In collaboration with e-retailer Taobao, we follow the home transformation journeys of three homeowners, as they build their dream homes from scratch! From renovating to shopping online for their home, will the result be what they had always envisioned… or better?
This is the third article of a three-part series on William's Taobao Home Makeover.
Check out the rest of the series:
After weeks of careful planning, managing and shopping on Taobao, ID Pricilla's work in transforming William's bare flat is almost done! The next step? With furniture from 林氏木业, 卫诗理/Visney and 慕思/DeRUCCI delivered, set up and arranged, it's time to hand over the keys for William to move into the warm, inviting cove he would call home.
And what would his reaction be like upon stepping in and seeing the completed space for the first time? Here, we check in with William (and Pricilla) to learn more about their thoughts on the final result, their furniture buys from Taobao and the entire renovation.
William's first thoughts about the home
William (W): It's hard for me to put it into words - just really surprised and overwhelmed (with joy), I guess! When I first stepped into the house, I seriously doubted if I was entering the right home - is this my home? It looks completely transformed, and cosy. It feels like a hotel.
W: The next thing I noticed was the Taobao furniture. I was a bit doubtful if furniture bought online could look as good in real life, but I was seriously blown away by the quality and design of each piece. They are really made from solid wood pieces, and are very sturdy; one can say they are as good as the ones you see in designer furniture stores, but at a much affordable price.
About the final look of the house
Pricilla (P): Though we did decide from the beginning that we wanted to focus on utilising more loose furniture than built-ins to build up the space, I think seeing it come to play in real life really drives the idea back home. A beautiful, made-up home can still be had without major carpentry works; it's a matter of choosing the right furnishings and adding the right accessories to complete the look.
P: It's great that the furniture pieces delivered came as expected, with similarly-coloured wood grains that fit with the wood-effect vinyl floors. The matching hues helped us achieve a streamlined look.
About the furniture pieces and spaces he loves
W: It's hard to ask me to pick a specific one, because I like them all! But in terms of the areas that I enjoy the most - the dining and living room, definitely. It's a place where I can relax, entertain or simply be with my loved ones.
William's thoughts about the Taobao-sourced furniture
W: Most of them surprisingly turned out to be similar or identical to what we saw online, which was great. There were some elements that were 'off', such as the slight variation in colouring and the sizing, but otherwise the attention to detail they put into crafting each piece is amazing. The finishes are smooth and consistent, and each furniture item is heavy and sturdy - which provided us a peace of mind that it wouldn’t wobble or topple when knocked upon!
W: The chairs, sofa and mattress that we bought were also comfortable to sit on for long periods and were springy - they didn’t spare any expense with the filling!
Pleasant surprises he's experienced with the furniture
W: One thing that I particularly liked was the dining room dashboard/shoe cabinet from 林氏木业. Unlike those that we've seen in furniture shops in Singapore, I was surprised that the 'backside' of the cabinet - which is often left undesigned with a bare, plywood backing - was decked in polished wood and decorated with slight design motifs. It was very thoughtful for them in that aspect, as that meant that we could really use it as a freestanding piece which would look good at any angle.
P: Likewise, the mattresses we got from 慕思旗舰店 came with handles on the sides to make lifting the heavy piece easier. A great help, especially when changing bed sheets!
Hiccups experienced with the furniture along the way
P: As with most online purchases, we faced some issues where the item details were perhaps miscommunicated or were not communicated properly. One instance was the sizing of the furniture. The supposed 'vanity table' that we bought was too high and wide to work as one in the actual space, so we had to convert that into a study table in the living room. Meanwhile, we used a dresser cabinet instead for the master bedroom.
P: Likewise, we did not expect the bed frames to be so deep! It wasn't shown clearly on the product web page that the mattress would be fitted within the frame (as some bed frames simply allow the mattress to be placed on top), and the mattress that we bought was not high enough. The result was a bed that was very low and close to the ground - not the optimal height for sitting and getting up on. We'll need to get a mattress topper to make up for it!
William's thoughts about the whole renovation
W: I think I was really lucky in a sense that I had a reliable ID who was able to fully take on the entire renovation from start to finish. I'm thankful for all the help that Pricilla has given me, as well as her efforts in choosing out the furniture from Taobao! While my wife and I had vague ideas of what we wanted our new home to look, I think Pricilla was the one that made it happen.
W: And considering the amount that we spent for the entire space, the furniture pieces were well worth their price tag and they really elevated the house's look! I'm impressed by the entire experience shopping on Taobao and after seeing the actual items, testing and feeling them, I feel like they could honestly give furniture stores a run for their money.
Some final tips for Taobao-shopping homeowners
P: I think one point to note is that Taobao furniture will come in uninstalled bits and pieces, not one whole, ready-made item! It's important to engage a handyman beforehand to help with the installation of things, as it's (frankly) not easy to do on your own. There are a lot of parts that use specific tools to put together, so it'll be best to get an experienced hand who knows how to use them. In fact, our handymen themselves spent an inordinate amount of time putting things together! It's definitely not an easy job.
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