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Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

April 13, 2016
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Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

At a Glance

  • Jiekang and Coco, early 30s
  • Home to: 2 adults
  • Size: 112 sqm / 1,205 sqft
  • Location: Segar Road (BTO)
  • Cost of renovation: $45,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $30,000
  • Interior design firm: Aart Boxx Interior
  • Interior designer: Katherine

Knowing what they wanted right from the beginning made the interior design process much simpler for Jiekang and Coco. Starting with a love for cement flooring, the couple engaged the help of Katherine from Aart Boxx Interior who was able to meet the expectations of the self-declared ‘demanding’ pair. Read on to find out more about their renovation journey and why Aart Boxx Interior’s boss, Ivan, had to make a midnight trip to their house.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: What are your criteria for selecting interior designers?

Coco (C): Price was the main criteria. Because I knew what I wanted in terms of design, I wanted to find an interior designer who could execute the design and keep to our budget.

Jiekang (JK): We met up with some interior designers recommended by our friends. However, they couldn’t give us what we wanted and the cost exceeded our budget. We then decided to search for interior designers using the Qanvast app. Since we could see the reviews of these interior designers, it definitely helped us to shortlist a few interior designers. Out of the three or four we emailed to, Aart Boxx Interior came back with a prompt response and so we decided to go down and discuss with them. The pricing they offered us was definitely very reasonable and they could execute our idea so we made the decision to engage their services.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: Tell us more about your working relationship with Katherine from Aart Boxx Interior.

JK: Katherine was the main designer whom we interacted more with. She was the one whom we met during the discussion stage and oversaw our renovation. She was a pleasure to work with.

C: I was a bit concerned initially because Katherine looked so young and I felt that she might not know exactly what I wanted. However, after discussing with her, I felt that she was quite open to our ideas and she even made suggestions on what we could install in our home. The feature wall was Katherine’s idea.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

JK: Besides Katherine, we also interacted with the boss of Aart Boxx Interior, Ivan. When there was something wrong with the cement floor, Ivan came down personally in the middle of the night to help us fix this issue. He took charge of applying the epoxy, staying till past midnight to rectify the issue. We were definitely impressed by their service and attitude!

C: Both of us are not easy clients as we look at every single detail.

JK: There was another incident with the skirting alignment in the bedroom and Katherine got the tiler to redo it. Also, there were some issues with the paintwork around the home, with small smudges here and there. Katherine got the painter to come down and repaint those areas. She definitely impressed us with her promptness. She rectified all the issues that we brought up.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

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

C: Cement flooring is something that I really like, and to me, flooring with grout makes cleaning hard. I came from Penang and my home in Penang has cement flooring too, so extra bonus points for making me feel at home. As cement flooring is associated with industrial homes, that was why we went for a design with an industrial slant, which is functional and looks timeless at the same time.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: Where did you procure your furniture from?

C: Almost all of our furniture are from Taobao [laughs]. It is very affordable to shop from Taobao and the quality of the items is not bad. My leather sofa costs about $1,100 inclusive of the shipping charges. The dining table and the bench costs less than $600. The chairs cost $50. The rocking chair costs less than $60. As for one of the lamps, can you guess how much it is? I paid $25!

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: Wow, that’s really affordable! Any other budget hacks?

JK: We decided to concentrate the renovation works on certain areas. We decided to leave the flooring on the kitchen as it is so that we could use the budget on another area of the home. For the guest room, we also did not do so much renovation in there. For the toilet of the guest room, we left it mostly untouched as we wanted to spend more on the tiles in the master bedroom.

C: Likewise, we traded off the guest room wardrobe. As nobody is staying in there, we figured that we could always install a wardrobe at a later date.

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: What should first-time homeowners keep in mind when renovating their house?

JK: The initial part which involves research is important as it will give homeowners a better sense of how realistic their budget should be. Reading articles from Qanvast and looking at the various projects on the app helps as they give a sense on how much the renovation costs for various homes. After you arrive at a ballpark amount, homeowners should be able to differentiate between the things that they should have and things they should drop.

C: Homeowners should also find out what they really want in terms of design. If they do not have a clear sense of what they want, they may regret it once the renovation is completed. Also, it is important to find the correct interior designer and do a lot of homework. Of course, looking through all the Qanvast article helps a lot too. [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Qanvast: Any last words of advice for homeowners?

C: Listen to your wife. Happy wife, happy husband. [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Keeping It Simple

Engaging the right interior designer is the key to paving a smooth renovation journey ahead. Let us help you get started on your renovation process by sending us a complimentary quote request, from which we will match you up with a few trusted interior design firms.

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