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William's Taobao Home Makeover: The Renovation

In collaboration with e-retailer Taobao, we follow the home transformation journeys of three homeowners, as they build their dream homes from scratch! From renovating to shopping online for their home, will the result be what they had always envisioned… or better?

This is the first article of a three-part series on William's Taobao Home Makeover.

Check out the rest of the series:

Part 2: William's Shopping Process | Part 3: William's Big Reveal

As they say, new place, new beginnings.

For homeowner William though, the move was more practical than spiritual. Working as a bus captain, he decided on a BTO in Keat Hong as it was closer to his workplace.

But with his wife working overseas and his own demanding work schedules, William needed someone to take over the matter of turning his bare flat into a livable space! While some homeowners may feel wary about leaving such a huge endeavour in the hands of someone else, William entrusted it all to his designer, Pricilla from Authors • Interior & Styling.

His main request? To create a simple, refreshing abode where he could unwind and indulge in one of his favourite hobbies - cooking. We chat with the two to find out more about the home’s design, and how Pricilla helped William in his rather ‘hands-off’ renovation:

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Homeowner William (right) and His Interior Designer, Pricilla (left)

About the homeowner

William (W): Hi, I’m William. I'm 50 and I work as a bus captain. I’m living with my wife (who's currently working overseas) and my daughter who is in her twenties.

About his BTO in Keat Hong

W: One of the reasons why we chose to settle in Choa Chu Kang is because nearer to my workplace. Currently I’m staying in Ang Mo Kio, which makes commuting a hassle. In terms of the home’s layout, there wasn’t much to recover or improve on as it’s completely new. However, I do love the amount of light in brings in and the view from our eighth-floor flat.

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Floor Plan of the 4-Room HDB Flat with Furniture by Pricilla

About he and his family's must-haves

W: There were three things. The main area I wanted to focus on was the kitchen, because I like cooking - it’s my hobby. The second is the dining area as it’s the place where family members can gather around. Lastly, we wanted the living room to be cosy and comfortable, as that would be the first place I would go after a tiring day at work.

About his home’s design

W: We (my wife and I) didn’t really have an idea of how we wanted the place to look, but we told Pricilla that we liked dark wood and whites.

Pricilla (P): Their layout is quite simple, and because of the natural sunlight filtering into the home, we decided that the dark wood was a good match and wouldn’t make the flat look cramped or dim. The palette we went for consisted of whites, woods in varying shades and light greys.

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Mood Board of Proposed Palette

On why they decided to engage Pricilla from Authors

W: We're totally new to this! We don't have a particular design in mind, nor an inkling of what we should do when renovating. Pricilla really helped us in that aspect, coming up with design proposals, giving us a lot of information and guidelines as to how we could go about planning the renovation. She was also able to work within our budget, and provide useful storage solutions for our limited kitchen space.

W: For the most part, we entrusted her with our renovation. Because of our busy schedules, it was good that she was there to take over things - we only had to choose between materials and designs she shortlisted for us, making the whole process really smooth and easy.

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During the Renovation: William's L-Shaped Kitchen

On designing William’s dream kitchen

P: Initially, the couple wanted to do an open-concept kitchen. But considering that William enjoys cooking, it would be unwise as fumes and smells would spread. In the end, we went with an L-shaped layout (instead of the usual one-line configuration) with cabinets in the top and bottom.

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During the Renovation: Opting For Cost-Effective Vinyl Flooring (LC3160 Lava from Inovar)

About choosing the right materials

P: To keep cleaning and maintenance easy, I suggested going for vinyl floors that are not only affordable, but scratch resistant and waterproof. We chose a dark, wood-effect design that’s similar to real parquet, but without the hassle of scratches and polishing. In terms of laminates, we opted for with soft matte finishes from EDL and Lam Chuan, which won’t easily get scratched as compared to glossy ones.

About going for a budget-friendly design

P: William and his wife had a tight budget to work on, so I had to think of solutions that worked for their budget. One way of dealing with that was going for simple carpentry and reducing the amount of carpentry works done. We only did the built-ins for the kitchen and the bedroom wardrobe. The rest of the home would be decked with loose furnishings.

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During the Renovation: Built-In Wardrobe in the Bedroom

Other cost-saving design tips

P: A lot of homeowners try to hide their wires and cables with a TV feature wall. But if you're on a budget, get a standing TV on a loose console, and tuck the wires behind the console to hide it - you won't be able to see the mess!

William’s thoughts about the renovation

W: The whole renovation is something new to me, and frankly, quite fun! It wasn't draining because we got a good interior designer, and trusted her to get the job done - which she has. I’m also excited to see the final result. It’s fascinating witnessing the house being transformed - it's a bit like watching a magic show!

Next up in William’s home transformation journey, he and designer Pricilla share more about picking the right furniture pieces for their home, and their shopping experience on Taobao! Click here to read on.

Your Dream Taobao Home Starts Here!

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