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Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

November 18, 2016

At a Glance

• Nigel, Louise and their cat

• Size: 90sqm / 968sqft

• Location: Telok Blangah Heights

• Cost of Renovation: $50,000

• Cost of Furnishing: $18,000

• Interior Design Firm: AD. I. WRKS

• Interior Designer: Teck Soon and Widya

Impressed with the creative ideas of the designers – from the ergonomic design of the kitchen to the study room that would make any booklover envious - Louise and her husband, Nigel, decided to engage Teck Soon and Widya from AD. I. WRKS.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: What vision did you have for your home?

Nigel (N): We wanted a Scandinavian home with space-saving solutions that will be easy to maintain. However, we did not want it to look like the cookie-cutter Scandinavian homes that we saw in magazines; we wanted an urban edge to it. That's why we stuck to greys and dark colours, contrasted with light coloured flooring. Our home also had to represent the both of us and be a safe space for us to unwind and relax.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: Why did you decide to engage the services of the team at AD. I. WRKS?

Louise (L): It was a toss-up between eightytwo and AD. I. WRKS as the designers that we had met from these two firms really impressed us with the effort that they put into their designs. We liked eightytwo’s minimalist concept as it featured a lot of clean lines. However, there were certain parts of their aesthetic that was outside our budget and we felt that it wouldn’t be fair to the designer, Alex, if we asked him to compromise and sacrifice some of his design ideas.

N: In the end, we went with our gut and decided to go with AD. I. WRKS because we were very comfortable talking to them.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: How did Teck Soon and Widya stand out from other interior designers that you had met?

N: The preliminary drawings and concepts which Teck Soon and Widya came up with really impressed us. Many of these interior designers came up with a fairly simple layout while Teck Soon and Widya’s concept for our bedroom and study room were very different.

Qanvast: Can you share more about the creative ideas for your bedroom and study room?

N: Unlike the other interior designers who did not want to knock down any walls, they wanted to expand the master bedroom by knocking down a wall and rebuilding it such that the bookshelf in the study room and the headboard in the master bedroom would form the replacement wall.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

This covered up the original master bedroom door so that they could put a standing dresser for Louise, which was a good idea as she likes to stand while doing her makeup.

Qanvast: Wow. It sounds like Teck Soon and Widya’s designs really left a lasting impression.

N: Yes, we were very engrossed when we saw their designs. We also liked their assertiveness when it came to sharing their design ideas with us. For instance, we originally wanted a walk-in wardrobe in our bedroom, but Teck Soon and Widya suggested that if it was space that we wanted, they could knock down the wall and use that space to turn the whole wall into a cabinet so that it will double up as a feature piece.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: What are some other interesting designs that Teck Soon and Widya came up with?

N: As a book lover, I have about a thousand books that I needed to fit in my study. I told them I wanted a mixture of open and closed shelving in an irregular pattern, and that I wanted to display my statues and toys as separate showpieces, positioned in different places.

Widya was very meticulous when coming up shelving solutions - she asked me how many statues I had, their measurements and the heights of my tallest books etc. She went through about four to five designs before we finally settled on a design where one side was geeky with the comic books, and the other side is filled up with my literature and psychology books.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: Your kitchen is very well-designed too. Tell us about it.

L: Teck Soon recommended moving the door from the side to the centre so that we could have an L-shaped kitchen that will give us a lot more space.

They gave us an ergonomic and functional design for our kitchen so we had a mixture of open and closed shelving in an irregular pattern such as in the study room, maximising the counter space over the sink since we could use that area for drying wet dishes. Widya recommended us the KompacPlus counter top as it comes in a range of textures and is completely non-permeable and heat resistant. The stone texture countertop that we picked also matched the glass backsplash and vinyl cabinets perfectly.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: What are the challenges that come with a flat in its original condition?

L: The first time that we entered our home, we were shocked when we saw that the floor was just made out of raw, rough concrete. Even though we had opted out of flooring when we signed the contract with HDB, we expected that there would at least be screed as the flooring so that was a problem which arose because we didn’t do our homework with regard to that.

N: The major problem which annoyed was the drainage system in the bathroom. As there are two drainage holes, logic dictates that water should flow to both holes. However, the water only flowed in one direction. So Teck Soon had to tile over the original tiles since HDB doesn’t allow you to replace the original tiles.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: Did you enjoy working with the team at AD. I. WRKS?

L: Yes. It was fun working with them. In the WhatsApp group that we all were in, we would sometimes cast a vote whenever we couldn’t come to a consensus on certain design ideas or furnishings to get. Usually the ladies – me and Widya – win the vote.

N: There was this time that me and Teck Soon were thinking of getting this cork table from IKEA. As it was in a dark shade, it looked very masculine and cool. However, we were outvoted by the women [laughs].

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: Were there any hiccups on your renovation journey?

N: While Widya did a fantastic job coming up with the designs, she made a mistake in her calculations and had to redraw everything and redo the calculations so as to reduce the heights of all the shelving units and other carpentry by 5mm. Thankfully, this was a problem that was encountered during the drawing stage. Widya and the team are very meticulous so I believe they are able to spot mistakes before the renovation begins.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: How did Teck Soon and Widya make your home cat-friendly?

N: They catified the home so that our cat can be comfortable within the home. The bay window area was customised based on the pictures we sent them. Our cat will be able to climb up one side, walk across the shelf the top and come down the other side. We really liked this idea as the bay window also doubles up as storage space to maximise the space in our home. We also wanted the sink in the common bathroom to be able to fit the cat’s litter box such that it looks like part of the bathroom design and is inconspicuous.

Renovation Journey: Getting Into Character

Qanvast: Any final advice for homeowners?

L: Don’t rush into any decisions. Plan ahead and be organised.

N: Yes, it’s important to be organised. Collect pictures of design ideas that you like so that you can show your interior designer exactly what you want - it'll be easier to communicate what you want as people interpret the styles differently.

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