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Renovation Journey: Dare To Bare

At A Glance:

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  • Desmond and Stella, 31 and 29, marketing in oil and gas and machinery industry
  • Home to: 2 adults
  • Area size: 91 sqm / 980 sqft
  • Renovation duration: 8 weeks
  • Cost of renovation: $43,000
  • Cost of furnishing and appliances: $27,000
  • Interior design firm: Free Space Intent
  • Interior designer: Jia Jia

Having a common theme in mind makes designing a home much simpler. Desmond and Stella shared a common goal in having a fuss-free home with a crisp and clean look. Meeting up with only 3 interior firms, they quickly settled down with Free Space Intent whom they knew could create a charming industrial-styled home like no other.

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Qanvast: Was the industrial-style a theme you both agreed on?

Desmond (D): Yes, we were both drawn to the theme plus we wanted a home that is easy to maintain. Other than dust, scratches and stains won’t be visible with this interior.

We went with cement screeding for the rooms, kitchen and toilet. This alone cost us around $7,000.

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Qanvast: Why did you decide to go with an open kitchen concept?

D: The original kitchen layout looks really small, with two rows of side cabinets against the wall. As we cook often, we wanted a bigger area to move around. That was why we decided on an open concept for the kitchen. This also makes the apartment look brighter and more spacious.

We installed an induction stove so that we could do away with the hood for the stove. And if we need to do frying, there’s always the air-fryer.

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Qanvast: How did you discover Free Space Intent?

Stella (S): We browsed through the Qanvast app and filtered by style; Free Space Intent’s portfolio caught our eye. We like their designs and after seeing their good reviews, we headed down to their office.

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Qanvast: Why did you pick Free Space Intent out of the rest?

S: Among the firms we shortlisted, Free Space Intent’s portfolio was the more promising one. We like their professionalism; they are not pushy and they don’t dangle perks as a bait to get more customers unlike other firms. We were comfortable with them and after the second meeting, we agreed on the quote and decided to sign with them.

D: It’s important for the designer to listen to what we have in mind. We came across experienced designers who insisted that we go with their advice instead of listening to our ideas. For Free Space Intent, the relationship was very pleasant as they are accommodative to our ideas while suggesting new ones.

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Qanvast: How was working with Jia Jia like?

S: She was easy to work with and would advise us on what we can or cannot do. She updated us on the renovation progress frequently and replied our questions promptly.

There were one or two minor issues that caused some delay but we thought it was still acceptable as it involved something that she had not done before. She was also very quick in rectifying these issues. We believe that such issues will be ironed out as she gains more experience.

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Qanvast: Was it easy to find furnishings and décor to go with the theme?

S: In my opinion, Castlery offers a good range of sofas and bedframes; it’s better than IKEA in this regard. However, we still purchased the smaller items from IKEA.

We got most of our items from Taobao – all of our lightings, our dining stools, our Grohe shower and almost everything in the dressing room such as the pipe rack, drawer chests, vanity table, rug and standing mirror.

As I was in charge of filling up the house, I thought it’s easier to get most of the items ‘under one roof’ instead of having to shop around. (laughs) The downside is that when you purchase items from Taobao, you need to manage your expectations and don’t place too much stock in the quality.

D: We also bought items from Lazada’s 11x11 sale – like our TV.

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Qanvast: That must be a massive shipment from Taobao! Is there a significant saving?

S: Definitely, since lightings sold in Singapore are not cheap. We also had to pay a bit more for the storage fee.

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Qanvast: Lastly, any advice for new homeowners?

D: Have some flexibility in your budget for unexpected changes in the design. For us, we set a buffer of $10,000. You need to understand what you are spending on and what you are getting.

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Looking for an interior designer is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. If you are looking to design your home soon, we can match you for free with 5 interior firms based on your requirements and budget. Request for quote here and we will followup with you shortly.

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