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Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

October 28, 2015

At a glance:

  • Home to: Firdaus and Hisna, in their early 30's, civil servant and preschool teacher
  • Size: 92sqm / 990sqft
  • Location: Punggol
  • Cost of Renovation: $33,000
  • Cost of Furnishing: $18,000
  • Interior Design Firm: Aart Boxx Interior
  • Interior Designer: Ivan
Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

If there ever was a couple totally in sync with what they imagined their dream house to be, it would be Firdaus and Hisna. With their hearts set on the industrial theme, they did extensive research and worked tirelessly with Ivan from Aart Boxx Interiors to put together a distinct home that they are proud to welcome guests to. We sat down with the three of them to learn about their quest for the modern industrial house.

Qanvast: How did you find out about Qanvast, and did it help your renovation journey in any way?

Firdaus (F): When I was searching for design inspiration on Google Images, it recommended the app so I downloaded it. I showed it to my wife who also started using it, and I would use the pin-board function to save photos and show it to my wife. I found Qanvast useful because the houses featured were mostly local BTOs or flats, which made it relatable. I also collected a list of IDs that I was interested in from Qanvast.

Hisna (H): It gave us an idea of whether certain ideas were feasible. When you look at foreign interior design platforms, their ideas may not be feasible in local homes.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: What made you decide to work with Ivan from Aart Boxx?

H: When we sat down for a chat with the ID and the ideas just kept flowing, the feeling that we got from Aart Boxx was positive. We felt like we could just share our ideas with Ivan and he would understand where we were coming from. He also contributed new ideas which we liked, and it felt like we clicked and had good chemistry.

Visiting Ivan’s showroom cum office also helped us to decide to work with him. The moment we entered his office, we knew that it had what we wanted. Since the design that we were going for was reflected in his workspace, it assured us that he understood our concept well.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: What were some qualities Ivan displayed that made you choose him over other interior designers?

H: Ivan respected our budget and tried to work within it. The other IDs that we met failed to do so. One even went $10,000 over budget without meeting our requirements at all. The fact that Ivan respected our budget and was able to contribute great ideas was something that we wanted in an ID. Our ideal ID should not view being constrained by a budget as a setback.

F: Keeping within the budget is also very important to me. We were quite strict in not wanting to spend beyond a certain amount. Ivan was able to work within our budget and give us what we wanted in our house. He also suggested alternatives in situations where he couldn't give us what we wanted.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: Why did you choose the industrial theme for your house?

H: I’ve liked it for the longest time. I like the cold, lonely feeling of it. I'm not a sad person but I just like the atmosphere of it. [laughs] To me, after I get home from a hard day’s work, this is what my home should feel like. I feel like it provides me with serenity.

F: For me, it's the slow influence of others that affected my view towards the industrial theme. My sister was an ID and she exposed me to industrial ideas for my house. I like that it doesn’t look common, as I prefer to keep things different. It also looks macho and raw so it appeals to me. [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: Why did you go for an open-concept kitchen and have an island in it?

H: I wanted to have an open environment as our house has limited space. Tearing down the walls helped to open up the space. I also wanted more kitchen space because we envisioned having friends over, and I envision the day that I become a good cook. [laughs] The island has been serving us well so far. We opened our house to guests on Hari Raya and that island served as a place for people to stand around, and have a chat or a drink, so it worked refreshingly well for us.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: What else did you enjoy about working with Ivan?

H: I like the fact that he is easygoing. We have the kind of relationship where we can joke around with each other. He is open to ideas, responsive, and pays attention to details.

F: He is also patient because sometimes we have difficulty expressing what we want, or can’t even pinpoint what is lacking, so he helped us with that.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: Can you share with us some of Ivan’s contributions that you found helpful?

F: A good example would be our walk-in wardrobe. Ivan suggested creating an entryway opposite the master bathroom so that we could simply walk right through. This idea helped us to save quite a sum of money.

H: It’s the little things like that that you need an interior designer to help you with, because sometimes you may have the ideas but lack the knowledge on whether it is practical, or too costly to implement. Ivan provided a lot of support when it came to this.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: The furnishings match extremely well. How did you pick furniture that matched the theme?

H: My husband did a lot of research so he gets the credit for it. However, I would also say that if you really want something, you need to conduct deeper research before buying it.

F: Before we bought anything, we would send a picture to Ivan for his opinion. If he gave the green-light, then we would get it.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: Do you have any tips on working together as husband and wife in this renovation journey?

H: Having patience is important, as I can be quite adamant with my ideas.

F: For the most part, she has better taste. [laughs] My ideas came directly from magazines but she would filter these ideas as she had the overall idea of how the house would look. I left most of the decorating decisions to her, and it also helped that we divided the living space between us. I made the decisions for the living room; the rest of the house was hers. I told her that I wanted to make decisions for the living room because I spend a lot of time there playing games.

H: In terms of choosing the furniture, we were a little divided. But thankfully we were on the same page in terms of our home’s concept.

Designer Thoughts:

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

(Designer Ivan, with Hisna)

Qanvast: How was it working with Firdaus and Hisna? Did you have any disagreements?

Ivan (I): They are a very trendy and modern couple who wanted to go very industrial. We didn’t approve of their decision to have the cement screed floor but they went ahead with it. The reason is there are more cons than pros for it. My office has cement screed floor and if I drip coffee on it, it stains immediately as it is porous. If you drag chairs across the floor it might cause scratches, and it is also susceptible to water marks.

As for other disagreements, we looked into the main problem first. For instance, we faced some issues with the flooring but our priority was solving the problem and finding a solution. It amounted to extra costs on us but at the end of the day we wanted them to be happy.

Qanvast: What does Aart Boxx’s design style lean towards?

I: We lean towards the Scandinavian and industrial. We started off with a lot of Scandinavian designs, as it was trendy then. We love this concept and also the industrial concept, which is all about dark shades such as grey and black, and cement and laminated elements.

Renovation Journey: Industrial Reverie

Qanvast: What would you advise couples who are thinking about going industrial?

I: You have to really be a fan of the industrial look and not be half-hearted about it. It is also important that your partner is onboard with the concept.

Qanvast: Any other tips for homeowners who are looking for an ID?

I: Some couples are on the same page in terms of their tastes like Firdaus and Hisna, but not all couples are like that. Homeowners need to let IDs know what they want, and define what is acceptable or unacceptable to them. From an ID’s perspective, it is important to learn about the homeowners’ lifestyles so as to understand what they need.

Aart Boxx Interior’s portfolio is available on the Qanvast app. Download the app in the App Store and Google Play to view other projects as well as homeowners' reviews, and submit a free quotation request today.

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