Friday, December 21, 2007

Thank God for technology!

I haven't been updating this blog as frequently as I would like. Very often, I would be rushing to meet deadlines and the only free time I have after finishing whatever work I have for the day would be spent reading. Yes, I'm a voracious reader!

Today, I would like to highlight the benefits of technology - something most of us have taken for granted in this time and age. When I started to learn designing, it was the tough old fashion way - hand-drawn! And presentation was a big headache, both for the customer and for me. If I happened to meet the most unimaginative person... however hard I tried showing the colour and material samples, I just couldn't get the message across! And some customers tried to use their own favourite colours for walls but ended up shocked with the end result. During those early days we didn't provide consultancy on colour matching for those who chose to go about it (the painting, I mean) the DIY way but we later realise that however much effort we put into our renovation work, at the end of the day just a minor error like the wrong colour scheme would spoil the whole pot of broth.

No more unpleasant surprises. Photo realistic images.

Design stage :

Actual job delivered :

Since the day we embraced new technology by upgrading to a 3D software for presentations, a lot of hassles and mistakes have been avoided. We now save so much time on preparing sample boards, and clients are happier now that they can envision what we are talking about. And most important, we now can avoid the perennial problem whereby clients end up unhappy with the way their choice of colours turn out.

Easier to envision a new theme with exotic, exciting colours.

Thinking of conservative warm grey tones ?

Or exotic tropical greens!

Even more important, we can now coax clients who are thinking of giving their house a fresh coat of paint to try something new and more exciting rather than sticking to the totally safe colours of white or beige.

Yes! If your house had been white or beige for the last 10 years, it's high time you change for a more daring outlook. No one would notice your new coat of paint if you repainted everything the exact hues as it had been all this while! When it's time for a makeover, make sure everyone notices!
The wonders of electronic mail.
With the help of electronic communication, I can even work with an Australian construction team without my physical presence! This bathroom design above is meant for a log cabin resort project facing the Himalayan mountains. Yeah, the world is getting smaller...

The next time I update this blog, I would like to write about mistakes in renovation. Most mortals renovate their houses less than 3 times in their lifetime. Your first renovation is likely to be full of regrets, then comes the second time when you are wiser and can avoid many costly mistakes but alas, many mistakes done on structural changes cannot be undone without spending even more money. As contractors, we have definitely much more experience than consumers so I hope to share some possible mistakes made by first-timers.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fun and Funky

Every room may be accented with a fun or funky chair. I particularly love to accent with animal prints, they make great accents on pillows, chairs, table runners and rugs.
If you find an old chair recover it and add a pillow as pictured here for more statement. For an elegant room add an exposed wood chair and upholster it in a fabulous tapestry using a pattern which ties in other colors in the room.

Children's room can be a lot of fun for your imagination adding an accent chair with colors, colors and more colors and will provide a comfortable place for you, allowing those precious moments in your child's environment, for the special bonding moments.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rugs to Riches

What does a "Real Persian Rug" mean? It means the carpet is hand-knotted in IRAN and is not an imitation made in Pakistan, India, Turkey or elsewhere. This is a significant issue. Even though carpets may look the same superficially, they are not. Carpets that are made in IRAN are dyed differently, usually with vegetable pigments. In addition, the Persian knot is different. If you have a very tight budget, an imitation is probably a reasonable solution, but if you are looking for something that will keep its color and quality for a long time, buy a "Real Persian carpet". Always ask for a certificate of authenticity. I recommend a book titled, "Rugs to Riches", by Caroline Bosley, purchasing authentic pieces is an investment, this book will educate and enlighten most of your questions. I also recommend"Woodlands Rug Gallery which is shown in my links area. Mention your online designer referred you.
A personal favorite is the oriental with a silk wool blend. Always start with size and color choice, then let your dealer educate you and your designer assist in placement and room arrangement, then enjoy this luxurious accent for that final statement of your own style in your home or office.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Yellow Scarf

Every home or office can add an interesting and intriguing sculpture to fit the theme of a room. This bronze titled, "The Yellow Scarf", by Tom Moss who also painted the, "Prairie Princess", mentioned earlier has created time gone by while you focus on such detail in this sculpture, you wait for him to speak.

A sculpture placed in a room is like adding a rose to a vase, it simply adds the final touch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright

Stewart Township, Pa.: Perhaps Wright’s most recognizable design, Falling water perches over a waterfall whose sound resonates throughout the home. More than 120,000 visitors see this renowned home each year. The proximity to water and the ambitious design have forced extensive renovations—they also prompted the home’s first owner, Edgar K. Kaufmann Sr., to nickname the structure “Rising Mildew.”

Friday, November 23, 2007

Indian Summer

Many comments have been made on the photo titled, "Rhythms of Rest and Seclusion". this is yet another taken under the stars in South Africa. Periodically I will post more pictures of these peaceful scenes.....Ahhhh, to sleep under a thousand stars and anticipating the embrace of the moonlight. These are actual open sleep areas in Kenya, not sure sleeping with the cheetahs would send me into a soft slumber of restful sleep, but viewing it from a photo is quite restful. More of these photos can be found at

Friday, September 28, 2007

Working with Whites

Today, I would like to write about an all-white room. White had always been one of my favourite colours.. I have SO MANY favourite colours!

Until you start to plan an all-white room or area, you may not realize that white comes in as many different shades, tones and tints as blue or green. There are whites that are greenish in colour, those that are backed blue, black or yellow. Then, since white picks up and reflects the light, it can vary by texture.

Working with a pure white palette is hard but always rewarding. Hard, because it's important to consider every single element in the space. You will need to get swatches of all the fabrics, samples of every paint and, before that, have your daylight and artificial lighting worked out. It is equally important to consider whether you want gloss, eggshell or matt, and where.

You can bypass some of these decisions by dividing whites into two categories: one based on blues and blacks, and the otherbased on browns and yellows. It's advisable to work with just one category. Currently, the greys are trendier, but the creams are always warmer.


  • The textures and tones of white evoke a calm and freshness that are at home in the city or anywhere else.

  • In a white room, everything fits in with everything else: when you want to rearrange it or buy more, there are few complications.

  • Add exhilaration to a white kitchen with piles of lemons or tomatoes, boxes of earthy potatoes and ropes of creamy garlic bulbs.

  • White is so clean and pure that it is the perfect antidote to strong colour.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Planning to Renovate, the Designing Process and Design Fees

I feel the need to write this piece... because most ordinary Malaysians still do not know how to plan for their house renovation and do not know what to prepare before calling for an interior designer. The points below are derived from our official website .

Planning To Renovate ?

Before you call in your builder, it's worth thinking about how you want each room to be used.

The first thing to do is to ask around amongst friends for recommendations of architects, kitchen specialists, interior designers and builders. Also, look in design magazines to find the names of people or companies whose work you admire.

Obtain quotes from at least three builders to compare prices. Beware of the difference in prices! The cheapest quote is not necessarily the one you should choose; ask to see an example of the builder's work, and try to talk to previous clients.

Be specific when you are asking for quotes; put in as many details as possible. For instance, if you want a particular laminate, say so; otherwise the builder will almost certainly price the job on the cheapest available material. Be aware that the following terms all mean the same material : solid hard board, solid particle board, chipboard, miecomine board, melamine board. Also, plywood does not mean it is inferior as most people assume, knowing it's actually hollow inside. Most people are surprised when we tell them that plywood is more expensive than hardboard!

The work done by builders, kitchen companies, interior designers and architects vary enormously. Clarify exactly what can be expected of them - will they be supervising the job, for example, or merely drawing up plans.

The Designing Process

Firstly, we will ask for your floor plan and work out an estimation of costs for the project you wish to undertake. If the estimated cost meets the client’s expectations, then a meeting will follow to work out details of the design. Even if the initial estimated cost is not within the client’s budget, we would advice on how to minimize costs so as to keep everything within a specified budget. Cutting cost means using local and thereby cheaper accessories.

After the initial stage of determining a budget to work with, we would ask the client to furnish us with details on his tastes and preference of style and what he wants to use that specific area for. Only then can we propose a design that meets the needs of the homeowner. We would advice clients to read up on magazines and take note of designs that they like.

Upon confirmation of design, we would request a specified amount of deposit (non-refundable) to start the work. The time involved to deliver a project differs according to the size of the project and can take any time between 2 weeks to 2 months.

Design Fees

At Meridian Design, we use a powerful and photo-realistic 3-D software to help you visualize your new home. You will be able to see :

  1. Light points
  2. The ceiling of your choice
  3. How the wall colours and your furnishings blend in harmony
  4. How alterations to wall structures affect overall environment

These will be printed in full-colour on graphic paper and each view (meaning, per piece printed) will cost RM250. A special discounted price will be given if you were to appoint us to be your main contractor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Minimalist Trend

I’ve always been amazed by how good some minimalist houses look, and if you are not a big fan of minimalist homes just read the benefits of such a home, and you might become a minimalist fan right away. This trend is the prevailing one right now in Malaysia and is especially popular among families where both husband and wife work.

  1. Less stressful. Clutter is a form of visual distraction, and everything in our vision pulls at our attention at least a little. The less clutter, the less visual stress we have. A minimalist home is calming.

  2. More appealing. Think about photos of homes that are cluttered, and photos of minimalist homes. The ones with almost nothing in them except some beautiful furniture, some nice artwork, and a very few pretty decorations, are the ones that appeal to most of us. You can make your home more appealing by making it more minimalist.

  3. Easier to clean. It’s hard to clean a whole bunch of objects, or to sweep or vacuum around a bunch of furniture. The more stuff you have, the more you have to keep clean, and the more complicated it is to clean around the stuff. Think about how easy it is to clean an empty room compared to one with 50 objects in it. That’s an extreme example, of course, as I wouldn’t recommend you have an empty room, but it’s just to illustrate the difference.

Why I've decided to start this blog

A few months ago, we launched our new website . Alas! Since the new site is maintained by the webhost company, I'm unable to upload photos and my new designs anytime that I want to. Hence the thought came that I can still share my thoughts and inspirations on a blog like this!

Through this blog, I hope to achieve a few things :

1) Educating people about home renovations.

In Malaysia where contractors are not regulated by any laws or a statutory body, we frequently hear of people being given a raw deal or worse, being cheated by contractors. I hope to be able to educate people to better protect themselves and most of all to let people know that a new generation of contractors are emerging and what we are doing are quite unlike those whom your parents' generation dealt with.

2) To provide ID and project management service at a reasonable price.

It is our passion and mission to provide ID and project management service at a reasonable price. First and foremost, we do not charge a separate ID fee if the whole contract is awarded to us. To make this workable and feasible, we try to save costs in other ways WITHOUT SACRIFICING on quality and workmanship.

This is how we save cost :

a) The most expensive cost is TIME. We save time by not drawing the whole house but only areas that require renovation work.

b) We also save TIME by not drawing the whole layout of the house, the frontviews, sideviews, etc. - whichever is not necessary for the client to make a decision. We only prepare simple paperwork for our production workers.

c) We do not prepare the time-consuming full coloured 3D design before confirmation of order. During proposal stage, I normally do a quick hand-sketch to submit together with the quotation. While some IDs prepare the 3D drawing after collection of deposit and quotation is per square feet, I believe customers need to know what the quoted price is for and how the proposed design will be like before paying. Therefore a quick way to present this is by sketches.

d) We save overheads by having a website as an online showroom. Because we do not have to pay hefty rental bills and having heavy investment put up in the form of showroom sets, we save costs. We therefore are able to sell cheaper than showrooms by passing on this cost-savings to customers. We bring potential customers to current projects to view and judge for themselves the workmanship and quality.