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Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

July 8, 2015

“The way to a family’s heart is through their stomach”

Home to: Afzal, an air steward, his wife and kids
Location: Pasir Ris
Size: 1378 sqft / 128 sqm, 3-room apartment
Cost of renovation: $80,000
Interior designer firm: Fatema Design Studio
Interior designer: Wan

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Air steward, photographer and baker: this homeowner is a jack-of-all-trades. With his true passion lying in baking, Afzal’s kitchen was of utmost importance when renovating his home.

We interviewed Afzal and his interior designer, Wan, to learn how they worked together. Both joked around and we felt automatically at ease with them. Not forgetting the freshly baked bread Afzal offered us, making this interview a rather delicious one. Read on to find out how this dynamic duo made Afzal’s dream kitchen a reality.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: How did Qanvast help you in your renovation?

Afzal (A): I was looking for home inspiration on Google and I stumbled upon Qanvast.

I found my interior designer, Fatema, though Qanvast. Their featured projects are well designed and there are helpful reviews about Fatema as well.

I know it can be a pain to choose an interior designer and I am glad Qanvast was able to simplify this process for me.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: What works did you do in the living room and master bedroom for your contemporary themed home?

Wan (W): To enlarge and sculpt the space, we added a mirror in the living room and used cove lighting. We hacked down one of the living room walls such that the master bedroom extends into the living room and becomes bigger.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home
Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: We can see Afzal is a passionate home baker, making the kitchen an essential part of his house. How did you design the kitchen space?

W: We started out the spatial planning with the kitchen as I consider it the engine of a house, especially for Afzal’s family. The layout was planned according to kitchen workflow; from the sink to cooking area to where the food is served.

To break the monotony, we used patterned tiles to create an aesthetically pleasing backsplash.

Initially Afzal wanted an island but we decided on an open kitchen concept instead given the space constraints.

A: My kitchen is a heavy-duty one so I needed sufficient working space and a practical design. For example Wan recommended this quartz countertop to meet my sturdy kitchen tabletop requirement.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home
Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: The use of lighting in the kitchen is interesting as well. How did you plan this?

W: We used various lightings to serve different purposes. For example the spotlight highlights areas such as the oven, fridge and cooking area.

Track light is used to minimise trunking as we can illuminate several areas from one source. It’s also easy to add and remove lights with track lighting.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: Afzal and Wan, what was it like working with each other?

A: It was a 2-way collaboration throughout the renovation. Wan prepared several proposals and 3D drawings for us to visualise better. He is very easy to talk to and always provided recommendations. For example, I initially chose a modern industrial lamp but Wan suggested something woody that would match my interior better.

W: Like what Afzal mentioned, I think we both got along well throughout the renovation. Afzal and his family were very accommodating and they consistently gave me feedback on the designs I suggested.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: From the sounds of it they trust you as their interior designer. How do you reach that level of trust?

W: Before I start any project, I bring homeowners to see some of my past projects. By showing them my work and explaining how things are done, there is transparency and they trust me as their interior designer.

Homeowners like the first-hand experience of seeing the finished product and workmanship instead of just relying on word of mouth and photos.

Qanvast: How did you resolve hiccups faced along the way?

A: Like all renovation works, there were minor hiccups along the way. For example some electric points were missing, several wires were not long enough and certain equipment did not fit.

I could easily communicate to Wan when there was adjustment required. He would schedule time for the contractor to come down and rectify the issue.

I understand an interior designer handles a lot of projects concurrently. Overall I am quite flexible and as long as the job is done, I am fine. It’s a process of adapting and making changes.

Renovation Journey: A Breadwinner’s Home

Qanvast: Any advice to homeowners working with their interior designers?

W: Be clear in what you want! [laughs]

Afzal’s wife: Find someone you can trust and have a good rapport with, so it is easier to convey ideas. Be transparent in all areas of renovation such as what needs to be done, time needed and costs incurred. Lastly, have an open mind and be willing to see another person’s perspective.

Read more Renovation Journey articles to find out what different homeowners went through in building their dream home.

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