Renovation Journey: Advice to Heed
At a Glance
- Alwyn Ng, 28, Assistant Engineer, and Ivine Ng, 35, Teacher
- Size: 113 sqm / 1216 sqft
- Location: Choa Chu Kang
- Cost of Renovation: $45,000
- Cost of Furnishing: $15,000
- Interior Design Firm: Inzz Studio
- Interior Designer: Buzz
“Don't judge a book by its cover”. When Alwyn and Ivine first met Buzz, they didn’t get a fantastic first impression of him. But peeling back the layers, they discovered that behind his cool persona lay a treasure trove of renovation knowledge.
We sit down for a chat with the couple who tell us why Buzz was the perfect interior designer for them.
Qanvast: Why did you decide to engage Buzz from Inzz Studio?
Ivine (I): When we first met Buzz, we didn’t have a great first impression of him as he sounded uninterested when he spoke. However, we could tell from his ideas that he is experienced and really knows his stuff. He was the only interior designer who brought us to see one of his completed projects and that spoke volumes about his confidence.
He also had many good reviews from his former clients on the firm’s Facebook page, unlike designers from other firms who were just awarded stars. The fact that his former clients made the effort to write a review for him shows he did an impressive job.
Qanvast: Did you have any interesting experiences while looking for an interior designer?
I: We met an interior designer who was formerly a contractor. When we met him, he did not really have any of his own ideas to propose. Instead, he asked us about the ideas which the interior designers from other firms suggested, saying he could do something similar for us if we wanted. Immediately we knew he was not the right guy for our project.
Qanvast: What was your brief to Buzz?
Alwyn (A): As I have a large family, I told Buzz that I needed my home to be spacious for family gatherings during Chinese New Year or other special occasions.
I: We told Buzz that we wanted an industrial home to match our personalities.
Qanvast: How did Buzz help you with space planning?
I: We wanted to find a space within the living room to put the study room. All the designers we met tried to think of ways it could be done, but Buzz was the only one who objected to it. He said it wouldn’t be feasible as the space in the room would be very cramped and suggest a more practical alternative, converting one of the bedrooms to a study instead.
When designing our study, he took into account our future needs. Unsure if we’ll be having children in the future, Buzz helped us to design it such that the bookshelf can be converted to a wardrobe if needed.
Qanvast: What creative ideas did he have for your home?
I: As I am rather accident-prone, Buzz built a study desk which had legs that were angled inwards so that I would not accidentally kick them. I really liked his idea.
Qanvast: Is there any particular occasion where he demonstrated his vast knowledge on renovation matters?
A: All the designers we met recommended KompacPlus for our kitchen counter tops, saying it is a good material that’s scratch and heat-resistant. However, Buzz advised us against it, explaining that we needed a surface that could withstand temperatures of up to two or three hundred degrees since we would be baking in the kitchen. A KompacPlus surface would be damaged. He suggested using quartz instead.
Qanvast: Where did you get your furniture from?
I: Most of it is from Malaysia. Our lights and fans are from Taobao, which helped us to save a lot of money. We also discovered this shop, Art DNA, in Johor Bahru, which sold switches with nice designs to replace the plain white-coloured switches provided by HDB.
Qanvast: Did you usually ask Buzz for advice when purchasing your furniture?
I: Yes. There was an occasion when we wanted to bundle purchase but the refrigerator was purple and we thought it may be an eye sore in the kitchen. We texted Buzz for advice and he told us that it will work. True enough, when the fridge arrived, it blended in quite well with the grey colour scheme of the kitchen. His advice was really invaluable.
Qanvast: It’s great that Buzz could advise you on furniture purchases.
I: Yes. Buzz even went the extra mile by shopping on our behalf. We initially planned to get our table from a retailer at IMM, near our place. When we consulted Buzz, he said it did not suit our theme. He suggested getting one from Comfort Design which is located at Eunos. Understanding that it was inconvenient for us to travel down, he helped to scout for the table there.
Qanvast: Were there any other times when he impressed you?
I: Yes. We did not like the design of the bomb shelter door- there’s a structure at the top which juts out. We mentioned it to Buzz in passing – we didn’t think he would be able to do anything about it – and we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that he had taken the initiative to plaster concrete to make it perfectly flushed.
Qanvast: So you would say that Buzz did a great job with the renovation?
A: Yes. His after-sales service is fantastic. If there were things to be rectified, he would get right around to it. After we moved in, we observed that there was some white paint bordering the pipes. We alerted Buzz to it and he got the painter to come down the following day to do a proper touch up.
I: Recently there was a leak in our service yard after a heavy thunderstorm. We texted Buzz about it and he said that he will send his workers down to resolve that problem. He is really very reliable.
Qanvast: Lastly, what advice do you have for homeowners looking for an interior designer?
I: Find a designer they can communicate with. Meet up a few times to determine whether he’s someone they can work with for the entire renovation duration.