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Renovation Journey: A Romance With French Living

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At A Glance:

  • Raziah and Zul, mid 30s, in fashion and IT industry
  • Home to: 2 adults, 1 kid
  • Size: 92 sqm / 990 sqft
  • Location: Edgefield Plains (BTO)
  • Renovation duration: 10 weeks
  • Cost of renovation: $50,000
  • Cost of furnishings: $20,000
  • Interior design firm: Fifth Avenue Interior
  • Interior designer: Ansel

Browsing through magazine spreads of celebrities’ homes often leave us gaping in awe. As much as we’d like to emulate their designs, it is always an uphill struggle to bring their overseas designs in Singapore. We speak to Raziah, who shares with us how she managed to bring the French style of home living right into the heart of tropical Singapore, successfully!

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Qanvast: Your house is really beautiful! Why did you choose to go with a French design theme?

Raziah (R): I have always liked the French design, but my husband prefers a more modern design, so this is a balance of both our preferences. My husband like things to be simple, clean-looking and cool colours like grey, but I like details and the colour white. So we managed to accommodate.

It wasn’t easy to stick to the budget, but thankfully, I have my husband to watch over the purse strings. We did our homework and looked for cheaper alternatives to style the place.

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Qanvast: Where are your furniture from?

R: Many items, like our sofa are from the megastore, Courts. Some are from Crate and Barrel which is more expensive in Singapore than in US. Because I have already envisioned what the house to be like, so whenever I travel and see an item I like, I would immediately purchase them. I even got my wardrobe knobs from Antropologie and my friends were amazed by the minute details I emphasised in designing my house! (laughs)

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Qanvast: How did you find out about Qanvast?

R: It was through our friends who had liked your pictures on Facebook. Then we started following Qanvast and looked through the different images on your site. We chanced upon one of the featured designers, Fifth Avenue Interior, and I liked one of the homes they did in Ang Mo Kio. I spent time reading reviews of different firms on Qanvast and saw a couple of good reviews about Fifth Avenue Interior.

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Qanvast: Who did you work with and tell us how did it goes?

R: I worked with Ansel and I told him I did not want another cookie-cutter design. I knew that I wanted to have wall moulding around the living room. That was my first challenge to them. I had seen images of other interior designer who have done this, but it couldn’t achieve the fine workmanship that I wanted.

Many other interior designers tend to suggest the typical interior designs nowadays such as industrial look, minimalist and Scandinavian. I knew that didn’t want those typical interior designs you see in other homes.

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Qanvast: How was your renovation process like?

R: We first met him and told him what we wanted. He was a little shocked because most homeowners wouldn’t renovate a BTO on such a large scale. For instance, I wanted to redo the entire home including the floors and bathroom so he was a little hesitant as to whether I was a serious client.

He did a quotation which cost $60,000, after which, I was shocked as it was higher than my initial budget [laughs]. We omitted one room and a few other items from the initial quotation to adjust the budget to around $50,000.

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Qanvast: Did you decide on Fifth Avenue Interior straightaway?

R: Yes, I decided on them straightaway. I trusted the reviews I read on Qanvast and the platform’s reputation. I had met with another interior designer before, but they couldn’t achieve the wall moulding design I wanted.

What I really liked about the house was the kitchen, particularly the kitchen cabinetry. Most kitchen cabinets are flat, but the kitchen cabinet done by Fifth Avenue Interior had an indent. Textures and small design details like these caught my eye. That’s when I decided to give Fifth Avenue Interior a shot.

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Qanvast: How was your chemistry with Ansel? Did you have any reservations working with a young designer?

R: Ansel is very young, dynamic and eager. I think he might not have taken on many renovation projects before, so he shows that he wants to do the job well. He is very open and supported my ideas. He also pays close attention to my requests, and accommodates my keen attention to detail. I like that he was also very enthusiastic and gung-ho (laughs).

He would also respond to my calls and messages at midnight (laughs), and he would assure me that things would be done. Before I bought my furniture, I will make a point to consult him as well.

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Qanvast: You have come a long way! Looking back, what are your thoughts? Is there anything you felt shouldn’t have been done?

R: We are very happy with how everything has turned out, particularly the workmanship. We have friends whose house wasn’t done up as well due to poor workmanship or after-sales service.

Ansel’s after-sales service was also very good. He even came back to rectify the minor details. For example, there was a small patch that was of a different colour, and he came back to correct it. He is very responsible in that sense.

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Qanvast: Any advice that you would like to share with potential homeowners?

R: You need to have a clear idea of how you want your home to be like and what you like to look at. Having a good grasp of what you want will make the process a lot easier. Having said that, you shouldn’t compromise the design in order to stick to your budget. You also have to follow through with what you wanted.

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Do you also have a clear design mind that you are eagerly hoping to bring to life, but would like someone to offer some help? Look no more - simply drop us a complimentary quote request and we will get back to you on suitable interior designers soon! Meanwhile, continue refining your dream home by downloading our free app from App Store and Google Play, and continue browsing through the myriad of featured home designs and renovation tips!

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