Some homeowners like their interiors to match seamlessly—this couple went for the complete opposite with a vibrant, eclectic design that’s entirely their own.
Working as a content producer and a senior art director, Joy and Eddy (@ohkur.house) packed plenty of personality into their home renovation, keeping built-ins to a minimum and scouring Carousell for one-of-a-kind furnishings instead. A pair of creative homebodies, they crafted a home that’s eclectic, quirky and effortlessly inviting.
Much like their erratic furniture shopping, their house-hunting process was rather elaborate. “We were looking for a unit that’s a walkable distance from my parent’s place in Yishun,” Joy shares. “We viewed a total of 17 units before deciding on this one!”
Being a resale flat and 36 years old, the unit required some restoration works before the design plans could be applied. Once those works were completed by the design team at The 80s Studio, the real fun started.
“We wouldn’t be content to just settle into a functional home, we really wanted the flat to have some character! Basically, a home that’s an extension of our personalities and sparks joy in every corner.”
Now sharing the space with a cat and a guinea pig, the couple spends their days doing what they love most—fiddling with arts and crafts, watching YouTube videos and endlessly scrolling through Carousell. Here’s what the duo had to say about their renovation journey.
You took quite some time to find your perfect unit. What were some of your must-haves for the flat?
We had a pretty elaborate list when it came to shortlisting a unit. We wanted a flat on a high floor, ideally a corner unit for privacy, with an unblocked view, a squarish layout, hackable walls with no structural beams in the way, edge-to-edge windows, and windows on multiple sides of the flat for extra light, ventilation and golden hour sun.
We also wanted the home improvement programme to be done and dusted and for the unit to be in decent condition to minimise renovation works and costs. In terms of the surroundings, we required neighbours that respect the communal areas, a bus stop within 50 metres and good amenities within walking distance.
Your home is so vibrant and colourful. Can you tell us a bit about the aesthetic?
It’s truly a rojak mix of a lot of styles that we love! I think we’re borderline bohemian, Jungalow, rustic, eclectic, farmhouse and mid-century modern with some Bali and country vibes thrown in. Basically the extreme opposite of minimalism.
It probably sounds a little odd saying this, but we intentionally wanted to evoke different moods for the various spaces in the house! Plus, all the mismatched items we’ve been sourcing on Carousell would probably make it a challenge to stick to one theme anyway.
What were some of your top priorities for this renovation?
Besides an open-concept kitchen and a walk-in wardrobe, our main priority was for the space to be as editable as possible, so we didn’t plan for a lot of fixtures or built-ins. For instance, our study room was initially planned to be a shared office. Now it’s somehow become our cat’s room! Having a space that’s editable allows it to adapt to your lifestyle needs and also helps to keep things fresh.
You tackled most of the designing for your interiors—would you try renovating without a professional designer if you got the chance in the future?
As first-time homeowners, we had the impression that contractors are intimidating and hard to manage. Now that we have more experience with the renovation process, we would definitely want to try the DIY route, especially as we can cover the designing side!
Any favourite features in the house?
That would be the arched glass window in our study room! We installed it to allow more light to flow into the dining area and to open up the space more. Now that our study is also a cat room, we love to look at him through the window. Some of my friends have joked that this area feels like a cat cafe!
Renovations tend to be pretty eventful—any strange anecdotes to share?
During the furnishing phase, we bought a rug on Carousell and it happened to be fairly nearby, so we went to pick it up on foot late at night to save on some transport costs.
We had to cut through a park on the way back, so just imagine two adults lugging around a large, rolled-up rug late at night… in Yishun. We felt like we were trying to dispose of a body!
What were some of the biggest challenges during the renovation?
Decision-making was definitely one of them. I always joke about having commitment issues—I can’t even bring myself to commit to an iron-on patch because it’s so permanent. Imagine my stress at having to commit to things for an entire house!
Luckily for me, my husband used Photoshop, SketchUp and 3D Max to help me visualise the interiors so I could make firm decisions. But then sometimes when I finally made that confident decision, items would suddenly be out of stock or discontinued and I would be off my game again.
Having done your renovation on a budget, do you have any tips for saving money during a home reno?
Thoroughly consider your needs and wants. We’ve always wanted our balcony windows to open and slide all the way to the edge for a fully unblocked view, but the current windows are perfectly functional with a decent design and great view, so we ended up keeping them to cut those costs.
Some things can just be refreshed instead of replaced, like room doors—they often just need a layer of paint. We all have wishlist items we’d love to get, but there’s no point rushing! We can always upgrade along the way when our priorities change and our pockets recover.
Last but not least, what’s your top advice for homeowners renovating for the first time?
Join the homeowners’ Instagram community! You get to learn from others’ renovation mistakes and seek advice and opinions from the many friendly, helpful and insightful homeowners online.
Also, have in-depth conversations with your partner about your needs and wants for your home—what to splurge on and what to save on. Compare quotes from multiple vendors and don’t be afraid to ask for an elaborate cost breakdown.
This post was adapted from an article originally published in IdealHomes 2022.