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Second Time's The Charm For This Cosy Resale Makeover

After a bad experience with their previous interior designer, homeowners Kenneth and Stephanie felt that it would be better for them to work with an established design firm for their new home.

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However, a twist of fate led them to Qanvast and then to Aart Boxx Interior, one of Qanvast’s SuperTrust interior designers. With the $50,000 Qanvast Guarantee giving them assurance, the couple decided to go ahead and act on the mutual chemistry that they had with Ivan and enlist his services to design their home.

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We sit down for a chat with their designer, director Ivan of Aart Boxx Interior, and find out more about the conceptualisation of the design for their posh home and how he made it both a stylish and functional space.

On renovating a resale home:

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Ivan (I): The homeowners wanted to hack away the existing marble tiles and this caused an unexpected delay in the schedule because the marble tiles were much thicker than we had expected them to be. Hence, a lot of drilling needed to be done for the marble tiles to be removed and instead of taking the anticipated three days to finish the hacking works, we took about five days to complete the hacking.

About the kitchen’s design:

I: The homeowners wanted to keep the same layout but add a built-in oven. Although there were space constraints, we managed to fit everything in quite nicely.

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They also wanted to remove the existing kitchen island because its design was very old-fashioned and replace it with a more modern-looking island with a built-in sink so that they can use that area as a dry kitchen.

On designing the ‘hotel suite’ style master bedroom:

I: The concept for the master bedroom was modern luxury. I used marble and grey tones to make the whole area look nice. I also incorporated LED lights underneath the bed frame and at the top of the black laminate behind the bed to enhance the mood of the space.

The homeowners also wanted to combine a queen and super single sized bed together (their daughter sleeps with them) but were unable to find such a bedframe in retail shops so I customised this bedframe for them so that the two beds can be together.

They also needed lots of storage hence we flushed the wardrobe storage to one side of the wall, ensuring there's sufficient walking space in this awkward-shaped bedroom. I've also added a sliding door (a challenging bit to design and conceal it) between the wardrobe to minimise movement disturbances when one is awake.

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On designing a ‘hotel style’ bathroom:

I: The homeowners wanted a hotel look for their bathroom. I brought them to a shop to purchase laminates and in the end, they went with a black laminate which I feel looks better than the conventional white laminate.

I also helped them to mix and match different tiles from Hafary to make the bathroom look different from the standard bathroom. Since the wall tiles were quite fanciful, I kept the floor plain so that it would not be a design overkill.

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About designing the son’s room:

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I: I was tasked to create a functional space for the homeowners’ son so I custom built everything in the room – except for the bed which the homeowners purchased themselves – to suit the boy’s needs. Instead of the usual wardrobe, I did up a wardrobe which opens to reveal a bookshelf which is a more practical solution.

I also customised the study table to blend in with the whole colour concept and used black glass for it as per the homeowners’ request because they do not want the table to be damaged if their son scribbles on it.

On designing the study room:

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I: The ceiling of the study room is quite high so I did not do the usual kind of cabinet because it’ll look too big for the space. Instead, I designed the lower part of the wall cabinet to be a bookshelf so that it looks better aesthetically.

Kenneth also showed me some reference pictures of what he liked so I improvised a design based on what he likes and did some extra design for the cabinet.

On helping the homeowners to keep to their budget:

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I: I thought of ways to help the homeowners to achieve the posh look that they wanted for their home without bursting their budget. For example, they wanted their tiles to exude a sophisticated vibe but marble tiles were not an option for them because they’re way too expensive. Hence, I recommended these homogenous tiles to them and helped them to polish the tiles so that when people step on it, it has a glossy feel which is similar to marble.

About keeping to the timeline:

I: The homeowners gave me a timeline of eight weeks but I took about ten weeks to complete the project because there were touch-ups that needed to be done here and there.

We also faced a challenge because of the condominium’s restriction for the working hours – we can work until 5pm each day and between the hours of 12pm to 1pm, we are not allowed to do work at all. Hence, a five day work week became more like a four day work week and it was indeed a challenge for us to deliver the project on time.

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