Sembawang

Resale executive maisonette first storey living area.

Sembawang

Project type: Residential
Location: Sembawang, Singapore.

cosy warm house blah blah blah

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction and reinstatement services,
do feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation page here.

7 Design and Storage Ideas for Tiny Bathrooms​

Tiny bathroom design with white and wood elements.

Tiny bathroom design with white and wood elements.

7 Design and Storage Ideas for Tiny Bathrooms

November 19 was World Toilet Day! We posted an infographic on Instagram with Tiny Bathroom Ideas that received some wonderful support from our followers, so we’re back with more tips and tricks!

Bathrooms shouldn’t have to take a back seat when designing your home. It’s a private area where comfort should be prioritised, even for tiny spaces. We share some tips on designing and styling tiny bathrooms.

Modern bathroom vanity area and bathtub with white and grey elements.

1. Combine the bathtub and shower area against the farthest wall.

Bathtubs shouldn’t have to be a luxury in Singapore. Belle, a designer at Alexis Interior, designed this bathroom with opulence and comfort in mind, and what bathtubs and rain showers exude just that.

To maximise space, harmonise the bathtub and shower area so that you don’t have to allocate additional floor space to a separate shower. To make further efficient use of space, position this killer combination against the farthest wall in the bathroom to make space for other features, such as a vanity area with ample storage.

Modern bathroom bathtub with white and grey elements.

2. Choose a bright colour and simple pattern for the walls.

Bright colours instantly give the illusion of a larger space. This is because bright walls are more reflective and therefore make a space feel open and airy. Furthermore, this also helps tomaximise the effect of the natural light that enters the space.

Coupled with a simple pattern on the walls, this will minimise visual clutter for a more visually appealing space that is both inviting and seemingly vast.

Black, Grey and White Industrial Bathroom Vanity Area Left View

3. Add interest to a tiny bathroom by emphasising texture instead of colour.

Here at Alexis Interior, we definitely see the design of a small space as excitingly challenging rather than restrictive. This is to say that small does not mean boring. It just means that you have to make more meaningful choices for your space in terms of both aesthetics and function.

Incorporating one unique element such as a unique mirror or sink or even an interesting piece of art can instantly transform your space from small and boring to cute and chic. Here, we’ve added this statement vanity mirror that lights up with the push of a button. We’re all about incorporating things that are both pretty and useful into tiny spaces.

Black, Grey and White Industrial Bathroom Vanity Area Right View

4. Create storage in wall cavities and also underneath the sink.

Storage is crucial for most small spaces for containing essential items while exuding a sense of hospitality and thoughtfulness to guests. From our understanding, it may seem like an uphill battle at first sight.

However, we believe that storage can transcend its purpose of being functional towards being aesthetically pleasing as well. Wall cavities add a complex dimension to the space that is easy on the eyes while making a space feel larger. This is done by making the storage look one with the walls, as opposed to being projected out of them.

Owners of tiny bathrooms also often neglect to take advantage of the space underneath the sink. Regardless of whether you opt for an open or closed cabinet or shelves, they work wonderfully to store bathroom essentials such as towels or shower products.

Japanese Inspired Bathroom Toilet Area with Wood Elements.

5. Incorporate plants or artworks to add dimension.

Another way to add dimension to a space without needing to have masonry work done is by getting the help of green friends or art.

These increase the sense of space while making the room more comfortable and functional. With wall-mounted options, they also do not take up any floor space. At the same time, they draw the eye upward instead of horizontally to draw attention away from the small size of the space.

Japanese Inspired Bathroom Shower Area with Wood Elements.

6. Use narrow open concept racks as a good storage alternative for bath and shower areas.

We understand that shelves and cabinets may seem too heavy handed as storage options for some. In such cases, we recommend using narrow open concept racks.

Drawing inspiration from the Japanese sento, open concept racks coupled with a careful selection of bath products make for a neat bath area. With their clean lines, they’re both easy on the eyes while being functional by allowing easy access to bathroom essentials.

Japanese Inspired Bathroom Vanity Area with Wood Elements.

7. Pay attention to lighting.

Remember how we said light bounces off bright walls to make a space seem bright and airy and therefore more roomy? Well-lit spaces always look larger, and if floor space is limited, wall-mount fixtures work best, especially for tiny bathrooms.

We are also great advocates of multipurpose pieces in our spaces. For this design, we opted for a lighting fixture that doubles up as a mirror.

Pro-tip: Eliminate pendants that dangle at the head level and ‘compress’ space.

For more tips and tricks about lighting for your commercial or residential space, check out our infographic on lighting fixtures here.

We hope that you found this article useful, and if you did, please share it with your friends along with your newfound insights. For more guidance in styling and designing your residential or commercial space, do reach out to us via our social media pages or arrange for a consultation with us via our consultation form here.

Going Back in Time: Why More are Looking to Mid-Century Interior Design.

Mid-century living area with floral motifs.
Mid-century living area with floral motifs.
Picture of Audrey Hepburn.
Picture of James Dean in red bomber jacket.
Picture of Marilyn Monroe in iconic skirt scene.

The 1950s in the West were a stylish period with icons such as Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. These celebrities and their movies such as Singin’ in the Rain and Roman Holiday have stood the test of time, and for good reason — the characteristics that they embody are classic and timeless. 

We feel the same for Western 1950s interior design! From the colours, to the prints and the furniture that were used during the mid-century period, what’s not to like? Imagine: an Audrey Hepburn inspired kitchen, a James Dean inspired bedroom, and a Marilyn Monroe inspired living area! 

There’s undoubtedly a lot we can learn from this decade. We’re sharing some key retro tropes that you can adapt for your space. 

Earthy tones cream and brown mid-century living area.

On Colours: Earthy

Colours had a big part to play back in the 1950s, playing an integral role in the personality of a space. 

There were various colour palettes that were popular at the time. One of them is an earthy palette. Earthy colours were the preferred palette for nature-lovers‭, ‬including shades of grey‭, ‬brown and beige‭. ‬To complement this palette, many people also incorporated plants into their home.

An earthy colour palette was usually chosen for a 1950s living room, for a‭ ‬fashionable‭ and ‬muted space‭. This works wonderfully for a space where you’re meant to relax.

Our designer’s styling tip: This is a great palette for the more conservative as well. For a modern twist to the 1950s living room, choose electronics that have woody textures for that rustic look and feel.

Mid-century inspired pink bathroom.

On Colours: Pastel

Neutral is not the only way to go when it comes to colouring your home for a mid-century look and feel.

Pastel colours were a popular palette, especially for kitchens and bathrooms. Pastel colours, such as light pink, light yellow, or light blue, did well to bring a soft, hospitable atmosphere to a space. 

Our designer’s styling tip: To ensure balance in your space, you can still opt for pastel flooring, cabinets, tables and chairs as long as you accent them with darker accessories.

Mid-century themed living area with yellow sofa and colourful wall decor.

On Colours: Bold

When people think about mid-century interior design, bold colours such as red‭ and black probably first come to their mind. Other bold colours used in the 1950s include ‬orange‭, ‬yellow‭, ‬electric blue‭, ‬black and white. 

These colours undoubtedly made a statement and were utilised mostly in living rooms and kitchens. They made for bright and clean spaces with a big personality. 

Our designer’s styling tip: For a softer and perhaps more modern take on bold mid-century decorating and design, include lots of plants and comfort items such as throws and cushions. 

Mid-century prints with floral, polka dot and abstract motifs.

On Prints

Often time, colours don’t work in isolation in a mid-century home. Regardless of what colour palette is chosen, they are usually coupled with prints to add character and charisma to a space in the 1950s. Prints that were popular during the time include flowers, fruits, polkadots, checks, stripes or stars.

Our designer’s style tip: Instil in your space a sense of homeliness and nostalgia by introducing textures with a local or East Asian flavour such as batik.

 

Colourful enamel-coated mid-century containers.

On Decor

Decor is another important component of home improvement. Modern homes can be easily retro-fied by introducing a few staple pieces from the past. These include appliances such as rotary dial telephones, record players and toasters.

1950s kitchens in the West were also filled with pastel plastics, enamel-coated canisters, and colourful Melamine dishware and bowls.

Our designer’s styling tip: There are plenty of functional decor pieces that can bring some history and culture to your home. They can remind you of historical occurrences that resonate with you, or even your personal heritage during the day to day. You can find such pieces in local thrift shops or antique shops. From old ceramic kopitiam coffee cups to painted tingkats, the possibilities are endless!

Mid-century themed colourful living area.

On Furniture

Now, on to the big boys. Add a touch of vintage to your room with some mid-century design pieces.

Mid-century design furniture are function-focussed pieces. To illustrate, these include a comfortable couch; a closet with lots of storage space serving various sizes and shapes; a roomy coffee table. 

Mid-century design furniture also typically sport sleek lines with both organic and geometric forms. Think gentle organic curves like the coffee table or the prints on the armchair pictured above.

We hope that you found this article about interior design in the mid-century or Western 1950s period useful. For more guidance on interior design and styling, do reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation form here

Choosing the Right Lighting Fixtures for your Home

Picture of double bed with flanking wall-mounted lights.
Picture of double bed with flanking wall-mounted lights.

Choosing the Right Lighting Fixtures for your Home

It’s hard to imagine a home without lights that instantly come on with the flip of a switch, and that’s why many of us don’t give a second thought to the technicalities that come with choosing lights. 

While we might expect a single source of light to meet all our needs, that is often not the case. However, there are so many different kinds of light and corresponding lighting fixtures to choose from, which leads us to wonder: How do we pick the right ones for our home?

Let us walk you through the different types of lighting and the respective light fixtures that provide them. We’ll help you make the best choices for you and your space.

Light emanating from high-rise building window.
Bright ceiling lighting fixture in Japanese themed room.
Living room with cream, brown and wood elements and white spotlight.
Modern ceiling-mounted wire lighting fixture in monochrome bedroom.

Centre image taken from Choa Chu Kang Executive Maisonette project 3D rendering, designed by Finn.

1. AMBIENT LIGHTING

Ambient lighting, also called general lighting, is the most common kind of lighting that you’ll find in any space. This is by virtue of the fact that ambient lighting serves to brighten up an entire room. By bouncing off the walls, ambient lighting provides a uniform level of illumination throughout the space independently of other lighting sources.

Here are the types of fixtures that can provide general ambient indoor lighting:

  • Chandelier
  • Ceiling-mounted fixture
  • Wall-mounted fixture
  • Traditional recessed fixture, including LED downlights
  • Track light
  • Floor lamp
  • Table lamp
Wall-mounted extended lamp above table.
Modern Scandinavian dining area with recessed lighting fixture.
Sleek black and white lamp on wooden bedside table.

Centre image taken from Punggol BTO project, designed by Alexis.

2. TASK LIGHTING

Apart from ambient lighting that covers a large area, we also need task lighting that is more purposefully directed and focussed. Task lighting illuminates the tasks a person carries out in a given space such as reading, cooking or computer work. For these tasks, a brighter light is required in a smaller focal point of the room.

For a more pleasant illumination, it is often best to avoid harsh lighting that casts bothersome shadows.

Here are the types of fixtures that can provide task lighting:

  • Directional gimbal recessed fixture or downlight
  • Pendant lighting
  • Slim line bar and undercabinet
  • Tape and extrusion
  • Portable or desk lamp
Accent lighting with irregularly shaped mirror in modern monochrome bathroom.
Custom wooden bench with dried flowers and accent lighting in Anchorvale BTO home.

Centre image taken from Anchorvale BTO project, designed by Alexis.

3. ACCENT LIGHTING

Accent lighting is used mainly to highlight a specific architectural or spatial feature, like a plant, a special piece of furniture, painting or sculpture. This type of lighting works wonderfully to give the impression of a larger room.

As a general rule, effective accent lighting requires the installation of three times more light on the focal point than ambient lighting generally provides.

Here are the types of fixtures that can provide accent lighting:

  • Track light
  • Slim line bar and undercabinet
  • Tape and extrusion
  • Directional recessed fixture or downlight
  • Wall-mounted fixtures

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of selecting the right kinds of lighting and their respective fixtures for your space. Be it ambient lighting, task lighting or accent lighting, it will prove useful to make sure the lighting you choose serves the purposes of your space. More often than not, this means having more than one kind of lighting for a space, but that’s not uncommon at all and you’ll thank us later for it!

Have something to say about our content? Thinking of a topic in particular you want to pick our brains about? Let us know via the comments below, our contact form, consultation form, or social media channels! 

TRYna Cafe @ Tekka Place

TRYna Cafe side view with menu and customers.

TRYna Cafe @ Tekka Place

Project type: Commercial.
Location: Tekka Place, Singapore.

Wabi sabi inspired pop up cafe with an abundance of wood elements and modular furniture.

The customised furniture, including the wooden chairs, tables and counters,
are designed by yours truly with the temporal nature of the setting in mind.
They are easy to assemble and take apart for seamless transportation and future repurposing.

For TRYna Cafe’s Instagram, look up their handle @trynacafe or click here.

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction and reinstatement services,
do feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation page here.

Choa Chu Kang 3D

Resale executive maisonette first storey staircase area with Stormtroopers feature wall and storage area.

Executive Maisonette @ Choa Chu Kang

Project type: Residential, resale Executive Maisonette HDB apartment.
Location: Choa Chu Kang, Singapore.

We did a full overhaul renovation in a wabi sabi theme
with the focus of creating individual space for each family member.
The family members are huge fans of Star Wars, so we’ve
thoughtfully planted its motifs to create a space
they will be proud to call home.

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction and reinstatement services,
do feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation page here.

Bukit Batok West

Modern industrial Nordic inspired bedroom with acoustic glass closet.

Bukit Batok West

Project type: Residential, resale 5-room executive HDB.
Location: Bukit Batok West, Singapore.

A reimagining of this 5 bedder resale HDB apartment.
With the use of wallpapers, we created a modern
themed interior design for this home.

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction
and reinstatement services, do feel free to reach out to us via our
social media pages or our consultation page here.

Nordcom One

Frontal view of Alexis Interior showroom work area with "do what you love" slogan LED lights.

NORDCOM ONE

Project type: Commercial.
Location: Gambas Avenue, Singapore.

An open concept design for this B1 light industrial
workspace-cum-showroom in Nordcom One.
Featuring gold accents and exposed wooden beams overhead for an eclectic yet luxe look and feel.

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction and reinstatement services,
do feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation page here.

Jalan Tenteram

JALAN TENTERAM

Project type: Residential, resale 4-room HDB.
Location: Kallang/ Whampoa.

The homeowners of this cosy 4-bedder were
interested in a feminine Victorian theme.
Our designers thoughtfully selected this sweet palette of
pink, white and silver to create a space fit for royalty,
with plenty of storage space.

For more information about our interior design, styling, construction and reinstatement services,
do feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation page here.

Home Renovation Hacks That Will Save You Thousands

Singapore residential renovation: Renovation hacks that will save you thousands.

Home Renovation Hacks
That Will Save You
Thousands!

Covid19? Financial downturn? Do not let these deter you from building your dream home. After all, you have finally purchased your new home, so it is important to plan and learn how you can renovate your house without tearing a hole in your pocket. While average renovation costs for a full makeover in a BTO HDB flat can go upwards of S$40,000 and resale flats towards the north of S$70,000, we are here with tips on how to save on costs without compromising much on the design.

*Hello condo owners, we did not forget you, average condo renovation costs are often below that of HDB’s due to certain interior works already done by developer. Still, it depends on various other factors such as the size of the unit, the amount of works, materials, and other factors like resale.

Coins and sprouting plant in cup.
The Sail @ Marina Bay Scandinavian living area with plants and sliding doors.

Friendly Tip: Budget Planning

Before jumping straight to interior design or renovation firms, it is important to spend some time planning and researching on how you would like your future home to look and work out the amount of money you can spare on your home renovation. The amount of money will indicate if you should split up your renovation project into phases or have a complete makeover.  Always allocate 20% of that amount to prepare for unexpected project costs that may arise due to various unforeseen circumstances. E.g. If you have $70,000 to spare for renovation works, you should be planning renovation works of approximately $56,000, while the $14,000 (20%) is to prepare for flexibility during renovation. These costs may arise from dismantling existing built-ins, changing of incompatible components from piping to conduits, etc. More often than not, these works are often neglected, creating the false impression of “hidden cost”. If everything is accounted for, the remaining amount may be a small bonus that can be used to purchase other stuff such as furniture or decorations. When planning out your budget, we would recommend creating a spreadsheet that lists out the furniture or decorations that you need to buy and include them into your considerations. 

Upon knowing your budget, next will be to engage in interior designers (Please have a thorough research on the interior firms you are engaging. Rule of thumb: If a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t) and discuss with them about your dream home. Obtain quotations from different firms and if you plan to renovate in phases, always prioritise renovation works that are essential for living, followed by those that have the most impact in overall aesthetics. We highly advise heading back to the original interior design firm if renovating in phases, as they would be much more familiar with their own design and often will provide you with a slight discount as a returning customer!

let's begin!

Budget Hack #1:  

Flooring choices

Flooring works take up a large portion of your renovation budget and is definitive of the aesthetics in a home. While it may seem to be an obvious choice depending on your design, I encourage you to think again. The flooring determines the resale value of your unit, and this is definitely something to consider for those who might want to move or renovate in the future.

 

For homeowners thinking of renovating again in the future:
Assuming that the flooring will be changed in the near future, choose glazed porcelain tiles for the most cost-effective, the flooring option is cheap while providing uncountable designs that can replicate even marble, granite looks. For those that plan to retain the flooring, choose vinyl flooring. Despite its plastic feel, it is durable and waterproof, and is a suitable flooring for homes with elderlies and children.

 

For homeowners thinking of selling their homes in the future:
Choose glazed porcelain tiles, it is the most value-for-dollar while not decreasing the property value. Whilst choosing natural stone tiles may increase your home’s resale value, it might not be worth the initial hole it will burn in your pocket.

 

Beware:
Due to the thinness of vinyl planks ~2-4mm, cement screed must be topped up to level the floor which increases in labour costs and other material costs. The increase in height for the structural finished level also means that future floor renovations using other flooring options may result in a decreased headroom (lower ceiling). This will severely limit future flooring renovation options, and therefore negatively impact the resale value of the house.

Budget Hack #2:

Overlay existing flooring instead of hacking.

Flooring is often one of the biggest emphasis in renovation works and the previous owner of your resale home probably spent considerable time thinking about this. Instead of hacking existing flooring and incurring additional downtime to recreate a flooring of your choice, it is more advisable to overlay vinyl flooring (~2-4mm). Why? Well, you save the cost of labour from dismantling and hacking the floor, the removal of debris and many other costs that may not be obvious at first sight but sum up to be aplenty. Furthermore, you will likely only have to pay for the overlaying and material cost for the vinyl, while still retaining the resale value of the house (Technically, the next owner can remove the vinyl and base flooring and retain the original structural finishing level. Three birds with one stone!). If you were to hack and rebuild any other flooring, you have to bail into the additional charges alongside tiresome distress over water-levelling, scratch-resistance, waterproofing and anti-slip coatings.

Disclaimer: However, please do consult the experts or BCA if a risk had been identified in your original flooring which warrants the need of hacking to rectify.

Budget Hack #3:

Repair, refurbish and redesign 

old built-ins instead of rebuilding.

While it is tempting for first-time homeowners to indulge in the idea of new built-in carpentry in the house, one must understand that they are not able to carry these carpentries along if they plan to move to a new house in the future. Refurbish and redesigning built-ins that are in a relatively good condition is a much cheaper option. Do these instead, have a paint over or replace a portion of the built-ins. Who knows if you might actually be surprised with the outcome?

Budget Hack #4: 

Plan your power sockets strategically.

Covid19 has brought about a new age in digitalisation and further heighten our dependence on electronic devices. Desktops/laptops, television, treadmills, cookers are electronics that are placed in different parts of the house, and the commonalities they share? Power supply!

Strategic planning of power sockets will potentially prevent undesired obstruction of furniture and competition for power sockets in the house while bringing convenience to your daily life. Do not be too stingy with the number of power sockets. We recommended the following number of outlets displayed in the table below. Feel free to add more outlets if you need to and remember to avoid cluttering them together unnecessarily.

Table of recommended number of outlets per type of room.

More often than not, homeowners complain about the lack of foresight when planning for power socket and having to install new electrical outlets during or after the renovation. And mind you, these rewiring of electrical outlets or worse still, installing entirely separate outlets come at a hefty price!

Budget Hack #5: 

Say no to feature walls.

Having a feature wall may give your living unit an air of opulence and exhibit your personality, but at what cost? Thousands of dollars for wallpapers or craft stones that require extra loving and care. Is it worth the trouble? Alternatively, we’d like to suggest hiring a mural painter for a unique piece of art on your wall at a fraction of the price. For an even cheaper alternative, get a multi-colour graphic wall that uses only paint, or put your creativity to test and create your own feature wall with decor and accessories! Seek inspiration from books and the Internet and create a unique wall of your own.

Budget Hack #6: 

Go minimalistic or Scandinavian.

In this “less is more” trend, Minimalistic style brings about an enhanced sense of space with a clean, flowing, open-concept look. A style advocating in simplicity in form exuberates a personality with uncomplicated use of industrial materials and black and white colour schemes, is all but breaking the bank. Without unnecessary built-ins and adopting simplicity with functionality, you will see yourself stashing away cash that would have been taken away from you. For those preferring the use of natural materials, Scandinavian design will be a perfect fit. Think long term, house chores will be much easier with these two designs, and should you want to renovate your house again the costs are likely lower (Also, that does mean that you have more bargaining power if you do intend to sell your flat).

Budget Hack #7: 

Natural lighting > lighting points.

Aiming for the bright and airy look, homeowners have the option of installing more lighting points or to bring in natural lighting. Inserting new lighting points such as recessed and cove lights, are not as simple as it sounds, costs amounting from workmanship for wiring, installation and lighting elements can seriously ruin your budget plans. Instead, try placing a mirror in a position adjacent to a window that allows you to optimise natural light. Not only does it brighten your house, it also creates an illusion of space that seemingly enlarges your home. Lighting indeed plays an important role in setting a tone or mood of a home, but why spend a bomb when you can easily recreate the lighting, right?

Budget Hack #8: 

Save on furnishing by using second-hand furniture. Or else, buy display sets.

Furnishings these days do not come cheap, without a careful book-keeping of your expenses, you will see yourself running low on cash before getting your hands on all the necessities. Purchase off old furnishings from the previous owner or bring in your old furniture. The former will probably only cost you a fraction of its original retail price, while the latter only requires a home moving contractor. Oftentimes good condition second-hand furnishings are wrongfully thrown away. Tapping onto the mindset that many owners may want to have a fresh look in their new home, these second-hand furnishings may be sold to you at an ostensibly low price. Their second-hand furniture is a new look for you, saves you the trouble of searching and comparing prices for the same pieces of furnishings, and does not cost you an arm or a leg. A win, win and win again for you. For furniture from your old home, you can replace its handle, laminate, or paint over it to give it a fresh new look. But if either of these options is not available for you, the next best alternative will be to purchase display sets. These display sets are carefully taken care of by the store employees and therefore kept in a really good condition (Afterall, reputation in these stores are paramount, damaged, or dirtied goods will never be displayed).

Budget Hack #9: 

Avoid circular, angular or odd-shaped carpentry.

Custom built-ins do exude a sense of uniqueness, but how much custom built-ins should you do? This depends on your budget.

Amongst custom built-ins, circular, angular, and odd-shaped carpentries are the priciest. These carpentries require quality craftsmanship and these specialists do not charge low. Get the budget-friendly designs that are simple and linear.

Budget Hack #10: 

Say no to half-hacked walls

While it may be aesthetically pleasing to have a half glass wall or half walls in your home, it may just be the next big-ticket item in your list of “hidden cost”. Half walls are often misunderstood to be the original wall hacked to the preferred height. In fact, it is rebuilt after hacking away the entire wall. Hence, there are additional labour and material costs incurred compared to fully hacking a wall.

One wall panel costs $70 to $300; multiple hacking works cost $1500 to $5000; dismantling fee costs $250 to $1500.

Beware: Cost of hacking a home includes: hacking of wall, dismantling of original works, removal of debris, etc. While installation of a wall panel may incur these items: haulage, installation of wall panel, rewiring of pipes or conduits, etc. The more the work, or the tougher the job, the pricier it gets.

For more guidance on your renovation for your residential or commercial space, do reach out to us via our social media pages or our consultation form here