Mads has always had an interest in creating videos. She started by documenting her journey as a first-time mum, sharing videos of her new-born daughter on Youtube. As she gained more confidence and became more comfortable in front of the camera, she wanted to reach out to a wider audience and started uploading videos of her house tours, DIY projects and home hacks.
“It really started to take off just over a year ago, after my first house tour video went viral. After that, I also did a series of videos focusing on individual rooms,” she recalls. What began as a hobby has now grown into a preoccupation, with her having a Youtube channel with a sizeable following.
The self-confessed nerd loves anything revolving around the home and technology, and such topics are the focus of her videos. They showcase how she has transformed the five-room apartment that she shares with her husband, Jia Wei, a relationship manager at a bank, and their two-year-old toddler, as well as ongoing home improvement projects that she personally undertakes.
The homemaker is also a handyman extraordinaire. She recently single-handedly wallpapered her timber main door and glass wardrobe doors, despite expecting a second child. “After having lived in this flat for over four years, I was tired of the brown main door and green-tinted glass wardrobe doors and decided to give them a makeover. I ordered two rolls of black and white wallpaper from Taobao through Ezbuy and simply got right down to it,” she says.
Here are Mads’ top six tips on getting the minimalist look without breaking the bank.
1. Stick to a theme and colour swatch when designing your home. This helps you to buy stuff that matches. Be patient when you can’t find the colours you need. I’m sure it will show up somewhere!
2. Think about your daily needs; what do you do and use every day? I built my home based on how I wanted to display and store things. For example, I have a utility cabinet for dry mops and pails, instead of putting them in the bathroom. I also measured all my kitchen appliances and designed storage spaces according to the height and width of each appliance. For the daily stuff like water, coffee and snacks, I have another cabinet within the built-in countertop, so I can conceal this area after I’ve poured a drink.
3. I installed a lot of lights in the house, about four in each area, so it is well lit. The lights are from Taobao, because they have newer designs at affordable prices. I used Ezbuy to ship them over by sea. In total, I spent about $500-600 on lighting.
4. I put a lot of thought into concealing plugs and wires. There are no wires hanging in the open. I built the sockets in the cabinet to contain the mess. It’s easier to plan this part before starting any carpentry work.
5. For my dining table, I couldn’t find a large table with storage, so I engaged my carpenter to build a counter for me according to my specifications. It cost around $2,000. I also added a solid surface so it is more durable than the usual laminates. Below the table, I have storage for stationery, files and documents.
6. For the flooring, I opted for unconventional black vinyl ($5.50/psf), because I didn't want to see dirt or hair which would be very conspicuous on white flooring.
Mads shares how she transformed the look of her old door by using materials that cost less than $50.
1. I wanted a black door to match my home's colour scheme but the door is in such a good condition, it would have been a waste to change it. So I explored my options of painting it or covering with wallpaper. And it worked out!
2. I measured the door and purchased a roll of adhesive wallpaper (around $30 on Ezbuy) that covers the entire width of the door.
3. I start by pasting it from the top, and smoothing it down. When completed, fold the sides and cut in the middle.
4. Prick any bubbles with a safety pin and smooth out the wallpaper. You won’t notice any holes after. You can take a look at the entire process on www.youtube.com/madsncakes.