Ever designed a home for a traveller?
I will be getting my own home in about a month's time. And I am really excited after waiting for 4 years. My biggest challenge is how to design it so that it looks like the home of someone who likes to travel.
The floor plan of my 2-room unit is shown below — a 2-room built-to-order (BTO) HDB flat of 47m². It is a typical design for most 2-room flats in Singapore. Actual dimensions may deviate a little.
Floor plan by HDB.
I tried searching for ideas and suitable designs online but found that most HDB residents don't share the designs of their homes — probably because their houses are mostly done by interior designers and may have "copyrights" issue if shared online. Most of the designs I found were either on websites of interior designers or from a couple of DIY home owners that did interviews for magazines. Personally, I don't like the designs I saw.
What are my concerns? Most of the designs look elegant "on delivery" but lacks practicality. They are mostly photos of interior decorations at the time of completion or delivery to their clients, hardly anyone show photos of their "masterpieces" after one or two years of use by any home owners. Yes, most photos show elegant lighting, clean furniture, beautifully-decorated open shelves, etc, but what about maintenance? Who will be cleaning them? Does a cleaning maid comes with the S$80,000 to S$100,000 interior design package?
My old house used to have a chandelier with many small dangling crystals. It looks really elegant. But it turned yellowish after couple of years of use. And when dusting it, some crystals broke and cannot be attached back. The missing crystals were trivial but trying to clear the dusts off a lamp that was hanging from the ceiling was a major headache. It came to a point where we simply had it replaced with a plain lamp that had lesser surface area to gather dust and much easier to maintain. Why waste so much money on aesthetic?
The lack of considerations for ease of maintenance is why I am disappointed with so-called "elegant designs". Most home-owners spend so much money to make their homes look aesthetically pleasing but seldom look into the issue of maintenance until the day they have to clean, repair or replace something.
Anyway, I will DIY my own home design.
There are three primary considerations for my new home:
#1. It should be spacey. My home should have a lot of space, not "seemingly" spacey with the use of mirrors after cramming in more furniture or fixtures than necessary. The size of the 2-room flat is fixed, mirrors can't make them bigger, so I don't need this self-deceiving trick for my own house.
#2. I want a green home that is environmental friendly and with energy-saving features. My home should reduce water and electricity usage to reduce energy costs in the long run. Electricity-saving should be easy through careful selection of electrical appliances, especially the electricity-hungry air-conditioner, refrigerator and water heater. As for water-saving, it can be done through recycling measures after moving in.
Above photo was taken in IKEA and the information were provided by both National Environment Agency (NEA) and Public Utilities Board (PUB) for 2016. I will base on this to effect my green home strategy.
#3. Ease of maintenance. I am being practical. I have to live in my new home for many years to come, so I am not designing it just for show. I have to address the issues of regular cleaning when planning the layout and getting appropriate furniture and equipment. Big and heavy furniture makes cleaning difficult.
#4. And my new home should have the characteristics of a traveller — I don't have a clue on how to achieve this aspect at this moment but will work out something along the way.
Stay tune as I will share more on my home design when I have more ideas.
Putting plans in action:
Update: 14 October 2018
Catch a glimpse of my just-finished house and see if I have fulfilled the considerations above. I believe I have achieved 1. space, 2. green, 3. easy to maintain and 4. show natural places that I had been to: Finally, the Home of a Traveller