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Renovation Journey: A World Of Difference

At a Glance

  • Bernadine, beauty entrepreneur, Fairil, in media industry, and their cat, Autumn
  • Size: 113 sqm/ 1216 sqft
  • Location: Kallang Trivista
  • Cost of Renovation: $72,000
  • Interior Design Firm: Free Space Intent
  • Interior Designer: Jia Jia (Designer) and Leon (Project Manager)

You know that your home looks good when you have strangers knocking on your door asking to see the interior - a situation which Bernadine and Fairil encountered after their renovation was complete.

Learn more about the couple’s hassle-free renovation journey, entrusting it to Jia Jia and Leon from Free Space Intent.

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Qanvast: How did you embark on your search for interior designers?

Bernadine (B): We used Qanvast to explore ideas from interior designers and chanced upon the projects done by Free Space Intent. We were really drawn to one of their Scandi-industrial projects – it had the look we were aiming for – and arranged a meeting with them. We also sent in a quote request to get matched with five interior designers.

Fairil (F): I like that Qanvast features local homes, with the price tags affixed – it gives us a sense of whether an idea is doable. When you use sites like Pinterest, the ideas may appear nice but you do not know if it's practical in Singapore.

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Qanvast: What was the look that you wanted for your home?

B: We did not want a typical HDB. As our first home, we wanted it nice and fancy.

F: We wanted a home we could enjoy, and that encouraged us to stay in more rather than go out. Since we do a fair bit of entertaining, a place which our family and friends can enjoy was also important.

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Qanvast: Can you tell us more about what you wanted from your interior designer?

B: We wanted our interior designer to go above and beyond our idea; developing more interesting concepts from our initial ideas. As we are both very busy with work, we wanted an interior designer capable of managing the project to relieve us.

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Qanvast: How did Jia Jia and Leon refine your ideas?

F: Initially, we wanted honeycomb tiles, but they advised us against it as they said it had been done to death. Instead, Jia Jia suggested some tiles which we never thought would have worked with a Scandi-industrial theme but which somehow were a good match.

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We also wanted a brick wall, a common design feature, made of craft stone, but Leon suggested an actual brick wall painted in different tones. We appreciated that they took the time to source for the bricks.

Qanvast: How was it like working with Jia Jia?

B: She is very open. Whenever we suggest ideas to her that may not be that practical, she does not just wave them aside but proposes alternatives for our consideration.

F: She also understands our dynamics as a couple and knows how to work with us.

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Qanvast: Did Jia Jia and Leon fulfil your expectations with regard to project management?

F: Yes, it was a hassle-free renovation journey and there weren’t many times where we had to intervene. Jia Jia really managed her vendors very well.

B: It was such a breeze that sometimes we even forgot we were renovating [laughs].

Qanvast: Were there any times when Jia Jia went the extra mile to help you both?

B: Over the entire course of the project. If there were furnishings we did not like, she would go back the shop to change it. It wasn’t her duty but did it nonetheless.

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F: Even when we chose and purchased hanging lights online and found that they did not fit the lamp, Jia Jia helped us to call the retailer and arranged for him to change the bulbs. We really appreciated that since we were busy.

Qanvast: Were there any other hiccups during the renovation process?

B: I think Jia Jia and Leon managed the small hiccups very effectively as there wasn’t any issue to stress over. We encountered a problem with the cement screed in our kitchen and bathroom but it was something Jia Jia had already warned us from the beginning.

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Qanvast: Oh. What went wrong with the cement screed?

B: Certain types of soaps left stains on it. Jia Jia did tell us to be mindful of this but we didn’t think too much of it.

F: She suggested putting a glass pane on top of the cement screed backsplash in the kitchen but we believed that we could do without it. It was only when we started using the areas that we realised that the stains were really ugly.

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Qanvast: That’s unfortunate to hear. So did you make any changes to the cement screed after the renovation?

F: Yes, Jia Jia suggested stainless steel for the backsplash that adds to the industrial feel of the home. Though the bulk of our renovation is completed, we are still doing some touching up.

B: We also asked Jia Jia to make a shoe cabinet for us as it was difficult to find a retailer with one we liked.

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Qanvast: Are you pleased with the way your home turned out?

B: Yes. We’ve had friends come over and they all love it. Many of them are drawn to our kitchen tiles. We’ve also had strangers knocking on our door to ask if they can see our house. I guess it’s because they can see the tiles that Jia Jia chose, from outside.

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Qanvast: Do you have any advice for first-time homeowners?

F: The right interior designer can make a world of difference. Go with an experienced designer since they are in a better position to advise you on your renovation.

B: You need to know what you want. Always try to give a substantial brief to your designer so that they can come up with a design that fulfils all your requirements.

Start Your Renovation Journey

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