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Renovation Journey: The Force Awakens

At a Glance

  • Douglas, an engineer, and his wife, Janet, accountant, both in their 30s
  • Size: 93 square metres
  • Location: Punggol Central
  • Cost of Renovation: $35,000
  • Cost of Furnishing: $15,000
  • Interior Design Firm: IdeasXchange
  • Interior Designer: Yuki

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Douglas and his wife set forth on a quest to find an interior designer with many creative ideas. Their search led them to Yuki from IdeasXchange, who impressed the couple with hand-drawn sketches of her innovative designs. We sit down for a chat with Douglas to find out why he and his wife had a “love-hate relationship” with their designer.

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Qanvast: How did Yuki from Ideasxchange stand out from the other interior designers that you met?

Douglas (D): Out of the five interior design firms which Qanvast shortlisted for me, I found that Yuki was the best in terms of her design ideas. She also took the initiative to come up with designs without us having to prompt her.

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Qanvast: Was there any incident in which she clearly stood out from the other designers?

D: Yes. I told all the interior designers that I did not like the original tiles in the kitchen but did not want to spend money to scrape the tiles and redo everything. As compared to the other four interior designers who suggested putting glass panels there, Yuki had the idea of putting fancy tiles so that it looks more striking. She really impressed us with the way that she explored design possibilities.

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Qanvast: How did Qanvast ease your renovation journey?

D: For me, Qanvast was like Wikipedia. It was like a one stop shop where I could find inspiration for project designs and search for interior designers at the same time.

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Qanvast: Was it tough to work with a budget of $35,000 for a resale home?

D: Yes. It wasn’t easy to work with that budget because we wanted to remodel the entire home. In the end, we had to compromise on certain areas like the toilets as overlaying the tiles would cost about $5000 for each toilet which was above our budget limit.

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Qanvast: Tell us about something interesting that happened during your renovation journey.

D: I had bought a live edge slab which I wanted to incorporate as part of the TV console. After giving it some further thought, I felt that it would be quite a waste to use the wooden slab as a TV console as it will be hidden underneath the TV. Hence, I asked Yuki if she could put the piece somewhere else and in the end, she put it on top of the bar counter. Although this design was something that came about by mistake, we really like it and this incident proved that Yuki is someone who is able to think on her feet.

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Qanvast: What were some creative ideas that Yuki came up with for your home?

D: I did not want a headrest for my bed because it was a bit expensive and Yuki proposed that she paint the wall behind my bed so that it does not look so plain.

Also, I told Yuki that I wanted a wire mesh design in my home and she came up with this wire mesh feature where I can display the postcards which my wife and I collected on our travels.

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Qanvast: Was Yuki good at project management?

D: We feel that she was not very good at project management. She was uncontactable throughout the duration of the renovation which made us worried that she was not doing the job properly. There were also a lot of times where there was a lack of coordination between her and her workers. As an interior designer, we felt that she should be more responsible in ensuring that the renovation progresses smoothly.

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Qanvast: Oh dear. Did this cause any delays to the timeline?

D: Unfortunately, yes. The renovation was not completed by the promised handover date and we had to move into a home where the renovation was still ongoing because our lease for our rental place was over.

Furthermore, the sliding barn door for our master bedroom toilet did not arrive on the day that she promised so we were unable to use the toilet until the door arrived. It was only after two weeks of moving in that the renovation was finally completed.

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Qanvast: Which is your favourite area in your home?

D: The kitchen. Although it is a small kitchen, I find that the design makes it look very stylish and ergonomic. Furthermore, I love to cook so the kitchen is my favourite place in the home.

Qanvast: What do you think could have been done better in your home?

D: While I would say that my house’s design is a masterpiece of sorts, I find that the design as a whole lacks a certain kind of continuity. Collectively, it looks very nice but the designs of the various rooms do not match in an elegant manner.

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Qanvast: What takeaways did you get from your renovation journey?

D: When we were searching for an interior designer, we wanted someone who was around our age and who had a lot of creative ideas. On hindsight, we feel that we should have chosen someone who was more experienced and who has worked on a lot of projects because they will be better at handling the contractors.

We also learned that it’s important to get to know the boss of the interior design firm so that any feedback can be relayed to him. Throughout the duration of the renovation, we were only liaising with Yuki and even if we had any doubts, there was no one else from the firm with whom we could check with.

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