Our new home has finally TOPed! Yay! It seems to have been a very long wait (we signed the S&P in Mar 2012), and suddenly it’s ready now. Our new home, our new future – we’re all ready for you. Hopefully, we can get the keys next month.
We started looking for Interior Designers three months ago. We didn’t have a floor plan with precise measurements, but most of the IDs that we talked to were able to make estimation using their software.
We started our “ID Search” by sending our requests to several renovation portals like RenoTalk and HomeSavv. We ended up with too many replies and phone calls, but none of them were able to send a quotation without first meeting us to understand our requirement. It’s indeed true that there is no standard renovation package as the cost truly depends on individual requirements.
Then, we decided to search for IDs through recommendations, ratings, and portfolios online, rather than fishing for quotations through these portals. We shortlisted a few IDs that we like and we sent our RFQ (request for quotation) to them. Some of them responded, but not all.
We began our ID meet-up soon after that. Truth be told, we were completely clueless on what to expect during our first appointment. Thankfully, the first ID that we met was kind enough to spend almost 2 hours explaining all details of new condo renovation to us, from the design themes, to renovation timeline, costs and ideas. Knowing that he was the first ID that we met, he even recommended that we should meet up with at least 2 more IDs to make our comparisons.
Our second ID meet-up was a brief one. Due to time constraints on both sides, we met-up at our home instead. The meeting took less than an hour as the ID needed to rush off for his next appointment. We told him our project scope (based on what we discussed with the first ID). He also threw in some useful pointers and ideas for us. A week later, he sent us an official quotation.
After these two meetings, we were in a much better shape and far clearer on our project scope. And we came up with this:
Next, we sent this project scope to the remaining shortlisted IDs. Three of them replied with estimated quotations (final price is still dependent on actual measurements). For this version of project scope, the cost is roughly about $30K to $35K. This excludes additional fittings done by independent contractors such as grills, wallpapers, curtains, electrical fixtures, lightning and appliances.
It’s impossible to compare prices item by item between these quotations as they vary depending on the measurements, material used, design, complexity, warranty, etc. But at least, we’ve a rough idea on the average cost for our project scope – that’s an important figure to work out our subsequent budget.
We communicated with few other IDs and contractors through phone calls and e-mails before we met our third ID. We didn’t expect it to be such a lengthy discussion, and we ended up with 2.5 hours on our first appointment. This designer is very pleasant and extremely patient – he listened attentively to all our requirements and at the same time, he also dished out his ideas and considerations that we didn’t think about earlier.
The fact that he’s very passionate about his job and he was also very well-prepared with the floor plan that we e-mailed to him prior to our appointment made us feel that he’s the BEST among the other IDs that we’ve met or spoken to. Thus, we secured our second appointment with him to review the quotation.
We met him again a week later to review the quotation. The price quoted was on the high side but still within the range of other quotations. Ultimately, we felt that it’s more important to engage a designer that we can trust and work with, rather than choosing the cheapest one.
Both of us have confidence in him and we were satisfied with the proposed design for our living, dining, balconies and three rooms. After some negotiations, we sealed the deal (on the same day) and paid the first 20%. That ended our “ID searching and meeting” phase for now.
Both V and I were collectively relieved to find our ideal designer just before we flew off for our Taiwan vacation. We gave him a month to work on our 3D drawings even though he said he needs only two weeks. Since we haven’t collected our keys and would be away for vacation, we were not in a hurry for that.
One important lesson learnt – the more IDs you meet and discuss in person, the more you become ascertain of your project scope and requirement. With every new visit, you’ll surely learn something new that you’ve not thought about earlier.
This will be my last Work-in-Progress post. Coming up next, I’ll begin a new topic on Bartley Residences Interior Design. So please stay tuned!