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Renovation Journey: White Simplicity

September 13, 2017
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At A Glance

• Tung Nguyen and Lina Marican, mid 30s, regional manager and PR director
• Size: 130 sqm / 1,400 sqft
• Location: Bishan Street (resale)
• Cost of renovation: $84,700
• Cost of furnishing and appliances: $37,800
• Interior design firm: LS2 Design & Construction
• Interior designer: JY and Bosco

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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Opting for a chic, all-white interior, this modern space, put together by the designers behind LS2 Design & Construction, makes a statement in its simplicity. We speak to the homeowners who warmly opened up and share

Qanvast: What was your vision for your home?

Lina (L): We wanted a minimalist design with an all-white colour palette and clean lines. It was also important for us to have a space which can evolve and grow. Another thing we wanted was wide, open spaces. We love having our friends around and we wanted a space where everybody could chill out.

Qanvast: Is there any particular reason behind the all-white theme?

Tung Nguyen (TN): The space in our apartment is quite small and the ceiling is not that high so we felt that an all-white colour palette would maximise the space. We were also inspired by the architecture in Santorini, Greece, which mostly kept to just two colours – white and blue.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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Furthermore, white is an easier colour to maintain. Since it is a basic colour, this also gives us the option of repainting the walls in future to make the home look brand new again.

Qanvast: What were you looking out for when you were shopping for an interior designer?

L: We were very particular because we have specific design tastes and we wanted a designer who could come up with designs that suited our tastes. Being busy with work, we also wanted a designer whom we could trust to manage the project. On top of that, we wanted someone who was able to communicate on our behalf to the contractors because we don’t speak Mandarin.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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TN: We also wanted an interior designer who was practical and who could tell us what would work and what would not work.

Qanvast: Tell us about your search for an interior designer.

L: We met up with a total of nineteen interior firms and gave them a detailed briefing about what we wanted for our home. After the first round of meetings, we ruled out quite a number of these firms because they either quoted us a price that was too high or did not give us the confidence that they could handle our project.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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Some of the designers that we met up with were also more Mandarin-speaking so we rejected them because we knew that that meant that miscommunications could arise. There were even some designers who turned up for the first meeting an hour and a half late so we knew that we did not want to work with them. From there, we assessed the remaining six firms based on their pricing and the designers’ personality and suggestions.

Qanvast: How did LS2 Design & Construction stand out from the other interior design firms you shortlisted?

TN: The main reason we chose LS2 Design and Construction was because they were the only firm which came up with the idea of smoothening out the grout lines. We had told all the designers that we met that we wanted smooth, seamless flooring with hidden grout lines that was easy to clean, and LS2 devised the best solution.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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L: Their designer, JY, was also very articulate. Out of all the designers that we met, he was the best who best understood our brief and our design concept.

Qanvast: Where did you get the inspiration for your home design?

L: Before we moved in here, we were staying at a rental apartment in Holland Village and we ‘stole’ some of the ideas from there. Our all-white kitchen theme and design of the built-in shoe cabinet is pretty similar to that home’s. We also did a lot of research on design themes.

Qanvast: Are there any areas of improvement for LS2?

TN: The standard of their project management is not quite there yet. We felt like there were gaps between them and their workers, and that they should spend more time overseeing the progress of the renovation and supervising their workers. We were quite disappointed in this aspect.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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L: We were actually supposed to wrap up the renovation in three and a half months but it took five months instead because of the hiccups that occurred.

Qanvast: That’s unfortunate to hear. Could you share with us about one of these hiccups and how JY rectified it?

L: There was this occasion where I came down to the home and I noticed that the drawer was not done up properly. As JY had done the drawings for these when we discussed the design with him in in the initial stage, we were quite shocked that the drawer was not done up the way we expected it to be and we contacted him about this immediately. He was quick to respond and acknowledge the problem and set about to rectify it.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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Qanvast: Besides project management, are there any other areas of improvement for JY?

L: We feel that he could give more consideration to the finer details and come up with designs that facilitate our lifestyle.

TN: He should also take pre-emptive measures so that the number of hiccups, and their severity will lessen.

HDB Resale Renovation - Bishan
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Qanvast: Overall, are you satisfied with your renovation?

TN: Yes, we are quite satisfied. LS2 delivered a high standard of workmanship.

L: Even though JY’s project management wasn’t that good, we appreciate that he took the effort to rectify everything. We would definitely recommend him, and LS2, to other homeowners.


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