Having a huge home has its benefits: You won't have to struggle with fitting all your belongings into tiny nooks or worry about making design sacrifices to save space. But that's not to say all of that is unachievable in a small home either.
"If there's something that this experience taught me, it's that living comfortably with style in a tiny home isn't impossible," says Kim, who recently made over her 1+1 apartment at Floraview, which now has enough room for a kitchen, two cosy corners, and even a walk-in wardrobe.
Read on to learn how Kim achieved her successful (small) home makeover with interior firm Space Define's help!
Kim (K): I am a frequent traveller and it's what got me inspired to build my own small, but practical home. This apartment is like a hotel room in the sense that it's similar in size, but at the same time, it has everything that I want in a home.
ON HER MUST-HAVES
K: The qualities that I look for in a home are comfort and practicality. One thing that I made clear to Ethan, who is my designer from Space Define, was that the space should be built around the things that I like to do, such as cooking and entertaining.
Storage was also another important requirement that I had for the house. I have plenty of clothes, shoes and other fashion accessories, which meant that I needed solutions to keep them organised.
ABOUT HER HOUSE, PRE-RENOVATION
K: When I saw the house for the first time, my immediate thought was that it was very small. But at the same time, it isn't fair to say that it lacked potential, because the final result really shows how much you can do even with a tiny space with proper planning.
ABOUT HER HOUSE, POST-RENOVATION
K: From the entrance all the way to the bedroom, the entire house is all about space maximisation. There's a multipurpose shoe cabinet at the entrance that also stores cleaning supplies; then there's the kitchen, dining area and work station, which are arranged in a galley layout so that both sides of the hallway are fully utilised.
Because the house has no storeroom, but instead comes with two balconies, I had them converted into cosy corners that also double as display spaces for my belongings. New shelves, durable decking and louvered privacy screens were installed in both balconies for this purpose.
Then there's the bedroom, which despite its size, doesn't compromise on style, comfort and utility. Here, I have a bespoke bed with a cabinet built into the headboard's rear as well as a spacious walk-in wardrobe that my friends say looks like "a boutique's dressing area".
Last but not least, there's the revolving TV console that allows the screen to be viewed from the balcony, living space, dining area or bedroom.
ABOUT GETTING TO KNOW SPACE DEFINE
K: I got to know about Space Define from the Qanvast, but they weren't part of the five firms that were recommended to me. Instead, I found out about them through a story feature on one of their past projects, which was about renovating a similarly-sized home. Personally, that was a selling factor because I wanted a firm that had experience working on small houses.
ABOUT WORKING WITH SPACE DEFINE
K: Working with Ethan from Space Define was a pleasant experience, he is very personable, down-to-earth and hardworking. I could tell that he really cares about his job, because he constantly kept an eye on his contractors' work and the renovation's progress.
Aside from that, Ethan also helped to rein in my spending. For example, I initially wanted to swap out the existing flooring for vinyl, but he dissuaded me from doing so as the current tiles are still in good condition.
He was also patient enough to work out the size and positioning of the wardrobe's internals so that they would be a perfect fit for different types of clothing and items, from winterwear to long dresses, and even a built-in ironing board.
TO SUM IT UP...
K: This renovation has been a pleasant one, and I wouldn't hesitate to go through the entire experience the same way again. Even though some homeowners would prefer hiring a contractor and DIY-ing their way through, I prefer having an interior designer who is able to project manage and provide guidance along the way. To me, that's value-adding.
Likewise, I have gained a better appreciation of small homes that are well-designed, because I am now aware of the amount of effort and creativity required to make them work.
This article was first published in Qanvast.