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You’ll Want to Copy Every Inch of This Airy, Leafy Resale

August 27, 2018

It was the abundance of light filtering through their home’s full-length windows that caught their eye - and also sealed the deal - for homeowners Anthony and Jade (@houseofchais).

‘That, and the fact that it was near our parents’ place too,’ adds Anthony.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

Inspired by their top-floor unit’s sunny layout, the couple spared no expense in turning the resale condo into a bright, breezy abode the stuff of Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds. No kidding - they even raised the ceiling in their living room, to allow more light to ‘flood' into their space.

And it doesn’t stop there, as every small detail is carefully considered. White kitchen appliances were meticulously sourced to match with the kitchen’s white marbled tiles, and furniture legs were individually spray-painted by the duo for a ‘lighter, airier’ look. Look closely, and you’ll even notice the bedroom’s chevron-patterned stucco walls providing a subtle visual backdrop.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

Call it perfectionism? We’d call it dedication. Finished with warm, wooden elements and a healthy dose of leafy greens, stepping into their picture-perfect abode is like a breath of fresh air – comforting and relaxing.

We’re already dreaming of lazy weekends and peaceful mornings in here... and it isn’t even our home! So, the next best thing we could settle with? Ask Anthony and Jade themselves how they did it all:

About Themselves:

Jade (J): I’m Jade (28) and I’m doing marketing for a pharmaceutical company. My husband Anthony (30) works in the finance industry.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

Why they chose this home:

Anthony (A): I think the main reason why we chose to settle down here was because it was near my parent’s place. We were looking for a slightly older development - we didn’t want to go for a newly built condominium, as most of them are really tiny. We wanted more space, and additional rooms, and this unit fit the bill!

Before: Entryway and Living Room

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

J: Another reason was also because we liked the amount of natural light coming in here. There are a lot of windows, and because we live on the top floor, we were even able to hack away the existing ceiling to raise its height to allow more light into the space.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About their home’s look:

A: Well, Jade did most of the designing…

J: He let me take over the design side of things, as long as I kept things from looking too 'feminine' (laughs). We did have a concept in mind, basically something Scandinavian, mid-century and colonial. We also knew that we wanted certain materials in the house, like brass, wood and marble. Sometimes, we’d check out homes on Pinterest or follow people on Instagram for ideas. But we don’t exactly copy them look for look - we wanted our space to be original.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

A: We kind of knew the rough look we wanted to go for too, but we didn’t have like a detailed image of it in the beginning. The entire look of the home was shaped as we went along the renovation.

Before: Dining Area

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About changes made with the layout:

J: I wouldn’t say that we did a major flip-over - the whole apartment’s layout is as-is. However we did hack the walls to the kitchen and the cabinets to open up that area. Also, we combined two bedrooms to create our sleeping space plus en-suite bathroom and walk-in-wardrobe area.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About how they achieved a light and airy look:

J: We went for a more neutral, muted palette, as we wanted to accentuate the amount of light coming into the apartment. Rich, vivid colours like red or violet would have taken the focus off that. We kept to a predominantly white scheme, but we used white marble to create texture.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

J: I think the effect we wanted to achieve was something spacious, comfortable and happy. So we tried to incorporate plants to add a hint of freshness to the space. Another key styling trick was going for furniture with skinny legs that would allow light to pass through and make the space look sleeker instead of clunky and cluttered. We even spray painted a couple of our furniture legs white, to make them seem as if they were ‘floating’.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About working with an interior designer for their renovation:

A: We did consider going for a contractor, and should have went for one on hindsight, but engaging an ID was good for us as well, as we were both busy, and unable to always oversee the renovation.

Before: Kitchen

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

J: Also, though we had an idea of what we wanted, we still needed someone to draw out the technical drawings and also advise us on what can or cannot work in a space. We felt that having an ID was helpful in that sense.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About dealing with challenges along the way:

J: While it wasn’t a nightmare, our renovation process wasn’t smooth either. On top of delays and the need for us to chase to get things done quicker (as we wanted the home to be up by a certain date), there were issues of certain ideas not being able to work out as we expected. And, we changed some ideas along the way as well.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

A: For instance, we initially wanted to have our wood floor planks chevron-laid. However, it was difficult for the workers to get the alignment right. We actually laid the planks for almost half of the living room, and the lines went off. In the end, we decided to remove and restart with different planks and do a herringbone lay.

About evolving the space with time:

J: If you looked at the initial drawings given to us, things are completely different. The light, airy theme still stays, but the elements that make up of it are changed.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

A: We changed many ideas along the way, which might have inconvenienced (and frustrated) our ID a lot! We actually wanted a marble bordered floor skirting with brass trimmings, but we decided it looked too commercial. We also wanted a white-washed brick wall, a claw-foot tub, and a fancy ‘creeping’ floor using hexagonal marble tiles, but it was too difficult to execute.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

J: Likewise, we slowly made additions and alterations over time, like the DIY spray-paint jobs, the trellis by our balcony, and the addition of plants and decor. While it’s efficient to get everything styled and designed at one shot, it’s good to simply build on the design. It makes for a better designed space, and is a clearer reflection of your tastes and personalities.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

About sourcing for furniture, decor and accents:

A: When you purchase in Singapore, it’s the standard stores. We went to Castlery, Etch and Bolts, and we customised our living room console from a store in Tan Boon Liat.

Before: Master Bedroom

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

J: For small decor, we sourced some of them from sites like Urban Outfitters, as well local decor store Affordable Style Files. Our lighting is mainly from Taobao, as are the cabinet handles and shower accessories. We got some of our planters from Tumbleweed.

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

On their biggest splurges:

A: Oh, definitely the floors. We easily spent a five-digit sum on our flooring as it was real wood. Also, our appliances were pretty costly, as we wanted to go for white ones to match our white kitchen. For instance, our SMEG refrigerator was about $4,000. Our Samsung TV too; we didn’t want to go for a normal mounted one, so we got this easel-mount model, which can be moved around and is free from pesky wiring.

Before: Bathrooms

HouseofChais Home Feature Resale Condo Makeover

On their biggest bargains:

J: Can we say the marble tiles? As my mother works in the industry, we were able to get them at a much more affordable rate. Though in absolute terms, they are still pretty expensive… If not the next biggest bargains were the brass hardware that we sourced from Taobao, which were hard to find in Singapore!

Advice to new homeowners:

J: It's always important to keep looking and searching. Be it for renovation advice, or interior design and styling tricks, being exposed to more ideas from sources like social media, magazines, even online sites like Qanvast has sometimes helped us make a better informed decision about our space. It also helps you figure out what you truly want in your home.

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