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Renovation Journey: A Systematic Approach

At a Glance

  • Jefferson and Jocel, both working in the semi-conductor industry
  • Size: 150sqm / 1614sqft
  • Location: Pasir Ris
  • Cost of Renovation: $44,000
  • Cost of Furnishing: $10,000
  • Interior Design Firm: DB Studio
  • Interior Designer: Linda

After falling in love with the black floor tiles when they first saw their resale home, Jefferson and Jocel knew that they want to keep the flooring and so began a journey of conceptualising a design around these tiles with the help of Linda from DB Studio.

We sit down with the practical pair and get them to share their tips for a smooth renovation.

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Qanvast: Why did you decide to engage Linda from DB Studio?

Jocel (JO): Out of all the interior designers that Qanvast shortlisted for us and which our friends recommended to us, we decided to go with Linda because we liked her professionalism. She listened to what we wanted and understood our vision for our home. Her quotation was also the most competitive.

Qanvast: How else did Linda set herself apart from her competition?

JO: The study was our main requirement and we asked all the designers that we met to come up with a design for it. After seeing all the designs, we liked Linda’s design the most.

On top of that, she gave us recommendations and advised us on how we could save money if we were to do things in a particular way.

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Qanvast: I see. Tell us more about how you approached the process of finding a suitable interior designer?

JO: Although our actual budget was higher, we told all the interior designers that we met that our budget was $30,000 and asked them what they could do with that budget because we wanted to test their creativity.

We also had a set of questions which we asked all the designers and right after the meetings with them, we would discuss their responses and note down what we liked and didn’t like about that designer. We then used all these as points of comparisons to determine which interior designer we wanted to work with.

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Qanvast: What was your brief to Linda?

JO: When we first saw this home, we fell in love with the black tiles, so we wanted to keep this feature and have our home designed around it in such a way that our home is not too dark. Additionally, we said that we wanted our home to be free of clutter.

Qanvast: Did your vision for your home evolve as the renovation progressed?

JO: Yes. Initially we wanted a classic design for our home because our homes back in the Philippines had traditional designs. However, Linda said it would not work with the black floor tiles that we wanted to keep. We decided to work around the tiles, and eventually, we ended up having a modern design with grey monochromatic tones that we both like.

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Qanvast: How did you ensure that you kept to your budget?

JO: We were very mindful of the cost. If we wanted to change anything, we made sure to remove something from the quotation so that we would not exceed the budget. It's also why we decided not to have a smart home, although that was something we initially wanted - the cost doesn’t justify the convenience.

Qanvast: What did you like about working with Linda?

Jefferson (J): We liked her upfront attitude. She would tell us what looked good and what didn’t, and advise us if she felt like something wasn’t worth the price. She was also able to give us recommendations without pushing for them.

Qanvast: Are there any areas which you feel could have been done better?

JO: It would have been good if Linda provided us with a more specific timeline for the various renovation works, from the start. We were only given the timeline when we asked for it towards the end. There was also a period of time after the bathroom was completed when there were no renovation works going on and we had to follow up with Linda to make sure the timeline was being met. In the end, the completion date was pushed back by a week or two.

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Qanvast: Were there any hiccups and how did Linda handle the rectifications?

JO: There were a few hiccups which Linda resolved very efficiently. Anytime we messaged her, she would immediately call us back – even if it was really late at night!

J: A tile broke while her workers were installing the shower screen, and Linda executed the rectification work very efficiently.

JO: Another example of a hiccup would be that we were intending to retain the flooring in our study, but when her workers hacked the wall, it left a gap in the flooring between the wall and the door. Although her workers tried to patch it up, it didn’t look good so we decided to replace the entire flooring.

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Qanvast: What advice would you give to other homeowners who are renovating?

JO: Be prepared when you meet up with IDs – do your research and have a list of questions. Homeowners should think about how they want their home to look like in the future and whether it's something they'd be comfortable with in the long run. Then when you meet with designers, you can get advice on whether your ideas will work.

J: They should also consider what they are willing to live without because it’s very easy for the carpentry costs to shoot up. In that regard, they should ask their designer for an itemised quotation so that they can monitor the budget.

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