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Renovation Journey: The French Connection

At A Glance:

  • Sharanjit Kaur, 33, marketing in Reebonz
  • Home to: 2 adults
  • Location: Twin Waterfalls (condo)
  • Size: 101 sqm / 1087 sqft
  • Renovation duration: 8 weeks
  • Cost of renovation: $50,000
  • Cost of furnishings and appliances: $20,000
  • Interior designer: Voila
Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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After hearing Sharan’s story of her renovation journey, we couldn’t agree more when she said one has to enjoy the process of creating your love nest.

The French-inspired interior may be a common theme in Singapore, but Sharan had difficulties in hiring the right professional, to procuring the furniture for her home. Imagine moving in to your new place without your furniture!

We talked to Sharan to find out more about her efforts in creating this timeless décor.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: Why the French-inspired theme?

Sharan (S): The French-inspired interior is a theme I really love! I tend to gravitate towards such designs when browsing for interior ideas.

Twin Waterfalls was our second home. In our first home, we didn’t do any renovation as the unit was in a good condition, with industrial-style elements. This time round, I wanted a design that is fresh and tailored to what I like, so it’s full swing to a more feminine decor.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: How did you and your partner work together?

S: We both have a similar vision so it was really easy to work together. When we were researching for ideas, my partner (surprisingly) got himself involved and we started creating Pinterest boards together! He actually took an interest to it and both of us wanted to make our second home look good. Of course I had to ask if he was really sure if we were to proceed with the French-inspired theme, as I was worried the look would be too feminine for his liking.

Thankfully I had his support and his involvement also meant that the entire look doesn’t look too ornate and over-the-top as he will pull the reins when I tend to go overboard on the design.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: How did you both search for interior ideas and designers?

S: We mainly used Pinterest as there were a lot of pictures and details to look at such as the wainscoting panels and the type of furniture and materials used.

When it is about time to start on the renovation works, we have a clear idea on what we want and all that we need was a designer who is experienced to execute this type of style.

The Qanvast app was really helpful in this area as it narrows our search for interior designers who have such portfolios, and helped us to glean insights on the budget we should set aside.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: How many firms did you meet and why did you decide to engage Voila?

S: We met two firms that are specialised in French designs, but their costs were ridiculously high! They did not provide other design options for us to explore and I was quite disappointed. I could also sense that they were not open to new ideas and tried to make us follow their design proposal because they are the so-called experts in this interior style. I knew it’s going to be hard to work with them if I were to engage them.

My husband found Voila on Qanvast and we decided to give them a shot as they have done up a couple of homes with a similar style. The designers at Voila were approachable and even though they don’t specialise in that area, they know their stuff and offered plenty of ideas. There was a two-way communication unlike the other two firms.

After the designer scoped out our requirements, the quote provided was pretty detailed, so we know where we are spending on. It was clear to us that we will engage Voila for our home.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: Did Voila meet your expectations?

S: They had done a really good job in listening to our ideas and then refining the designs and requirements. They are open to ideas and don’t deviate from our vision. I like that we are communicating together to fulfill this vision, and they don’t overpromise.

They were also very prompt with their updates and I see initiative and drive in them. The workmanship from Voila is good too.

One downside; we thought it would be better if they were present onsite when we had to liaise on some stuff with the contractor. As their meetings overran, we had to put them on our phone’s ‘speaker’ mode so that they could speak to the workers.

But all in all, everything turns out to be fine.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: What are some key takeaways you have learnt from the renovation process?

S: Do as much research and be very clear in what you want in your home, so that you don’t get sidetracked after talking to designers. I also bought books on French interiors and got myself familiarise with the different terms and jargons; this will make communication easier with the interior designers.

Next tip, have fun with the renovation process! I have to admit it feels daunting initially because it’s our first renovation. I got stressed over it and I started to shut off alternative ideas and soon, I lost joy in designing my home with my loved one. This shouldn’t be the case! I took a step back and after I have decided to let go, I regained the passion and ideas started streaming in.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: Was it easy or tough to look for French furniture in Singapore?

S: (laughs) Getting the furniture was a big challenge! We wanted to customise our own but it wasn’t easy to find one that ticks the right box in terms of design and budget. Most of the shops here retails at cutthroat prices. We initially settled with one merchant but the merchant hadn’t started work and will overrun on the delivery timeline. We requested for a full refund and we had to quickly source for another merchant!

It was through a newspaper ad that we found out about Taylor B - they fit our design and budget and we bought all of our furniture from there.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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Qanvast: What are the important traits you look for when selecting your interior designer?

S: Creativity, and then service. Not all designers are creative, and it only takes a spark of creativity to make the home spaces feel more personal. No doubt experience is important but I feel that some designers become complacent and their works tend to become methodical.

Qanvast: And your favourite corner is…?

S: The walk-in wardrobe! (laughs) My husband commented that I spent an unusually long time in there when it is supposed to speed up the decision making on my outfit choices!

My husband loves the living room, enjoying the breeze from the balcony and watching shows on our 84-inch television.

Renovation Journey: The French Connection
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