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Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences

At A Glance:

  • Steven and Seok, PR freelancer and APAC director in medical industry
  • Home to: 2 adults and 2 dogs
  • Location: Tampines (Maisonette)
  • Area size: 148 sqm / 1,593 sqft
  • Renovation duration: 12 weeks
  • Cost of renovation: $100,000
  • Interior design firm: Space Factor
  • Interior designers: Eric and Dolly
Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences
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Having to discuss on renovation while you are based overseas is not an easy feat. Steven and Seok managed to find the right duo from Space Factor; transforming their old flat with a history of over 20 years into a home that reflects the pearl of the orient.

Qanvast: Does your stay in China largely influence your home design?

Seok (SK): Yes, having to sit in Shanghai for 7 years, we were really influenced by the design and culture there, and we try to inject that into our home. We really like the French window designs we saw in 新天地 ('xin tian di'; an affluent entertainment district in Shanghai) and we asked Eric if we could have a similar design for our windows. You could say our home as the mix of the French concession and other styles.

Steven (S): We also had 5 big paintings from China, and we want the paintings to go well with the design. You could say that our designs are based around the paintings.

Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences
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Qanvast: Tell us more about your home design.

S: We did some changes to the layout; we converted the kitchen into an open-concept and erected this kitchen island. This would be good when we host events. And then we swapped the dining and living room spaces to suit the flow.*

*Note: Previously the dining area faces the main door, followed by the kitchen and then the living room. Now the living room faces the entrance, followed by the kitchen and the dining room (all the way to the back of the house).

A lot of our items are shipped from our place in China – like the dining area, the décor ornaments and vases, and the pendant lamps made from vases we gotten from a rural village in China.

Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences
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Qanvast: It’s your first time doing renovation. How did you kickstart your renovation research?

S: Six months before we intended to move back, I flew back to Singapore to look for interior designers. My sister recommended Qanvast and from there I shortlisted some interior firms that caught our eye.

SK: Qanvast is a really useful portal because it gives us a good sense on what the designers in Singapore can do, and the type of budget we need to set aside. We do look at forums and interior magazines, but the ideas there were limited.

Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences
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Qanvast: How did you guys decide on Space Factor?

S: Out of the firms we shortlisted from Qanvast, we felt really comfortable with Space Factor. We were initially deciding between Space Factor and another firm but dropped the latter as his firm was a one-man show; we needed someone who is more dedicated to our project since we will be in China during the renovation process.

SK: Eric and Dolly showed us their willingness and commitment to this project. They brought us down to Hafary to look at the materials even before we have decided to go with them! They are also prompt and responsive, and Dolly offered practical ideas on day-to-day living, which being first-time homeowners, we find it useful when it comes to the design details.

We needed to move in by December, so we were looking for someone who can adhere to the timeline, and one who is experienced enough who can advise how what would go well with our furnishings. Dolly nailed down what we wanted and could advise us when it comes to choosing colours and the materials.

Renovation Journey: Eastern Influences
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Qanvast: Any hiccups along the renovation process?

SK: There were several discussions on changes to the design since what was being discussed over the design sheets look different when done up; but all in all, it was fuss-free.

Qanvast: And your advice to new homeowners?

SK: Pick someone whom you’re comfortable with.

S: Choose a good designer. Don’t just go for the budget. Meet them in person and get to know them. It’s also good to have an idea to what you want and stick to it.

SK: When it comes to choosing colours and materials, go down and take a look instead of relying on photos because it will appear different when viewed on different screens. Also, you need to conceptualise on how they would look like in natural daylight.

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