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Renovation Journey: Modern Balinese Sanctuary

At a Glance

• Esmond and his wife, Yi Xian, both in the healthcare industry
• Size: 103 square metres
• Location: Lake Life
• Cost of Renovation: $50,000
• Cost of Furnishing: $30,000 - $40,000
• Interior Design Firm: The Orange Cube
• Interior Designer: Chris

After meeting up with 22 interior designers and 7 contractors, Esmond and Yi Xian were certain that Chris from The Orange Cube was the best person to get the job done. Going through great lengths to achieve the luxe, Balinese resort style they loved, we sat down for a chat with the pair as they reveal how Chris managed to execute this transformation perfectly (and more).

Condo Renovation - Lake Life
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Qanvast: What were you looking out for when shopping for an interior designer?

Esmond (E): Initially, our main focus was the price but after a while, we realised that it’s more important to find a designer who would get the job done and who would not give us a renovation nightmare.

Yi Xian (Y): We already had a good idea of what we wanted and we needed someone who could execute it as perfectly as possible.

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Qanvast: Tell us about your search for an interior designer and what made you settle on Chris?

E: We spoke to a lot of interior designers; I think we met 22 interior designers and 7 contractors in total! We chose Chris because she impressed us the most. Some of the designers – including Chris – brought us to see their finished projects and we felt like the workmanship was most well done in Chris’ finished project. Some of the other firms showed us finished carpentry that was not up to our expectations.

Qanvast: What else about Chris impressed you?

Y: We liked that Chris had a confident aura about her. During our first meeting with her, we told her that we are very particular about what we want and she said “I like the challenge”. From this, we could tell that we could trust her with getting the job done.

E: Among all the designers, we thought that she was the one who could do the best job designing of our home.

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Qanvast: We can tell that you really did your research on interior designers/contractors. Did you also do much research on interior styles?

E: Yes. We spent about a year researching the various renovation materials to know more about the various laminates, countertops and tiles. We also visited friends' houses to take a look at the materials and workmanship.

Y: All these months of research prepped us with the knowledge of what type of wood laminates we wanted and the finishing that they are supposed to have. Oh, and our research also led us to come across Chris’ work – we saw one of her finished projects on a Qanvast article which looked similar to what we envisioned, and we were convinced that she could pull off our project as well.

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Qanvast: What were some requirements you had for your home?

E: We needed to have a lot of storage as we do not have a storeroom. We needed our home to be pet-friendly because we have cats and a dog. Theme-wise, we decided on a Balinese design.

Qanvast: Your feature wall is gorgeous! Tell us more about it.

E: Our feature wall is made of coconut husks. We fell in love with the coconut husk tiles while on a trip, and asked Chris if she could incorporate the tiles into our feature wall. Though it took a chunk out of our budget, we loved the final result – and you won’t find it anywhere else!

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Qanvast: We also love the design of the sliding lattice doors! Tell us about them.

E: We saw the black lattice panels while looking for the coconut husk tiles and wanted to have them in our home although they are usually used outdoors. Hence, we sought Chris’ help to incorporate these black lattice panels into the sliding door for the kitchen and she was able to get her carpenter to make the door for us.

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Y: Initially we wanted the lattice panels to be enclosed by sandwiching them between two class panels. However, Chris advised us that it would be nicer if one side was left exposed because there would be more texture and dimension to the design. We decided to go with her suggestion and we love that the design is so unique!.

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Qanvast: How was it like working with Chris?

Y: It was great working with her. Since we were very focused on we wanted, she built on our vision with her expertise and experience. She also advised us on the feasibility of our ideas.

E: We liked that she listens to us. At the same time, she will propose alternative ideas to us if she feels that it’s better in terms of functionality and design.

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Qanvast: What were some areas where you could see Chris’ expertise?

Y: She paid attention to the finer details which would escape the notice of laymen. For example, she proposed hiding the switches inside the cupboards. She took notice of the details that would tie the design elements together to give the overall home a neater and more refined look.

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Qanvast: What was one of the things which you liked about working with Chris?

E: We liked that she was not calculative, and no expense was spared on her part to help us to achieve the look that we wanted for our home.

Y: There were also a few small hiccups and Chris would always fix them in a snap without worrying about the costs on her side.

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Qanvast: Could you tell us more about these hiccups and how Chris rectified them?

Y: We had a problem with our oven. It short circuited the first time we used it and her electrician came that weekend itself to help us to fix the issue.

E: There was also an issue with the ceiling fan in our study room. Even though it wasn’t in her job scope, Chris contacted her electrician to come and dismantle the fan for us so that we could get it replaced. After we brought it back, her electrician made another trip down to install the fan for us. In both these instances, Chris was very prompt and she did not charge us for her services which we greatly appreciated.

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Qanvast: How did you get your home to have that authentic Balinese feel?

Y: We researched online and even made a trip down to Bali for inspiration. While in Bali, we bought decorations that would help bring out our theme better. For instance, our wood carvings and paintings are from Bali. We got the paintings framed in Singapore.

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