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Renovation Journey: Modern Peranakan Flair

January 17, 2018
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At A Glance

  • Lawrence and Louisa, 30s, Marketing and Ops
  • Area size: 110 sqm / 1,184 sqft
  • Location: Bukit Panjang Ring Road
  • Cost of renovation: $50,000
  • Cost of furnishing and appliances: $10,000
  • Interior design firm: Livinz Synthesis
  • Interior designer: Isaac

Although they work in the interior design line themselves, homeowners Lawrence and Louisa did not want to manage their own renovation because of all the fuss involved and sought out Isaac from Livinz Synthesis to help them with the project management.

We sit down with the practical couple and find out what they think about Isaac’s design and project management skills.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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Qanvast: Where did you get your inspiration from?

Lawrence (LA): Mostly Pinterest.

Louisa (L): We also looked at the Qanvast website to see how other Singaporean homes were designed.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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Qanvast: What made you choose Issac from Livinz Synthesis?

L: We met two interior design firms out of the three that we shortlisted and we picked Isaac because we felt that his designs were quite nice.

LA: In addition, Isaac’s quote was half the price of the other interior design’s firm quote. As we are in the interior design line ourselves, we knew that the other interior design firm’s quote was overinflated. Furthermore, it definitely helps that Isaac’s office is at Jurong East which was near our workplaces at the time of the renovation.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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In the living room: Sofa and end-tables from IKEA, chalkboard from Taobao.

Qanvast: Since you’re in the interior design line, did you think of handling the renovation on your own?

L: Not really. It’s quite taxing to project manage as you have to continually supervise the workers.

LA: Also, if there’s anything wrong, we would have to settle everything by ourselves which can get quite tricky when it comes to things like warranties. Hence, we felt that it’s not worth saving on the few thousand dollars to self-manage our renovation.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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In the dining area: Dining table from Castlery.

Qanvast: What was the theme you had in mind when designing your home?

L: On a whole, we wanted a home with grey tones and wood elements. For our master bedroom toilet, we wanted it to have a more luxurious feel so we knew we wanted a cove light at the back of the cabinet.

We also wanted a big open space for the living room so that we can have our friends pop by. That's one of the reasons why I chose this flat - its spacious living room layout.

Qanvast: How did Isaac help you to refine your design idea for the home?

L: We told him the theme we wanted and showed him some mood images and based on that, he proposed laminates and tiles which came together very nicely. He was also the one who proposed the barn door which was something that we both really like. He really has an eye for design.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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In the kitchen: Backsplash tiles from Soon Bee Huat, kitchen countertop from Kompacplus, stove and hob from Rinnai, refrigerator and microwave from Samsung.

Qanvast: What was the most fun part about renovating your home?

L: The best part is coming here every week to check on the house because that’s when we start to see everything coming into place!

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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In the bedroom: Mattress from Sealy.

Qanvast: Are there any areas of improvement for Isaac?

LA: Yes, we feel that his project management skills can improve. As we are in the commercial line, we’re very used to having a timeline where we have a clear idea about when a particular renovation work is scheduled to take place.

However, Isaac didn’t really have such a structured timeline. In that sense, he could have done better pre-planning so that he would be able to give us timely updates which would leave us with sufficient time to shop for things like the lightings and toilet fittings.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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Qanvast: On hindsight, is there anything that you overlooked during your home renovation?

L: We only did cabinets in the kitchen because it didn’t occur to us that we needed so much storage space. However, after moving in, we realised that there were a lot more things we should have provided for and that it would have been good if we had did up storage cabinets in the room.

HDB Renovation at Bukit Panjang Ring Road
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In the bathroom: Sanitaryware from American Standard, bathroom tiles from Soon Bee Huat.

Qanvast: What are some key takeaways in your renovation journey?

LA: One key lesson is to adjust your expectations. When handling commercial renovation projects, we had to adhere to a strict deadline and proper documentation was required - like signing off on the renovation schedule, and even the type of materials used, unlike residential projects where the designer and homeowners communicate through Whatsapp. The communication process is less structured, and it's easy to overlook minute design details.


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