Saturday, December 5, 2009

Design for Subang Alam

The lady owner of this house loves the rich and warm colours of autumn so much that she wants to replicate these colours in her kitchen. Being a serious cook and someone who bakes often, she puts full emphasis on this kitchen.



This kitchen costs RM21,530 (granite top not included).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What People Say...

"Your pricing is very reasonable considering the whole package of personal ID and project management services provided by Chee Hoong and Lola . The construction workers team that you assembled have dealt with my project with great skills.

I found Meridian by chance browsing through the internet. It was a blessing that you guys turned out to be real professionals to deal with.

I had used other contractors before for my old house. Bad experience, I must admit. Poor workmanship, cheap materials. Poor project management with lots of delay. No after sales service at all. They never come back ever again to attend to my complaints.

Did Meridian help me? Yes truly. It was a hassle free project for me. Chee Hoong took care of everything and willing to listen to any of my suggestions and preference. After sales was really good and prompt. I have confidence that this project was a worthwhile investment after all. ID suggestions and colour matching by Lola was great. We are very happy.

Any time! I am sure to recommend your services to any person who ask me. I will just tell them to let Meridian to become the whole project manager rather than to source out their projects to various contractors. Your service is unbelievable!"

Comment from :
Dr. Hoe Kah Siong
Consultant Anaesthesiologist
Prince Court Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur

“I was reading some forum in which Lola was actively participating in the discussion. Though she is an interior designer and have own business in interior design and work, her reply and feedbacks in the discussion seems honest and sincere. That’s when I sent an e-mail to her asking if she is interested to work for my new apartment. And it all started from there on.

During evaluation I did not compare prices much with another two contractors I engaged for the project. Each one has own advantages but I was more concerned on the quality of work and the after sales service that I will be getting. At that point of time I cannot gauge any of these from the quotations, but after several discussions with both Lim and Lola, I am confident in them. And I was right. 1 year after the project I am still getting the after sales service from them, with no hassle or hidden cost. I am a happy customer now.

My dealing with other contractor did not go beyond asking for quotation, so I do not know how they will fare against Meridian Design. This is where personal touch matters most whereby some big ID consultants tend to be very calculative and charge you for every single change or improvement you need to do during the project. I did not experience this with Meridian Design. Even well after I have moved into my new apartment, I am still getting the after sales services from them without hassle. I am sure I will not be getting this kind of service from many other companies as a business aims to make money and naturally they tend to be calculative and difficult. The fact that Meridian Design is a small family business with a lot of personal touch appeals to me most.

Meridian Design helped to make my choice of dreamed living space a reality. I am sure everybody will have their own idea on the most suitable living environment tailored towards the needs and lifestyle of the particular person. From the planning stage, I discussed my needs and lifestyle with Lim & Lola, and they produced the most suitable design fulfilling my needs. All the details are discussed promptly minimising any design error that can be costly to rectify. I have a friend who engaged an ID for his new place. The design errors made by the ID costs my friend quite a considerable sum of money, as details like the distance of the sink to the shower screen, lighting points and socket positions are not discussed explicitly during the planning stage. I am glad that through his experience in ID, Lim has advised me accordingly on these details and avoided the costly design error. I remembered how it took us 30 minutes just to discuss the perfect location of the mirrors in the bathrooms.

I definitely recommend Meridian Design to my friends and family. As ID process can be rather pressing and costly affair, it makes perfect sense to ensure that we have a reliable partner to work with. For me, ID is something very personal, and there is no one design already in the market that can fit your specific needs and lifestyle. Customisation is the key and to do this one will need to get an experienced, reliable and trusted company to do it right first time. And Meridian Design has done this for me and I trust it will do the same to my friends and family.

In one word, Meridian is Reliable.”

Comment from :

Fadli Baharuddin
Manager, Business Development

“As a Singaporean, I am not familiar with other IDs here in Malaysia nor done any price comparison. I selected Meridian because they are sincere, with genuine attitude, very patient and willing to go the extra mile to accommodate changes.

Meridian had helped in my home renovation by offering good ideas on design, are adaptable to changes, and are ready to provide cheaper solutions and alternatives where possible.

Yes, I will definitely recommend Meridian to my friends as I appreciate their patience and sincerity. In one word Meridian is Trustworthy.”

Comment from :

Chan Tau Chou
Field producer
AlJazeera Network

“Meridian was recommended to me by my friend for its good rapport and excellent customer service. Their price is not the cheapest nor the most expensive – I would say middle range, but it was worth every cent!

I have not engaged any contractors before but my close family members had warned me to be careful in choosing one. Some had the bad experience of engaging contractors with weak finances and bad cash flow management or work quality issues.

Meridian helped us by providing a complete package – a one-stop solution that includes both structural works and interior design concept consultation.
Would I recommend Meridian to my friends and family? I’ve already done that in forum! Because I want to share the same satisfaction that I’ve already experienced! And how would I describe Meridian? Meridian’s service was worth the money spent!”

Comment by :
Mohd Ridzuan Ahmad Hariri
Bank Executive

“Even though your price is above average, I chose to engage Meridian because they are easy to deal with, listen to customers’ needs and gave great ideas. Your service is value for money!

I had used another contractor to renovate my house before Meridian came in. The discussion process was difficult and mistakes kept happening even though clear instructions had been given. He seemed to prioritise profits instead of customer satisfaction, non-negotiable on money and disappeared with the money paid!

Meridian came up with brilliant ideas, generous with goodies, were very detailed, with excellent on-site workers. Now the kitchen is one of the best areas in the house. I will certainly recommend Meridian to my friends and family due to their excellent service, consultative advice, value for money and their flexibility. Nowadays, discounts, flexibility and free goodies are very important. They can even help you to design the whole house! Meridian is awesome!

However these are what Meridian has to improve on : be punctual on every appointment and get more selection of materials and colours.”

Comment by :
Yourdadisangry , a member of Malaysia Real Estate Forum
Our commitment
Yourdadisangry, thank you for bringing out points for us to improve on. We treat and value every feedback as constructive and I am emphasizing that our workforce learn the importance of time management and customer care. It’s an uphill task as contractors are from the old school but we’ve taken the first step by enrolling the management team and supervisors for training.

Lola Lim
Designer and Director, Meridian Interior Design Sdn Bhd

Saturday, May 16, 2009

You Are Wasting Your Time and Money If…

1) The end result of your renovation is a mismatch of colours.
2) The overall design, planning of functional space and choice of soft furnishings are not well coordinated.
3) You need to keep applying leave and having the hassle of managing so many different groups of contract workers.
4) You don't change your old habits.


We once finished a kitchen and when I visited the house after it's done, I really felt sad. Because we were only asked to do the kitchen, we had no hand in helping out with the planning and proposal stages. Our work only started after all the other contract workers had left. We had no control over the other workers' work nor helped in the colour coordination. The owners had spent RM70,000 and I felt they were not getting their money's worth. I'm not talking about them being cheated of their hard earned cash by slimey contractors. Sure, they had gotten some lower-paid workers but who were not able to give them advice on what colours to purchase for tiles, what paints for walls, and the current trends. The result was they had wrongly chosen some glossy China tiles with hues of pink/orange and mocha concrete surface for kitchen and of all colours - lilac for foyer entrance. And all these colours were matched with pale mint green for the walls. Of course I didn't tell them they had made a big mistake! Chee Hoong and I have a policy that unless we can help to make a difference and there is still time to do so, only then it's appropriate to voice out. When it's already too late, we choose to keep the peace
and not make people unhappy.

It was because of too many instances like this that we have the vision and passion to help people plan for whole house renovations instead of just concentrating on kitchen cabinets and wardrobes like we did a few years ago. We were unable to help our customers back then because our work only commenced at the end-stage.

I have always emphasized that colours can make a world of difference. That's the first thing we see when we enter a room! After this only comes quality. Why do I put quality ranked after colours? Because one is first attracted to the colours…only when one is sufficiently settled down will one pay closer attention to the workmanship.

I'm speaking this from our own earlier experience. During our initial years concentrating just on cabinetry work, I realise that however much effort I put into the woodwork…even if our carpenters had done their best, all our efforts cannot contribute to making the home nicer if the houseowner chooses to paint the surrounding in a non-harmonious colour, or chooses wrong coloured tiles or simply not knowing good housekeeping habits (this I will talk about later).

Co-ordination of form and function

Most people only renovate house 2 or 3 times in a life-time. Because of this lack of experience, there is a higher chance of missing out on something in terms of functional planning,
or lack of experience in co-ordinating concept and colours, or not organizing the work in its most ideal sequence.

This is especially so when budgets are limited and has to stretch as far as it can go. Therefore, every bit spent has to meet a functional need and yet look good.

Another limition is space. In urban living, every inch of space is a premium. The design then has to make creative use of whatever little space there is.

Another common mistake is to use too much of the same material in the same room. To some people, renovation means building cabinet shelving , building divider panels, building the tv cabinets back-panels, etc. All these call for usage of wood, wood and more wood. The overall look would be more balanced if combined with creative usage of natural stones, glass, fabric or wall paper.

Managing different groups of contract workers.

Before you decide to go ahead and manage the whole renovation process the DIY way, find out how long it takes to finish the whole scope of work. You will definitely save some money if you manage independent groups of workers yourself, but...

Will you have the time ? Especially if the project spreads out to over a month?
Will your accumulated leave days be enough?
Do you know that dealing with so many workers mean delays or absenteeism, which means you'll need to provide extra days into your supervision time?
Will you know which teams are reliable and responsible and which are not?
Will you know enough about construction technicalities so as not to be taken for a ride?
Will you know how to work out progressive payment calculations so as not to over-pay to reduce risk of work-abandonment?
Do you know you will have to buy all materials yourself?
Do you know each time the workers do not have enough materials, you'll have to stop whatever you are doing and rush to the supplier's?
Do you know enough about renovation to be able to arrange the work in its proper sequencing?

Solutions to these headaches :

1) If you are not working full-time, then go ahead. You'll have all the time in the world.
2) If you have anyone else in the family who is not employed full-time, you'll have some help to monitor the work.
3) Get contractors recommended by friends. They've been tried and tested.
4) When the project is big, you might want to do a credit check on your contractor. A contractor with huge debts may just buckle under the pressure
without completion of work. This happens because they can no longer afford paying wages to their workers.
5) To avoid the risk of workers disappearing with your money, learn how to work out progressive payments so that you don't over-pay. I've provided a sample below.

To work out a Progressive Payment Chart :

This Cash Flow Sheet is a translation of the renovation process into monetary cash flow that allows us to work out a justifiable and fair progressive payment every week. It also helps houseowner to check that they are not over-paying by too much.

6) We often come across people who arrange work in the wrong sequencing. Like I have explained in the very first point about colours, they engaged a designer at the very last stage when I wasn't able to be of much help. Everything has been done up, so I just followed the space allocated by the earlier workers, followed whatever tile colours they have chosen.

I've provided a sample of a Critical Path Method chart for you to arrange your work. Please pay attention that my sample chart is not THE only sequencing to follow. Work arrangement varies according to situations of every house. You can say that every project is unique!

The Critical Path Method Chart is a progression of the Work Precedence Chart. CPM shows in graphic form the following :

1) The 1st start date of the renovation work and the expected last date of renovation work. This is denoted in WORK DAY.
Total dedicated time for this work is 63 WORK DAYS (Mon -Fri, 9am to 5pm).
2) It tells us when to inform supplier to get ready to deliver supplies to us. Eg, Air cond fixing is on the 26th day, so the aircond MUST reach before the 26th.
Painting is on the 29th so every supervisor must make sure their team finishes work BEFORE 29th.
3) It also alerts us which teams' work are fundamental in controlling the overall smooth progress of the work and to avoid costly delays. This is represented
by the Critical Path which I denoted in red.

Change your old habits !

I really can't stress enough about this last point!

A VERY glaring example is the kitchen usage. I know a lot of people like to leave a lot of stuff on their kitchen table top - the dishes, the cups, the water filter, the kettle, the microwave, the kid's milk bottles, etc. etc. Do you realise that when you are going to move into a new house, spend a big amount on renovation and want the end result to look good, you'll first have to change your old habits first! The excuse of leaving things lying everywhere is always an age old one : I use these items very frequently, so I'll just leave them on the table. Then how do you expect the renovation result to look nice if it ends up looking messy?

I have a friend Heiko and I always wondered how he kept the house looking EXTREMELY neat and clean being a bachelor. He says he is very fastidious and always insists on putting things back in its rightful place. That's the key - putting things back in its rightful place.

Secondly, never keep things that you haven't used for 2 years. Be neat, get rid of clutter!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Before and After

Press Release : This project was selected to be featured in Designer Concept Oct '09 issue simply for the reason that it's a very daring play of colours!

I love this home! The lady owner loves flamboyant colours and this experimentation of colours really makes this home very different from the rest. The pictures here show how exciting new colours can totally transform a tired looking second-hand condo.


This ardent diver loves to bring the colour of the big blue ocean into her bedroom. She asked to have an open bathroom by removing the door and removed the tired bathtub to be replaced with a shower.


The available wall space in the living area is for the owner's collection of books and memorabilia from her travels. As someone who is active and believes in nurturing the mind through reading during quiet time, she does not own a tv set so there is no need for a tv cabinet.


The owner loves brightness so we took out the kitchen door and replaced it with aluminium louvre door with wider gaps to allow plenty of fresh air and light. She chose not to use a separate dining table but to turn the island unit into something multi-functional - for dining, work-area with plug point for a laptop and with some storage beneath. Why want to have a breakfast counter, a work table and also a dining table when you can combine all and save premium space?


She removed the bathroom door to be replaced with frosted glass sliding to allow natural brightness in. For those who are hesitating…it's okay to have frosted glass as toilet door, no one can see inside.


A diver as well as a hobby photographer, she turned both walkways to the MBR and the other rooms into a display area for her photos.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Before and After

Press Release : This project was selected to be featured on Reno & Decor Nov '09 issue!

Black and white...these are simple colours but combine well for a masculine environment. Today I'm writing about using black and white for a bachelor's pad. This client prefers warm and cozy lights for a relaxed environment. The concept is modern minimalist with least effort in maintenance.

The Kitchen

This kitchen will use lots of black aluminium framed glass with coated glass used in between the wall and base cabinet units. The overall look will be glossy elegant black. To tone down the over-powering black, the 4-inch solid surface top shall be white.


The Black and White theme carries until the bedroom. An interesting idea came from the houseowner who wanted the wall-hung storage cabinet for CDs and players to be BOTH ACCESSIBLE from the living hall as well as the bedroom !

This kitchen costs :

a. Black coated glass doors, aluminium edges, aluminium profile handles
Wall unit - RM 2,350
Base unit - RM 5,605
Tall unit - RM 2,128
b. Tap : Dorex RM 150
c. Gas lift (6 x RM30) RM 180
d. Aluminium framed frosted glass doors RM 360
e. Coated glass in between wall and base RM 1,188
f. Solid surface top - Acelite RM 3,520
g. Solid surface sink (2 x RM600) RM 1,200

This Living Area costs :

a. 2-way access CD cabinet - RM 810
b. To hack and replaster wall for 2-way access cabinet - RM 450
c. Plaster ceiling - Light top ( 90FR at RM18 ) - RM1,620

This Bedroom costs :

a. Wardrobe in HPL sliding doors, anti-jump system RM 8,185
b. Backdrop with light and 2 side shelves RM 2,600