Women Designers for Women
Women know what women want. This fundamental truth largely explains the success of the sister-and-sister team behind Metier Planner, Principal Designer Jocelyn Shu and Senior Designer Jaslynn Shu.
Sister-founders of Metier Planner, Jocelyn Shu (L) and Jaslynn Shu (R)
HomeRenoGuru: Tell us about the challenges and benefits of being female founders of an interior design company?
Jocelyn: We always knew that co-founding a company was never going to be easy, especially in a male-dominated industry.
However, up till now, we feel that being female designers comes with more pros than cons. In today’s market, clients are looking for design excellence, quality of workmanship and increasingly, the communication chemistry between the homeowner and the designer. Decisions are no longer solely based on stretching your budget, or renovation speed.
Many of our female clients feel that it is easier to communicate with us, as we help to better understand a woman’s needs. From our experiences, we believe that female designers can be as meticulous as male designers too.
HomeRenoGuru: Where and how do you think that female interior designers have the edge over male designers?
Jaslynn: As females, we know that we ourselves have endless wants and needs. Often, female needs are never discussed, or simply overlooked during the planning stage of home renovations. When we are managing a project, many female clients will step in and start telling us how much space they need in terms of volume. However, they often give little thought to the practicality of how the storage space will fit into their homes and daily lifestyles. That’s where a designer comes in.
Jocelyn: We believe that we are better able to plan an area when we are also the end-users – for example, a vanity cabinet with mirror, a customised dresser, a wardrobe compartment with a hidden dresser, or even a kitchen fitted out for housewives. We have found that more of our female clients open up to us during our discussions because of this. This open channel of communication greatly helps us in customising the compartments based on their lifestyles, while incorporating their partners’ and families’ needs as well.
HomeRenoGuru: From your experience, how do women’s home renovation wish-lists differ from men’s?
Jaslynn: This is solely based on our personal opinions and professional experiences, and our views may differ from those of other designers. That said, we’ve found out that more and more women are becoming great multi-taskers, from being a supervisor at work, to a caring mother and wife when they are back home.
Given that females are constantly juggling their time between work and personal lives, it’s immensely helpful if they have their things stored in an orderly manner. Not only does this decrease the time required to go through their day-to-day routine, it helps to create a more convenient environment in which to work around their homes. Ultimately, this helps in generating more time to spend with their loved ones at home.
Female clients’ wish-lists tend to be a little longer than male clients’, as we try to take into consideration their daily routines when configuring a space that is both ideal for the wife, as well as the husband and the family.
HomeRenoGuru: Who typically wears the pants when planning a home renovation – the husband or the wife?
Jocelyn: (LAUGHING) Now that’s a tricky question. It really depends on the couple’s characters and their needs for the entire home. Generally, wives have more say when it comes to the kitchen and bedroom area, as most of them are the chefs at home. But we do encounter male chefs who cook yummy food, in which case they tend to be the ones who organise the wardrobes and storage areas.
In general, women rule in the kitchen and when it comes to planning the kitchen, according to Jocelyn
Metier Planner excels at functional female-friendly kitchen designs
HomeRenoGuru: How many female interior designers work in your company?
Jaslynn: Our team is small and friendly. Currently, we have three to four female designers on board.
HomeRenoGuru: How do you decide to allocate a project to a female or a male designer?
Jocelyn: All of our designers are professionally trained, from product knowledge to project management tactics. Our male designers also stand out from the crowd and they are as meticulous as our female designers, too. We do not apply specific criteria in allocating projects. It’s more about the fit and communication with the client, as every client is different.
HomeRenoGuru Can you share some projects designed by women for women?
Jaslynn: Due to space constraints, a compact, makeshift dresser was designed for the lady homeowner of a 2-bedder apartment at Telok Blangah. A busy career woman by day, she required a quick make-up session before work, and a place to apply facial products before bedtime. We concealed a sliding tray in her wardrobe, which can be brought out to use as and when she prefers.
A sleek built-in wardrobe in this master bedroom…
… conceals a dresser with a handy pull-out table
Jocelyn: This monochrome master bathroom in a 3-bedder apartment at Bedok South was the result of a quick change of plan after the wife intervened and tweaked the original plan. She expressed her vision of a chic and simple monochromatic bathroom, where she could store her facial products instead of just toiletries. To deviate from simple wall and floor tiles, we created borders to give the overall design an edge. We can still recall picking out the tiles on the spot at Hafary. We listened, responded and changed the colours immediately!
This master bathroom plays with the high-contrast impact of black and white, utilising eye-catching borders to literally give the design an ‘edge’
HomeRenoGuru: Do you have a parting message for female homeowners and couples regarding the benefits of engaging a female interior designer from Metier Planner?
Jaslynn: We are able to diligently assist clients in planning their renovation, from the smallest details to the overall theme of the house. At Metier Planner, our designers carefully oversee your home renovation from start to end, making sure that there are no communication breakdowns at any point in time.
Jocelyn: Our designers have very unique ways of expressing their designs and thoughts, and are adept at focusing on the fine details. For example, we would suggest having a customised dresser incorporated into the wardrobe, rather than getting a ready-made dresser off the shelves. This allows us to cater to the client’s preferences in designing the custom dresser.
This concealed dresser is a perfect example of the benefits of women designing for women – in particular, the first-hand insights it brings to the design process
Jaslynn: Being females ourselves, we understand ladies’ needs and wants. We respect everyone’s input and will never dismiss your concerns as trivial or frivolous. We always strive to share our experience and insights with everyone who steps into Metier Planner.
Jocelyn: At Metier Planner, we are all for ‘women designers for women’!
Jocelyn, Jaslynn and Morris Teo, Managing Director of HomeRenoGuru