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Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

May 31, 2017

At A Glance

  • Hassan and Ferhana, mid 40s, musician and bid manager
  • Home to 2 adults and 2 kids
  • Size: 137 sqm / 1,475 sqft
  • Location: Pasir Ris Street 21
  • Cost of renovation: $102,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $10,000
  • Interior design firm: Free Space Intent
  • Interior designer: Leon
Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

After their recent trip to Fiji, Hassan and Ferhana were very certain that they wanted their home to have a beach vibe so that they could feel like they were on vacation all the time.

We sat down for a chat with the globetrotters and get them to spill about their favourite furniture haunts and much more.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: Tell us about the inspiration behind your home.

Ferhana (F): I wanted my home to be designed in such a way that I feel like I’m overseas. I especially love beach houses and although I can’t afford one, I can incorporate aspects of beach living into my HDB apartment. Overall, I wanted my home to have a laid-back, hippie feel.

I also love bright colours which is why I have a pink door. I drew inspiration from homes in the Caribbean region and the Brighton Beach Boxes in Melbourne where the whole stretch of houses are full of colours.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: What modifications did you make to the apartment to match your theme?

F: We wanted a kind of terrace at the entrance of our home so we hacked the wall of the study room and replaced it with a set of folding windows on top of a bench cum shoe cabinet.

Qanvast: How did you find out about Free Space Intent?

F: We actually discovered them by chance. Qanvast had shortlisted five interior designers for me and I accidentally confused one of the firms with Free Space Intent as both companies have the word ‘space’ in their names.

After contacting Free Space Intent, I realised that they were not the firm that I had emailed previously. However, since I had already spoken to them, I decided to set up a meeting with them.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: That’s an interesting story. So why did you eventually settle on Free Space Intent?

F: All of the interior designers from the six firms that I met were very nice and accommodating. However, Leon was the one who value-added the most to my ideas.

I also liked his professionalism. Prior to our first meetup, I had emailed him my floor plan and during the meeting, he was able to show me some pictures and videos of designs that matched what I wanted. Finally, what set him apart from the competition was his willingness to help me source for materials.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: Were you all excited when you found out that your home is going to be featured on TV?

Hassan (H): We didn’t know what to expect because this was our first time working with a TV crew. We were also concerned about whether our participation in the TV programme meant that our timeline had to be adjusted to suit the filming schedule.

F: We shared our concerns with Leon and he assured us that we could stick to the timeline that we had in mind. In the end, everything turned out well although it was quite tiring for us to juggle our work schedules and the filming schedule.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody
Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: Can you share with us about some ideas that you incorporated for your children?

F: My children love to play on the swings at the playground so I decided to install one at home. It’s detachable so we can put it away when there are guests around.

H: We also have a tepee for them to play in and we sometimes have storytelling sessions there.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: We love the fish scale tiles in your master bathroom!

F: I really love them too! I wanted something special for my bathroom and Leon helped me to source for these Moroccan fish scale tiles. Just this additional strip of tiles cost an additional $800 so I decided to focus the tiles at that area and use regular tiles for the rest of the bathroom.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: How was it like working with Leon?

F: We had synergy. We fed off each other’s ideas when coming up with the design for my home. I would often check with him before purchasing my furniture so that he could advise me on the measurements that I should take into account. It definitely helped me and my husband to have someone who could guide us during the renovation journey.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: Tell us about one of your requirements that Leon helped to fulfill.

F: I told Leon that I did not want a TV feature wall and I wanted the wires to be concealed. After some contemplation, he suggested constructing a false wall on which the TV could be mounted. He also designed the marble border for the entertainment cupboard below to look like a fireplace so that it matches the resort style design.

Qanvast: Where did you get your furniture or furnishings from?

F: Besides the usual suspects like IKEA and Crate and Barrel, I sourced some of my furniture from the Tan Boon Liat building which has good shops such as Pomelo Home and Make Room.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

A place I particularly adore is Second Charm. They have a lot of vintage pieces that have a unique look. We even asked them to help us restore a table that we bought from the damaged section at Crate and Barrel and they did a wonderful job of it at just $50.

Qanvast: There are quite a number of artistic pieces around your home.

F: Yes, my husband and I believe in supporting local artistic talent. It also turns out that we have a few family members and friends who are creatively inclined. For example, my brother did this batik facial painting while a few of my girlfriends did some crochet decorations for my home.

Renovation Journey: Bohemian Rhapsody

Qanvast: Tell us about some interesting furniture pieces in your home.

F: I bought the bamboo dining chairs from a seller on Carousell for just $120 for six of them. They came in the original colour so I sent them to a shop to get spray painted with white paint. I also had new seat cushion covers made for them at an upholstery shop.

Qanvast: What do you love best about your new home?

F: I love how it speaks volumes about our personalities. I also love that it is a space where my children can enjoy the process of growing up.

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