Today is my birthday and what’s a girl to do when she’s fresh off the boat and doesn’t have friends yet in Hong Kong? Shop, darling…SHOP! And since I just signed the lease on the ‘tiny but fabulous’ flat I will be calling home in three days, well…this birthday handbags and shoes are being swapped for a water filter and furniture thanks in large part to a man named Ramesh and IKEA Hong Kong at Causeway Bay.
My new little one bedroom flat has the most wonderful view of the Hong Kong harbour but just enough space for a desk, small dining area, living room and my room is just large enough to accommodate a wardrobe and bed but that’s about it. That’s why I had already come to the conclusion that I would be getting ceiling lights for the living room to give me a bit more extra space for my furniture and design. When I started to look at the best ways to decorate it, I remembered that I am absolute CRAP in that department. You should have seen my previous apartments…not really designed by a mastermind I assure you that! This time, however, everything is different. Now I happen to work for one of the most amazing architectural design and build companies in the world, and our teams create the innovative workspaces for the likes of Google!!
As luck or fate would also have it, Ramesh – one of our leading international designers – and I clicked when we first met back in San Francisco last month so he is now my Design Yoda! All I basically had to do was send him a video walk-thru of the flat I shot on my phone, the floor plan and a few dimensions and the rest was history. I sent MY ideas and links to things I liked and Ramesh took those into account…but basically he put a stop to my madness because I was about to dork up my flat to epic proportions with all matching furniture, curtains or custom drapery (still to decide which would look better for the window in question) where blinds should be and more!
Compared to Beijing, IKEA in Hong Kong has amazing, friendly customer service and all I had to do was show up with Ramesh’s list for the furniture and they did all the ordering for me – always with the biggest smile. Just one pickle though, IKEA doesn’t have delivery slots available for eight days! And no delivery + assembly for 13! So…I will be moving in and sleeping on the floor five days, then I will have a mattress and other goodies but no furniture for another five days…it’ll be like glamping for all intents and purposes, and should make for a funny memory later!
Well…after the furniture was set, I moved on slow like a turtle going section by section picking up ‘pre-approved by Ramesh’ items and trying not to screw it up when I had doubts. I almost lost my marbles twice in the bedding and lighting sections when I realised I hadn’t written down what Ramesh told me to buy and I couldn’t reach him (what was he thinking having lunch with his parents during the IKEA trip?) but luckily he called before I had bought the 100% wrong sheets and mismatched ceiling lamps! Disaster was averted and it still makes me laugh that every instinct I had for what to do was a million times wrong!! I will never trust myself to pull a room together again!
If you are moving to Hong Kong, I highly recommend picking up some of the essentials at IKEA Causeway Bay – and hiring an interior designer to sex up your next place! Of course, I’m still buying wine glasses, window coverings, throw pillows and other accents that need high quality from a boutique shop but IKEA covered a bunch of what I needed in Swedish style! Their staff pro-actively offered up third-party providers, like the guys who will be coming to install my three ceiling lights for just HK$330 ($40 USD). Another benefit is that the metro exit is just one block away to avoid the downtown traffic on your way there, and there’s a taxi stand just around the corner that a staff member will guide you to, happily pushing the trolley piled high with blue IKEA bags as he goes. You can’t beat it!
May the force be with me!!!! It’ll be a couple of weeks before the place is fully furnished and decorated with everything from my Yoda, and another couple of weeks before our art and the cats arrive from India to really make it feel like HOME…but the view is so spectacular hopefully I won’t be looking inside much!
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