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Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

June 3, 2015
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“The era back then reminds us of good quality items, so we thought why not use this old school allure as our home inspiration!”

At a glance:

Brenda and Jonathan, both in their early 30s
Home to: A young couple
Size: 114 sqm/ 1,227 sqf
Location: Tampines (Condo)
Cost of renovation: $30,000
Cost of furnishing: $20,000
Interior design firm: Habit
Interior designers: Yan Ling, Denise and Ivan

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Image Credit: Arc at Tampines

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Arc at Tampines is a newly built condominium that is popular among homeowners. One such homeowner is Brenda and Jonathan, a young couple who decided to take an old school approach when designing their black and white home. Think nautical lights, antique furnishings and brick walls. Join us as we journey through their vintage themed home, which has an irresistible colonial charm to it.

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Qanvast: In order to make your dream home a reality, you engaged Habit as your interior designer. How did you find out about Habit?

Brenda (B): I got a friend’s recommendation to check out the Qanvast app for home inspiration. I was scrolling through and the projects done by Habit stood out to me. I feel it was their use of colour, attention to detail and the touch of class in their work that caught my eye. Habit’s projects featured on Qanvast’s app were unique and their style appealed to me so I decided to get in contact with them.

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Qanvast: Many homeowners get confused when selecting their interior designer. How did you know Habit was the one for you?

B: What is really important is that right chemistry between homeowners and their interior designer. We had this with Habit and we were on par in terms of expectations and quality. Denise assured us that they were able to dedicate sufficient time to our renovation. An essential element of trust was present and we trusted our interior designer to deliver well, which they did.

Qanvast: How was your experience working with them?

B: The first meeting with Denise was pivotal as we discussed what kind of feel we were going for and she found out more about our personalities as individuals. By the next meeting, Habit already had drawings based on the floor plan we had sent them and this kickstarted our renovation journey with them.

Habit was quite good with their timeline as well. I jokingly asked them to deliver the keys in time for my birthday as a gift and to my surprise; they actually did so!

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Qanvast: What inspired you to design your house with a colonial theme?

B: I initially started with a Scandinavian theme in mind but I realised I didn’t want the whole house to be Scandinavian so we decided to mix it up with a black and white house.

We like old school, maybe because we are Generation X, as it reminds us of all the good quality items from back then. The parts of Singapore we spent our childhood also inspired us to do something old school. Jonathan grew up in a black and white house and we thought it would be nice to incorporate that colonial style into our home.

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Original floor plan

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Edited floor plan

Qanvast: Many homeowners go for carpentry these days. You guys chose to go with minimal carpentry. Why is this so?

B: We did this to save space and Habit recommended useful suggestions to maximise space. They did the spatial planning in a rather clever way. Initially we had a wall, which divided the studio apartment from the rest of the home. Habit tore down this wall to combine the spaces. We also tore down the front door and extended the wall to enlarge our dining space. This spatial planning helped make the spaces more open.

Habit recommended placing a window in the foyer instead of closing it up with a wall. Their idea of using "chicken wire" on the foyer window was in line with the old school feel we wanted. They also suggested a "kueh lapis" effect for some of the laminate finishes for subtle touches.

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Qanvast: We really love your vintage home furnishings. Could you tell us a little more about them?

Jonathan (J): We bought the furniture progressively over 6 to 8 months and many of it was before we engaged Habit.

B: We used a mix of new and second-hand furniture. Some of our home furnishings have actually been passed down from Jonathan’s grandmother, like a lamp with intricate design. We bought many of the lights both before and during the renovation, like the track lights, nautical lights and spotlights.

We liked how Habit was able to incorporate bits and pieces of our personal lives into our home. For example tiles similar to those at our wedding venue was used in our home.

Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm
Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm
Renovation Journey: A Home With A Colonial Charm

Qanvast: Do you have any styling tips for homeowners?

B: Be versatile in your designs. Try and go for something timeless by making purchases suited for the long term. Even after renovation is completed, continue to add furnishings to your home to refresh your interior’s look.


Looking to renovate your house? The Qanvast app can help with that. Browse thousands of interior design ideas, get the renovation cost breakdown and receive up to 5 complimentary quotes from interior designers. Download the free app; available on The App Store and Google Play.

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