For most folks, pulling off a renovation often entails tons of hands-on, physical work. Think meeting IDs, visiting material showrooms or even overseeing the works done during renovation.
If you think that sounds tough - what happens when you have to do it all, whilst overseas? That’s what homeowners Selwyn and Lousiana had to face when planning their BTO renovation. Situated in Shanghai at the time, the couple sought to do up their home for moving into when they got back. Well, ‘challenging’ would be an understatement.
Through careful communication and working with the right ID, the jet-setting duo pulled off this wildly difficult feat - creating the sleek, space-savvy abode they had envisioned ‘remotely’! Having settled back, we sat down to learn more about their one-of-a-kind renovation journey.
I’m Selwyn (36) and an advertising creative director. My wife, Lousiana (35) is a teacher.
We wanted to create more storage space as BTO flats are getting smaller these days, as well as retain the sense of spaciousness - these were the two foremost functional requirements we set out for our home.
Our home’s design:
When it came to the design aesthetics of our home, we wanted to blend certain styles to create something inimitable, something no one could really define. The truth is, we had to explore along the way to get there. There was no pre-determined look we had in mind. In our opinion, minimalist-industrial meets Scandinavian was what we ended up with.
The place we are proudest of has to be our open kitchen area! It’s functional and space-saving, without compromising on aesthetics. We loved how efficiently the space was used - for instance, our kitchen countertop also doubles as a convenient dining table.
About finding an ID:
Our renovation was special in the sense that we are working in Shanghai and managing the process remotely! Being overseas meant that we are not always available onsite to monitor things. As a result, we needed someone who was able to give us comprehensive advice and be an extra pair of eyes for our renovation. Basically, a project manager with an eye for design.
Kobe from KDOT Associates stepped up to that role on both points. We found him on Qanvast and shortlisted him with other designers we had in mind. Email and phone correspondence were set up with each, and during a trip back to Singapore, we met up with two interior designers personally. What also made us decide on Kobe was because he shared our design aesthetic, and he understood the feasibilities that came with it.
About renovating whilst overseas:
There were certainly a lot of challenges! Besides not being able to be physically there to see the works done, we also had to be very precise with what we needed. As we were unable to discuss with Kobe about our needs in person, we constantly exchanged comprehensive moodboards and references exchanged throughout the ideation process to ensure we were on the right direction. Our parents played a big role in this by being constantly onsite to monitor the progress, liasing with Kobe and giving us regular updates.
Of course, it also helped that Kobe was very responsive throughout the entire process. Closely overseeing our renovation works, he was also a problem solver and always looking for ways to address our challenges. Which helps, especially if there were any unforeseen hiccups along the way.
Favourite furniture buys:
Well, residing in Shanghai came with a huge benefit called Taobao! There are many items we shipped over or just carried back with us during our visits back home. Our bathroom and lighting fixtures were all purchased from Taobao, costing just one-fifth of what you’d find in Singapore. Throw in shipping fees and we would still save considerably. We even shipped over our kitchen sink as we wanted something that comes with dual compartments. We found a Taobao vendor who could customise the sink according to our requirements.
What friends and family say:
We have been told by friends who visited us that the carpentry workmanship was top notch, a result of how detail-oriented Kobe was throughout the process.
To sum up…
Our renovation journey was a learning experience as there were just so many unforeseen factors that could come into play. Sometimes we had to give up certain nice-to-haves - but overall, it led us to a different outcome that we still loved!
Want to emulate the look in your home?
We can connect you with interior firms who can help to do a similar style. Send in your request here and we will handpick a list of firms that fit your budget and style.Want more more useful renovation tips? Download the Qanvast app here. Save your favourite images, discover new home products or simply read up on handy hacks that will aid your renovation journey!