Fortunate youth spend fortunes on furnishings

By Minh Trang   July 4, 2021 | 06:41 am GMT+7
Fortunate youth spend fortunes on furnishings
A house with a modern design that uses reflective materials for its interior. Photo by Luu Quang Minh Photography.
Well-heeled Vietnamese youth aged 25-30 are splurging billions of dong on fancy apartment interiors in a noticeable recent trend, say architects and other experts.

Vu Hai Nam, 26, owns a duplex apartment in Hanoi’s Bac Tu Liem District.

Last year, he spent VND2.5 billion ($109,060) to renovate its interiors including an additional VND2.5 billion on furniture. He said a living space must be beautiful, so he was willing to pay the price.

His 210 square meter apartment carries an ultra-modern look with reflective materials and imported electronic devices. The refrigerator is one of the most expensive in the market, with a screen displaying photos. It has Nam’s portrait and Bearbricks, pricey bear-shaped plastic figurines that are designed and produced by Japan's MediCom Toy.

Architects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City say the trend of single Vietnamese youth, mostly under 30, spending fortunes on doing up their living spaces began around two years ago.

This is starkly different from the behavior of the previous generation, when couples got married before buying houses. It is also the behavior of a privileged section of society in a country where owning a home remains a distant dream for many.

Dung Phan, a Hanoi-based architect, said that 80 percent of his clients these days were single, aged 25 to 30, up from around 50 percent a couple of years ago. Most of them are successful and open-minded youngsters, earning a lot of money, having good taste, and actively looking for advice from architects and experts, he said.

Nam earns his living trading in luxury goods.

The money the youth are willing to spend on their houses has increased exponentially, said architect Vo Luan. He said single Vietnamese now can pay up to VND1 billion for an apartment’s furniture, compared to just VND200 - 300 million a few years ago.

Nguyen Viet Linh, who designed Nam’s apartment, said he has just finished doing up a 100-meter-square apartment for a 25-year-old female client for VND 1.1 billion.

Many clients have paid up to VND3 billion for sofas from Italy, or VND800 million for imported sanitary ware, he said.

"Showing off luxury brands and cars is an outdated activity. Now, successful youngsters show off their houses," Linh said.

"When you post photographs of a house and its interiors, people can guess how much you spent," he said, adding that the more people want to show off with complicated and sophisticated designs, the higher their spending.

Last year, Vu Thu Phuong, a 29-year-old English teacher who runs her own center, bought a 100 square meter apartment in Ba Dinh District. At that time, Japanese-style houses with sliding doors and built-in wardrobes were the in thing, but she did not want to do something that was popular. So she approached an architect to design something completely different.

The architect removed a partition wall completely. The entire plaster ceiling was also removed and electric wires with fireproof metal were installed.

"The ceiling alone cost VND100 million," Phuong revealed.

The interior renovation, which is a combination of industrial and mid-century styles, took six months to complete, and cost her nearly VND900 million, not including electronic equipment. Phuong thinks it was worth it, because "everyone compliments me that the house is unique."

A resort home

Some experts are guessing that another factor for young people willing to spend money on a house is the pandemic. Staying at home with very few opportunities for vacationing, people have turned their attention to doing up their homes.

"Many homeowners have asked for the house to be like a resort," said architect Vo Luan.

Luan said in wanting "a house similar to a resort," young single homeowners accept spending a fortune to renovate the "rough" part of their houses, which many people often avoid in order to save money.

For example, some people want to have green areas and glasses walls for a transparent and airy space. "They also like to have a relaxing corner even if the living space is not large, and pay more attention to interior materials," Luan said.

Many homeowners want to have glasses and big windows, so they can have natural light.

Many young homeowners want to have glass walls and big windows that let in a lot of natural light. Photo by Abluebird Photography/Angelo Design.

The popularity of social networks and netizens showing off their houses also triggers the desire among other youth to have beautiful homes, some studies have found.

Designer Dung Phan said some people see others’ houses and try to follow them, buying a lot of luxurious furniture.

"Of course, these are just a minority," said Dung.

Nam’s purpose in spending billions of dong on furniture is to live in a decent house, he said. He hopes to buy a villa or penthouse of 500-600 square meters with a swimming pool by the age of 30.

Phuong did not post photos of her home on social networks, only sending some to her close friends. Her current goal is to buy five lamps designed by famous American artist Isamu Noguchi, the cheapest of which costs $400.

"They are made of paper and have comfortable yellow light," she said, adding that she does not care when people say she is being frivolous and ostentatious.

"I want to have a house which is so relaxing that I can meditate everywhere, so I will try to buy anything I like."

 
 
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