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Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

October 14, 2016
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At A Glance

  • Zhi Xiong, retiree, 56
  • Area Size: 69 sqm / 743 sqft
  • Location: Tampines
  • Cost of Renovation: $35,000
  • Cost of Furnishing: $8,000
  • Interior Design Firm: DreamCreations Interior
  • Interior designer: Joseph
Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

‘There’s always a rainbow after the rain.’ Just coming out of a bad experience with an interior designer, Zhixiong was cautious when searching for his next interior designer. Fortunately, Joseph and the team from DreamCreations were able to give him the clean, modern apartment that he wanted.

Find out more about how Zhixiong overcame his bad experience and what tips he has for first-time homeowners who might also be cautious when it comes to finding an interior designer.

Qanvast: We heard that you had a bad experience with the first interior designer you engaged. Tell us about it.

Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

Zhxiong (Z): After I signed the contract with that interior designer, I came to realise that we were not on the same page. Their progress was too tardy and I didn’t like the way that they worked. For instance, when we were discussing about furniture placement, they would brush aside my suggestions without giving me alternatives. I didn’t feel comfortable with them so I decided to terminate the contract.

Qanvast: That’s unfortunate to hear. So how did you proceed from there?

Z: I approached a representative of Qanvast and he presented me with three interior designers who had impressive portfolios. DreamCreations was one of them. Seeing that they are a Qanvast SuperTrust accredited firm, I felt that extra bit of assurance and I wasted no time in setting up a meeting with them.

Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

During the meeting, I was very impressed by their efficiency as they were able to produce drawings of my home and explain to me the way that they intended to go about the renovation. They even did some redesigning based on my feedback during the meeting itself. Although I had planned an initial budget of $12,000 for the renovation, they convinced me to raise my budget to $20,000 and as I was impressed by their plans, I signed a contract with them on the spot.

Qanvast: Why do you like the Qanvast app?

Z: Having coming across other home renovation platforms which were mostly centred on the complaints that homeowners had about the various interior designers, Qanvast was a breath of fresh air as it offered a positive environment for the sourcing of ideas and interior designers.

I came across it by chance and I got hooked after downloading the app. There were a lot of pictures for inspiration and it was also interesting to read about other’s renovation journeys with their interior designer and to learn from their experiences.

Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

Qanvast: It sounds like you really had a good impression of DreamCreations.

Z: Yes. When I got home from the meeting with them, I received a message from HDB which said that they had received the renovation permit. This delighted me and it further cemented my belief in DreamCreations’ efficiency. They respected my tight timeline and were able to assure me on that count.

Z: I gave them a broad brief so that they can have the flexibility to play around with the design elements. The main emphasis that I had was that my home must be modern, functional and uncluttered.

Qanvast: How does your home reflect your lifestyle?

Z: I did certain works to the home to make it more conducive to my lifestyle. As I’m living alone, I didn’t really need the extra room so I decided to hack the wall separating the bedroom and the room beside it so that I could have a larger bedroom. It’s much easier to clean that way too.

I also wanted an open-concept walk-in wardrobe. Joseph designed one for me that didn’t have doors so that I could have easy access to my clothing.

Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

Qanvast: How was it like working with Joseph?

Z: I’m very pleased with his performance. He was very time conscious and I could sense his urgency to complete the project. His aftersales service was also marvellous. I needed help to install my soundbar and he gladly came by to help me to install it.

All in all, he was very careful and neat in his work and he helped me to realise the modern, uncluttered home which I want.

Qanvast: What was the biggest challenge in your home?

Z: As my home is a resale flat which was thirty years old, there were chances that the house would not be in great condition when I took over it. My suspicions were proven correct when we hacked the walls between the two rooms and discovered that the flooring was uneven – tiles of different heights were used for the two separate rooms. It was a challenge for Joseph to handle this issue but he resolved it well by hacking a larger area and doing up a border for the entrance to the bedroom.

Renovation Journey: Zen Zone

Qanvast: What advice can you share with first-time homeowners?

Z: During the brainstorming stage, homeowners should get their needs sorted out first before they start thinking about the theme or design of their home.

When comparing between different interior designers, homeowners should list the costs on a single spreadsheet so that they can compare between the various quotes for the same type of feature and see if there is any pricing strategy involved. If the lowest quote is substantially lower than the highest or the second highest quote, it could be a sign that the interior designer is overcharging and my advice would be to drop that interior designer.


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