Pam and Martin, a young married couple, decided to upgrade from their rental unit when their son, Marcel, was born. They hired Shan Wong for the renovation of their resale 4-room HDB flat in Tiong Bahru. Here’s Pam’s story.
What made you want to upgrade from a rental flat in Geylang to a purchased flat in Tiong Bahru?
We spent a few years living in Geylang and the east side of Singapore and enjoyed it there. But after the arrival of our little bundle of joy Marcel, we decided to get our own home to raise our boy and have more stability. My parents live close to Tiong Bahru, so we thought it would be best to find a home nearby. We eventually decided to go for a 4-room HDB resale unit. Here we have three advantages, first, my parents can spend more time with Marcel. Second, we have such a lovely neighbourhood: it’s a heritage area which is very vibrant and diverse. Third, our unit is centrally located, so it is easy to get public transport and dine out as there are many cafés and restaurants in the vicinity and reach key parts of the city.
Why did you decide to work with an interior designer?
See, we had some ideas and concepts for our house, but we did not know how to get started. We thought of hiring a pro to put the jigsaw puzzle of our ideas together and turn it into a beautiful and functional space. Luckily, we knew Shan personally, and we had seen her previous work. So, when the time came, without thinking twice, we approached her.
What were your expectations of an interior designer?
I think most people invest their hard-earned money and precious time once or twice into a home and renovation project; therefore, the outcome should be near perfect. That is only possible if the ID understands you and your preferences and provides a solution within the budget. With their experience, IDs don’t miss small details which usually go unnoticed for us. For our own house, we expected the ID we worked with to know us and our lifestyle, understand our goals, ideas, and budget. Moreover, we expected the designer to come out with a practical approach to allow for “expansion” if little Marcel would get a sibling.
Did these expectations get fulfilled? Did they get exceeded?
Well, quite honestly Shan exceeded our expectations entirely. She keenly listened to us and understood our ideas and concepts and gave her best shot to provide a design that balanced our taste, personality, needs, and budget. We heard so many renovation nightmare stories but with Shan as the lead coordinator of the project, our journey from house to home was very smooth and pleasant. Her design brought us many compliments from friends and family. The warmth and comfort we feel at our home are unparalleled. Yes, there were few hiccups during the process which is quite normal, but the way Shan dealt with the situation was remarkable. She resolved the issues without stressing or involving us much, merely keeping us informed. So, we were quite stress-free which in our case was an important factor. My husband and I are two busy professionals with a young toddler and had no bandwidth to look into all the on-goings. We’re glad we could trust Shan with getting the job done.
What type of home were you looking for? What style?
We wanted a well-lit and well-ventilated comfy home with mainly wooden and natural colours. I would say our style was a hybrid of Scandinavian and Japanese Muji styles.
You have a young Boy, Marcel. Did Shan Wong take this into account and design specifically with a child in mind? How so?
Yes she did. The best thing about her is she works for her clients. So, when it came to our boy’s room, she not only addressed the current needs of our family but also gave us tips and suggestions for the future. As for Marcel’s room, she advised us less is more. Physical activities are vital for kids; so to give him more space for playing, she kept the décor simple and kept built-in furnishings to a minimum, allowing for changes if required. Another benefit of this design was that it provided a neutral canvas that could easily be upgraded later on. We are so glad we followed her advice as we now can change and re-decorate Marcel’s room as he grows.
What would you recommend other Singaporeans looking to renovate their home?
Well, from my personal experience and in my opinion, you must reach out to a professional and experienced interior designer whose style you like. Working with a talented ID helped us get a space we gladly call home. You’ll find many renovation companies in the market that provide ID as part of their service, but the outcome is usually a copy-paste from other projects with minimal personal touches. So, it’s essential to look for a pro who can offer you a personalized and creative design to turn your dreams into reality.
More photos can be found on Shan’s website.