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Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

October 25, 2018
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At A Glance

  • Nigel and Danielle, late 20s
  • Area size: 125 sqm / 1,345 sqft
  • Location: Simei Street (resale)
  • Cost of renovation: $75,000
  • Cost of furnishing: $15,000
  • Interior design firm: Space Atelier
  • Interior designer: Ray
Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

With the belief that an interior designer’s role is to manage the renovation, Danielle and Nigel went on a search to find a reliable interior designer which culminated in them enlisting the services of Ray from Space Atelier who impressed the couple with his expertise.

Read on and find out how the practical pair worked with Ray to design a home which suits their lifestyle.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: What was your philosophy when it comes to choosing an interior designer?

Nigel (N): Although we kind of knew what we wanted, we did not reveal too much of our ideas initially so that we could see what ideas the interior designers could come up with. It was only after they shared their ideas that we began to tell them our ideas so that we could see how receptive they were to our ideas and if they could make our ideas work.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: What made Space Atelier the right choice for the both of you?

N: We met almost ten interior design firms and most of them tried to impress their ideas upon us instead of proposing designs that matched what we wanted. Out of all the designers that we met, Ray was the one who best fit the bill. He was willing to listen to us, and his ideas and designs matched what we wanted. He also came off as a professional in the way that he went about his work.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: Tell us about one interesting idea that Ray came up with for your house.

N: The house came with a sort of balcony space and we were unsure whether to retain it or to integrate it into the living area. We shared our thoughts with Ray and he proposed converting the space into a deck where we could chill out. Now, whenever we have friends over, we use the deck as a dining space. It’s our favourite area for the home.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: How did Ray help you to achieve the design that you wanted for your kitchen?

N: We told Ray that we wanted a European style kitchen and he helped us to design borders on the doors of the kitchen cabinets so that they have a textured European feel. He also recommended tiles which would enhance the European look of the kitchen.

Qanvast: How was it like working with Ray?

Danielle (D): Ray made the entire renovation process very hassle-free and seamless with his expertise. We would bounce ideas off him and he would advise us on their feasibility. He was also very prompt in responding to our messages.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: Were you impressed by Space Atelier’s workmanship?

N: Yes, we were impressed by the effort that went into their workmanship. For example, our feature wall required a lot of labour as the workers had to first cut the laminate into quadrilateral pieces before they could position them individually on the wall to form the herringbone pattern.

Qanvast: How did Ray help you to keep the renovation costs down?

D: He absorbed the costs for some of the works. For example, the hexagonal tiles which we had chosen for our master bedroom toilet were above our budget by a few cents and Ray was kind to cover the additional cost for us. He also recommended that we get blinds instead of curtains as they are less expensive and are easier to clean.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: What was the most amazing transformation for your home?

N: The parquet flooring (laughs). The original parquet flooring was in a very bad condition but we decided to retain it since Ray told us that it could be restored. Furthermore, if we wanted to strip away the parquet and replace it with tiles, it would be very costly. Thus, Ray got his workers to sand and varnish the flooring. They completed that in a day and when I came down on the following day and saw the parquet floor, I was mind blown because it looked brand new.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: What were some areas where you could see Ray’s design expertise?

N: Ray recommended that we get a low height TV console for our 65-inch TV. He said that if the console is too tall, the design of the feature wall would not be so outstanding since the TV would block it. The design would also end up looking cluttered.

We also told Ray that we wanted the trunking and the wires to be less noticeable, and he was able to work around the HDB regulations which do not allow the hiding of the trunking to come up with a way to conceal them.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: Are there any areas that you feel Ray can improve as a designer?

N: I feel that he can be a bit more conscientious when it comes to his measurements. During the renovation, there were some hiccups because of measurement issues. One incident was when the heater – which we had purchased for our toilet according to the measurements that he had given us – could not fit into the space which he had planned. Thankfully, Ray handled this incident well. When he found out that the heater could not fit, he brought it back to the shop on the same day to exchange for a different design.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

Qanvast: What advice do you have for new homeowners who are looking to renovate?

N: You should have a good sense of what you want and work together with your interior designer to do the space planning for your home.

D: Do your homework. You can surf renovation platforms like Qanvast where you can read up about other homeowners’ renovation journeys to learn more about the renovation process.

Renovation Journey: Touch of Country

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