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Renovation Journey: Retro Abstract

At A Glance

• Yi Hang and Trudy, 32, civil servant and consultant
• Home to 2 adults
• Size: 75 sqm / 775 sqft
• Location: Foresque Residence (condo)
• Renovation duration: 8 weeks
• Cost of renovation: $18,000
• Cost of furnishing and appliances: $5,000
• Interior fesign firm: Flipside Design
• Interior designer: Daniel

Renovation Journey: Retro Abstract
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While most homeowners would usually come up with a design theme first before purchasing the furniture for their home, Yi Hang and his wife had a different approach. By putting together loose pieces of furniture – including some interesting pieces they collected during their travels across the globe – the couple managed to create a Scandinavian home full of charm. We sat down for a chat with Yi Hang and got him to share about his renovation journey.

Qanvast: We heard that there were some obstacles in your search for an interior designer. Tell us about it.

Renovation Journey: Retro Abstract
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Yi Hang (YH): We were planning on going with one of the interior designers which we had met during our first round of meetups. We liked his initiative nature as he freely shared his ideas with us instead of just asking us questions like “where do you want to place your television” or “where do you want your bed to face in the bedroom” which the other interior designers that we had met would ask us.

However, he left his firm and went to another firm and the revised quote was higher. Although we really liked that interior designer, we weren’t comfortable with that company’s pricing so we decided to look for another interior designer.

Qanvast: That’s unfortunate to hear. So, how did you find Daniel?

YH: Daniel is one of my friends. After looking at Flipside’s portfolio, we felt that we could give it a go so we decided to enlist his services.

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Qanvast: Did you enjoy working with Daniel on your home?

YH: Yes, I liked that he is very practical. The interior designer which I mentioned earlier had a lot of ideas but some were not feasible. It was a different matter with Daniel. As he is experienced, he is able to identify the pros and cons associated with various designs. If something does not work, he would advise us on it and we could immediately consider another possibility. So there were no surprises and the discussions that we had were fruitful as we could decide on the spot whether to keep or drop an idea.

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When we moved into the home, we identified a problem with storage. For instance, our bedroom had a wardrobe but its shelves were not fully utilising the space. Daniel managed to solve that problem for us by suggesting a practical storage solution of a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe.

Daniel was also good at project management. He told me that I could pop over as and when I want and that if there were any issues, I could let him know and he would take care of it for us. It was reassuring to know that he was handling the renovation matters on our behalf.

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Qanvast: How did you kickstart the search for design ideas?

YH: Prior to the renovation, we spent about two months on the planning process which involved sourcing for ideas. We referred to online websites like Pinterest and Qanvast. Qanvast was a useful resource as it’s very visual and we could look at homes in the styles that we wanted. I like that Qanvast is a local website as the content is localised and hence relevant to us in our search for ideas. We saved a lot of pictures from the Qanvast websites. We also bought some interior design magazines for inspiration.

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Qanvast: Tell us more about the design of your home.

YH: Our home is based on the Scandinavian style which incorporates a lot of wooden furniture.

Our approach towards the design of our home was to focus on loose pieces of furniture. For instance, we purchased the pieces with the pencil legs before we even settled on the design. Some of our pieces were also sourced during our travels; as we travelled quite a bit over the past year and a half, we would purchase smaller furnishings and home accessories – like the clock in our living room – from these countries which we had visited. We hence assembled the design of the rooms based on the loose furniture pieces which we had.

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Qanvast: Were there any bumps during the renovation process?

YH: We had to repaint some of the rooms as the colour of the paint was not what we wanted or expected. Initially, we looked at the paint swatches to determine the colours which we wanted. However, when the wall was painted, it appeared different from the colour which we saw on the swatch.

I remember the time when I came down and saw the wall which was a sky blue colour. Under the natural lighting, it seemed as though I was inside an aquarium [laughs]. As I expected the wall to have a grey tint to it, I was really shocked and asked the painter if he was using the correct colour. He showed me the paint tin and it was indeed correct. So we decided to repaint the wall in the same colour but in a different shade to achieve the effect which we wanted.

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Qanvast: Any final thoughts about the renovation?

YH: I think that most first time homeowners are looking for interior designers who can tell them what to do with the empty space. For us, we wanted a nice place to live in and we needed someone who could give us advice on how to spruce up our home. Perhaps when we move on to our second or third home, we would have the experience and be able to make more decisions about the layout of furniture in our home. But – for this first time – it was important that there was someone who could help us through this process.

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