By now those of us who are privileged enough to spend the circuit breaker time at home have realised how, more than ever, important the design of our home is. We’ve made adjustments to our home to accommodate our changing lifestyle, where the lines between life and work are blurred, family dinner and business meeting happen in the same spot, and our nearest and dearest are also our coworkers.
We’ve learned what truly sparks joy, with or without Marie Kondo’s help. Perhaps we’ll plan more renovations to anticipate our inevitably altered life, or recalibrated the ongoing one. How do we best proceed? We’ve quizzed some brands on their observation on the renovation market.
Budget prudently and prioritise wisely
“The demand for home renovations will still exist as homeowners still need to renovate after getting the keys to their new homes. However, with the downturn in the economy, homeowners are likely to be more prudent in budgeting and prioritising,” says Michelle Eu, regional branding & marketing manager at Lamitak.
But downsizing renovation budgets should not be at the expense of quality. “Instead, the renovation budget should be prioritised in spaces considered as a long-term investment. These are the built-in carpentry areas like the living room, kitchen and wardrobes which are likely to last years,” adds Michelle.
When working from home, the two most frequented and heavily used spaces are the work desk and the kitchen countertops. Lamitak recommends incorporating laminates to tick the box in durability, look and budget.
Homeowners will also likely rethink the location of the design consultant, contractor and vendors where they source the furniture, finishes and fittings to be closer to home, thus minimising the chance for disruption and waiting time in the supply chain.
Most global brands in Singapore have activated their Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and prepare for disruption by stocking enough products in their warehouses around the region.
“Having over 100 warehouses worldwide, we have been able to help each other by distributing materials within countries to optimise the best logistic service to our global network,” says Pablo Abad, Singapore general manager at Cosentino. The brand’s latest launch comprises a total of 13 new colours in its Dekton range, the sample of which is available by request.
Slower process and more in-depth research with digital tools
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has suspended all construction and renovation work nationwide during the circuit breaker period. Most interior design firms offer tele-consulting aided by various digital platforms. And many have predicted that, when the measures are lifted, there will be a backlog.
Get a head start by doing a deep dive on the products that you would like to incorporate into your home using various digital tools provided by many brands. These tools ranges from digital library and online material simulations to one-on-one tele-consulting with specialists.
“Customers can request for samples to be mailed to their doorsteps, and our online visualiser can help homeowners see how Caesarstone surfaces look like when mixed and matched with different cabinetry and floor colours, and more,” says Vivian Feng, head of marketing at Caesarstone South East Asia.
New modes of shopping
The bulk of our reno-shopping during the circuit breaker has shifted to the digital realm via online shops. How about after? Things may get back business as usual in the showroom, but we’ve also been seeing a hybrid shopping mode, like the concierge service offered by furniture brand Konopi.
The service, which is currently put on ice but will resume once circuit breaker time is over, allows customers to choose several pieces and have them delivered to their home to “try on” – like clothes, and buy what fits for a small fee. Brand director David Tan conceived the idea prior to the circuit breaker time while thinking that if customers cannot make it to the showroom because they are busy, then why not bringing the showroom to them?
“We’ve also launched a video call service to walk customers through the store to view our furniture pieces,” says David. For these challenging times, he recommends pieces that you can use to work outdoors like balcony, poolside or terrace while unwinding and recharging at the same time.
Versatile spaces and durable investment pieces
“Homeowners would have to rethink their renovation plans to get the maximum value where the spaces can be used in a versatile manner,” says Jennifer Soh, general manager at Space Furniture Asia. Homeowners should invest in a comfortable and organised home office with multi-functional pieces that are still useful even when the circuit breaker is lifted.
“Home can become a space for healing and familiarity. For those working from home for the first time, it can be very challenging and disorientating. It is important to create a space that will increase productivity and enhance your well-being for the long-term,” says Lim Pui Yen, regional marketing manager at King Living.
The top three things to invest on are good lighting, a proper work station comprising an ergonomic task chair and a desk, and adequate storage to organise your clutter.
Anti-bacterial properties will be the norm
Patented hygienic and anti-bacterial properties are not new to surfaces material brands, see above Caesarstone, Lamitak and Cosentino products. But in a post-pandemic world, this will become one of the primary considerations in choosing materials.
Rice Fields checks all the boxes for offering a wide range of aesthetically pleasing tiles that are the low maintenance and anti-bacterial. “Tiles are non-porous and can be created with anti-bacterial minerals. Hence we recommend investing in good quality Italian tiles,” says Nur Haziqah, marketing communication executive at Rice Fields. “We are proud to have provided anti-bacterial tiles for the flooring of the Arrival Hall of Singapore Changi International Airport Terminal 4, the wall and floor of the toilets at Jewel Changi Airport, and to the upgrading of the lift lobbies at Changi General Hospital.”
Hansgrohe‘s mixers and showers are equipped with QuickClean functions, which allows easy and fuss-free maintenance with just a rub of the nozzles, helping homeowners to save time when cleaning the bathroom.
“At Hansgrohe, we believe that design and maximum functionality go hand in hand, and we design high-quality products which make the bathroom a safer and comfortable place on a daily basis for our users,” says Sandra Brand, marketing manager at Hansgrohe Singapore. During the circuit breaker, hansgrohe’s Aquademie showroom is closed, but customers can browse its products at Lazada.