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Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

December 30, 2015
BOOKMARK

At A Glance:

  • Home to: Eve, 43, government sector and Chon Ming, 37, tech industry
  • Size: 1044 sqf / 97 sqm
  • Location: Punggol; Treasure Trove (EC)
  • Cost of renovation: $25,000
  • Cost of furnishings: $30,000
  • Renovation duration: 5 weeks
  • Interior design firm: Space Factor
  • Interior designer: Dolly
Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Unlike many homeowners, Eve and Chon Ming were determined to personalise their new home by splurging on furniture rather than renovation works. They were on the lookout for an interior firm that could offer a cost-efficient proposal and they secured a firm that offered them a relatively painless renovation for their second home.

We had a lively chat with the practical pair to learn more about their home renovation journey.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: Let’s start with sharing what is interesting about your home.

Eve (E): We had pockets of storage spaces, like the one for our (hidden) wine cabinet and the new one in our study room.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: How did you shortlist interior firms?

E: I like to visit interior design showrooms. To me, it’s the best way to assess if the interior designer is compatible. For our previous home, we walked into several interior design offices and we made the decision there.

This time round, we decide to try sending a quote request to Qanvast since it potentially saves us a lot of time and the hassle of going down. Qanvast got back to us promptly and we scheduled meetings with the various recommended firms.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: What were your considerations when you shortlist an interior firm?

E: Price is a major factor for us. Actually, I had planned to go with a firm who offered us the cheapest quote. I changed my mind when I arranged a meetup with that firm, and the designer whom I was supposed to meet wasn’t around and I was served by another designer. The designer who spoke to me agreed to my ideas too readily and I felt uncomfortable. Unlike the two other firms whom I spoke to, they could actually counter-propose or highlight the pros and cons of going with the idea.

To me, interior designers should have an opinion of their own instead of merely executing what the client wants. This is why I looked for an interior designer – for their professional advice! [laughs]

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: Why did you decide on Space Factor?

E: I was really impressed when I first stepped into their showroom - it was so beautifully decorated that it made me go “Woah!”. After communicating with them, I am confident that they can do the job well, plus the firm is shortlisted under the Design Singapore Initiative. Needless to say, the price they offered was reasonable, thus we picked Space Factor.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: Is the Quote Request function from Qanvast useful in your search for interior designers?

E: Definitely! When I first checked out Qanvast, I was a little overwhelmed with the extensive list of interior designers available on your platform. Then, I saw the quote request option and I decided to try it out. What impressed me was the quick followup and the personal touch.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: How was your experience working with Space Factor? Were you satisfied with their services?

E: Yes. It was very comfortable working with Dolly, my designer. She accepts whatever requirements I threw at her and she could execute it well. We had a timeline to meet as I had to move in quickly, and Dolly managed to complete the renovation within the timeframe she had promised.

Dolly could also manage her team of workers. The workers are experienced and the team has been working with Dolly for many years, so there’s no communication breakdown. I know I can trust Dolly to run things and I didn’t have to constantly head over to monitor the renovation progress.

My friends also commented that the carpentry workmanship by Space Factor is excellent – it’s really the small details that make a difference.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: How did you both design your second home together?

E: For us, we would rather spend more on the furnishings rather than the actual interior works, that was why we bought some furniture before the renovation. I wanted the design to complement the furniture, rather than the usual way of getting the furniture to match the interiors. From the furniture designs, it’s easier to narrow down to the type of interior style.

Chon Ming (CM): I leave it to her to make the main decisions [laughs]. I’m not good at coordinating colours.

E: He has a knack for choosing nice furniture.

CM: I wanted to have a smart home, but Eve didn’t think it was necessary to splurge on items like this. So we started with baby steps by getting a digital lock.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: Do you have any tips for future homeowners who are looking to renovate?

E: Don’t rush into buying your furniture. After the renovation, I regretted buying some things too soon; like the headboard. It’s nicer to have a customised one to suit the bed rather than the original frame. Same goes for the automated laundry rack – after the renovation, there isn’t much space to extend the rack and it was a bit of a waste to not being able to maximise the item.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Qanvast: What should homeowners be looking out for when they engage an interior designer?

E: Good communication and having rapport with the designer are important as it is the foundation to a stress-free working relationship. Things will run smoother and less painful when you ‘click’ with the interior designer. If there is no rapport, chances are, you tend to find faults with the design and the renovation journey may turn sour.

It’s good to have a budget in mind, but at times you got to weigh if you are willing to pay more for better service and quality. Don’t stick to your budget blindly and ended up bearing the brunt of a substandard quality.

Renovation Journey: Out of The Box

Want to enjoy a smooth renovation journey just like Eve and Chon Ming? Drop us a complimentary quote request today! If your key collection is more than 6 months away, we suggest to start your renovation journey early! Scan through homeowners’ reviews of various interior designers and shortlist interior ideas via the Qanvast app. The app can be downloaded free on the App Store and Google Play.

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