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Reno tip: Use the "high-low" philosophy

Interior designer Rashi Tulshyan wanted to create a modern luxe look for her first home with husband Rahul Daswani, but not necessarily by splashing out on high-end furnishings. 

"We kept the motto of 'high-low' for our design from the beginning, which meant we wanted to splurge on key items and save on others," says the 27-year-old, who set up her own interior design company, Home Philosophy, in 2018.

THE HIGH

They spent $100,000 on renovating their rundown 16-year-old condominium apartment, which includes removing walls in the kitchen and bedroom as well as hacking the old tiles to replace it with marble floors. The new floors costs $20,000, which the couple considered worth it.

“It was a big cost, but there’s something about the natural grains in marble that a tile can never replicate. It’s cool on your feet and gives a luxe feel,” says Rashi.

They spent $40,000 on furnishings for the 1,450sqf apartment, which includes a $5,000 hand-woven Kashmiri rug from Hassan's Carpets; it is made of wool and bamboo silk.

THE LOW

On the other end of the spectrum, the large kitchen — which Rashi is proudest of — comprises of Ikea cabinetry which set her back only $8,000.

“When I was looking at working with local carpenters, the cost was close to double,” she says. There is this perception that Ikea is for college students, but its quality is really good. It uses wrap-around foil laminates for its cabinets, and the machinery that is used to do the wrapping is expensive. A lot of local carpenters just stick the materials together.”

Adding a marble tile backsplash and black granite sinks kept the look polished.

The guest bedroom, which has a Scandinavian theme, was put together for an affordable $5,000 using furniture from Ikea and Castlery. It has a dual-tone painted wall and curtains, as well as oriental antique accents in the form of mint-green $150 stools, used as side tables.

“It’s like wearing Zara and H&M, accented with great shoes or a really nice bag, or splurging on a great meal once a month and eat at the hawker centre the rest of the time,” says Rashi.

"This concept is something I think millennials and young people are really happy with."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'High on style, low on cost'.

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