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Who Says Small Homes Can’t Have Lofts?

With Singapore houses shrinking in size, space shortage is one (increasingly) frequent problem that local homeowners must face when building their new nests.

Things were no different for couple Michelle and Zen, having nearly scrapped their plans of building a loft platform in their 3-room condominium apartment for fear it would look too cramped.

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Fortunately, things took a different turn after they met up with Aart Boxx interior designer, Colin, who not only guided the couple towards achieving their interior dreams, but also created a cosy, wood-filled home for them.

We sat down for a chat with the now-happy couple to find out about their renovation journey, what they learnt along the way, and more!

Our impression about the house pre-renovation:

Michelle (M): When we first stepped into the house, we felt like the whole area looked very small even though the house had a high ceiling. Therefore, we knew that we wanted a design that would create the illusion of space.

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Our requirements for our home:

M: We wanted a design that would blend in and not clash with the original look of the home. We also wanted our home to be a calming space. It is really important for me to feel relaxed once I come home from work.

Zen (Z): I’m a Lego fan so I wanted the designers to build a display cabinet for my collection.

About finding an interior designer:

M: Qanvast introduced five interior design firms to us and we felt like Aart Boxx Interior had designs and ideas that best matched what we were looking for. We also wanted an interior designer who has experience in building loft structures and who could offer us their services at a reasonable price.

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Our impression of Aart Boxx Interior:

Z: We liked that Aart Boxx was creative and willing to explore different ideas. They didn’t just play it safe but were instead quite daring in their choice of colour. They were also able to come up with several ideas for us before letting us choose, and that made the conceptualisation process very smooth because they didn’t have to consult us often.

About working with Aart Boxx Interior:

M: Our designer, Colin, from Aart Boxx Interior was able to translate our ideas into his drawings. For example, we were contemplating between having a bay window or a loft in our study room and his designs made it easier for us to picture how these features would look like in our home.

Z: He was also able to help us to select laminates that would blend in with the overall design of the home and the colour of our walls.

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On the renovation process:

M: Colin was very prompt. Whenever I reached out to him with questions, he would respond within the day. Also, our renovation timeline happened to overlap with the Chinese New Year period and even though he was on break, he made sure to keep us updated.

On budgeting:

M: We didn’t purchase all our furniture at a single go but instead spread out our purchases so we wouldn’t feel a large hole in our wallet suddenly. We started purchasing things one year before our renovation commenced and purchased about one piece each month.

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Our biggest splurge:

M: Our dining table from XZQT! It cost us about S$2,000 plus. We were willing to pay for it however, because it’s extendable and lightweight enough to operate it with one hand. It’s also made of ceramic so it’s very easy to maintain.

Favourite area of the home:

M: The loft, of course! I like to relax and chill on there with a good read.

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On their biggest challenge:

Z: When we first received our keys from the developer in November, we did a defects check and noticed many hairline cracks on the wall and holes, here and there. Hence, we asked them to rectify it. When we came back to review the defects one month later in December, we spotted some defects that still weren't rectified. We had to lodge a defects report again and had no choice but to wait.

M: Since the developer was taking quite long to fix the defects, we decided to proceed with the renovation and asked the developer to continue rectifying the defects once our renovation ended. Up till today, they’re still rectifying the defects. It’s really quite tedious for us as we have to keep cleaning up each time after each work session.

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Advice to other homeowners:

M: You really need to have a lot of time on hand during the renovation. Certain things can’t be rushed. Make sure you have enough time to do your homework and check for defects before the renovation commences. If your budget allows it, get a professional to help you to conduct the defects check.

Z: It’s good to know what you want when it comes to your furniture. Instead of running about like a headless chicken, have a plan, and it will save you plenty of time.

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