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Renovation Journey: An Inviting Haven

At a Glance

  • Faizal, 37, and Claire, 36, both teachers, and their two kids, Ryan and Rebecca
  • Size: 130 sqm / 1400 sqft
  • Location: Woodlands Drive 16
  • Cost of Renovation: $65,000
  • Cost of Furnishing: $20,000
  • Interior Design Firm: The Two Big Guys
  • Interior Designer: Kelvin Chai

“A home needs to have a lot of you and just a little of the interior designer." - Faizal

Loving a good european interior, Faizal and Claire wanted a cosy Scandinivian home that will be perfect for their two little monkeys and for hosting their family who visit from abroad.

Find out why they decided to enlist the help of The Two Big Guys and how their subsequent renovation journey went.

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Qanvast: What did you like about Qanvast?

Faizal (F): Qanvast does a good job presenting all the projects, with the size of the home, cost of the renovation and what works were done. We like the service offered by Qanvast too. After submitting a quote request, a lot of designers got back to us.

Qanvast: What gave Kelvin a competitive edge over all the other designers that you met?

F: After giving all the designers our brief, we had some changes we wanted to make and Kelvin was very responsive. Though we had yet to sign a contract with him, he was very prompt and got back to us the very next day with his amended quote and designs.

He was also the most accommodating about it, and we knew that Kelvin would the easiest to work with.

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Qanvast: What was your brief to Kelvin?

F: We wanted a simple Scandinavian home that strikes a balance between being raw and clean cut, and a black and white kitchen with subway tiles reminiscent of New York. Storage was also a must as we don’t like clutter – I also have loads of records that I’ve collected, so I need a place to keep them.

Claire (C): We also asked Kelvin to come up with a spacious design for the balcony and living room for our guests to relax and chill.

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Qanvast: What were some creative designs which Kelvin contributed?

F: For our “den”, an entertainment room cum guest bedroom, he suggested that we hack part of the wall and replace it with bricks and glass. He said, "Trust me, it'll look great." And it does. During the day, it can be used as a room for us to relax and watch television. Then at night, the blinds can be rolled down so it can be converted into a bedroom.

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Qanvast: What was one challenge of working with the space in this home?

F: The main problem lay in the shape of this home – it’s quite circular as opposed to being rectangular. It’s most evident in our kitchen so Claire chose mosaic tiles to take attention away from the odd shape.

Qanvast: What do you love the most about your new home?

F: My family in it! I love the spaciousness of the home – when you walk in through the front door, you can see all the way to the balcony. I also find the design of the kitchen and the guest room very nice.

C: I absolutely love the kitchen. I’m think I’m going to do more cooking from now on [laughs].

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Qanvast: Moving forward, are there any changes or improvements that you might want to make?

F: We really like the brick wall that Kelvin helped us do. We may want to extend it through more parts of the home. Since I teach geography, I’m also thinking of incorporating an antique world map design on the brick wall.

Qanvast: Any tips for homeowners on where they can buy furniture?

F: They can consider getting their furniture from Carousell. We got the contact of a retailer through Carousell and we purchased our custom-made dining table from him.

We showed him pictures and specified the size and type of wood we preferred and he was able to build it according to our specifications. His pricing is quite affordable too – we paid one-third of what we’d have to pay outside for a table like this.

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Qanvast: Any advice for new homeowners?

F: Do your homework – especially when it comes to the costs involved. Have an idea of what you want when you meet your interior designer to expedite the discussion process.

Also, you should start looking for furniture a few months before your renovation is complete to avoid having last minute headaches.

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