Monday, November 07, 2011

A Tribute to Reiki Sanctuary, The Third Year - Part One

If you can’t write it down, you probably can’t pull it off.  It’s hard to go bad when you do good.

I have never really written a proper article to thank Chiauw and to show her our deepest gratitude.  The person, the ID and a friend who contributes to make what Reiki Sanctuary to be what she is.  To make Reiki Sanctuary a sanctuary for souls to grow.  To enjoy for the blessed comfort and deep peace.  To unite and re-unite life with love, serenity and tranquility. 

To thank her to make Reiki Sanctuary to be a renovator's delight - and a beautiful home with all the right qualities that please our senses.  Chiauw, indeed, has done an excellent and wonderful transformation.  She makes a remarkable change to an old 23 years simple 5-rooms old flat to serve us with better function and condition.

Three years have passed and there are still people (mainly readers from a renovation forum) who would ask me to recommend her to do their homes.  There are still families and friends who come to our place and never stop complimenting on the good renovation works.  On the choice of materials, the choice of design and the choice of renovation organization.

Looking back, Chiauw does a very good job.  She incorporates our lifestyle and our needs and blends our idea of a home, which is highly aesthetically pleasing, with her wide scope know-how.  She transforms Reiki Sanctuary cosmetically and structurally.

Perhaps, I should record it that Reiki Sanctuary is an architect-designed.  It is modern and contemporary residence and not an ID created.  This is what Chiauw stands for and this is what Chiauw has been telling us.  It is, undoubtedly, a fact.

She is a trained and talented architect and not an Interior Designer per se.  It is her architectural job that allows her passion for interior decorating to be superbly crafted with high quality finishes throughout.

Reiki Sanctuary has been architecturally designed to maximise into a modern living space and style.  It is classic and timeless.  Undeniably, Chiauw is very knowledgeable and resourceful.  She thinks of all possibilities and very meticulous in carrying out with details.  The end result is to make sure that we live in a practical home, where house chores are made easier.

She puts through the most rigorous quality controls to ensure that Reiki Sanctuary is faultlessly built.  We see it all through her supervision with the plumbers, the electricians, the joiners and everyone that's involved with the renovation.  She makes sure even the tiler, the plasterer and the painter is dedicated to the finest finishes.

She designs Reiki Sanctuary to the very millimeters.  Every single area of our home is a true custom design.  The aim is to deliver the function with the look we love and be perfectly suited to our dream house.  She uses all her experience and expertise to guide us through the maze of design options and create the sanctuary that we desire.

Buying a house is only the first step in creating a home.  It is an heavy investment.  It is a manufacturing capital growth.  Here in Singapore, a well renovated public housing flat sells with higher cash over valuation (COV) on top of the value of the property.

Though it is not intended for us to 'buy-renovate-and-sell' Reiki Sanctuary, she is a home that will house us for many more years.  Still, we must provide for provision for our old age.  We have to factor in our lifestyle and how we want to live comfortably in 10, 15 or 20 years ahead.

Choosing Chiauw to do our renovation is a blessing.  She educates us.  She allows us to make informed choices.  She helps us to solve problems and fixes our decorating dollars wisely.  It is not about how much we spend, but importantly, Chiauw presents it stylishly.

Her wide knowledge on renovation hardware, building materials and supplies helps us to know what are available in the market.  She shows us almost everything, from the expensive high quality to the average.  At the end of it, the intention is for us to know that there are many options to choose from.

Our experiences with Chiauw, therefore, qualifies it into a renovation tip on 'How To Choose an Interior Designer'.  The end result speaks itself - the compliments are testament to her dedicated works.

Though my tips here are not extensive and exhaustive, I hope they provide sufficient basic knowledge.  Here, I will not highlight the importance on chemistry (between IDs and home owners) as it is personal and varied.  Chemistry should be the first thing to strike in the selection for a good ID.  Chemistry should include on communication, the ability between ID and home owner to collaborate and understand on a common language.

Once chemistry is established, there are other considerations.

I must add that the following tips are strictly based on personal satisfaction and our heartfelt appreciation for Chiauw.  Though not limited, it is to serve as a guideline for other home owners to consider before finally engaging an Interior Designer.

How To Choose An Interior Designer

01.  Certification

There are many interior designers or decorators but very few can qualify for the highest standard of Interior Design.  Those who met the qualification should not only be able to design but also able to understand building codes and project management.

Designing a new home is often a daunting task.  Many home owners have lots of ideas but they are like jigsaw puzzles span all over the head.  They need a good Interior Designer (ID) to help solve these puzzles and able to unite the pieces into a vision.  A good ID with proper certification, either by qualification or years of experience, could easily do it.

Never too shy to ask about their qualification and their experiences.  In fact, it is good to ask to let them know that you are really searching for a qualified person to help solving your jigsaw puzzles.

02.  Design Process

A good ID should have a wealth of experience and knowledge about constructing beautiful homes.  On top of that, ID should be able to tell how to live in them and to provide invaluable addition to the design process.

In the case of Chiauw, she interviews us at the start even before we get to ask about her expertise.  She asks about our lifestyles and about what we actually want in a house.  She leaves us with interior books so that we can have better ideas.

Basically, the objective is for her to conceptualize all that we want for a home.  She goes to the extend knowing which drawer or shelves we will put for sugar and the cooking oil, the tshirts and undergarments, the towels and bedsheets, the brooms and vacuum cleaner and etc.

A good ID should be able to tell home owners the function of each room.  When we ask Chiauw to design us a suspended TV Console in the Living Room, she knows where to place and hide the electrical sockets, yet conveniently located.  When we tell her that we want an L-shaped kitchen cabinet, she makes sure the height of it will not strain our body when cooking or washing the utensils.

These are details that many home owners overlook.  A good ID should highlight them right from the beginning.

03.  Budget

Explain the scope of the renovation and how much home owners are willing to spend upfront.  A good professional ID should be able to accommodate and making adjustments to fit budgets and expectations.

Chiauw uses a combination of fee structures.  There is a fixed fee to develop the initial plan and then cost plus to execute it.

04.  Style And Design

Good IDs should be able to accommodate home owners' tastes even if their personal style is completely different.  That said, there are IDs who have unique approaches that may not mesh with home owners.  Communication is critical when this happens.  Get them to tell the advantages.

Chiauw insists that at certain places, particularly in our kitchen cabinet, she wants to block off dead ends.  We are glad that we allow it.  Her rational makes sense - at such dead end area, cleaning is indeed a difficult chore.

A lot of psychology goes into design a functional home.  Good IDs must anticipate it and bring their talents to the project.  They should be able to contribute to the design process and adds tremendous value for home owners.

A good design is when IDs can provide with the highest quality home design, exceeding home owners' expectations, creating designs to enrich the occupants and producing unique solutions to inspire.

05.  Contacts And Management

Good IDs will be able to inform home owners on the renovation projects.  They can list down, and they should have sets of different sub-contractors to carry out the different tasks.  They should also know how to manage the different subcontractors.  Get them to share their lists of contacts for each task.  Get them to share on their workmanship.

Good IDs will hold your hands throughout the process.  They will bring you to source for materials.  They will advice on their practicability.

The best ID is the one that is transparent with the prices quoted from the different sub-contractors and suppliers.  Chiauw does not deal with payments.  She provides us with the tender prices from contractors and suppliers.

She carefully watches the sub-contractors' works and scrutinise all items purchased.  If we are not happy with the job or with any particular item, she makes sure they correct it at no extra cost to us.

06.  Timeline

Good IDs are able to tell home owners on renovation schedules.  They can give you an estimated time of delivery and hand-over date.

07.  Portfolios

It is important to see the many works of your selected ID.  Also, get the ID to show the works of his/'/her sub-contractors.

    About Me

    I am a certified Master in Traditional USUI REIKI and KARUNA REIKI. I am also a certified practitioner in MAGNIFIED HEALING and INNER DANCE.

    I have been teaching and conducting spirituality, healing and energy works (including Breathing Techniques, Meditation and Spinal Qiqong) for more than two decades.

    These are the classes I conduct:
    (for Individual and/or Groups)

    a) Life / Motivational Coach
    b) Usui Reiki (all the 4 levels)
    c) Awareness Before Change
    d) Born Rich
    e) Tibetan Geomancy ** (reading and consultation)

    ** Please have your house plan


    In Reiki Sanctuary, we feel blessed. We feel the abundance and greatly appreciate for all that have been showered. We can only keep counting ..

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