October 4, 2015

2nd Phase Design, Singapore…The good, the bad and the downright ugly of 2nd Phase Design

My attempted home improvement became a couple of months of health destruction (ie stress levels at an all time high) as I placed my hopes and dreams in the hands of a self-proclaimed professional, but seemingly amateurish designer, who lacked any sensitivity to people’s aesthetic tastes.

In the end we ended up liking a fair amount of the changes we got in and the overall result was fine- meaning we were okay with how our apartment ended up looking but the process could have been a lot better.

Eview wasn’t hard to work with;  he was patient and listens well. His design recommendations were ok, but they didn’t seem to fit what we were looking for. We went as far as doing our own online research to explain the type of aesthetic we were looking for with examples of coloring, furniture products, and feature walls. Yet, he kept coming back to these designs that were so off and seemed much more about him than us.

His team (with the exception of the carpentry) particularly the electrician was pretty incompetent. Things were wired wrongly, misaligned and at one point it caused a short circuit. Quality of workmanship of the wiring and paint job leaves a lot to be desired. Our existing furniture and floor were not properly protected.

And the downright ugly? Three follies – foolery, fluff and fuzziness. Playing with his words, he’d given us the perception that we needed an additional telephone line which costs $120, when upon checking with the telco, we didn’t. He’d said at the onset that he has an IT specialist who can help boost our internet connectivity and strength. All the while his mastery of the obvious, buzzwords and generalities are substituted for substance. Nearing the date of installation, his “expert” solution was to install a modem and a power point on the ceiling of the passageway to the bedroom for $550. I sought my company’s IT folks’ advice and fixed the problem at no additional cost whatsoever and without having an unsightly modem and power switch hanging upside down in full view in the middle of the passageway. Eview’s greatest sin is treating this job as a transactional sale but not as one which would result in a mutually beneficial business relationship. A long-term relationship requires thinking ahead and reasoning back. There is a big difference between a coordinated series of steps to accomplish a well-defined goal and a disconnected set of things to do – one is clear; the other is fuzzy. He is ultra defensive when confronted with issues and questions, even though his team was the one who’d made a mistake which resulted in the issue. Only after some robust conversations, did he investigate, realised the error and rectified it.

Overall it was a frustrating experience. I would say if you are looking for a designer, get in your due diligence. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


November 15, 2014

Champion Republic, Singapore…..three reasons NOT to renovate your bathroom with Champion Republic

282205_417357581652600_2121647880_n[1]Their website proclaimed: “We are well known for offering the most reputable and impressive lines of home products in the market.  Our brand is renowned for its high quality, exquisite appearance and trendy design. We are devoted to uncovering and sharing the latest and greatest products for home.” Their strategy is obviously very hardware-driven. Champion Republic, I have news for you…outstanding products do not make a company great without excellent service that does along with it.

All went fine when one of their workers came to inspect and measure my shower stall. He collected $100 deposit out of the $350 total. He committed to install within 3-5 days. That was where the problems began. After 3 days, my wife called him to enquire the exact date and time when he would install the shower screen. His reply? “You don’t chase me. The more you chase me, the longer you will have to wait.” Unbelievable!!! He subsequently grudgingly committed to actioning on Saturday. When pressed for a time slot for Saturday, he simply replied, “I don’t know” and hung up on her. The cheek of it. That’s when I jumped in and called him up. After I persisted in insisting for a time commitment, he committed 11am to 12noon time slot. However, late Friday night, he called me and claimed he is in Johor Baru and lost his passport and won’t be able to carry out the installation till Monday. When I told him I wanted to cancel the order and asked for the refund of my deposit, he said that was impossible. The next day, I managed to get hold of one of his colleagues to arrange for someone else to do the installation was told all their men were busy and they could only possibly do it around 5pm to 6pm. Because the condo rules stated that no such work can be carried out after 12noon on a Saturday, I decided to cancel the order and my deposit had to be forfeited.

So if you are in the market for a shower screen are considering Champion Republic, then closely read these three reasons NOT to renovate your bathroom with them:

1. The sparkle ends when the deposit is paid. The worker who measured the shower stall seemed knowledgeable. He guided us through the myriad choices and budget options. Nothing was a problem and his suggestions really did help. But once the deposit is paid, you are in a whole other world. The pleasant guy is replaced by the grumpy, uncommunicative subcontractor who threatens, speaks rudely, raises his voice and slams down the phone on your. There will be problems and a million reasons why something cannot be done.

2. The supervisor is non-existent. When something doesn’t go to plan, who do you speak with? I called the general line on the invoice and website but it keeps getting answered by the same person – the extremely rude guy who slammed the phone on us. When I asked to speak to his supervisor, he refused to divulge any information, only saying that “his boss doesn’t go to the office and cannot be contacted”.

3. Start and end dates. Your contractor can drag your project on as long as it takes. He stubbornly refused to commit to a time and date and when he finally does, his passport “conveniently” gets stolen the night before and he can’t return to Singapore.

Get your sliding shower screen somewhere else….This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


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