From exclusive woodgrain PVC to an all-round quality of products, workmanship and service is what differentiates Ciseern from other interior designer firms. Taking time out of his busy schedule, co-founder Kenneth shares with us what makes Ciseern tick.
Qanvast: How did Ciseern come to be?
Kenneth (K): I was previously working in a contractor firm and wanted to succeed in another area. After setting up Ciseern with my partner, Dean, I discovered the satisfaction of creating beautiful homes for appreciative clients – something money definitely cannot buy.
I fell in love with interior design and it’s now my greatest passion; I love exploring the multitude of design possibilities and learning how to design more efficiently.
Qanvast: What is something special about your firm?
K: At Ciseern, we have a total staff strength of around ninety and many of them have been with us for a long time. With more long-serving, seasoned staff as compared to other interior design firms in Singapore, homeowners can rely on our experience to get the job done right.
Qanvast: Since your firm is quite large, how do you maintain the performance standards?
K: We have a standard operating procedure (SOP) that all staff are expected to adhere to, and which we review from time to time to keep our performance standards top-notch.
We also believe in giving our clients a clear channel to communicate with management. While we have salespeople who are dedicated to servicing clients, we contact homeowners directly through SMS, Whatsapp or email to ensure that they are satisfied with any service provided.
Qanvast: What is your firm’s selling point?
K: Besides building quality homes and providing the finest workmanship, we strive to become a trusted partner that a homeowner can rely on. As a result, we were able to establish ourselves as a dependable source for interior design in Singapore for 20 years.
Qanvast: What have you done to improve that level of trust?
K: There have been many cases in Singapore where contractors have folded after collecting payment, leaving homeowners with monetary losses and unfinished works. As such, to provide our customers an assurance, we recently introduced an insurance scheme. In the event of non-performance, closure, winding up and/or liquidation of the renovation business, they may be covered up to 20% of their deposit payment.
We are also developing a full insurance coverage scheme based on the overall contract sum in these coming months. This upcoming bond will safeguard our homeowners with protection on their full contract payment.
Qanvast: How else does your firm ensure that homeowners get a quality home?
K: A big chunk of the budget that a homeowner will spend on are usually the carpentry works, as we take close attention to ensuring them the finest quality materials.
We only use BLUM door hinges, drawer runners and uplifters as these come with a lifetime warranty. We purchase these in bulk to keep our prices low for our clients. And while it’s still pricier than alternative options on the market, it’s a worthy investment that can stand the test of time.
Qanvast: Tell us about your collaboration with Courts.
K: We’ve had an exclusive partnership with Courts for about three years and counting – some of our renovation packages include electrical appliances from Courts so homeowners have a hassle-free experience.
Qanvast: What benefits do homeowners enjoy when they purchase any of these packages?
K: Homeowners can save on their electrical appliances with Courts cash vouchers that we offer. They can use it to purchase anything from Courts, and it can be stacked on top of existing promotions for additional savings.
Qanvast: How would you maximise the space in a small HDB bedroom?
K: I would block up part of the window so that the bed can rest against the wall. This would make room for a big study table and a proper wardrobe while still leaving sufficient space to manoeuvre around.
Qanvast: Any tips on how homeowners can make a small HDB flat look bigger?
K: Homeowners should keep their ceiling simple. If too fanciful, it may make the ceiling seem lower than it is. Instead, consider a false ceiling with cove lights so the room looks bright and airy.
Bright and light colours also open up the space. Opt for off-white shades from Nippon such as creamy white and lily white are colours that make the home look more spacious.
Founded in 1997 by Kenneth Tay and Dean Lim, Ciseern has amassed an incredible track record over the years to become one of Singapore's most established interior firms. With 18 years' experience under its belt and a total staff strength of 90, Ciseern prides itself in delivering quality and trust to homeowners.