Renovation Journey: A Bed and Breakfast in Clementi
At a glance
- Liong Koon and Jamie in their early 30s, finance and healthcare industry
- Size: 82sqm / 882sqf
- Location: Trivelis (DBSS)
- Cost of renovation: $15,000
- Cost of furnishing: $10,000
- Interior design firm: Quirky Idees
- Interior designer: Lopez Lam
Unlike most couples who choose to go the Build To Order (BTO) route, Liong Koon and Jamie decided to get a Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat instead as it was in an ideal location that kept them close to their families in the West.
Although their DBSS flat came fully furnished, there were some other defects in the flat that the couple had to iron out. The couple fortunately managed to get everything resolved with their interior designer, and they now have a B&B-inspired Scandinavian nest that allows them to display their many paintings collected from their globetrotting adventures.
We sat down with the couple to learn about the constraints and challenges that came up during their renovation their DBSS.
Qanvast: How did you find out about Qanvast, and did you find it useful?
Liong Koon (LK): We found out about Qanvast through a friend. He asked me to download the app, so I did. After getting this place, we sent a quote request and Qanvast recommended five interior designers.
The testimonies from past clients also helped us in our selection. I perceive Qanvast as a neutral platform when it comes to searching for interior designers.
Qanvast: How was the process of matching you to the interior designers?
Jamie (J): We told Qanvast roughly the idea we had in mind. Our house was going to be very small, hence we wanted a simple Scandinavian design. Qanvast recommended a few interior designers to us. From there, we arranged the first meeting with interior designers to get a rough quotation.
Qanvast: We love the look of your house! Why did you decide to go Scandinavian?
LK: We like light wood and its clean look, so Scandinavian fits in with what we like.
J: It’s also because we like travelling to Europe. We like the feeling of staying in an Airbnb that mostly have simple Scandinavian designs.
We collected paintings as we visited different countries as well. Hence, we told Lopez that that will be incorporated into our feature wall.
Qanvast: What made you decide to work with Lopez from Quirky Idees, and what did you like about working with him?
J: The first time we met I was a bit worried because he is very young. I did question him—what have you been doing, how many years of experience? I mean, because it’s our house he’s going to be working on. [laughs]
Rather than putting out all his ideas, Lopez listened to what we wanted. Perhaps it’s also due to his age; he could relate to what we like. He understood that we didn’t like to have many fixtures or unnecessary features at home.
LK: We like his approach in handling our project. He was very open to our suggestions and worked within our budget. Lopez was accommodating to our request by revising the initial renovation cost as well.
He understood the Scandinavian design elements, and encouraged us to go shopping and pick out the furniture that we liked. We also consulted him for his opinion, and if it suited the whole theme he would give us the go-ahead.
Qanvast: What about during the renovation process? Were there any issues that you faced?
J: The only issue we had was the shoe cabinet. We wanted to have this raw wood look, so they just varnished it. However, the edges of the carpentry work didn’t turn out refined.
LK: Lopez did try his best in rectifying this issue by coming down to fix it. In the end, we decided to just paint the edges black.
Qanvast: We heard that there are complaints over your DBSS. Can you share with us some of your experiences with a DBSS flat, and any unexpected discoveries?
LK: Actually, it was quite disappointing. When they advertised, it was portrayed as a “premium flat” with high quality furnishing. However, we quickly realised that the quality of the built-in features (e.g. air-con, flooring, cabinets, wardrobe, etc) fell short of our expectations after moving in.
For example, the dish rack is starting to rust. The water pipes aren’t supposed to be exposed and the kitchen top tends to be easily stained. We have had the Minster of Parliament (MP) step in to rectify these issues.
J: It was hilarious that the closet provided for DBSS was a basic one without any drawers or shelving. The DBSS flat was supposed to be fully furnished like the condos, but the closet had only a pole-system rack. We had to get our drawers from Ikea. I was so tempted to destroy the closet. On second thoughts, we might as well use it since we’ve already paid for it. [laughs]
Qanvast: Do you have any advice for couples who are renovating their homes?
LK: Agree on the budget first. Chemistry with the interior designer is also important.
J: It’s also important to research on the interior designer companies and making sure that there are no complaints. If there are mixed reviews, it’s better to not risk it.