Renovation Journey: Modern Tropical On The Rise
At A Glance:
- The homeowners: Sreevidhya Pattanchevy and Manoj Sugathan, both in their 40s, and working in IT
- Home to: 2 adults, 2 kids and their domestic helper
- Size: 2,750 sqf (built-up)
- Location: Corporation Rise
- Cost of renovation: $70,000
- Cost of furnishing and appliances: $20,000
- Interior design firm: Zara@ISOTeam
- Interior designer: Gabriel
Sreevidhya Pattanchevy, 41, and her husband Manoj Sugathan, 46, finally got the chance to dream big when they scooped up a five-bedroom terrace house in Jurong West early this year. There were a few sticking points in the 17-year-old inter-terrace though: its lack of natural light, badly thought-out layout, and unusable kitchen. It needed an overhaul.
Sree pictured a cosy and airy living space that’s bright enough for her kids to read anywhere in the day. Manoj envisioned something white and rustic — a style he deems as “modern tropical”. Scouring through the Qanvast website led Manoj to interior design firm Zara@ISOTeam, whose “atypical” design (from the rest of the interior designers and contractors they’d met) won the couple over.
The result: an open dining, living room concept with white walls partnering with warm wood, minimal colour, and a glossy white laminate- and mirror-clad cabinets at the entry way to set the tone for the rest of the house.
Sreevidya (S): All the interior designers we met proposed only a TV feature cabinet. Only Gabriel from Zara@ISOTeam created near-invisible cabinets that were not only good focal points, but would accommodate my religious heirlooms. His design also offered us the bright, open layout that we wanted, just by having a seamless boundary between the living and dining room made it so much more spacious.
S: We do lots of heavy cooking around the clock, so I requested that the design had to make cleaning easy. Gabriel came up with a clean and contemporary concept for the kitchen, with fully-enclosed glossy white cabinets to bounce light off in the dim, enclosed kitchen space.
S: Initially, Manoj and I had requested for a divider or partition to separate the living and dining areas. But Gabriel advised us against it, saying it would look too cluttered. Luckily, we listened to him. Having a combined living and dining room really maximises the space. It’s definitely my favourite spot because it’s where we bond as a family over a meal or TV show. My kids love that this home feels so big, and that they have their own pink and blue bedrooms.
S: Time was a critical factor for us. We had about six weeks left to the India’s Harvest Season, where there would be no auspicious dates for us to officially move in. But Gabriel understood what it all meant to us and made sure there were no delays. Even though there were some plumbing issues that had to be resolved at the last minute, he still managed to finish the renovation within the timeframe that we gave him.
S: Gabriel was extremely patient with us, and would visit us in the evenings after we came back from work, even though his office is quite far away. Manoj and I were walking him to his car after one of our usual evening meeting, and were surprised to see that his friend was waiting for him this whole time. He didn’t seem like he was in a rush at all – I mean, he could have asked her to come into the house but he didn’t want to impose on us.
Renovation Made Easy
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