Exploring The Coles’ Cosy Mid-Century Modern Maisonette Home

13 July 2021

At Home With 
Elaine Cole, Brand Manager at a local bank
A HDB Maisonette in Dakota with a Mid-Century Modern theme

Cost of Renovation $120,000, Project by Ebenezer Yoon

During a visit to a friend’s home, future homeowner Elaine Cole could not help but notice how beautifully designed the home was. “We were invited to our friend’s home and fell in love with the design of it,” Elaine shared. “It was simple yet cosy and very minimalistic; so our friend then informed us of the designer who helped design their home and that’s how we got to know of Ebe.”

Though she had already set her sights on Ebenezer Yoon, Elaine still shopped around for different designers on Instagram after getting the keys to her Maisonette home. “We wrote to a few different people,” she said. “But ultimately we still went with Ebe because we felt that he understood our requirements well.”

When Old Meets New

As a lot of the furniture pieces were brought over from Elaine’s previous home, the Mid-Century Modern design in the existing home was centered around the furniture pieces. “We approached Ebe with an open mind as we didn’t have a specific theme at first,” she explained. “We had only wanted the design to be based on our existing furniture and didn’t want the pieces to be too jarring.” 

The living room, which Ebenezer had extended by sealing up the balcony, is a spacious area for friends and family to get together. “One key thing that we shared with Ebe was that we love having friends over,” Elaine said. “Both the living room and kitchen serve as a social space, and now whenever our friends are over, they can’t decide which to hang out in!”

Flooring, lighting, carpentry laminates and other accessories were carefully selected to match with the existing furniture such as the sofa and coffee table. 

Following Designer Suggestions

The unit, which was over 30 years old, required an extensive overhaul as it was in its original condition. “It was previously tenanted out, but wasn’t kept in best condition,” Elaine said. “During renovation, Ebe discovered that the original floor was not of good quality and required hacking, something which we wanted to avoid at the beginning to not incur a high cost.”

Though it was not in the plan at first, Elaine ended up loving the tiles and even admitted that the kitchen tiles ended up being her favourite.

The kitchen before

The kitchen after

“When we first started the renovation, we gave a timeline of 3 months and thought that we could have moved in by then,” Elaine shared. “Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and it was delayed to 6 months.” 

Not only did the pandemic affect the timeline of her renovation journey, Elaine shared that there was a lot of stress added in the budget as well as they had to source for materials locally instead of Malaysia. On top of that, Elaine had found out that she was pregnant and they had to then adapt the design around the good news. 

The Right Designer with an Aesthetic Flair

“Initially, we had wanted a simple floor to ceiling kitchen entrance door, but Ebe felt that it would have looked better with an arch,” Elaine shared. “Though we were a bit hesitant about it at first, we went with his idea and ended up liking it so much! We’ve even gotten so many compliments about it.” 

“I think what’s most important in the right designer is that he needs to be able to complement your style,” she further explained. “We knew we needed an interior designer because we didn’t have an aesthetic eye, something which Ebe fit perfectly.” 

“We actually went to meet with a different designer before Ebe and when we were presented with the moodboard, the designer basically did not have much inputs and was like ‘it’s up to you’; we needed someone who had a point of view and an opinion and Ebe fit that perfectly.”

With any designer, Elaine shared, it is important to look for a complimentary skillset. “For our first home, we basically did everything ourselves as we hired contractors and oversaw the process,” she elaborated. “Since we were with our child this time around, we definitely would not have had the time to go to the house to monitor so we relied on Ebe to do that for us.”

“He was very accommodating and it was a pleasant experience that we had with him; he was receptive to feedback and we really had no major issues working with him.”

The second floor of the Maisonette home includes an inbuilt light, designed by Ebenezer, within the wall so that Elaine and her children can go to the bathroom without switching on the main lights. 

A Little Tip

“If your budget allows, do try to do everything you can at the first round as moving in and then doing renovation works is very stressful and not worth it,” Elaine shared. “Having been through that and experiencing the dust and noise, it’s not ideal.”

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