Our partners, Ivan Lin, Director of Aart Boxx Interior and Glenn Tan, Director of Design Chapterz were interviewed by Daphne Lim, producer of MediaCorp 938LIVE. If you have missed the radio interview, you can listen here or read some highlights of the transcript below to get tips on creating space in your small home.

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Daphne: Is it a common request that you guys hear … can you make my home look bigger?… Is that from HDB, condo or landed properties home owners?

Glenn: Basically all the new houses now are strictly down in terms of size.. so I think space factor is very important. Especially storage for big families and their kids…

Daphne: I’m just wondering because you guys always get the same request “Can I make my space bigger?”, “Can you unclutter my room?”, “Can I bring down my walls so that everything looks bigger?”… that sort of thing…. Do you have a set template for certain layout of the house because there are only a few different types of HDB layout which you are quite familiar already. Are there some standard suggestions you have on hand?

Glenn: For most HDB home owners who want to have a more spacious home, they have the option to break down one wall for one bedroom to combine with the living, so that they can have a bigger living space because most of the time, they will spend their time in the living area with their family.

Daphne: Is that the suggestion you always give to your clients?

Glenn: Not really, because firstly we should understand their requirements first, so I will say every customer are customized to their required needs.

Daphne: How do you start understanding their requirements?

Glenn: Ok, usually I will ask them to arrange for an appointment to go down to their actual house so that you can take the exact measurements and have a better feel of the whole place because a there’s a lot of things we don’t see in the floor plan, especially the feel of it….. where should we put our sofa, where should the TV area be…. stuff like that. And then after all the measurements are taken, photos taken, we will come back and gather all the information and requirements and will go down to a more devise plan.

Daphne: And you sit them down in the space itself? Because sometimes they don’t have much access if they don’t actually own the home yet… Do you sit them down with the blueprint or do you go to the space?

Glenn: .. Usually, it will be the blueprint.

Daphne: … They can kind of get a good idea from there and make decision from there?

Glenn: .. Of course, that will help when we show them our previous similar projects in terms of the layout, the 3D drawings so that they can visualize better.

Daphne: Ivan, how about you? How did you get to know what your client’s requirements are?

Ivan: Of course, for the first round same like Glenn, we have to meet up.. so meet up to discuss … what is your needs and requirements, then for us to propose more ideas for you. At the same time, if we have done up projects, we will actually bring the customer up with the permission of the home owners, .. to actually feel the space…

Daphne: Right…

Ivan: So for example…. customers with 5-room layout, if we bring them to another 5-room layout, they can feel the space better.

Daphne: Yah… ok…. So some of your customers are on such good relations with you… they will like actually let your potential customers to come and see what you have done…

Ivan: Yah… actually quite a few….

Daphne: Ok, that’s really useful… I think… because when you look at the blueprint, you really just can’t see it. You don’t know how high the ceilings are, you don’t know where the windows are actually going to fit, how the lights going to come in….. I mean what are some of the biggest concern when you are going to a home owner space they usually have?

Glenn: I think… firstly they really can’t visualize the space. They did not know… how big the sofa they can have, whether can a king size fit my bedroom… So usually I will do a very careful planning on the layout, and this layout is based on the actual site measurements. So I can advise them what is the maximum size of the furniture they can get. So that it’s easier to comb down the size than rather to size up.

Daphne: What are the chances that there’s going to be a discrepancies between the actual space vs the blueprint?

Glenn: Usually, it’s about 5-10% smaller

Daphne: oh…. you are serious?

Glenn: Yes, it is..

Daphne: oh…. goodness, so I could have bought a bed and could not bring through the door frame…

Glenn: Exactly.

Daphne: Ok, so does that happen to you as well, Ivan?

Ivan: Actually dimension wise, it is really not 100%. From the floor plan, 2D layout, we can see where are the additional things… so all these even when you plan beforehand, after we get the keys, we take a look at the place…. might have some minor changes here and there.

Daphne: So you would recommend that not buying anything, not actually putting hand to paper anything unless you have step into the space first.

Ivan: .. Better to be like this….

Daphne: Ok, so that’s the tips we can all take….. Now scandinavian design like you mention just now…. contemporary design that is popular… obviously we are thinking of our pockets… and that you mention eariler on that….. Ivan is there a more economical way to approach in designing your house?

Ivan: I would say so…. because maybe in the past modern concept is more in place…..

Daphne: …. So take us to what’s the difference between modern concept vs contemporary concept

Ivan: So for Modern concept wise of course… one difference will be the whole feel of the whole space… for modern… more gloss, black, white, you know grey…. this kind of colour… So for scandinavian, it’s more like woody kind of feel. So the overall feel for modern wise…. a lot of people will like to have more storage in everywhere, so can store more things.

Daphne: But storage is completely different from design… storage can be created within any kind of design… Can I say that?

Ivan: Yes… but for scandinavian concept, probably some things they buy offshelves, more european kind of concept and not so much of built-ins. So for offshelves, you can remove it anytime, so it’s not cluttered… it doesn’t look like everything is full height / built-in.

Daphne: Are there any downside to scandinavian designs especially you are working with so much wood?

Glenn: Of course, maintenance is a issue. For example if you are using a real teak wood, you got to really take care of the wood. To avoid from moisture, especially water contact…

Daphne: So that means cleaning it every…..

Glenn: You got to maintain it regularly with furniture polish

Daphne: Goodness, that sounds like a lot of work… is it ok not to use real teak but just to create the effect?

Glenn: I think if you are a wood lover, teak will be the best option.

Daphne: That sounds like that’s got some work ahead of me if I’m looking for scandinavian design for house

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To view portfolios from Ivan of Aart Boxx, Click Here.

To view portfolios from Glenn of Design Chapterz, Click Here