The entire project almost a year to finish – over 7 months for renovation plus an additional 3 – 4 months to touch up/fix remaining issues after handing over keys. In summary here are my personal thoughts about this firm (‘Kejico’) and their Interior Designers (ID):
– Lack professionalism
– Lack accountability and irresponsible
– Lack internal communication
– Poor workmanship (i.e. Carpentry)
– Poor project and time management skills
– Not proactive and overpromise on their services
Interior designers involved:
Derick Gwee (ID #1)
Kenny Ler (ID #2 / Owner of Kejico)
Updated: 3 out of the 4 people listed above have left the business already.
I will share my overall thoughts and experience based on the renovation timeline. You can be the judge and decide whether this ID suits you.
During the entire project, Derick Gwee, main designer overseeing the renovation. The whole process went smoothly until the actual renovation commenced. A role of an ID is to manage the renovation project and provide advice to the client. Ironically, Derick was reluctant to travel down for the initial measurement. In his own words, he felt that blueprint is accurate and his supplier(s) can work with it to fabricate based on my requirements.
Since this our first home renovation, my wife and I were uncomfortable with such arrangement as any errors in measurement/requirement may delay the renovation. Many excuses were given to avoid making a trip down but after much convincing he showed up with his coordinator.
In my opinion, we felt that there was zero initiative to help us with our renovation after collecting the initial deposit. For one instance, Derick did not offer to come down to Hafary for tile selection despite emphasizing that we have no prior experience in choosing the tiles. And to ensure efficiency I guess it was reasonable for them to book one trip down to advise us accordingly. On the actual appointment at Hafary, he was late for over an hour.. there was no sense of time management and if one is late it is only right to inform us as a courtesy.
February – May 2019:
After tiles were confirmed, Arthur was assigned to our project and was the main point of contact for the project. We liaise with him on our input and for updates to the project.
At the start, I must admit that Arthur was proactive compared to Derick but along the way there were many miscommunications between him and their contractors. We were quite clear with our requirements and we reinforce it in Whatsapp Group Chat and go the extra mile to follow-up with them on the call to ensure they understood our inputs. Yet, countless issues occurred, and this could be prevented if they make an effort to go on site to check after each stage of the renovation. Instead they took the fast route and run through the requirements with contractors verbally on the phone.
We decided to accommodate and do our due diligence instead of debating with them even though we paid for project management services (over 10% of the overall reno project). One thing to point out is that It was utterly shameful that they failed to do the most simplest task such; as sending us photo proof of the renovation (so we can track progress). We had no choice but to head down to the our unit on a weekly basis ensure the job was done properly and they were working according to the timeline.
Despite being clear with our requirements on the both phone and Whatsapp, mistakes were still being made. See below for some examples:
– Partition wall was built on the wrong area
– Re-painting the walls because they used the wrong paint
– Tiles were placed on the wrong side of the wall
– Skirting was done even though we specifically told them it was not needed
If they took the initiative to verify with us before proceeding with the work, they could minimize these issues. For instance, we could easily communicated via a call but unfortunately majority of the time Derick doesn’t pick up our call/ or uncontactable.
May – June 2019:
Arthur, Project Coordinator left the business early May and was passed back to Derick. We were frustrated given the changes in team and delays. He committed to hand over the keys by end of May but dragged all the way to June. It was the last straw for us and we gave them a hard deadline to finish up by Mid of July.
Despite working on a 5 months’ timeline, the job was rushed – there were number of areas that were incomplete and defectives everywhere (subpar work) in order to hand over the keys and collect final payment. For instance, poor workmanship of their full height cabinets, some of the laminates chipped, featured wall was damaged, uneven paint colors, uneven tiles in living room (they had to remove the tiles and lay it again).
August – November 2019:
After moving into our house, it took them almost 4 months to touch up the remaining areas. They wasted our morning either by arriving late or no show on appointment date (end up rescheduling again). Not sure what is the rationale but they could have arranged for all the defects to be fixed in 1 to 2 trips, but ended up split across multiple weekends and dragged on for over a couple of months. To a point Derick left the business and handed over to Kenny Ler, owner of Kejico.
Since Kenny was the business owner, I thought we were in good hands now since he promised to rectify the remaining issues asap after all the inconvenience the firm have given us. However, too good to be true, yet again appointments were delayed or postponed.
There was one time he did not show up and wasted our entire morning just by waiting for him. We tried calling him and the phone was off. It was unacceptable and irresponsible behavior, and No one should receive such treatment/services.
Eventually the next day he picked up his call and offered to extend our warranty to 2 years. As of today, our kitchen cabinet hinge spoil due to poor workmanship. After collecting final payment, Kenny avoided all our calls and I even tired contacting them on their the company landline but the number is not working. I had no choice but to turn to another contractor to fix the kitchen cabinet even though by right is covered within the ID’s warranty period.
In a nutshell:
DO NOT jump the gun and sign the agreement. Get a few quotations and go with reputable interior design firm for a peace of mind. Do some background check by running through your friends or forums before committing to the ID firm. Hope you don’t fall into such trap and face with such bad experience.