Reviewed by Terence Teo・Submitted 29 Jan 2023・ Project completed Feb 2023・Designer Ken Wong and Shawn Leow
Courageous to take on A Unique Challenge First I must applaud Ken Wong, who is one of Urban Home Design (UHD)’s founding director, and the firm’s Interior Designer, Shawn Leow, for being gung-ho enough to take on the challenge of creating for us a Retirement Home with a unique Art Gallery and Museum theme. As senior citizens, we are unlike younger families who move into their new homes and then gradually build up their physical possessions/collections over time. For us, we are moving into what would probably be our final retirement home with a fairly large collection of existing physical possessions accumulated over the decades. The challenge of the interior design (ID) is to provide sufficient storage without diminishing the feel of spaciousness. Even more challenging is how to actualise the desired theme of Retirement Haven as Art Gallery and Museum. The appointed interior designer would have to figure out how best to display our lifetime collection of eclectic memorabilia and heritage/significant artifacts without creating clutter and still preserving a sense of serene, resort-like setting conducive for the retirement years. I had very specific ID requirements/deliverables which were spelled out in a detailed 28-page ID Brief. UHD was shortlisted from a range of some 22 different ID firms that I had considered. Apart from the very positive reviews of the firm’s work on Qanvast, what sealed the deal for me was their previous experience in creating unique IDs based on unusual client requests/themes. At our initial touching base, I was impressed by their enthusiasm in taking on an ambitious project that was beyond the usual or conventional. Convenient One-Stop Service I basically worked with the ID team comprising Ken and Shawn. Ken, the ‘shifu’, provided guidance to Shawn and had a few meetings with me (together with Shawn) to understand my needs and to present some preliminary ideas based on my brief. Shawn followed up by fleshing out details of the ID on the 3D-Autocad and I had several additional meetings with him during both the design and renovation stages of the project to refine the concept details. It is comforting and an advantage to be able to rely on valuable advice and inputs that are based on expertise, experience, company (UHD) capabilities and Ken/Shawn’s networked resources. Ken (together with Shawn) guided me at Hafary to choose tiles. They took me to Galerie 5 to decide on Sol Luminaire lightings and to Modeste to buy a comprehensive range of sanitary, kitchen and laundry appliances/accessories. Shawn separately accompanied me for a visit to Tan Boon Liat building to source for loose furniture as well as a required artwork. I appreciate very much such handholding which made easy the selection and purchase of so many varied items that come together to fit the design concept for our new home in a coherent way. Retirement Haven as Art Gallery & Museum As we have quite a number of objects/artifacts that we would like to display nicely in our new home, UHD sent a team to our former home to meticulously document each and every single object, taking photos of each item and measuring their lengths/widths/heights/depths/diameters as appropriate. These proved to be very useful in finalising the ID concept. The drawn-to-scale digitalised photos were later superimposed on the 3-D Autocad ID drawings so that we were able to better visualise how the objects would look like in our new home and customise the various display cabinets/shelves for the best curated display of the artifacts. This approach also enabled considered decisions on what objects to display and what are the ones to keep in storage or to discard/give away. At this point in time of writing, there are still on-going final installation of some display shelves/compartments as well as refinements to some of the LED lightings for the displays. The various paintings/prints/ photos/artwork/artifacts are also yet to be hung on the walls so I can’t comment on whether the desired art gallery and museum feel is achieved. What I can say is that I am very much encouraged and delighted by the vibes of what are already in place so far. Journey of Creative Collaboration I have enjoyed the ID process as the approach adopted was one of co-construction of the ID concept between UHD as the designer and me as the client. Given the unique context of my project, there was a lot of thinking out of the box and I commend UHD for having done quite a bit of background work to explore possibilities and to work around encountered difficulties and obstacles. There was mutual learning along the way and the open communication as well as trust established enabled comfortable bouncing of ideas between client and designer. All interior designers would have their own design and aesthetic perspectives and preferences. A definite strength I find, for example in Shawn (since I interacted more with him throughout the process), is the ability to see things from the perspectives of the client and to meet my design and aesthetic tastes and preferences. While value-adding to the ID process through sharing his perspectives, he was not pushy for his ideas to be adopted but offered them as options for my consideration and left the eventual decisions to me (which is correct since my household members and I are the ones who are going to stay long-term in the apartment). Catering to our tendency and preference for maximalism (versus the popular minimalist ID favoured by many others), the eventual ID nicely accommodates the full glorious display of almost all our valued artifacts without the apartment looking cluttered and messy. Instead the result is one of neat and eye-soothing thematic clustered displays organised around themes/categories such as heritage zone, abstracts, nature, ceramics, and so on. I like it very much that the spaces created by the ID allow me to curate my own displays to showcase each artifact/item in the best possible way. Some of the notable creative works by Shawn that have value-added to the ID process include the conversion of my collection of 60 neckties into an installation art piece, the transformation of my late mother’s cheong sum as well as a piece of embroidered religious cloth into framed wall art pieces as well as curating the framing/reframing of various paintings/prints/photos/artwork/artifacts and their clustered displays on appropriate walls. Definitely for me as a client, the ID process has been a journey of joy, love and passion as we are likely to stay in our retirement haven for many years to come. I am glad to sense that for UHD, and particularly in my numerous interactions with Shawn, it has also been a journey of professional pride and enthusiasm to deliver excellent outcomes that meet the client’s deliverables. Plentiful Storage We are also pleased that adequate storage has been provided, through maximising space usage such as drawers under settees, beds and coffee table as well as liberal inclusion of floor to ceiling cabinetry. Having recently moved in and completed our unpacking, we are very satisfied to find that the total storage capacity of our current smaller 1324 sf home is, in fact, greater than our former larger 1625 sf home. And all these accomplished without the apartment looking cramped and small. Elderly Friendly One of the key deliverables of our dream retirement home that it must be elderly friendly (including catering for the wheelchair-bound or bedridden). At the point of this writing, we are still working on the Smart Home features and refining touches are still on-going so I can’t fully comment yet on how elderly friendly the final ‘product’ is. Nevertheless, a number of our requests have been catered for and these include: non-slip bathroom floor tiles (R10 rating), grab bars for toilets, flap down seat or sauna-style settee for shower stalls, use of large light switches that are reachable from wheelchairs (when Smart Home is activated, they are supposed to be remote-controllable), doorways and circulation spaces within the apartment are wheelchair friendly, and custom-made bed frames that can accommodate the future use of Woosa mattresses (which replicate some of the features of hospital-type beds such as mechanical raising of upper body or the legs). Excellent Service Attitude I must in particular commend Shawn for his excellent service attitude. His ID advisory role extends beyond what the company is providing for in the contract and include readily given inputs, suggestions and advice on all kinds of loose items that would fit or not fit with the décor of the specific room or area. These include colour/style/design of bedsheets, towels, laundry basket, table place mats, cushions and floor rugs/mats. I could go about shopping for various loose items knowing that all I need is to send WhatsApp images of possible buys and Shawn would usually respond quickly with his perspectives of what is suitable/not suitable. He even went to the extent of supporting me with online searches of some items I was looking for such as mounting stands to display large plates. Professionalism Demonstrated in Troubleshooting Any project of complexity would naturally face technical and logistic hitches and we have our fair share, especially in the context of the novel designs and solutions that we need to deliver A Retirement Haven as Art Gallery and Museum. The way problems are resolved, obstacles cleared, solutions found, as well as shortcomings acknowledged and addressed are therefore indicative of the standard of professionalism and quality of service of the company and the interior designer. In this respect, I must commend Shawn who, in his calm manner, listens carefully to each and every feedback given and takes a problem-solving approach to address each issue of concern. He has been most prompt and attentive in responding to various requests for clarifications and follow-ups. In summary, I am giving this strong endorsement of UHD with the belief and conviction that the excellent attitude so far shown in following up on various final details in my apartment’s ID will continue till the project is fully completed, probably within the next few weeks.
Reviewed by alvin chan・Submitted 13 Dec 2022・ Project completed Feb 2023・Designer To be disclosed later
Go with Livspace, if you intend to have protracted negotiations, ridiculous mark-ups, inept carpenters and prolonged delays. Oh, and Livspace bought a major stake in Qanvast. Wonder wheres the independency. ID went on a holiday despite our stated delivery schedule, and coercing us to make payment to start works when the delay was caused by unsubstantiated mark-up in pricing, quote showed bundled pricing instead of individual itemised cost. At point of writing, still no movement in project and project is still NOT completed.
Hi Alvin, we have highlighted this to our designated team and we assure you that our team is currently looking into it as we speak. Please allow us the time and our team will connect with you with an update.
Reviewed by Sheldon・Submitted 31 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Ching Joo
I was looking for an ID to do a simple renovation for my property, Ching Joo was referred to me by a friend and my only requirement was to get the renovation works done before CNY. She took my project seriously even when it was just a small Reno, making sure my toilet is done up properly. As my Reno works began around the xmas season and I was travelling, she never fails to keep me updated throughout the process. There was not much of hiccups, even if there were it was quickly solved without me getting worried. Overall it was a very pleasant experience as not a lot of ID would take up small projects like mine and I do appreciate her effort. Thank you Ching Joo! Will definitely refer her for my future renovations!
Reviewed by Jocelyn・Submitted 31 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Edwin & David
For homeowners looking to build their dream home, finding an interior designer who understands your exact vision can be a difficult task. David and Edwin was the perfect answer to our search. As experienced and knowledgeable professionals, they provided friendly support throughout the entire process of designing our house. Right from the start, they proved to be reliable resources for any questions we had. We found them to be very responsive whenever we reached out with inquiries or requests; they always responded promptly. It’s not often that you find someone as dedicated as David and Edwin when it comes to helping you realize your dream home. If you’re looking for an interior designer who provides both quality service as well as creative insight, then look no further than working with David and Edwin—you won’t regret it!
Reviewed by Chin88・Submitted 30 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer SC Leang
After doing additional research, we initially discovered Stylemyspace and ultimately chose to schedule an appointment with them. We had a great initial meeting with Leang, and we hit right away since she understood the type of design motif we were looking for and took the time to hear our requirements. We were incredibly grateful to having Leang on hand for the entirety of the remodeling process because she helped us organize all the minor details; otherwise, we would have been overwhelmed if we had attempted the renovation without hiring an interior designer. Our old property underwent a total change, and we are eager to host guests. We were really happy with the outcome. As a result, we are extremely grateful to Leang and Stylemyspace for taking us along on this makeover adventure!
Reviewed by Kim・Submitted 30 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Ryan Sim
We hired Ryan to work on our 3-bedroom bto in October 2022. We had the greatest pleasure in praising him to our loved ones and friends. We were quite eager to get our lovely home furnished, just like other new homeowners. We were happy with Ryan's expertise in helping us through this path after a good co-worker of mine referred him to us. In spite of Ryan's hectic schedule and covid constraints during the pandemic, he is able to deliver the house to us on time and with all defects fixed. We are not a perfectionist but however, but those defects that we detected were nicely redone again and we are very satisfied with them. Thank you for the work.
Reviewed by chiang・Submitted 30 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Victoria
Engaged Victoria from Dots N Tots for our restaurant for revamp work, i am so glad that we made the right choice with her. She is very responsive and gave a lot of valuable advise before and after the job complication. The work schedule and worker arrangement is perfect as we need to settle everything in 2 weeks time during the short closure for CNY break. Victoria manage to help to settle some existing issue in the restaurant too! Will definitely recommend Victoria to anyone who needed an ID in the future.
Reviewed by M L Kelvin Tan・Submitted 30 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Daniel
Will like to thank the ID, Daniel, for his help in doing our wet kitchen at our house around Dec last year, even though the schedule was a bit tight. There was a bit of delay due to the weather but he managed to get it done before CNY. He has covered a lot for our house, including patching up the exterior wall, repainting, installing ziptrak for the wet kitchen and patio and doing the wet kitchen counter top, cupboard and awning. He has been nice throughout and we will want to work with him again, moving forward. The costs for the works is not cheap, but that is partly due to the rise in labour and material costs. As for communication with the sub-contractors, he has done as much as he can even though it could have been better and it is not entirely his fault that sometimes there is a breakdown in communication.
Reviewed by Revin・Submitted 30 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Ben Travis
Score 2 out of 5 - not a recommended interior designer since he's very slow in providing 3D designs or he prefer forgot/not to give any updated 3D designs to clients. Somehow Ben always forgot whatever we discussed and confirmed on both our in-person discussion or whatsapp chat - and refused to create meeting-minutes to note our renovation progress. There was one incident where he order and install wrong toilet wall and floor tile colors, fortunately he's being responsible and fix the wrong installations. During renovation, the onsite checks is only done once/twice a month, and he has no control over the contractor workers introduced. The contractor workers that Livspace worked with will turned-on your air-con (without your concerns) while working/painting in your premise. This made my air-cons filter very dusty and require washing after renovation finished.
Hi Revin, we would like to address the issue you have encountered with us. Please share your contact details by clicking on the link: http://m.me/Livspace or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall have our team assist you with the same.
Reviewed by Esther Geraldine Tan・Submitted 29 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Vincent and Alan
Vincent and Alan (our IDs) were a breeze to work with from day one! As it was our first home, we came to them without much of an idea initially, but through our first consultation with Vincent, he asked us many questions about our lifestyles and translated all these ideas into our now completed house which we love! It was such a seamless and comfortable process that we greatly appreciated and enjoyed. The renovation process was just as positive - Vincent and Alan are professional, experienced and efficient. We are very happy with the design and workmanship. Any little hiccups were resolved swiftly and they were always responsive, so we had full trust and confidence in their expertise! They also always provided useful alternatives and options that made it flexible for our budget. Best of all, our project was completed ahead of schedule and full credit to them both for their meticulous planning and scheduling of contractors etc to have made that possible. We stayed within our budget with their competitive pricing and could not be happier with how our first home turned out! Thank you Vincent and Alan! Highly recommend Le Interior Affairs!
Reviewed by Joanne Sim・Submitted 29 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer Eva
We recently had the pleasure of working with Eva, and our experience was nothing short of exceptional! From the moment we began discussing our plans for a resale flat instead of a BTO, to the minor details throughout the renovation process, Eva was patient and accommodating. Shee answered all of our questions in a timely manner and provided his opinions where necessary. The workmanship for the renovation was ideal too. Overall, we would highly recommend Eva from Happe as an interior design firm.
Hi Joanne, thank you for your kind words and sorry that we are unable to get a 5 star review from you!
But we strive to work best for all our customers in the future and we thank you for your trust and appreciate your loyalty to our business.
Once again, thank you!!
Reviewed by Denise Pan Jovy・Submitted 28 Jan 2023・ Project completed Jan 2023・Designer ALAN
Stylemyspace and the team completed a few remodeling projects on two of our homes. These included building a carport, converting a garage into a usable space, and adding four bathrooms. From the initial consultation to the final inspections and quality assurance, Alan and the team are in charge of managing the projects. Each project was finished to a high standard, on time, and on budget. Alan is excellent at keeping his word, meeting deadlines, and communicating clearly. In addition, he emanates a serene and consoling aura that is essential when unforeseen circumstances occur. For instance, during our garage conversion, significant degradation on the timber framing was found. Alan's group altered strategy and fixed the issue quickly at little to no financial expense. Another quality I want to highlight is that the crew Alan chose is polite and aware of the noise. When employing mixed work arrangements, working from home was commonplace. The fact that Alan's team kept the noise level down was greatly appreciated. I heartily recommend Alan and the team for your upcoming task.
Interior Designer Reviews
When choosing an interior designer, we believe that doing your own research matters – and it’s the reason why we have compiled a comprehensive list of independent homeowner reviews from all over Singapore for your reference.
Our reviews are vetted and independently submitted by verified users, so you can be sure that they will help you make the right move in your renovation journey. You may refer to our Review Policy on how we manage and police the reviews.
You can also make a more informed decision by checking out these useful resources and guides:
- Get a budget estimate with the Qanvast Renovation Calculator
- Read Renovation Journey Stories from Homeowners
- True Stories: How Hiring an ID helped these homeowners
- What to Expect When Engaging an Interior Designer
- What Local Homeowners Think About Renovation in Singapore
Hiring an interior designer, contractor or architect for the very first time? Keep an eye out for these key characteristics and details before choosing to work with a design firm and/or service:
Project portfolio – What type of projects has your designer completed to date? Are they a good fit for your needs?
Chemistry – Is your designer a good communicator? Are your interactions pleasant?
Quote – Are you comfortable with your designer’s quotation? How does it compare to similar projects?
Management style – Does your designer handle his work with care? Is he or she on the ball about his/her work?
Reviews and references – What do other clients and/or homeowners say about your chosen designer?