Tuesday, April 02, 2013

designing a showroom vs building a home

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long before PP and i got our keys, we were already planning what we wanted in our house. PP's criteria was simple: he just needed a toothbrush and a bed -_- i, on the other hand, am alittle more complicated :) 

nonetheless, we were sure that a house was after all, a place to live in. yes, the houses we see on interior design magazines look so pristine, but eventually, we fell into a pattern where decisions were based more on what we needed and less on how it would look. of course, if it fulfilled both that would definitely be a bonus! :)

hence, we took time to consider each portion of the house and what function we wanted them to have. 

living room + study area

what's your living room like? in singapore, im pretty certain 9 out of 10 houses would have the television as the central focus in the living room. hence the popular concept of feature walls, with sofas adjusted such that they face the television. we were not avid TV fans, and a living room should after all, be for living. this would be the place where we chat, relax after a meal, read, and fellowship. our living room therefore does not have a television or a feature wall. it does, however, have a desk space for an iMac which is versatile and serves the functions we require. any storage is always good :) so we tucked a full length cabinet at the corner, for things such as paper, cartridges, chargers, wires and random everyday things that we want to keep hidden, and yet access easily. 

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since the living room would probably be the place we spend our days, it was best if the space was bigger. in truth, it was tiny! we decided to knock down one wall, to open up the space, and combine the living with the study. we wanted the space to be as open, clean and as "airy" as possible. some tips i picked up along the way: 

1) align the bulky furniture, like cupboards, shelves and tables along the sides of the walls. walls were very precious when we were doing our space planning. it was like fitting a jigsaw, to see what ought to be placed against the wall and what did not. 

2) buy low-lying furniture (sofa, coffee table, beds...) 

3) put the tall and bulky furniture (like full length cabinets etc) in corners so they don't interrupt the visual space. 

4) think before hand what kind of wires need to be concealed! for us, we forgot entirely about the internet modem and all the wires, which do a fantastic job at cluttering up the space. thank God we found appropriate furniture to conceal them eventually!

5) choose warm colours, both for the walls and the furniture. they really do wonders in opening up the space!

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the open space would be lovely to welcome visitors and for baby E to run around next time :) it would hopefully also be a place for schooling, learning and crafting - how convenient that the bomb shelter was right there and by painting the door with chalkboard paint, it could serve as a magnetic doodle board! we got the paint from art friend at bouna vistathis and this are the popular brands and you can usually also find them at home-fix or diy stores. we asked the painter if there was need to sandpaper the door to smoothen the surface and he said no. cant give any feedback on how it is yet though, yet to use it :)

the brick walls (increasingly common nowadays, but still a feature we love) were immaculately put up by our contractor, Mr L. He has an eye for detail and any wet works and tiling done by him is excellent. he completed the wet works within a few days, beyond our expected timeline. the bricks (purchased by him for our behalf) are from Craftstone and we chose the lightest shade (Austin). all we had to do was select from a catalogue and he did the rest. he did recommend for us to go to the showroom to take a look but since we were sure we wanted the lightest shade, our decision making was easy. 

dining area 

meal times, i read in this book (which btw is a good book about motherhood!), are precious times to spend as a family, to communicate and to promote fellowship. it was definitely a tradition we wanted to keep. we decided to maximise the space by building a settee against the wall (ah, hidden storage). in future if there were gatherings, the table could be moved away for more space. it was long enough to seat more people at the dining area if necessary, and at the same time, accommodated a pull out tray for our printer.  (see photo below) sadly, though this was really nifty, we realised we forgot to consider how the dining table would block the opening of the cabinet, making it tough to access the printer :( well, we shall have to make adjustments in future! here are some more printer storage ideas :)

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at first, i was really keen on this dining table (seen at star living) - so affordable, scandinavian and chic! yet, it seemed rather small. the pricing was really attractive, and had the exact feel we wanted! but since dining together was a priority in our family, a larger dining space would be better. 


thank God for a fabulous brother who gamely agreed to customise an IKEA table for us. the outcome was fantastic! another post on that later :) 


the less clutter in these places, the better. an ideal bedroom in our opinion should consist only of the wardrobe and the bed. as i took time to think, i realised it would be nice to read there too. when i was young, i used to adore reading so much that i would hide books under my pillows and in the nooks of my bed, and whip out the books to read in semi-darkness. haha! we therefore set aside a space which could ideally, be the future reading corner for baby E, and had some built-in top hung bookshelves in our room :) 

there is a long corridor leading into our room, and the best way to maximise the space was to build bookshelves on top. inspiration from here



of course, there were many more practical decisions we had to make. although grills were ugly, they were necessary. cost was also something we always had to keep in mind :)

now, looking back, we are especially thankful and pleased. this is our home, a unique home built to suit our needs, based on our lifestyle. even if we engage the best designer who uses the best materials, he will never be able to build this home for us, for it is, at the end of the day, constituted by our family. this is where we will spend our days worshipping God and seeking to please Him even in everyday routines. after living here for almost a month, PP and i feel very blessed to have a place we can call home! of course, with a home comes vacuuming, mopping, cleaning, wiping etc..... but that is part of the blessing as well :p 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

paint the grills white? :)