When childhood friends John Foo and Wilson Teh launched interior design firm Rezt & Relax 16 years ago in 2000, they were motivated by the sole aim to make a living out of the construction business. What they did not expect was to fall in love with design. “We may have started doing it to survive, but it eventually grew into something that we both have a lot of passion for,” says Wilson Teh, who is the executive director of the company. “When we entered the business, we found that most people hold a high regard for their homes. As such, we wanted to be part of that process for them and to create a living environment that they would love.”
The duo did not have a background in design. Wilson and John were both dabbling in the cosmetics industry, although the latter, who is the managing director of the firm, also had a side business dealing with construction. It was a chance visit to an empty site in Punggol, which was slated for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats at the time that led them to eventually decide to give the interior design industry a try. Wilson explains: “We thought that all these new homes surely needed someone to fix them up!”
John and Wilson acquired their knowledge and expertise through real-life experiences, rather than through design school. “What I’ve learnt in school cannot be applied in real life,” says John. “It only taught me how to draw. They don’t teach practical or specific details – these I acquired only when I started working on people’s homes.”
And worked they did. They started from the bottom, slowly working their way up to where they are today – as one of the bigger players in the industry. Besides the customary design consultation services, Rezt & Relax also offers packages for those looking to renovate their BTO apartments and condominiums. “Homeowners from these two categories tend to only require minimal renovation work done. Most BTO owners want to move in fast, while condo units more often than not already come with the standard fixtures,” says Wilson. There’s also a specific renovation package for those looking to renovate just their kitchen.
Even though the firm has these renovation packages, the designs they provide are anything but cookie-cutter. Wilson tells us: “Our designs must help the owner’s lifestyle, first and foremost. Rather than blindly following the latest fads, we design to suit their needs.” While they don’t have a signature style and are open to input from their clients, their designs have largely taken on a minimal, clean-cut look.
Rezt & Relax offers a lifetime warranty on all their carpentry work, which exemplifies their philosophy of being reliable and responsible. Wilson explains the reasoning behind: “We want the owners to know that we are very transparent and that they can trust us to see them through any problems even after the work is done.” In addition, the firm also provides complimentary checks for defects after five years from the end of renovation. “We realised most things start to break down after this period, so instead of having our clients come to us with the problems, we go to them first.”
Besides residential homes, the 60-member strong team also works on commercial assignments and regularly participates in projects that contribute back to society. Wilson says, “We believe it’s important to give back to society. One of our projects involve providing complimentary renovations to a traditional Chinese medicine clinic that offers free medical services to less fortunate people.”
But unlike their big hearts, the pair shows little ambition when it comes to Rezt & Relax. “We are just simple kampong boys. To get where we are today is really through hard work and the opportunities we were given. But if you ask us what we hope to do in future, we want to take things online and make things more transparent between the homeowner and the designer,” reveals Wilson. “We want to come up with an app that documents the entire renovation journey. This puts everything out there, so that there wouldn’t be any dispute. Plus having everything on a digital platform speeds up the whole design process!”
This was adapted from Brand Story vol.1 2016