At A Glance
• Kelvin and Shu Xuan, late 20s
• Area size: 93 sqm / 1,000 sqft
• Location: Keat Hong
• Cost of renovation: $35,000
• Cost of furnishing and appliances: $20,000
• Interior Design Firm: KDOT Associates
• Interior designer: Kobe
A home designed around their needs and not some space designed to match the latest interior trend. That was what homeowners Kelvin and Shu Xuan wanted for their first home.
We sit down for a chat with the couple and get them to share some nuggets of renovation advice.
Qanvast: Going into the renovation, did you have an idea of what you wanted your home to be like?
Kelvin (K): Yes. I knew what I wanted in terms of functionality while my wife knew what she wanted when it came to the aesthetic. On a whole, we wanted our house to be built along the lines of how we want to live.
Qanvast: How did your search for an interior designer lead you to decide on Kobe?
Shu Xuan (SX): We met three interior designers and two contractors in total. After meeting up with the contractors, I wasn’t very keen to work with them as I needed someone who could produce visuals to help me to visualise the design of our home.
K: Hence, we turned our attention to the three interior designers whom we had met and we felt that Kobe was the best in terms of the chemistry that we had with him and his pricing. The other interior designers either quoted us very highly or we had no chemistry with them.
Qanvast: Were there any other reasons why you selected Kobe from KDOT Associates?
K: Among the three interior designers that we met, my wife liked Kobe’s designs the most because his design tastes are pretty similar to hers. We also liked that Kobe was straightforward and told us what could and could not be done.
Qanvast: How did Kobe go about conceptualising the design of your home?
K: He came up with a lot of suggestions based on the mood boards which we showed him. After we communicated our design preferences to Kobe, we pretty much left it up to him to come up with the designs for our home and to select suitable fittings and laminates. Hence, a lot of the designs in our home can actually be credited to him.
SX: We also shared some of the designs which we saw on Pinterest with Kobe and he would customise them to suit the overall theme of our home.
Qanvast: Tell us about one interesting design which Kobe came up with.
K: He came up with the idea of using different tiles to mark the transition from the hallway into our living area. In particular, he suggested using honeycomb tiles as he felt that it was a feature which would make our home design unique.
Qanvast: What was one piece of practical advice which Kobe gave you?
K: Kobe advised us to consider our future needs when planning out the rooms in our home. We acted upon his advice and planned the design of our study room in such a way that it can be converted into a baby room in future.
Qanvast: How did Kobe help to ease your renovation journey?
SX: We bought quite a number of our furniture and furnishings from Taobao and during the selection process, Kobe gave us his feedback on whether they would match the design of our home. He even helped us to install the items which we bought.
Qanvast: Would you advise other homeowners to purchase their furniture and furnishings from Taobao?
K: They can consider it but they have to be willing to accept the risk that comes with purchasing items from Taobao. A lot of the things that we bought from Taobao did not match the description which we saw for the product online so we had to let go of them or store them in the storeroom for the time being.
Qanvast: What advice can you give to young homeowners?
K: Don’t base the design of your home on current interior design trends. Instead, design your home to revolve around your lifestyle.
When planning out the design of your home, refrain from features that restrict your lifestyle. For example, if you like to cook, you may not want to have an open-concept kitchen because that would mean that you have to do a lot of cleaning up after cooking.
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