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Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

August 26, 2015
Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

At a glance:

Home to: Benjamin and wife, 30s, working in government sectors
Location: Bedok Reservoir Road
Size: 87sqm or 936 sqft
Cost of renovation: $30,000
Cost of furnishings: $30,000
Interior firm: Voila

Qanvast: What made you settle with this tropical theme?

Benjamin (B): Initially we didn’t know what we wanted, other than wood elements at home. After talking to designers and looking at pictures on Qanvast, Pinterest and some magazines, we settled with this theme.

I like the resort-theme while my wife wants something cosy. Voila managed to fulfill both requirements.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: The theme definitely complements the view that you have! Did you get most of your furniture from Singapore?

B: Yes, I wouldn’t risk buying furniture online unless they cost below $30 (laughs). The hassle of return and exchange isn’t something I would want to go through. I have a few friends who bought lightings from Taobao. To them, they think it’s cheap and they buy more bulbs to keep since the lights tend not to last long. Personally, I think it’s a hassle to fix or arrange for an electrician to do it once the lights are down.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: Since you already knew what you wanted, what made you choose an interior designer over a contractor?

B: We saw the value in hiring an interior designer and it would be better for someone who is familiar, to coordinate with the different parties and run the whole show.

Also, communications tend to be in a single direction when working with a contractor since they are merely following our requirements, and if anything goes wrong, we would have to pay more for rectifications. Furthermore, I feel that there is less ownership in the project since the contractor don't run the whole show, as compared to an interior designer.

As this is our first home, we want the home to look nice, instead of having to scrimp and save. It’s also more convenient since we are having a kid along our way. I want to save on my annual leave (laughs).

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: Where did you search for interior designers?

B: Through Qanvast. I downloaded the app and really like the pictures I see in there. The app is easy to use. After that, I dropped a quote request seeing that it is non-committal. Shortly, Qanvast followed up with me and I proceeded to meet up with the interior designers.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: What was your impression on Voila?

B: We met up with 5 interior firms. The first firm and the last (i.e. Voila) firm left the deepest impression as they fit what I’m looking for. We were actually impressed with the refreshing design concept by the first firm. The only downside, their quote was more expensive.

We pitched the idea to Voila and Voila managed to give us what we are looking for, along with a piece of a 3D drawing to help us visualise better. The price was also reasonable as they quoted us $23,000.

We weighed and evaluated between the two firms and we ultimately went with Voila.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: What qualities did you consider when choosing the interior firm?

B: Service is important. Take for example the two firms I have shortlisted, they actually took the extra step to help us visualise how it will be like. It’s a simple gesture of dedication and it probably would not cost much to the firm.

I am also concerned with the attention span of a designer on my home renovation, this is why I didn't consider the more established, mass-market interior firms like Company R. They are aggressive in marketing and their designers seemed overstretched. Furthermore, I know I will be charged with a premium in the renovation works. I have also heard of a bad experience from my wife’s friend and it proved my point.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: How would you describe your designer?

B: Our designer was responsive and responsible. There were some renovation hiccups along the way and our designer could handle them smoothly. We were updated regularly on the renovation works, and the renovation timeline was adhered to.

What was commendable was the designer had displayed a strong sense of ownership.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

Qanvast: You mentioned there were some hiccups, what were they?

B: When everything is almost done and ready to move in, our television couldn’t connect due to the loose connection in cables when we shifted the electrical points for the ceiling lighting beams.

This was quite a headache but thankfully it was solved by one of the professionals from Voila.

Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home
Renovation Journey: A Seaside-Resort Inspired Home

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