At A Glance
Ji Wen and spouse, late 20s, cycling coach and piano teacher
Home to 2 adults
Location: Punggol Waterway Terraces
Size: 92 sqm / 990 sqft
Renovation duration: 6 weeks
Cost of renovation: $32,000
Interior design firm: Voila
Interior designer: Michael
Home to an artistic couple, the young homeowners were looking for an interior designer who could design their small home and work around their tight budget.
Qanvast: How did you decide on Voila?
Ji Wen (J): Voila gotten back to me as soon as within a day. The rest of the other firms took about 1-2 weeks. I met up two designers (including Voila) and the other designer basically listened to what I want and tried to propose something, whereas for Michael, he was more proactive. He popped by my unit and after understanding my budget and ideas, he gave suggestions on how I could keep to my budget by adjusting some of the design concepts I have.
Take for example, I wanted the glass wall in the living room, but he knew we were on a tight budget and he suggested otherwise. Michael stood out for me and we were on the same wavelength, so it was easier to communicate with him. They could also work around my budget.
Qanvast: How was working with Michael like?
J: Michael is a direct person and he’s able to catch my personality. He proposed using raw wood to give the ‘resort’ feel and adding a big mirror to amplify the space, which I thought it was quite a refreshing idea. Instead of sticking to the plans, he’s always suggesting new things to be implemented, whether if it’s aesthetic or practical ideas. At times, he will have too many ideas and he himself will get confused.
He’s very prompt and professional in handling our enquiries, and I could trust him to do up the flat for us with minimal supervision.
Qanvast: Share with us a highlight of your renovation journey.
J: The whole experience was memorable and the painful part that I faced was I had to make certain decisions alone! My wife is currently studying overseas and it was a bit difficult to discuss certain matters given that we are 12 hours apart! While we ran through the overall gist of the design together, there were some matters I had to do it alone, like when I had to shop for tiles designs – there were so many colours and variations to choose from!
While Michael did offer suggestions, he would leave the ball in my court as I have to be comfortable with what I picked. I wish he could help alleviate the headache by simplifying my choices. (laughs)
Design wise, Michael and I spent quite on time on the spatial planning rather than the overall design as our master bedroom was of an odd shape. Plus we already gotten the bed before that so the room design had to revolve around our big bed.
Qanvast: How did you begin your renovation research?
J: I started browsing through magazines, but after a while I started to see the exact same pictures across and I didn’t want to waste the money in getting them. So I switched to browsing online instead. That’s when I found out about Qanvast and the renovation forum, Renotalk. At that time, I was more inclined to picking a contractor but after reading on how someone saved the money saved versus the effort in coordinating the project, I swung to the other side of the camp and picked an interior designer instead.
After I collected my keys, I decided to get quotes from Qanvast.
Qanvast: Some homeowners go for renovation packages, what is your view on this?
J: I would prefer ala-carte to packages as there may be hidden charges after you have signed, and I fear that given they are using the same materials and design, likely they would stick to the same design template.
Qanvast: From your experience, what advice you give to new homeowners?
J: Be decisive! Choosing the materials and colours was a big headache. We spent a lot of time choosing the tiles (imagine going back to Hafary 5 times!) and in the end we went with our initial choice.
Lastly, have some flexibility in your budget. It will help a lot when it comes to making decisions. Sticking to the budget can sometimes be more difficult that you think it would be.
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