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Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment

February 17, 2016
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Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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At a Glance

  • Zheng Han and June, in their early 30s, event management and banking industy
  • Size: 135 sqm / 1453 sqft
  • Location: Jurong West (HDB masionette)
  • Cost of renovation: $85,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $35,000
  • Interior Firm: Third Avenue Studio
  • Interior Designer: Lawrence

Stepping into this contemporary and chic apartment is almost like being instantly transported into one of those exclusive and extremely desirable residences that dot Fifth Avenue in New York City. With well-concealed storage spaces, nothing is out of place and space is maximised in this apartment. Learn the tricks of the trade from friendly homeowners, June and Zheng Han as they share with us their renovation journey.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast: Thanks for having us at your home! How did you know about Qanvast, and what draws you to using our platform?

Zheng Han (ZH): A friend posted an article on renovation on Facebook, which linked us to the Qanvast website, and we downloaded the app upon visiting the site.

We have visited many overseas-based renovation sites. Although we liked their designs, there was often the issue of space constraints or renovation limitations. On the other hand, Qanvast showcased many localised designs that we could achieve. If we saw something that we liked or was interesting, we get the assurance that someone has done it before. This was the main draw that attracted us to Qanvast.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast was the start of our renovation journey even before we bought the house! [laughs] We had a rough idea on what we where looking out for in terms of floor plan configuration and design ideas.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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(Original floor plan)

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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(Edited floor plan. Instead of accessing common toilet through the kitchen, a walkway was create to provide access to the common toilet and service yard from the living room. Study room was hacked to combine it into the kitchen area. The second bedroom was also converted into a walk-in wardrobe which is an extension of the bedroom.)

Qanvast: How has Qanvast helped you with your renovation journey?

ZH: I sent in the complimentary quote request to Qanvast via the app and shortly after, I have a list of recommended designers, which was really helpful and hassle-free.

We have heard many horror stories before this, and I told my wife, given that these interior firms are being recommended by Qanvast, they should have a better reputation. [laughs] We got in touch with these shortlisted companies quickly.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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June (J): We contacted someone else before receiving Qanvast’s recommendations, but it didn’t turn out well because it wasn’t a boutique firm. Our first meeting with them was really long in going through our design preferences. When they came back with the proposal, he gave us ideas that we told him that we did not want like the brick feature wall. It felt like a copy-and-paste design from their other renovation portfolio. And this happened quite a few times.

Qanvast: We love the interior of your home! Where did you get these design ideas from?

J: We looked at a lot of photos from magazine, and it helped that Qanvast had such a wide array of photos. I remember looking at a Jurong West masionette, and I liked their kitchen design, so I told my husband that I wanted something like that… and from there, it was up to our interior designer to integrate the design elements.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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As second-time homeowners, we knew what we wanted in this house, like a full kitchen with sufficient storage space and a service yard. While we want our house to look nice, it has to be very functional, especially after having a kid at home. We were planning to stay here for quite a while, so it was important to have a place that worked in a long run.

ZH: We told ourselves that we wanted a house that we could take pictures worthy of appearing in a magazine, but without being pretentious. [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast: Tell us how you select your interior designer.

ZH: I personally eliminated a number of interior designers based solely on the first meeting via email or phone through the vibe I get talking to them. I didn’t want to run the risk of working with people who couldn’t understand my ideas. Renovation is a very time-consuming project, so the least we could do was to eliminate the unnecessary time spent on meeting people we didn’t have chemistry with.

Lawrence was understanding, and he helped us to achieve what we wanted, based on all the logistics and spatial planning.

J: Qanvast suggested 5 interior design firms which was very helpful, so we didn't have to search through a million interior firms.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast: Why did you ultimately choose to work with Lawrence from Third Avenue?

ZH: Lawrence impressed us at the initial meeting, and we were both slightly taken aback that we both share the same design tastes. Lawrence commented that it was rare to meet a client that has the same tastes as him.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast: What was your design concept for this apartment?

ZH: Modern and contemporary. We told Lawrence we wanted a design clutter-free and functional. Lawrence was very focused on the design and we appreciate when he shared with us his professional opinions. There were many instances where some couples were so bent on their ideas and it ended up in a mish-mash of different interior design styles.

Lawrence helped us to stay on track to whenever we attempt to stray from the initial design concept.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Qanvast: How was working with Lawrence like?

ZH: In terms of design, it was aligned with Lawrence's design tastes and so he could understand what we wanted. His enthusiasm towards making the design concept come to life and his attitude helped us to gain confidence in his works.

Qanvast: Do you have any tips for prospective homeowners?

ZH: Plan ahead, know what you like, and work with someone whom you trust. You have to be very sure of what you want, and be in sync with your interior designer. It has to be a home that you want to go back to.

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Have a clear budget. During the renovation process, there are instances where we had to adjust our budget. We had to discuss as a couple and with Lawrence to see if it's worth to proceed or forgo it. It certainly helps when Lawrence advised us on the downsides and the benefits and we really appreciate it. I would say that even if you have a budget in mind, you have to expect a 5% to 10% increase in your overall spending.

J: You need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in your place, and have an open conversation with your interior designer who you can trust. At the end of the day, we spent our money quite happily, and even though it wasn't a small sum, I feel that it was worth it! [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Manhattan Chic Apartment
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Are you itching to kick start your renovation journey, and materialise living in your reinvigorating dream home? Qanvast is here to lend you a helping hand! It’s time for you to be the the author of your own renovation success story. Simply drop us a complimentary quote request, and we will get back to you shortly. Download our free app, available on the App Store and Google Play today and browse home ideas on-the-go!

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