At a glance
Home to: Michelle and Jega in their late 20s, research scientist and doctor
Size: 95 sqm / 1022 sqft
Location: Ang Mo Kio
Cost of renovation: $50,000
Cost of furnishing: $20,000
Interior design firm: Prozfile
Not a fan of cookie-cutter designs that can be found in many homes these days, newlyweds Michelle and Jega wanted a house that represented their different personalities. They kept themselves open to new ideas, went with the flow, and now have a cosy and unique space that they are happy to call their home.
We had a quick chat with Michelle and Jega to learn more about their renovation journey.
Qanvast: We noticed that your house plays with colours, so what was the look you guys were going for?
Michelle (M): We both like colours, so this house is what we envisioned and it came along nicely with just a touch of colours. We were going for the Scandinavian look but I’m not sure what theme our house is now. [laughs]
Qanvast: What were some of the factors you took into consideration when choosing an interior design company?
Jega (J): There were a few things that we took into consideration. Firstly, it’s important to visit the firm and speak to the interior designer that you meet. We asked them practical questions to find out if they were the junior or senior interior designers. We tried to avoid inexperienced interior designers who said things such as, “Oh, I’ll have to check with my boss and get back to you.” We didn’t want an inexperienced interior designer to handle our project.
Secondly, when interior designers propose their ideas to you, it’s important to find somebody who is in sync with your ideas. In this case, Prozfile’s ideas matched ours the best so we chose them.
M: Interior designers are the first point of contact and also the ones with the creative ideas, so choosing the right designer was more important than the company. To us, first impression matters hence it is crucial to assess the person you speak to.
Qanvast: What was it like working with Prozfile?
M: Some of the interior designers we met would try to push their cookie-cutter designs and impose their ideas on us instead of listening to what we wanted. The good thing about Prozfile was that they worked with our ideas. Prozfile tried to incorporate our ideas into their designs. It wasn’t easy to find someone creative who could work with our ideas, but they managed to do that. This house feels like a fair representation of our collective ideas. For instance, we suggested having a bay window, and the interior designer worked on improving the design.
J: I also wanted coloured walls but the interior designer told us that they wouldn’t last in the long run. [laughs]
M: In this aspect, an interior designer is very important because they can give a lot of useful and practical advice.
Qanvast: Why did you choose to have a bay window?
M: I wanted a bay window because many houses look similar these days. They either do a feature wall with bricks – we had enough of bricks and many interior designers threw the brick idea at us. [laughs]
We didn’t find it practical because the rough surface is not child-friendly. A bay window is great as it adds sitting space for guests and I can also put my bag there at the end of the day when I come home.
We also have a good view, so that’s not too bad.
Qanvast: How did you guys ensure that you didn’t go over the renovation budget?
J: We had to take out some of the items to stick to our budget. Initially, we wanted to have a yard but had to abort the idea. We had to be realistic and take out some of the ideas that we had in the beginning.
M: We realised that we could source for our materials. For example, the interior designer suggested installing the windows and floorings for us. We decided to look for other suppliers because the interior designer would have charged extra. We managed to save some money from the discount that was offered by the suppliers.
Qanvast: What is the favourite part of your house then?
J: I like the kitchen!
M: We tried to put many elements of comfort in our home, because many homeowners tend to go for nice furnishings that can get uncomfortable in the long run. We had a hard time looking for a sofa that was comfortable yet aesthetically pleasing. There are many lovely sofa designs these days but you can’t sit on them for too long without getting uncomfortable, so comfort was our priority.
Qanvast: What advice would you give to homeowners who are planning to renovate their house?
J: Look through the quotations. Go with the interior designer that you are comfortable with.
M: Avoid sacrificing comfort for aesthetics. Many people go for things that look appealing on magazine covers but when it comes to actually using them, it may not be a pleasant experience. Practicality and comfort are important factors and homeowners need to draw a balance between the two.
Qanvast: Lastly, where did you learn about Qanvast and did it help your renovation journey in any way?
M: We discovered it through Facebook.
J: We were googling for interior designers and found articles from Qanvast, so we realised that there was a Qanvast blog that showcased many interesting designs and concepts. Having a lot of pictures to look at was very helpful in gaining inspiration.
M: The cost listed for each project was also helpful because it helped us to set our budget, and we know what can be accomplished with that amount of money.