February 18th, the day when all the planning and the search for just the right fixtures, furnishings and fittings would come to an end. It was the day I was moving to my new home.

Renovating is a stressful and time-consuming exercise. To many, it is an unbearable pain that must be endured. But given a few tricks, it can be an enjoyable experience, despite all the challenges. Mine was considered fast and drama-free, but this didn’t happen by accident. A lot of thought went into the plan.

Always start with an idea, an inspiration. This time around, it was the view. The lush, open park set against the spectacular city skyline reminded me of New York Central Park. I knew then what I wanted to do; an idea was born.

Everyone can do with a bit of help, or a lot. In my case, I turned to my trusted friend and design partner, Richard Yan. We’ve done a couple of other projects before, but this time around we knew we wanted to do something different and unexpected. Creating a New York-inspired home was so unlike the current design trend so we knew it was going to be a challenge. Where will we buy the things that we’ll need? Aren’t we just creating more headaches for ourselves? But we were set on our vision, so we went ahead regardless!

To turn the vision into reality, I turned to Andres, whom I’ve worked with previously.  He was invaluable in advising us on what can and cannot be done. A creative idea can be impossible or expensive to execute. That’s when a good contractor really adds value, giving tips on the practical side of design.

I think the most important aspect of any project is communication. It may sound cliché, but unless you communicate your idea well, it can go terribly wrong. I learnt that contractors do not like vague instructions, its either black or white, nothing in between. Here’s a tip: never let the contractor decide for you; it is almost always never what you expected.

So Saturday morning came. As the trucks rolled into the condo, menacing dark clouds started to roll in the sky. I was getting worried, as the management didn’t allow any work to be done after 12.30 pm. As luck would have it, my 50+ cartons of personal belongings arrived at 11 am, the mattress arrived at 11.15 am, and the bed arrived soon after. And as the first few drops of rain started falling, Andres arrived with the remaining pieces of furniture that he helped collect from the delivery warehouse. I breathed a sigh of relief. We made it just in time.

People say rain brings with it good luck. I hope they are right. One thing for sure, I know I’m going to enjoy living here.

 

-Shahrom Rashid