For most people, the idea of touring a house even before it has been built may seem impossible, but not for mechanical engineer Jun Rui.
“My job involves exploring new technologies, and that was how I came up with the idea of creating a 3D model of my home and using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to ‘walk’ through it,” says the tech-savvy homeowner, who later approached local interior firm Aestherior to realise his creative vision.
To find out more about his creative process and revamped 5-room HDB home at Yishun, we had a quick chat with Jun Rui himself.
(From left to right, homeowner Jun Rui, his wife Jasmine; and Aestherior designer, Sebrina.)
About the design process
Jun Rui (JR): Because it would give me a better understanding of what I was looking for, I decided to use VR technology to ‘create’ my own home, even before engaging an interior designer.
Also, it helped when I met up with Aestherior later on, because it made conveying my ideas easier and provided a starting point for their designer, Sebrina, to base her own design on.
On his home’s new look
JR: When I first started planning the house, I wanted an industrial look with cement screed surfaces. But along the way, I started leaning towards a more contemporary theme.
Part of the reason for this change was because I had an external contractor who was able to provide a good price on the black marble lookalike tiles that are in the living room. After looking at these tiles, I realised that I needed to make a tweak in the overall design language so that they would fit in with the rest of the house.
About his practical requirements
JR: From the beginning, I knew that I didn’t want a television, so I bought an ultra short throw projector as a substitute. However, that also meant I needed a long living room with enough depth to project a large ‘screen’ onto the wall.
The second thing that I needed was a personal study, which we ended up building right beside the sofa. Unlike the standard HDB layout, this study isn’t located at the back of the living room because I needed a long living room.
Also, relocating the study posed a problem for my air-con contractor because it was a challenge to run the trunking to that corner of the house. Fortunately, I was able to tap on my own experience to engineer a proper path for the pipes, which I did by checking the measurements before getting the contractor to install the components.
About getting to know Aestherior
JR: I engaged Aestherior through Qanvast, but I also checked out some contactors in my neighbourhood aside from the five companies that were recommended to me.
On working with Aestherior
JR: Aestherior is a relatively new company, but I could tell that Sebrina has experience and she showed me her portfolio as well. I felt that the design language of her work was very coherent, and holistically, it looked nice and pleasant; there were no conflicting colours either.
In addition to that, Sebrina did hand-drawn sketches for her plans as well, which was something that really caught my attention. When I was back in school, I used to do product design and I appreciate the effort put into this type of work.
Also, unlike other designers whom I have met, Sebrina does not over promise or fluff her claims. If a request can’t be fulfilled because it is unreasonable or against HDB regulations, she would not hesitate to say that it can’t be done. In that sense, her service is very transparent.
On what makes his home unique
JR: I feel that there are two things that makes my home special: the first being that I have no television, and the second being that it is smart-home equipped. You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but there are sensors that automate the lights around the house.
The open kitchen is something special to me as well; I am a coffee fan and having a place where I can prepare my own beans is just great.
His advice to new homeowners
JR: I would say that it’s important to choose the right designer. I have spoken to a few friends and they agree that a designer can really help solve your renovation problems if you are short on time.
However, if your designer is the unresponsive type, your home may not turn out the way you like. So, don’t save on hiring the right help, get a good designer for your renovation.