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Renovation Journey: Fewer Rooms for More Room

At A Glance

  • CK and Charissa, both in advertising and marketing industry, in their late 20s
  • Home to 2 adults and a dog
  • Location: Tampines Avenue 8
  • Cost of renovation: $60,000
  • Cost of furnishing and appliances: $30,000
  • Interior Design Firm: Prozfile
  • Interior Designer: Alvin
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A common gripe that most homeowners have is with the standard HDB floor plan. Not wanting to be constrained by their typical HDB layout, CK and Charissa sought their designer’s help to play around with the floor plan to give them a unique home space.

We sit down with the lovebirds and get them to share more about their vision for their home.

Qanvast: What were some things that the both of you did before you embarked on your search for an interior designer?

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Charissa (C): Prior to searching for an interior designer, the both of us spent time to put together a mood board where we listed down what we wanted for our home.

This really helped us to be more focused in our research of interior design firms since we could shortlist interior designers based on whether their portfolio contains projects which are done up in the style that we were looking for.

Qanvast: So you had an idea of what you wanted for your home?

CK: Yes, we knew that we definitely did not want an industrial themed home even though we wanted to use cement screed around the home. Rather, we wanted a home that experiments with architectural forms. We also wanted black finishings around the home as much as possible.

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Qanvast: Tell us about your quest to find the right interior designer.

C: The first meeting that we had with the ten to fifteen interior designers that we met showed which designers understood our aesthetic and which of them didn’t. We gave our brief to all the designers and some of them came back with industrial themed designs even though that was not what we wanted.

We could also sense that some of the designers were not comfortable with what we wanted so that was another red flag.

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Qanvast: What made Alvin from Prozfile the right man for the job?

C: As compared to the rest of the designers who only discussed with us about the design aspect of our home, Alvin went one step further by advising us on what could and could not be done in a HDB home. This showed us that he has a good understanding of the renovation process and that we could rely on him for technical expertise.

CK: Alvin also understood our design concept and was able to recommend some architects that we could refer to. Overall, we also had chemistry with him and felt that he could trust him to execute what we wanted him to do.

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Qanvast: How did Alvin plan your home design to suit your lifestyle?

CK: I wanted a room where I could play my music while she wanted space to do her yoga and painting. However, we did not really want to have separate enclosed rooms for these purposes. After sharing our concerns with Alvin, he came up with the open space design for our living area which let us have sufficient space to indulge in our hobbies.

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Qanvast: Were you both focused on good quality and designs or working with a tight budget?

C: We were more design-centric. We were willing to stretch our budget to achieve the look that we wanted.

CK: For example, we paid $200 for each piece of the black Fenix laminate for the kitchen countertop because it is more resistant to stains. Any scratches on this laminate can even be (miraculously) ironed away. If we went with the standard type of laminate, it would cost us about $50 to $60 for each piece but that would mean that we would have to spend more time and effort to maintain it.

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Qanvast: What was one instance where Alvin helped you to sort out a dilemma?

CK: I had trouble deciding if I wanted a dining table or a bar top counter and Alvin gave me practical advice based on his understanding of the space in our home. He said that a bar top counter would limit the walking space in our kitchen because our kitchen is quite small so it would be better to go for a dining table.

Qanvast: How did Alvin help you during the furnishing selection process?

C: He accompanied us on our shopping trips to purchase items like the furniture and the lighting. We were especially happy with his lighting recommendation because the shop that he brought us to – Verde Light – had the right kind of lighting which could create the ambience that we wanted in our home. Alvin was also able to advise us on the number of lights that we required.

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Qanvast: Your bedroom is gorgeous. Tell us more about it.

CK: We wanted a platform bed and a glass encased wardrobe and Alvin was able to execute this idea so perfectly that it feels that our bedroom is our own private cave. At the same time, we still have the feeling of openness because of the open wardrobe.

The design of our bedroom also shows Alvin’s attention to detail. We were worried that there might be a lack of space if we went with this idea but Alvin came up with smart designs like the drawers from underneath the bed which open up into the wardrobe area. His designs were unique and helped us to maximise space.

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Qanvast: Would you recommend Alvin to other homeowners?

C: He’s someone we would definitely recommend wholeheartedly. His design for our home really exceeded my expectations and overall, I was very pleased.

CK: His design ideas, responsibility as an interior designer and the quality of his carpentry were really top notch. His project management was also on point.

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