We were introduced to several design firms through the Qanvast service (free iron and rice cooker, score!) and after meeting with several of them, decided to go with Ascend Design. Their quotation was not the cheapest but their designer (Agnes), their towkay (Uncle Jasper), and their project manager/minion (Joey) seemed to best understand what we wanted. Their proposal involved reworking the front bedroom, living room, and part of the kitchen into one integrated "social area", with part of it separated to form a working space.
Working with the Ascend team was fun (even though they kept choosing ulu places to meet). We started the renovation design and planning work nearly 3 months before key collection so we had lots of flexibility when it finally came time to start. When I came up with strange and impractical requests, they were pretty good at suggesting more workable alternatives without sounding too horrified (although you can see Jasper dying a little bit inside). Less unreasonable requests were accommodated gracefully (usually with hilarious commentary, like "I have never seen that in any house before but okay, we can make it look good", or "Why you buy that thing so big one?"). Any minor issues I found were rectified pretty quickly (eg some stains on the cabinet after work was completed) and they were always responsive to messages, sometimes even at 1am (please do not treat your designers like this).
The saddest part of the whole renovation process was the three month shutdown due to Covid-19 that happened just after we completed hacking works. I'm sure we all agree, this one cannot blame the design firm lah. Overall, the workmanship is good and nothing has caught fire or flushed itself down the toilet just yet. The electrician they worked with (you can choose this) is quite avant garde, so if you have some qualms you may wish to engage a different electrician.
Our heartiest thanks to Agnes, Jasper, and Joey of Ascend Design for delivering on the sophisticated, modern home we've always dreamed of (and paid them for). Now, our friends come over not just to leech off the wifi or watch Netflix, but also to work from home (our home) and drink our coffee. I think some of them are openly jealous.