The ups and downs of construction and minimal interior in Vietnam.

  1. Don't use a light floor in retail. You will see every single shit. Every single hairrrr. Don't use a matte black floor either. You will see every single foot print. 

  2. Don't bother to invest into high quality materials and products such as tiles, most buildings are not straight anyway, and construction workers can't apply them cleanly. Waste of money. Get the cheaper lookalike version. I bought a bunch of toggles from Buster & Punch for like 500 pounds and most of them ended up scratched and whatsoever during application process….. Most of the wooden products that were made of MFC…. stains, fingerprints and scratches all over. We can’t even paint over it. No beautiful matte black cupboard for me : (

  3. Find a guy who is good at being pissed to talk to construction workers. I was being nice. Definitely did not work. They looked at me and ignored me anyway. Which resulted in them doing tons of mistakes which they had to fix up again. Waste of money and time. Also make sure you can attend the construction site every day. Best case would be just move in there during the process.

  4. Plug placement ! This is so important. Our cashier (with most electricity products) has 4 plus, our stock room (which we barely use), has incredible 18. I already considered this when we planned the layout but somehow it turned super weird anyway.

  5. Cheap is what you get when you want cheap. Unless you work directly with suppliers. The guy who did my bf's shop said he can do our furniture exactly the same as our actual constructors, but cheaper. Looking at bf's shop furniture now, I doubt it and i'm so happy i didn't work with him. Even though our current furniture is not that good either, i imagine it would be totally shit if i had worked with that other guy.

  6. Ok let’s add one. Vietnamese people will ALWAYS say they can do it even if they can’t. This is so fucking frustrating. Why can’t people just admit it when they are not able to to do something ??? Seriously, this is the part that cost me the most time and money. In so many cases I would have been able to provide a cheaper and better quality option if the construction part would have simply admitted to incapacity. So much frustration could have been avoided.


Construction in Vietnam is a really really tiresome process, unless you can find a design company with a really good construction company (which are usually very expensive and still kinda so/so). In my case this time I had struggles on both ends. The designer I hired was really nice. Too nice. He couldn't be an asshole on the construction workers. And he couldn’t provide me with many options and suggestions because strong follower-type and I usually take the lead. Construction was super slow and not very well planned. The whole process cost me so much time, money and nerves, even now the shop is not 100% as I wanted it to be (but still better than a lot of places). The list of things I want to fix for things to really look good is long and I’m not even sure whether anyone is gonna fix them.

I invested a total of over 70.000.00 USD into that store, not speaking of products and all the retail operation things such as computers, etc. The total total is way over 100K for sure.


Was it worth it ?

Yeah, still worth it. I love the new space, even though it could have been done better quality-wise. In terms of design I'm very happy because it's a space just how I wanted it to be. Monochrome, open spaced and light. 

The new office is not completely done yet, will do another blog entry for our new office : D

Interior Concept: Julia Doan / Design & Build: DQP Design