It's too easy to associate interior design with frivolous material indulgences - you know exactly what I mean. However, the main function of interior design remains simple, which is to enhance the quality of spaces for the purpose of improving the quality of life.
In one episode of the new local reality/ community TV programme RenovAID, we were invited to help Suryani, 15, and her family rejuvenate their Circuit Road home - and hopefully also rebuild their lives.
Anyone stepping into the 30 years old flat for the first time would be hard pressed not to feel the bleakness within. It may be harsh of me to say that, but the interior can only be described as dilapidated. Pipes are rusty and grease (from cooking) covered the worn-out vinyl flooring and windows. The dust behind the wardrobes is over an inch thick and rubbish piled up practically everywhere. There is hardly any storage management in place.
Living/ dining areas - after
With so much stuff packed inside, the family of six has hardly any space left for themselves. Two members of the family sleep in the living room during the night due to a lack of bedrooms while Suryani, who is in secondary school, has been living without a proper study corner all these years. In short, this is one home where a rescue is long overdue.
Working on a very limited budget (and even lesser time), we sprang into action. It only took the workers a day or two to tear down everything but from then on, it's a race against the clock as our team worked nonstop for the next few days to transform all the rubble into a real home.
Constrained by the original layout, I tore down the wall standing between the access corridor and the living room to provide more room for the family to gather. Lively colors were worked into the design to bring a positive vibe into the house.
Bedroom 1 - after
Another wall that used to separate a bedroom and the access corridor was also removed. In place came a wall-to-wall wardrobe which also serves to segregate the original bedroom into 2 smaller rooms.
Thanks to generous sponsorship from companies like ICI Dulux, EDL Laminate as well as a host of furniture retailers, suppliers and workers who chipped in in whatever ways they can, the renovations were completed in two crazy weeks - the family kept sequestered during that period. The show climaxed when the TV crew allowed Suryani and her family to return to a home that is, I sincerely hope, better than the one they left.
The 8-parter RenovAID begins airing from this Thursday (3rd Dec) on Mediacorp Channel 5 at 10pm.