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Renovation Journey: Home To-Gather

At A Glance

  • Dexter and Jessica, late 20s, facility management and social worker
  • Area size: 113 sqm / 1,216sqft
  • Location: Kebun Baru Court
  • Cost of renovation: $62,000
  • Interior design firm: DreamCreations Interior
  • Interior designer: Ivan

With a love for hosting, Dexter and Jessica wanted their love nest to be a place where their family and friends could flock to. After being wowed by Ivan from DreamCreations, the lovebirds decided to entrust their home to him and got the dream home they wanted at the end of the day.

We sat down with the lovely couple and discover why none of the other interior designers they met could measure up to Ivan.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: How was Ivan different from the other interior designers that you met?

Dexter (D): He was the only interior designer who did 3D drawings for us even before we confirmed him, and allowed us to bring the designs home to discuss with our parents. The other designers were uncomfortable when I suggested to bring their designs home. I thought that was a differentiating factor as finding the right interior relies a lot on trust, and Ivan was quick to trust us first, before we trust him with our home design.

Jessica (J): Even though it was only the first session with him, he spent a good three hours with us, he understood our requirements and was quick to draw it out for us to visualise. Furthermore, Ivan was the only designer who told us that it was possible to have a walk-in wardrobe in our master bedroom without knocking down any of the walls, and was receptive to have a platform in the master bedroom. The other designers kept insisting that we had to hack and used another bedroom if we wanted a walk-in wardrobe, or told us the platform isn't a cost-effective idea.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: What were you looking out for in an interior designer?

J: We wanted an interior designer who could make counterproposals, solve any issues that we might have and pre-empt us of the potential issues that might arise from doing something a particular way.

I think Ivan did very well in those regards. He informed us about the consequences of doing things in a particular way and also advised us on the problems that we might encounter during our renovation. This was something which we greatly appreciated.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: Tell us about an interesting feature of your home.

D: I told Ivan that I wanted an area to store small essentials (such as mails) and to jot down notes – e.g. my grocery shopping list before I leave home. With these requirements in mind, he came up with these functional cabinets where I can store loose items, and doodle on the cabinet door with an erasable marker. He added glass panels and deliberately angled the cabinet door for easy writing - it was very thoughtful of him.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: What factors did you take into account when planning your house design?

D: My priority was on safety, as I had to consider my parents moving in, and having kids around in future. As I have a background in facility management, I am aware of the safety issues associated with using various building materials so we took care to choose materials that are child and elderly-friendly. I've also emphasised to Ivan that quality materials and workmanship are important to us, and wouldn't want him to cut corners just to meet the deadline.

J: We love having people over at our place so we knew that we needed to have the seating capacity in our home to accommodate large crowds. In addition, we wanted wide, open spaces so that everyone has space to engage in various activities like board games, watching movies or over a game of mahjong. It's so comfortable that our friends would pop by and stay over. [laughs]

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: Given your background in facility management, share with us how did you ensure that you're getting quality workmanship?

D: Our unit didn't come with a floor, so I had to make sure that the screeding was properly done without damaging the waterproofing. I had to see how they are going to do it, the number of layers, the grade of cement used, and how wide the tile grout is. I have to say their workmanship is commendable and I'm really pleased with the outcome!

Qanvast: What were some things which Ivan did that you appreciated?

D: He was very honest with us. We told him that we wanted to customise a big (and extendable) dining table for gatherings and he advised us to get it from an external supplier instead of from him because the carpentry work on his side costs more.

He was also very responsive. He would come down to his office anytime we wanted to speak to him about certain matters. He even set aside time during the weekends to meet us which I really appreciated.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: Were there any issues and how did Ivan fix them?

D: I found the plastering to be substandard so Ivan got his tiler to rectify it. After the rectification, I felt like the plastering still wasn’t up to expectation so Ivan got his tiler to return again. We appreciate Ivan’s effort in ensuring the workmanship is of good quality, although after returning thrice, the outcome wasn't what I had expected. Ivan was apologetic but there was nothing he could do.

Qanvast: Ultimately, are you satisfied with Ivan’s workmanship?

D: Yes. His workers are really good and I’m very pleased with the workmanship. In fact, we referred him to a few of our friends because of his excellent workmanship. While his cost could be slightly higher, I do see the value of engaging them, especially seeing how Ivan had done up my home.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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Qanvast: Lastly, what advice do you have for young homeowners like yourselves?

D: Know what you want and do not compromise on it even if your interior designer advises you not to do it. After all, this is your house and ultimately, you are the one who will be staying in the home so it should be designed the way you want it to be.

J: Plan ahead. Once you get the floor plan, you should start to source for an interior designer so that you can get a couple of sketches which will help you in fine-tuning the details such as the materials, colours and lighting. At the very least, you should begin to discuss with your partner about what kind of design you want as this will make it easier to shop for a designer.

BTO Kebun Baru 5-room flat
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