Greatly inspired by their travels to Japan, homeowners Rachel, 26, and Michael, 28 were looking to recreate the same tranquil, natural vibe in their brand new flat in Kallang.
‘We loved the organic look of Japanese ryokans, especially the tatami flooring used. However, we didn’t want our home to come off too ‘traditional’, which is why we leaned towards a minimal, MUJI-look,’ says Michael.
And with his 'less is more' outlook on design, Glenn from D5 Studio Image was the perfect candidate in helping the two achieve the clean, breezy look that they were gunning for. Here, we sit down for a chat with the couple to learn more about their renovation experience.
On finding an interior designer (ID)
Rachel (R): I wanted a Japanese minimalist look for our home so when I was searching for IDs on Qanvast, I used the filter to find projects done up in a similar style and that's how I came across Glenn’s work. After being matched with him and a few other IDs by Qanvast, I decided to engage his services because we really liked a particular design that he did and because he really impressed us with his willingness to go the extra mile - he always met us at a location that was to our convenience.
On working with Glenn from D5 Studio Image
Michael (M): It was very easy for us to collaborate with Glenn on the renovation. Although he had very clear ideas, he always took our ideas and needs into account when designing the space. He was also very prompt to send us updates on the progress on the renovation and to answer us whenever we had any questions – even if it’s over the slightest details!
M: Glenn really goes above and beyond in his service. Although the renovation has already been completed, he is still very prompt when it comes to helping us rectify any defects.
On their inspiration for the study room
R: After visiting a ryokan in Japan, I fell in love with tatami flooring they used. It feels very natural and organic, which was something we wanted to incorporate into the space.
M: For the study room, I told Glenn that I need a peaceful room where I can feel inspired. As I work in advertising, I wanted a place where I could come up with ideas easily. I like that it looks very Japanese but it’s not traditional. In fact, we made it very clear to Glenn that we wanted a more contemporary, Muji style home - not a ryokan! (laughs)
On managing their budget
M: We were getting married around the same time so there were a lot of payments that we had to make and Glenn was very understanding in allowing us to stagger the payments.
R: He was also kind enough to waive off some of the small payments so that we could keep to our budget of $50,000.
On shopping for furniture, accessories and fixtures
M: Glenn accompanied us to purchase our furniture and accessories. I remember this particular shopping trip where we went to IKEA and Glenn helped us to pick out the little things like soap holders and the like. The overall design of our home came together very nicely because of all these small touches he made that were aligned with the bigger vision he had for our home; it's easy to fill your home with a mishmash of things that you like and we're lucky Glenn kept us in check, reminding us it's important to stick to the home's overall aesthetic.
On an interesting piece of furniture
R: Our dining table with its authentic Japanese look is from Ishinomaki Laboratory. Their brand has an interesting story behind it. In short, Ishinomaki city in Japan was hit by a tsunami in 2011 and Ishinomaki Laboratory began as a DIY workshop to help citizens rebuild their city and homes quickly.
On why they didn't want a TV
R: I didn’t want us to watch too much TV or become couch potatoes! So instead of a TV, we got a projector for when our friends and family come over to watch Liverpool games and movies.
On their biggest bargain
M: Our $800 mattress from Noa Sleep. It’s an online store which has an interesting policy – after purchasing the mattress, you can return it within 100 days and get your money back if you are not satisfied with it. I like it because it is suitably soft.
Words of advice for other homeowners
M: I would highly recommend homeowners to enlist the services of an interior designer if they are renovating their home. Interior designers are wired to make the best of your space and will be able to give proper attention to the details of your home's design. Especially if you’re a first-time homeowner, an interior designer can help you to navigate through all the uncertainties.