Old Souls in a Modern World: Inside Ian and Alina Chen’s Mid-Century Modern Home

18 May 2021

At Home With 
Ian, a Programme Manager and Alina Chen, Business Development in a Non-Profit Organisation
A HDB Unit in Punggol with a Mid-Century Modern theme

Cost of Renovation $90,000, Project by Edwin Chong

With so many options to choose from when it comes to finding the perfect designer for one’s home, it can be quite hard to narrow it down to the right one. After all, so much information is available to us in this digital day and age. 

For Ian and Alina Chen, this was an important step as they were about to embark on renovating their first home together after getting married. Meeting Edwin Chong and going on this journey with him would not have been possible without the designer’s morals and work ethics. 

A Theme of Their Own

“We have a running joke with Edwin (our designer) that we coined our own theme,” Ian laughed. “We’re both very traditional; we enjoy the shophouse look of old metal gates and rattan furniture so we came up with this ‘Nostalgic Scandinavian’ theme for our home.”

Apart from the old-school look, Ian and Alina shared that they wanted to incorporate the use of wood and plants to the space, along with features that were low maintenance and practical. 

The five metre tall herringbone patterned wood and concrete textured wall is one of the main features of this home. The contrasting textures help draw focus on the space. 

“What was helpful with Edwin was that he had helped to conceptualise our ideas to make it practical,” Alina shared. “He also made practical suggestions that could go with our lifestyles.” A transformable table, which can be extended for gatherings, has been integrated with the kitchen island and is one of the practical features of the home that they had requested for. 

“Since it was going to be the 2 of us most of the time, we didn’t want a large dining table that would take up a lot of space,” Ian shared. “Since there was also no dining area based on the house’s layout, we told Edwin of this idea and he started to give us a few options.” 

A Designer who Gives His 100%

“We approached other interior designers as well but felt that Edwin was someone we could trust,” Ian shared. “There were a lot of sharing of ideas, bouncing off each other’s ideas and Edwin helped to provide a 3D concept of what it’ll look like.”

As first time homeowners, the couple shared that this was a learning experience as there was so much to know about the types of cabinet and carpentry and Edwin was willing to go on this learning journey with them. “He is very customer oriented and prompt,” Alina said. “He was so excited just to be on this journey with us as well and that was what we really appreciated.”

One such example would be when the couple had to decide on a wall colour for their home. “We were considering 3 or 4 different colours and also couldn’t decide if we wanted it to be a half or full wall,” Alina shared. “Edwin came up with different options for us. When he wasn’t satisfied with the colour combination, he would redo it and send it over, no matter if it were a weekend or weekday and we really appreciated the responsiveness.”

When problems arose during the renovation process, Edwin’s honesty was another factor that Ian and Alina praised. “When they were replacing the tiles in the bathroom during the renovation process, the plumber had identified a mouldy pipe and told Edwin,” Ian explained. “He then informed us of this and suggested that we get it replaced as it will be bad in the long run.” 

“Instead of covering the problems up, Edwin would actively share it with us then propose solutions to help.”

A Little Tip

“I would recommend that for couples, it’s important to come to an agreement as to what the home is going to be for their life,” Ian said. “Would you be staying in it for the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years or for a longer term? With this, it will guide you as to how much you are willing to spend on your equipment and furnishing, which is a good starting point for your budgeting and what you want for your home.”

“It is also important to find an interior designer whom you can trust. Even now when there are problems with our home, I will reach out to Edwin and if he is on site, he will actually take videos and guide me on how I can fix the issue.” 

For Alina, she shared that a good tip to follow would be prioritising your budget. “You’d have to see where your priorities are,” she explained. “Keep tabs on it, as sometimes you may need to make decisions on the spot.”

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