but we were browsing through Qanvast and Pinterest to have a more concrete idea and find ways to execute our ideas to its best.

As we are visually inclined, we are typically attracted to nice pictures on Qanvast and we have also enjoyed reading the articles which centred on the themes of homes, such as minimalistic, industrial and so on.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: How did you both cope with couple’s disagreements over the renovation?

M: (laughs) Most of the time, I was the one who compromised and would give in to everything that Daphnie wanted for our home, as long as it’s within our budget. Since we have similar preferences and tastes, it was not an issue to come to a consensus.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: Did you speak to other designers before deciding to engage Flipside?

D: We had a few referrals. We spoke and met with at least 5 contractors and designers but Flipside stood out because they accommodated to our requests and showed effort in working around the requests that we had. On the ideas that we proposed, they would explore the idea instead of rejecting us without trying.

We could also better resonate with Flipside’s portfolio and they could better understand what we have in mind.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: Can you describe how it is like to work with Renee throughout the whole renovation - from idea generation to conceptualisation and then execution?

D: Renee is a very creative and resourceful designer. We came across an interesting sliding metal door on Pinterest and we wanted to incorporate a similar one for our home. When we showed it to Renee and her team, they were upfront in telling us they have not done something like that before and yet, they were up for the challenge in sourcing for the right materials and putting in a lot of effort to make the door the way we wanted.

On top of that, she managed to work with our tight timeline (as it was during the festive period) despite some of her contractors were away. There were also constant updates on the renovation progress, which assured us that things were proceeding smoothly.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

M: I was particularly impressed by the amount of dedication Renee gave in constructing the sliding metal door. Despite not having done something like that before, she was willing to take the risk. I playfully suggested that the metal door would look good in her portfolio. (laughs)

The renovation took four months to complete - longer than the average duration. We didn't add pressure to Renee as we want a home to be properly done up.

Renee was also prompt in rectifying faults if any. There was once where we told her the door was dirty and we need help in cleaning it. We were mildly surprised that she headed down to do the job instead of having one of her workers to help. To us, this really shows how committed and hands-on Renee is in her work.

It has been fun working with Renee.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: Where were your furnishings from?

D: I would suggest for bigger ticket items like dining table and sofa, get it from brick and mortar shops because you can test and try to see if it is really suitable for your home. We shopped at Taobao but only on smaller items like the throw and lightings. It wasn’t easy and it took us longer than usual to purchase them because the site is all in Mandarin, and we had to spend some time going through the reviews and photos.

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Qanvast: Any advice to homeowners before they embark on a renovation journey?

M: Do your homework and extensive research on what you want for your place. The budget must also not be overlooked and one must be prepared to look for cost-saving alternatives.

D: I agree with Ming. You got to do your own research instead of relying on the interior designer to feed you with information. Being informed really helps. Communication among your designer, the workers and your spouse is also important.

Designer Thoughts:

Renovation Journey: A Bold Move With An Open Layout

Renee: This is one of the most challenging projects I have done so far. The homeowners were really understanding and adventurous in their designs. They went against the template layout given by HDB, and proposed to hack all their walls and used distressed-looking barn doors as partitions for the household shelter and common toilet.

I was slightly taken aback as this is quite an uncommon request. As factories typically do not supply doors in that state, I had to be hands-on and find a way to get that distressed, worn-out look.


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