Renovation Journey: Elegant City Fringe Living
At a glance:
Eve, in her 20s working in the real estate industry
Home to: A young couple
Size: 47 sqm/ 505 sqf
Location: Balestier (Condo)
Cost of renovation: $25,000
Cost of furnishing: $40,000
Interior design firm: Space Define
Interior designer: Ethan
Owning your first property can be exhilarating and daunting. Being a property agent herself, Eve tells us how she enjoys getting inspiration from the different properties she has visited.
In creating her own home, Eve was excited to apply her own knowledge taken from condominium showrooms. This wasn’t possible until the interior designer, Ethan, put her thoughts into reality.
We could instantaneously pick up the chemistry as we spoke to Eve and Ethan. They struck a balance with Eve’s upbeat energy and Ethan’s down-to-earth personality.
There are many bits and pieces that reflect Eve’s sophisticated touch on home styling, with Ethan complementing her on the more practical design aspect on maximising spaces. We also asked her to spill the beans on where she got her unique home accessories from.
Qanvast: It is always great to hear that homeowners and their interior designers have a happy relationship. Tell us what is your secret recipe to a happy working relationship?
Eve (E): For us, it is easy because we had good chemistry and felt like we were friends! I was comfortable in sharing my opinions with him. It takes good communication skills such listening and understanding each other before making a decision. Ethan really took the time and pain [laughs] to explain to me what works and what doesn’t.
I felt that Ethan was very professional and experienced in his area of expertise, because he was confident in managing and executing the renovation work. This gave me a peace of mind during our renovation.
Qanvast: How did you find out about Qanvast? And why did you decide to use it?
E: I kept seeing this green logo on Facebook which got me curious and Googling. The app allows me to easily shortlist my choices for future reference and I can request for quotes rather than having to individually source and call up the interior designers. I like how the filter system offers a really nice comparison between HDB and condo homes; I used it to study how HDBs often manage to do up so much with a lower renovation budget as lower compared to condos.
Space Define was one out of the five interior design firms that was recommended by Qanvast. I met up with Ethan and decided to go with him because he could meet my requirements and budget.
Even after I am done with my renovation, I still use Qanvast to see if there are any new projects uploaded. I even recommended some of my clients undergoing renovation to check out the app because it is really useful.
Qanvast: How was your experience working with Ethan from Space Define?
E: I am thankful Ethan pointed out things that I would not have thought of. We were caught in a dilemma over the feature wall design. It turned out that we had to meet up 3 times before Ethan finally came with this finishing of using stucco wall and shimmery paint to bring out the effect.
Furthermore, Ethan went all the way out to take my budget into consideration. He made recommendations from a homeowner’s standpoint to keep within my budget. For example, we overlaid the kitchen backsplash instead of hacking away the tiles to save cost.
Qanvast: Was it difficult to nail down to a design you like?
E: It was initially difficult because I had a lot of ideas in mind! If I could have had it my way, I would use many different styles under one roof! [laughs] However, I knew that I would want my home to look timeless. So I conveyed my ideas to Ethan and trusted him. He understood my preferences and proposed a monochromatic theme which is more subtle in style. Although I needed some convincing in the initial stage, he assured to me that everything would turn out to be of my liking – elegant and classy.
Ethan: I knew her preference in wanting the home to look bright. I proposed using contrasting colours (white, grey and black) to bring out that timeless essence. I have predominately used white walls and tinted mirrors to create a larger perspective of space, and balanced it out with darker colours which bring out depth.
E: Ethan had to repaint the wall because I felt that the wall colour proposed was too dark due to the tinted mirror. Luckily, he didn’t charge me for the additional work. [laughs]
Qanvast: What were some examples of the creative elements that were added to maximise space?
E: We had space constraints given that this is a one-bedroom apartment. Other than aesthetics, there were functional issues to resolve. We needed storage space so we added a ‘secret compartment’ underneath the bed to store winter wear.
Ethan also helped with the more professional aspect of space planning. Our space is maximised with hidden features such as a kitchen island doubling up with a retractable dining/study table.
Ethan: There are also additional features for certain spaces such as the bay window. We created a bench for Eve to place her curated home and décor items. It can be easily converted into an additional seating area by shifting the sofa to accommodate a larger group of friends.
Qanvast: There are many interesting decorations in your home. Any home styling tips for homeowners who are interested in jazzing up their space?
E: I really enjoy visiting new property showrooms. That was where I picked up home styling skills by observing the way interior designers did up the place. YouTube is also the best teacher in guiding you how to style your home according to different seasons. For example, replace vintage accessories with modern décor to give it a brand new look.
Qanvast: These accessories look really unique. Where did you curate them?
E: You will not believe this, but I am quite an avid fan of online shopping. I sourced my furnishings from Wan Ling Plaza in Guangzhou. There are million kinds of home decor in the mall. The trick is to note down the measurements of your home to ensure anything you buy fits.
Ethan was very helpful in giving me advice during my home shopping. I would 'WhatsApp' him to ask if the design of products will suit the house. He shared his opinion like how the chandelier that I had initially selected was too overpowering for the overall look. I took his advice and picked a more dainty one.
I couldn’t find a suitable coffee table because they were all too big. I found this perfectly sized coffee table from Taobao that cost me S$20 (without shipping). This was really a bargain!
Qanvast: How about shopping locally? Did you buy anything from Singapore?
E: Most of my soft furnishings are from Singapore. I found the sofa through the products section on your mobile app, which was from Etch & Bolts, and the bed was from Simmons. Buying locally allows you to test or exchange it.
There were some hiccups with the sofa material, and Etch & Bolts gladly changed the upholstery for me without any extra charge. It was very much hassle-free.
Space Define's portfolio are available on our Qanvast app. Download the app to view more of their other projects and other homeowners' reviews.