At Home With
Brendan and Amrita
A HDB Maisonette in Hougang with an Aussie-inspired theme
Cost of Renovation $100,000, Project by Alvin Ang
For most homeowners, the renovation journey is almost always a stressful one due to many aspects – finding the perfect designer, working with timelines and even dealing with unforeseen circumstances such as delays. This journey was no different for Brendan and Amrita, Director of Analytics and Insights for a FMCG company, who were actually based in Australia throughout the entire process, which even included purchasing their home while being miles away.
“Viewing homes while being based overseas was really difficult,” Amrita shared. “Since we were moving back with our child who was one and a half years old at that time, we wanted a larger unit which was already partially renovated and preferably walking distance to the MRT.”
Taking Inspiration from the Land Down Under
“During our years spent in Australia, we simply fell in love with the whole lifestyle and concept of their homes,” Amrita said. “We both love nature and the outdoors, and felt that the style of the Aussie Suburban homes fit us the best since the colour schemes are mostly white to keep things simple and beautiful.”
As such, most of their furniture and detailing incorporates the use of wood and white colours to recreate the nostalgic feeling of being back in Australia.
In the living room with no TV, the two large sofas and island counter is used for gatherings
Amrita shared that there are at least 100 plants in her home right now
A Rocky Start
“When we first started looking for a designer, we actually used one of those interior design platforms which claims to guarantee you high quality designers,” Amrita said. “So we filled up the form and had 5 designers reach out to us and had even met all of them as well.”
Since they were not going to be based in Singapore during the duration of their renovation, trust was the most important factor for the couple. “We wanted to be updated throughout the entire process hence we requested to have video calls when it came to choosing the materials and stuff,” she explained. “As we already had a clear image of what we wanted, we really were looking for someone we could trust.”
The initial meetings with the different designers did not go as smoothly as planned as Amrita shared that there was no rapport. “We made a PowerPoint presentation and a moodboard of exactly what we wanted and showed them to the designers,” she said. “But a lot of the times, they wanted to categorise our ideas to fit a specific theme of theirs – something which was not what we were going for.”
The Start of a Long Distance Relationship
Things finally looked up for them when they met Alvin, whose patience and willingness to try was the deciding factor for Brendan and Amrita. “Alvin, though quiet, was very patient with us and paid a lot of attention to our presentation!” Amrita laughed. “He asked the right questions and was genuinely interested in getting to know us as people first before getting started on the house.”
With the knowledge gained from learning about them and from their moodboard, Alvin was able to piece together the design and bring the couple’s ideas to life.
In the open kitchen concept designed by Alvin, wood panels and groove lines were added on the kitchen cabinets to replicate the Aussie vibes. “As we already knew what we wanted, Alvin managed to fit everything together nicely and super responsive,” Amrita shared. “I told him that our appliances needed to be built-in because we’ve always had that in Australia, so he did a jigsaw configuration in 3D that would show us some of the places where we could fit our appliances in.”
To add to the natural look of the home, wood panels and groove lines were designed on the kitchen cabinets.
Trusting in the Right Designer
Throughout the journey, Alvin had constantly communicated with the couple to ensure that they were just as involved with the decision making process as he was. “We would set up time to jump on a call, and each time Alvin went to choose certain materials for our home he would always video call us to make sure that we could choose,” Amrita said. “He’d send us dozens of pictures to ensure that we were comfortable with it before purchasing.”
Apart from the trust, Alvin’s responsiveness was also something that the couple praised. “Whenever there was something in the 3D drawing that we did not like, Alvin would amend it straightaway,” she shared. “Sometimes it could take a few days for other designers to revise the 3D design but for him he’d give it to us around 5 minutes later and even gave us 3 to 4 of these designs to show the evolution.”
Though it has been a few years since the renovation was completed, Amrita still finds herself going back to Alvin when it comes to her home. An example of this would be the daybed that was customised to also double up as a storage space.
“I’m so happy with the daybed that Alvin had helped us with,” Amrita shared. “I called him and shared with him my idea for this and he got it done right away – this was delivered to me about 6 months ago.”
A Little Tip
When it comes to one’s personal renovation journey, Amrita shared that understanding and maximising the budget is really important. “Instead of saying, ‘I want everything!’, you should know what you are willing to spend on and if it’s worth it,” she shared. “It’s also good to be clear about the theme that you want in your home and whether it’s a theme that best defines what you and your family loves.”
“Of course, do also invest in a good interior designer for your home!”
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