With housing prices and renovation costs rising more than our stomachs can bear, it is no wonder that many Singaporeans are flocking to Taobao for affordable furniture to stay within their budget. Tim is one homeowner who went this route and furnished over 80% of his 1,507sqft condo with unique pieces he curated from Taobao.
We recently visited Tim’s crib at Parc Oasis to see how he transformed a 30-year-old condo into a modern luxe abode.
Gutting the unit and replacing everything from wires to pipes
Image credit: Tim
Tim and his wife bought a 4-room resale condo in Jurong East after they welcomed a pair of twin boys into the family; they were previously holed up in a 2-bedder in the same complex. However, the 30-year-old unit was starting to show signs of ageing, so the first step was to gut the entire house of the old wires and pipes.
Image credit: Tim
“Everything from the wiring, lighting points, and water pipes to carpentry, tiles, and air conditioning had to be replaced,” Tim told us. The total renovation cost came up to around $200K after all was said and done when the renovation was completed in mid-July 2022.
Designing the home by himself
Tim was proud to share that he was the creative mind behind the interior design of the home. Having helped a couple of relatives with their own home renovations, he felt confident in undertaking the design of his new home. He also felt like he underutilised the interior designers of his previous homes as he was always eager to be involved in the design process.
“Modern luxe” was the theme he went for and it clearly shows. The overhaul of the condo gave the space a much-needed facelift, and Tim incorporated plenty of trendy touches like archways to echo the arched balcony, and gold trims for that subtly lavish pop.
The arched entryway is flanked by an arched mirror for balance in design.
Spending only $15K for 80% of the furniture
With the renovation already eating into a big chunk of Tim’s budget, he decided to lessen the burden on his wallet by shopping for furniture on Taobao. The Chinese e-commerce giant has seen a rapid increase in popularity amongst Singaporean homeowners in recent years thanks to the wide variety of items at every shopper’s disposal.
The sintered stone dining table and chair set came up to only S$1,200, a steal compared to local dining sets.
While there was no issue buying smaller items like stools and bar carts, it was the bulkier furniture like the sintered stone dining table that needed a bit more attention to ship. The table, lazy susan, and 6 chairs came in 12 separate boxes. So if you’re thinking of buying the same set of furniture, this would be a good estimate of how much space it might take up.
This Scandinavian-styled wool sofa costs around S$180.
A gold & marble bar cart that has neither gold nor marble to hold any knickknacks by the dining table.
Even the universal power sockets and light switches were procured from Taobao.
The sintered stone TV console was around S$600 for the 2.1M-long version.
Despite all the great finds from Taobao, Tim’s favourite piece of furniture is the curved green velvet sofa ($2,996) that he bought from the local store Knocknock. “It’s such a statement piece that the moment it was put in place, the entire feel and vibe of the house was elevated,” he said, and we couldn’t help but agree.
The rich shade of emerald green stood in high contrast to the white-washed walls and sintered stone furniture. It also serves as the perfect item to anchor the look of the house.
Those luxe vibes also extended into other rooms of the house, mainly the master bathroom. And again, Taobao was a big part of the bathroom and why it looks like it could belong in a swanky hotel villa.
The master bathroom looked like one you’d see in a 5-star hotel suite.
The smart mirror has a built-in clock and a vanity light.
Brushed gold hardware from Taobao.
The kitchen was another space that saw the ingenuity of Taobao products. Case in point: the pull-down basket that was installed in one of the overhead cabinets. This made it easier for Tim and his family to reach their snacks without having to grab a footstool.
Green is a recurring accent colour in the home.
The automated dryer rack was also procured from Taobao.
Maximising storage space with the addition of twin boys
Aside from furnishing the home with purchases from Taobao, Tim designed the home with ample storage space, something he and his wife regretted not doing in their previous home.
The entry foyer has plenty of storage for their shoes, including a display cabinet for select sneakers.
The layout of the storeroom was also converted into a more aesthetically-pleasing nook for Tim’s personal effects.
One space-saving hack was utilising both sides of a pull-out cabinet. One side was a mirror, the other was a compartment for accessories like belts and ties.
Furnishing a condo with $15K worth of Taobao furniture
Furniture hunts might be a drag to some, as some pieces might be too pricey or they just don’t fit into the space. For Tim, that’s where Taobao came in handy. The variety of products and impeccable service were some of the reasons why he used the site. “There are a lot of things that our brick-and-mortar stores can and should learn from these online sellers,” he added.
To ensure he didn’t get sucked into a deal too good to be true, Tim always made sure that the seller was credible by looking at their sales volume and reviews. “A product can’t be too bad if a few thousand, or tens of thousands of people have bought the product,” he said. How a product is presented on the app can also be an indicator of its quality.
For those who are looking to furnish their home with furniture from Taobao, Tim recommends that knowing how to converse in Chinese is the easiest way, as it can help when negotiating with sellers. He also advised homeowners to manage expectations based on the prices. “If a product is too cheap, it is likely going to disappoint or frustrate you,” he cautioned.
Check out more Taobao-inspired home renovations:
- Feng Shui approved resale HDB that used Taobao for everything
- Trendy Hougang flat with terrazzo tiles and Taobao furniture
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