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Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

June 24, 2015
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At a glance:

Home to Ann, her husband and their 2 kids
Size: 3-room walk-up apartment, 957 sqf / 88 sqm
Location: Tiong Bahru
Cost of Renovation: $30,000
Interior design firm: Space Factor

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

In the age of condos and BTOs, a walk-up apartment is a rare find in Singapore and takes us back to the good ol’ days.

One such walk-up apartment owner, Ann, wanted to create a resort-esque style in her home and prepped herself with research. Along the way, she encountered some hiccups and quickly learnt to adapt to these changes and modify her plan accordingly.

We interviewed Ann to find out about her renovation journey where we learnt more about furniture shopping in Malaysia and also got some insightful tips to prepare future homeowners.

Qanvast: How did you find out about Qanvast?

Ann (A): My friend introduced me to Qanvast. It is an easy app to browse through and I found it very useful for home inspiration. All the houses are so beautifully pictured and I kept ‘liking’ all the pictures.

Qanvast: What is the design inspiration for your home?

A: Initially I decided on a resort theme. After much research on Qanvast I settled on Scandinavian. I was attracted to details such as the brick walls and wooden furnishing that are incorporated in Scandinavian styled homes.

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: How many interior designers did you meet before Space Factor?

A: Not many actually. I wanted my renovation to be done before Chinese New Year and hence needed it to be completed within 2 months.

Most of the interior designers I met said they had not heard of the Scandinavian design which was odd! [laughs] Hence we just strike off those who didn’t know this style well.

Eventually, we were deciding between an interior designer (Space Factor) and contractor.

Qanvast: Why did you decide to choose an interior designer instead of a contractor?

A: My renovation was an urgent job, hence I didn’t wanted to have any delays.

I didn’t have the confidence to go with a contractor because they only execute part of the renovation works. Having me to source for my own plumber, electrician etc.

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: Why did you decide to choose Space Factor as your interior designer?

A: My friend Dion introduced Space Factor. She recommended them mainly because they were able to interpret her ideas which was a Victorian styled home.

During our first meeting, Space Factor had shown us their Scandinavian portfolios. They were able to grasp the theme; hence ultimately we decided to go with Space Factor.

Qanvast: What were some of the hiccups you faced during your renovation works?

A: Our renovation was delayed as we had to rectify some of the illegal renovation works done by the previous apartment owner.

Originally, we had the idea of overhauling the kitchen with a wooden counter top. In order to meet my tight timeline, we had to forgo part of the kitchen and bathroom renovation.

During our renovation works, there was oversight in certain areas. For example a hole had not been drilled for the wires. Space Factor followed up with us after the renovation where they were able to rectify some of these issues with additional charges.

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment
Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: What is your favorite part of your home?

A: Definitely the brick wall! It best brings out the Scandinavian theme. Initially we were considering a craftstone wall but it is difficult to clean and its rough texture might be dangerous for the children. Space Factor managed to create a similar white brick wall that is smoother and cheaper.

Not forgetting our multipurpose wooden bench in our dining area. My son uses it as a study desk and it also doubles up as storage space.

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment
Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: Where did you get your furniture? It matches nicely with the Scandinavian theme.

A: Initially we thought of getting a built-in dining table but our interior designer suggested we could easily find this ready made. Thankfully we did! We went to Star Living and got the table and chairs at reasonable prices.

Our favourite purchase has to be the sofa from Johor Bahru. Our interior designer recommended us to get a sofa without a wide armrest for a more modern look. It comfortably seats all four of us and we can even lie on it! [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: Homeowners have been increasingly getting their furniture from overseas sources. What is your take on this?

A: I know many people are buying their furniture from ‘taobao’ nowadays. Personally my concern is with the reliability.

I bought my lights from Malaysia and had recurring issues with them. Since the lights were bought separately, Space Factor’s electricians has advised me to get them changed in Malaysia. I would suggest people to be extra careful when making purchases in other countries.

Qanvast: We love your spacious bedroom. Can you share your inspiration behind it?

A: Our inspiration for the platform (pictured below) comes from creating a cosy corner. The previous owner had a study corner in this area resulting in a difference in flooring . Instead of re-laying the flooring and incurring costs, I thought why not put a platform here?

We will be adding furniture to make this our lounging area where we can read and relax together.

Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment
Renovation Journey: Kindred Spirit in A Walk-Up Apartment

Qanvast: Any advice for homeowner’s when choosing their interior designer?

A: When renovating, don’t be hasty. Research thoroughly when sourcing for your interior designer. It is always good to compare their prices and workmanship.
Finally, engage an interior designer you can trust to ensure they are responsible to follow-up after the renovation is completed.


Looking for an interior designer? Download the Qanvast app today! With hundreds of home professionals on board, you can browse through their portfolios and reviews. See below for more renovation journeys of homeowners who have engaged Space Factor.

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