Scope of Work: furnishing a 2-bed small condominium apartment in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Ampang area. The scope of work includes design and installation of an open-plan kitchen.
A little history that is quite relevant: I am not resident of Malaysia, so everything is totally new. Ground for learning everything on the job, including how to navigate the non-stop humidity and maintain calm, manage the heat and navigate the transport systems. As traffic is on the right, or rather for for me, or the wrong side of the road, driving was not even on the horizon for me at this time.
The easier way forward; IKEA! Since we all know IKEA and how it works, this was the option taken! Until the discovery, that IKEA was actually on not budget friendly and time was a challenge. In Part 2, I will share more!
The harder way forward: If you are not familiar with the market in Malaysia, have no-one to guide you, then its a hit and miss and a lot of moving around, building relationships, building trust, comparing rates and spending valuable time to unlearn and relearn. So time versus cost? I chose time and the easier way forward.
IKEA, the easier way forward: here are tips based on my experiences.
- Book the appointments well ahead of time: Make sure that you book an appointment well before you arrive in Malaysia, as that may take weeks or even months. You will need to book two key appointments; one with the design team and another with the kitchen installer, a separate contractor usually with an office within IKEA; to take measurement on site and to install. This process is important as it will also inform of the available and needed services (electrical and plumbing). You will receive a copy of the hand drawn document and this you will use to approach the designer at IKEA.
- Not your usual process: usually once the design is done, then the booking with the installer is done. However there may be a long wait here. I would advise booking with the kitchen installer ahead of time and allow a reasonable gap. Two weeks minimum I would say. More would be better to ensure that all items in your design are available in stock for installation. IKEA designs tend to have a very long list of little items!
- Design your kitchen; I find that the kitchen designers at IKEA are professional, friendly and patient. However I would advise that you take a good look around the store first to get an idea of what you want before meeting the designer. This will save a lot of time.
- If you are in a hurry to install; make sure that all items you use in your design are available in stock and can be delivered at one time. Otherwise items not in stock will take time and your kitchen will be installed in parts over time. You will not be billed for items not in stock and every time an item becomes available you will need to make a new purchase and delivery/installment dates; rates apply every time. This could prove expensive and time consuming over time. Best way forward is to get the design you want with all the pieces delivered and installed one time. You can work with your designer on that.
- Before you purchase; take a look around to see if you can find some of the items at a better rate outside IKEA, but ensure sizes fit in your design. A good example is the counter top. If you already have selected your regrigerator, microwave, oven, hob, hood, sink …etc, make sure you have the exact dimensions so the IKEA designer can make appropriate allowances. However, I just went for everything in IKEA, except the fridge as the kitchen as too small anyway to include that in the design.
- Next; the contractors in Part 2.