Put off by a bad experience, this couple decided to avoid wood at all costs in their new BTO flat, opting instead for stainless steel and a monochromatic industrial theme.
Wood has a lovely, natural look to it—but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. For Rachel (@racheeng) and Aaron, it reminds them of a particularly bad experience, which scared them off the material for good.
“We both come from quite cluttered families,” shares Rachel. “My parents’ place had a termite scare so we were very aligned on not having any built-ins in the house.” The theme, then, was clear from the start: zero carpentry, zero wood. But how did they go from there?
The minimalist industrial look came to them quite naturally (albeit slowly) as the couple travelled and took cues from hotels both in Singapore and abroad, paying attention to the features that drew them in.
Eventually, it all fell into place. As they had a clear idea of what they wanted and knew they would opt out of the typical built-ins, they went without an interior designer— a bold decision for first-time homeowners.
For others considering going down the DIY route, Rachel recommends a willingness to put in the work—and good communication skills. “Be prepared to put in the time and effort. You have to be very clear about what you want in order to communicate with your contractor. We visited our place almost every other day during the renovation period just to ensure that things were moving smoothly.”
On the bright side, she looks back on the renovation rather fondly. “Enjoy the process! I won’t say I miss the renovation period but I did enjoy the planning and shopping.”
Renovating a home involves a lot of practical thinking and prioritising, not just in terms of planning the design, but especially when it comes to budgeting. Having gone through the entire process without a designer to guide them, Rachel and Aaron learned a thing or two about savings.
“Sign-up for a credit card with cashback perks before purchasing the large-ticket items,” recommends Rachel. “Take note of key campaign periods on Shopee and Lazada and save your purchases until then—sometimes they have a 0% instalment plan as well.”
One handy tip we hadn’t heard before? “Some stores allow you to lock in the prices of big-ticket items with a small deposit. If you already know what items you want, it’s good to reach out early and secure those pieces.”
Home sweet home
Having now lived in their home for some time, the couple has established their favourite spaces in the flat. For Aaron, it’s a rather unconventional choice, but one we can get behind: “Having a bathtub was a childhood dream of mine and my only request to Rachel, so I’ll have to say my favourite area is the main bathroom.”
Rachel, on the other hand, fell in love with the living room, or rather the view of it when she opens the bedroom door in the morning. “The feeling is just surreal, especially in December when we have our live Christmas tree at the corner.” All in all, the couple couldn’t be happier with how their self-designed abode turned out.
This post was adapted from an article originally published in IdealHomes 2022.