Sunday, 26 August 2007

The Wood Hunt

Sound planning is the key to good project management. As the old saying goes, "A good start means half way to success."

Everything goes smoothly as planned since the keys were passed into my hands in early June. Although it took quite a few weeks to discuss, revise and finalise the renovation plan, the time and effort has now paid off. No major problem has occurred and even the typhoon two weeks ago didn't have any impact on the progress of renovation. Additional items and budgets were discussed and finalised through emails, which is extremely convenient and efficient.

Of course, having someone whom you trust and is reliable to manage the project is another key success factor. Thanks Raymond and Xavier!

Perhaps it was somewhat surprising for both gentlemen to see me select materials such as tiles and taps and so on in an hour or so. Personally I didn't come to realise until then that there seems to be a really clear picture of what I want and what not. There was no difficulty at all in selecting the materials, taking into account the key factors of budget, colour, material, texture and personal preference.

As the completion of the renovation works is approaching, I have moved on to the next steps - the selection of furniture and electrical appliances. Essentially I have already drawn up with a list of electrical appliances and have checked out the prices from an old vendor that always offers a better deal. It's just a matter of placing the order some time later and awaiting the delivery.

As for furniture, the situation seems more complicated. Again, there is no difficulty in defining what I want. The only problem is to strike a balance between my preference and the budget for optimal results.

Having been shopping around for several weeks, the best vendor has yet to appear. Ready-made furniture vendor IKEA is certainly going to be one of the major sources to buy from, but there is still a big question mark over the durability and feasibility of its offerings of the key item of primary concern, bookshelves made of wood (or of materials comparable to wood in durability and outlook).

I have been told too many times about how vulnerable IKEA bookshelves can be (notably the BILLY series, to be precise), but the significantly lower price tags also seem irresistible. Friends and family are telling me that I should spend as little as possible on furniture until everything is settled and I'm sure I'm happy with my new haven. However, I'm the kind of person who hates to start things all over again unless absolutely necessary. Replacing furniture in a few years' time, in my opinion, is just a waste of time, money and detrimental to the environment. I simply want to get things right from the start. That's all.

Another major consideration would be how the products would fit in the layout of my study, which has a 90-degree angle that, ideally, should be made good use of in view of my sizeable collection. This is certainly not easy at all with ready-made furniture. At the same time, the flexibility of having extra shelves other than the default ones is also important. For some reason IKEA has stopped offering loose shelves as an option in recent years. This is really disappointing. But tailor-made furniture is understandably much more expensive. The capability and flexibility to fit in any layout simply requires a premium. That's why I still haven't made up my mind on this important decision - whether or not to opt for a once-and-for-all solution, or an interim offer?

And the fundamental question is - What is more important, budget or style?

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