Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Choosing A Good Hood

For first time home owners, you're probably feeling baffled with so many items to purchase for your new home. Today I received a common question that many customers ask us.

" Dear Meridian Team,

I would like to ask your opinion regarding the difference between hood/hob brands like Rubine, rinnai, fagor, Teka, Zanussi, etc...

We know that every brand have their specialty, but we dont know which brand will suits our needs. Our concern is, our house has no separation between kitchen and living room, so we have to choose a very good hood to avoid smoke and the oil spread to the living room.

What is commonly recommended to your customer? We would be VERY HAPPY AND GRATEFUL =) if your team can give an idea/opinion on how to choose a good/quality kitchen appliances (esp hob and hood)

Thanks! Have a nice day everyone =) "
My reply was :
Hi xxx,

TQ for your email.

All those brands you mentioned are reputable ones so it doesn't matter so much what brand you choose. For a strong suction hood choose something of 1200 m3 suction power . Plan your ducting (to channel the hot air out of the house) as short as possible. The longer the ducting, the lesser the suction power. Similarly for each time the ducting bends, the suction power is reduced.

If there are no large windows in the kitchen, you'll need a ventilation fan to remove stale air. A ventilation fan does not serve the same purpose as a hood and so does not substitute the other.

Hope this helps.

Lola Lim 016-2926357 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Should a houseowner be charged for these?

Today I received an email. The writer asked for a neutral opinion whether she had been fairly charged. Below is what she had written :

"Dear Lola,

I enjoyed reading your blog very much. You are very generous in sharing your knowledge and guiding inexperienced homeowners on the ins and outs of renovation work.

I wish I had come across your blog and your company earlier, as I would then definitely consider your services. As it is, I'm already working with an ID for my new house and I have some issues with her.

I wonder if you may be so kind as to clarify or explain some things.

Is it the usual procedure for ID firms to charge the houseowner for:

- "workman compensation and contractor-all-risk insurance"?

- floor protection (shouldn't this be part of the proper way of doing things?)

- to regrind and polish existing timber flooring (if I'm already paying for "floor protection", why should the floor need regrinding?)

I would be grateful if I can help clarify the above for me.

Thanks so much for your time,

Ms Tan (*name had been changed )"

This was my reply to her :

Hi Ms Tan (*name had been changed),

Thank you for your email.

I hope I'm able to help shed some light to your confusion with my answers below :

 "workman compensation and contractor-all-risk insurance"

Different companies have different policies. For larger scale renovation work, some companies charge 0.5% on total cost for workers' compensation and the contractor's insurance. More than this for commercial reno work. Some ID firms choose to waive this for small projects.

"floor protection (shouldn't this be part of the proper way of doing things?)"

Whether the ID charge back this amount to customers depend on the standard the ID company is expected to deliver.

1) Normal way to protect the floor is with plastic canvas but this material doesn't do a very good job. Many times, scratches will still appear.

2) A better and costlier way is to lay the whole floor with plywood and canvas - very costly and we indeed do charge back to customer. Some people do ask why we must charge but don't re-use for another project? Because after the renovation, all these plywood ends up dirty and spoilt and cannot be re-used without causing scratches on the next house's floor.

Cheaper contractors - do not protect floor and don't charge for this.

Medium end contractors - no charges for this but just use canvas.

High end contractors - charge for this and use plywood for best protection.

A contractor's dilemma is always the question - How much protection should we provide? How high is customer's expection? Some customers are not bothered with small scratches, but some customers will want to regrind the floor.

"to regrind and polish existing timber flooring (if I'm already paying for "floor protection", why should the floor need regrinding?)"

Timber flooring is extremely difficult to protect. Just one medium sized grain of sand that goes under the protection board is enough to cause a scratch. Even using maximum protection like plywood is not enough to prevent this from happening. So we also have to prepare our customers for this and offer to regrind the floor at a cost. Some customers choose to accept the eventuality of minor scratches and save this cost of regrinding.

Looks like your ID sets high standards, that's why more pricey.

The final part of the correspondence is :
"Dear Lola,

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain things to me. It's much appreciated.

It's all a lot clearer now; and it looks like I can't avoid paying those charges!

Ms Tan (*name had been changed) "

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make Over Of Kitchen, Ampang

This project is to make over an old kitchen. This house is a subsale property in Ampang, a double storey link house. We were given the task to propose the extension of the backyard, tear down the old cabinets and to plan a new kitchen layout. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures of the kitchen before the renovation work.

 We had proposed an island unit as the kitchen is big enough after the extension. As kitchen planners, an island is ALWAYS our preferred proposal whenever space allows as :
1) An island is the most elegant.
2) With today's concept of an open kitchen, people like to gather around an island top whether during food preparation or during informal light meals.
3) It's no fun working facing the wall!

 As the owner has an existing microwave that is still fairly new, we had left sufficient space in the tall unit for her to purchase a built-in microwave in the near future. All the relevant wiring and switch point had been prepared for this eventuality.

Solid surface at sink area with raised side profile to prevent water from dripping to the floor.
This kitchen uses a combination of UV Gloss White and Rosemore Beech Laminate and costs RM18,775 with some accessories included.

"The pricing is reasonable as it was during the Homedec Promotion. I selected Meridian as I have faith in the Signature Kitchen brand that they carry. Meridian has helped me with advice on space planning and storage utilization. Yes, I would definitely recommend Meridian to my friends and family to help them with their kitchen makeover to maximise space usage.

In summary, I would describe Meridian as paying excellent detail to kitchen design and space maximisation."

Madina Zolkepli,
AmBank Bhd