Architecture designer Ching Hei has lived in Singapore since his family emigrated from Hong Kong when he was nine.
He returned to Hong Kong to continue his postgraduate studies and worked there for about two years later. He loved hanging out in Kennedy Town, an area that is undergoing gentrification. "Many of the old buildings in Kennedy Town are undergoing a renovation process.
The apartment buildings of the 60s and 70s are being occupied by trendy cafes and sophisticated restaurants. "When he returned to Singapore and bought an apartment with his wife, Eng Yu Jia, purchasing manager, Kennedy The city's blend of old and new provided the inspiration of the design for the modern vintage concept of the house.
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The decision to design your home came naturally. "As architectural designers, most of us have dreams of designing our own homes," he confesses.
It was also about being able to have complete control, down to the details. "Of course being involved in the whole process would also allow me to exercise better budgetary control," he adds.
As an architectural designer, how different is it to work on a client's project instead of your own home?
I know what I want without asking questions or guessing. With the design of a customer, you need to come up with an end product. With my own home, I like it to be a perpetual work in progress. It should be complete enough to live comfortably, but allow room to add or make modifications according to changing taste, lifestyle or family needs.
Tell us more about the chevron motif in your home.
I was inspired by Tai and Rosita Missoni, who created the signature stripe design in 1962. Their popularity peaked in the 1970s, so I decided to incorporate this motif into my design to enhance the modern vintage theme.
What is your interpretation of modern vintage?
Modern vintage is the integration of old and new, but is usually expressed in a very industrial way, which I find very cold for residential purposes. My opinion about the modern vintage is warmer and cozier, combining modern design with vintage motifs.
What aspect of overseeing the entire renovation project is more challenging?
During the renovation, some things did not end as expected. Instead of making a contractor redo something, I'd rather solve problems by doing my best and exploring what can be done to save it.
For example, the half-height wall of the kitchen was not built to my specification, which had implications for whether I could use the granite I had requested, which I intended to put on the wall to form a countertop. In the end, I found the solution of adding an L-shaped wood cover over a smaller piece of granite.
Do you think you were able to control your budget better because you designed and managed the entire project yourself? Please share some DIY cost saving tips.
Definitely. I spent about $ 50,000 on retirement and also saved on the design fee. It would have been a larger number if I had outsourced the project.
I know people in the industry, so I got contractor prices.
I got the teak floor directly from a timber supplier and got to get it at about 40% of the market rate. I saved some money by asking for some items, such as Taobao bathroom accessories.
But it is not always about lower prices. I realized that with the same budget, you could get something of better quality online compared to brick and mortar stores.
For example, the wooden furniture you get from the stores may only have a veneer or laminate finish, but for the same price, I can get a solid wood online.
This article was first published in Home & Decor.
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