Interior designer, entrepreneur and six-time winner of the Milan A-Design Award. This is who Don Lin, the man behind DSOD Interior is. But make no mistake: Despite having numerous international achievements under his belt, he’s not the type to turn down small scale jobs – even if it’s a bathroom makeover.
(DSOD Interior founder and designer, Don Lin)
“We don’t choose our clients,” says the industry veteran who has accumulated nearly 12 years of experience in the local interior design scene. “Whether it’s renovating an entire bungalow or a single bathroom, we’ll approach the job with the same purpose of delivering award-winning results. Our customers can trust us on that.”
To find out more about what DSOD Interior is like, we spoke to Don about his firm’s inner workings as well as the design services it has to offer to local homeowners.
Qanvast: How does the design process work over at DSOD Interior?
Don (D): Our job here can be summarised in two words, “design” and “build”. But if I had to break it down, everything takes place across four stages.
The first step is the initial meeting with a client, during which we discuss the requirements of their renovation. It’s also at this point that I do my best to suss out the finer details, such as what they would like to see in a home; this step is key to our success as we sculpt the rest of the renovation based on the information gathered.
This is followed by the proposal stage where we’ll run through any layout plans and 3D perspective drawings that have been created. After that, the renovation starts – which is the third stage – and finally, we have the defect checks stage, which is when we check to see if there’s anything within the space that has to be fixed or can be improved on.
Qanvast: What’s the team behind DSOD Interior like?
D: We have a total of eight staff members here, divided across three sub-teams: accounts, design, and project management. The design team are the creatives and they are in charge of producing and revising proposals, based on client feedback and input. On the other hand, the project team handles on-site coordination and ensures deadlines are met.
Qanvast: Why organise your team in such a manner?
D: It’s because this structure creates a win-win situation for both my employees and our clients. We are a family-oriented company and dividing the team in this manner gives us the flexibility to take care of our loved ones and stay accountable to our clients by being aware of and covering each other’s tasks.
Also, having dedicated subject matter experts working on the same project means that we’re able to field any client questions with even greater confidence.
Qanvast: What’s your personal background in design?
D: I am a Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts graduate and I have nearly 12 years of experience in design. I started out as a design consultant, which led to a job at a local architecture firm where I spent close to 7 years working on commercial projects.
Eventually, in 2012, I left and decided to set up DSOD Interior, mostly because I wanted greater creative freedom and to be my own boss. [laughs] But jokes aside, I did it because design is more than just a career to me, it’s my life.
Qanvast: DSOD handles a mix of commercial and residential projects, which do you prefer working on, and why?
D: Definitely residential, there’s more freedom. Also, there are no brand guidelines or elements that I have to stick to. But that’s not to say that commercial projects aren’t enjoyable to work on because limitations breed creativity, and I like challenging myself.
Qanvast: Tell us more about one of DSOD’s latest projects.
D: We recently worked on a two-bedder at Sky Habitat and it was an interesting project to work on. The owners had a specific request due to Feng Shui reasons and that was to create a third bedroom; this meant we had to find a way somehow to build one within the existing space.
Eventually, we got the idea of building a 'bedroom' beside the dining area after getting inspired by Japanese capsule hotels; there are also storage nooks built into the sides of the structure that give it extra utility.
Qanvast: What do you feel is the biggest challenge of being an interior designer today?
D: I would say that being able to effectively communicate is the biggest challenge for today’s interior designers.
Saying what’s in your head isn’t hard but visualising and putting into words what the other party has in theirs is where the real challenge lies; the only solution is to keep asking relevant questions and building a clearer (mental) picture based on the bits of information that you manage to tease out.