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Renovation Journey: Monochrome Love

At A Glance

  • Wei Xiang and Christina, mid 30s, in IT and media industry
  • Home to 2 adults, 1 kid and 3 cats
  • Area size: 130 sqm / 1,400 sqft
  • Location: Glendale Park
  • Cost of renovation: $120,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $20,000
  • Interior design firm: Habit
  • Interior designer: Denise and Yan Ling

Renovation Journey: Monochrome Love
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Christina and Wei Xiang’s search for an interior designer struck gold when they met Denise from Habit who was a fellow cat lover. Understanding their love for their furry pets, Denise was able to design a space where their furry companions could safely and happily roam about.

We sit down for a chat with the cat lovers who tell us how Denise translated their requirements into aesthetic yet practical designs.

Qanvast: Tell us about your search for an interior designer.

Christina (C): Qanvast recommended us five interior designers and after meeting the second firm, which was Habit, we knew that we wanted to work with them. The biggest reason is because Denise – the interior designer from Habit – has two cats and could understand what we wanted for our cats. Other than that, their designs were aligned with what we wanted.

Habit-cat's home
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Qanvast: Can you share about your brief to Habit?

C: We wanted a home which fuses modern, Scandinavian and Japanese minimalist design. When it came to the colour scheme, we wanted to stick to an earthy MUJI kind of palette.

We also shared with Habit that our main concern was to create a living area where there could be safe interaction between us and our cats. Lastly, we told Habit that we wanted a lot of storage.

Habit-black dining room
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Qanvast: How did Denise design your living area to make it cat-friendly?

C: Having been to cat cafes, we could envision what we wanted our living area to look like and we communicated all these to Denise. We also showed her pictures of the cat shelves in our previous home and she used these as references when coming up with the design.

When designing the shelves for the cats, Denise added a lot of her own touches such as poles and scratchboards. She also created little cat holes and cat houses for our cats to cosy up in. One of our cats is quite averse to strangers so it’s nice that her design lets them have a whole level to themselves.

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Qanvast: How do you kid-proof your home?

C: The design of our home avoids any sharp angles as much as possible. We also asked Denise to design our storage such that it is flushed so there are no handles for our baby to grab.

Qanvast: What was some design-related advice which Denise gave you?

C: Initially, we wanted everything in our home to be light-coloured but Denise convinced us to incorporate some dark colours around the home so that our home does not look washed out.

Habit-kid's room
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Qanvast: Was it pleasant to work with Denise?

C: Yes. She was always responsive and efficient. Although we had some differences in opinion during the discussion stage, she was patient in explaining things to us and did her best to accede to our requests.

The best thing about her was that she would never dismiss any ideas that we had. She was also very accommodating. Sometimes ideas would occur to us after we have agreed upon something else and she would sit down with us to talk things through and even change the designs accordingly.

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Qanvast: Were there any hiccups during the renovation and how were they resolved?

Wei Xiang (WX): When the TV men were installing the TV, they accidentally drilled through the wire tubing because the electrician had concealed the wires and did not mark out where they were. That was quite a troublesome affair but thankfully, Habit acted as the middlemen and got the electrician to patch this up. I will definitely advise homeowners to mark out where the wires are.

C: Also for the bathroom, Denise helped us to design a bathtub with tall sides as she envisioned it be like an onsen to fit in with our Japanese minimalist theme. The height when constructed was a little high for daily use and she got her workers to reduce the height.

Habit-monochrome bathroom
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Qanvast: What advice do you have for homeowners?

WX: Homeowners should be hard-working throughout the course of the renovation. Check through everything and highlight anything that you do not like to your interior designer. It is important to always communicate with your interior designer and don’t assume that they know everything that you want. The main rule is that if you’re not sure, just ask and clarify.

C: When it comes to your budget, you have to know what you are paying for. If you just want things to be cheap, you can’t expect everything to be good. Likewise, if you want things to be good, you can’t expect it to be cheap. Your expectations have to be realistic.

Habit-monochrome bedroom
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