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Layout & Design:

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Aug 04, 2020 01:52 AM 620 Views


Layout & Design:

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After reading reviews on Houzz and google,

I went to their office in HSR during the second week of March 2020. It was a walk-in. No previous appointment.

I was introduced to the sales guy GEO who showed us an intro movie in their small home theater setup. And then we went to one of the cabins to have a discussion.

I asked him a lot of questions as Bonito was the first designer I went to and he patiently answered. He told me BONITO's strength is the design and they are proud of it. He told me the main difference between them and the other bigger design firms like LIVESPACE and HOMELANE was their unique design approach. No Modular or from the DATABASE designs. Completely customizable. He told them they are so confident of their design that they charge only 25K as their Design Initiation fee and not 10% of 15% of project cost like the other bigger designers. He told me that the confidence they have in their designs and that they would offer a complete refund of 25K in case I don't like the designs. Note this was said in the meeting and not in writing. Later he smiled and added that they are sure of locking the client with designs. I showed him a plan of the house on the second floor. Based on the area of the plan, he gave me a rough estimate of the project cost. Ours was not flat, but an independent house on the second floor. I was convinced. I requested him a basic quotation so that I can convince my dad on Bonito. He agreed. I walked out a happy man.

The next week, the initial lockdown phase started. I went to their office and paid the 25k, did the customary bell ringing, and left.

Then lockdown continued till Mid May. Then I was assigned a designer. I was very particular that the Designer visits the site first. But she was afraid of the virus. I understood. So we had a 1 hr skype meeting to get a design direction and our requirements. Then the second phase of lockdown started. After that, I called GEO and he told me a new designer was assigned. I was surprised. We haven't informed anything and they didn't tell me why the change. I asked the new designer to visit the site. Our project was troubled. A lot of errors in the design of the house and I was very unhappy with the civil work. I was hoping to correct some of the design flaws in the interior work. So I was very particular about a well-experienced designer. The new designer Arun visited our site and I spent 2 hrs explaining to him everything. After that, we had a few skype meetings for the design direction. Then he told me he will show me the final design in 15 days. I was hoping to see some design iterations and asked him about that. And he said Bonito doesn't work that way. We just show you the final design. I was hoping for a more inclusive process.

After 15 days we went to Bonito for the design presentation. I was shown ONE Design. It looked ok in the beginning and by the middle of the presentation, I was disappointed. The designer had done exactly what we wanted. The good thing in a way, but there was nothing new, nothing to confuse us or wow us. And many of the civil design flaws which I was hoping to somehow correct in the interior design work, was not at all solved. I was shown some lame solutions. Also, I wanted to add a water element to the house. Like a small waterfall or fountain inside the house. I was very unsure about the idea because of the maintenance and costing. I was hoping that bonito would guide me. But they did nothing. When I asked about the costing and the maintenance, the designer says we need to talk to the vendor. I was shocked. I paid 25K, waited 15 days and I get told we need to ask the vendor for the costing and other details like if this is even viable. The designer told me we can discuss all that after I pay the 15% initial amount. Then he gave me the quotation. It was the most opaque and lazy quotation I had ever seen. Same as the initial quotation I Had received as a project cost guesstimate. Immediately after the presentation, they started to say if you pay the 15% now, we can start work or the project will be delayed and stuff. I was very very unimpressed with the whole attitude of the BONITO team. I quickly walked out. After that, another phase of lockdown started. The designer Arun was repeatedly calling me to give positive feedback on the design. I told him I didn't like it. But he says even if you like it 50%, you can say yes. We can make any changes after you pay the 15% amount. Their only goal is to get the 15% amount locked in. I am a from a 3D animation background I can confidently tell you the work the designer did was lazy and uninspiring. Nothing creative.Nothing unique. Definitely not worth 25K.

After multiple lockdowns and because the pending construction was fully stopped, I decided to hold off the project for now. Our project was troubled from the beginning. I requested a refund of my 25K as GEO had mentioned to me. I told him I was kinda unhappy and the project might get delayed further too and I wanted the refund. Now he said, Sorry you are not part of the Design refund program. I was shocked. He was the only guy I met at Bonito and trusted him so much. He says sorry we can't do anything. The refund is not mentioned in writing anywhere. I tried to contact the top management but they really not interested to take it further. And I did not have the patience to go to their office and haggle. GEO was my only point of contact and trusted him and trusted BONITO. In these tough corona times, I was hoping BONITO will oblige with the refund considering the extraordinary circumstances, but they didn't. I was not asking for a refund of the 15% amount as I know it would not be possible since significant work would have been done. I asked my 25K after a lame poor design which did not impress me.

My final suggestion, if you looking for interior designers, please do your research and approach 5-6 people and get a fair idea first. Have the patience. Don't trust any of these reviews blindly.

And if you are paying that 25K, get it in writing that you will be given a refund if you are not impressed with the design. Also, I heard some strong rumors that the original Founders of BONITO are absconding overseas for serious tax evasion, and the company is run by an investor now. Not sure how true they are, but be warned.

Take care and all the best to the new home buyers!

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