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About waychewy

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  1. Tile shopping is so tiring. Frankly I don't feel like stepping into another tile shop! The thing is, we have specific requirements for the size and look of the floor tiles. 90x15cm wood tiles, not rough textured, and light orange coloured. Been to the Balestier tile shops countless times. LSH has one that came close, but colour a bit wrong. Hafary has a near perfect one, but cost a whopping $7.30psf which we can't afford. Soon Bee Huat, with its huge collection, didn't have The One either. Today we ventured to the other showrooms scattered around the island. White Horse has a potential one, but is $5psf which we likely have to top up for (depending on how generous Alan is feeling). Taugres was plain disappointing with a miserably small collection. Unlimited, Rice and An Huat were closed! Quite sian to go all the way and see a closed door. In other news, work officially started yesterday as planned. Electrical works first. We need to decide on the tiles quick as tiling works will follow soon..
  2. Hi retchlow and greg! Met Alan yesterday night to discuss about the electrical works. Took a look at the HDB permit. Work will start this Friday!! Woohoo! I don't know what's going to happen though. Probably hacking. Wooden plank will probably take a while to appear in real life since it's part of the carpentry work. I'll post more 3D designs soon, but if you see the overview in my first post, the biggest appearance of the motif is for the living room wall. 10ft of wooden plank wall. Credit goes to the ID (that we're not working with anymore) for coming up with this. It's a great way to get rid of that ugly recess in the wall. We have bay windows in all 3 bedrooms, so we will cover the top with white laminated plywood, and then repeat the the wood plank motif on the front, down to the floor. Left this out of the quotation as it seemed like a manageable DIY job. Still thinking about other spots in the house we can repeat the motif, but at the same time being very careful not to overuse it.
  3. Look forward to yours too! I guess yours should be all done in the next 1-2 weeks?
  4. Started one a couple of days ago! In my signature. Doing Scandinavian, a lot of white and wood. Yeah, already busy. I've gone down to the Balestier tile shops 3 days out of the last 4 days, lol. Somemore my wife is pregnant, so I have to take on most of the burden. But building a cosy home is worth the short-term effort!
  5. Just wanted to say Hi! Your blog was one of those I came across when searching for a contractor. In the end, we have decided on Alan as well. Will be starting work very soon, end of this week or early next week!
  6. The free version is good enough for me, no need for the Pro one. Google sold SketchUp to Trimble. They have a new version (free) called SketchUp Make. I haven't tried that. I'm still using the last version by Google, version 8.
  7. Style Pictures first, talk later ... The so-called Scandinavian style You can easily find tons of images on Google. I'm not a design student and can't explain to you the different periods and different schools of Scandinavian style. Here's a useful primer though: http://freshome.com/2012/12/03/top-10-tips-for-creating-a-scandinavian-interior/ In any case, what we want is a cosy environment. There is a certain subset of Scandinavian interiors that gives us that feeling. I distill it to some basic points: White/off-white/light-beige as primary colour for walls, ceilings and furniture. This makes the place feel spacious, bright and airy. It also serves as a backdrop for the more special furniture and display items to stand out against.A wooden (-looking) floor is a must. White walls alone don't define the space. Timber strip flooring, especially in light colours, tips it towards Scandinavian. The longer the plank the better, and not too thin either. Colour-wise, something warm, and not white or grey.Wooden furniture. There's something about having more natural elements in your living space. Wood is a very warm and soothing material. Where solid wood is not feasible, using laminates with wood grain might works well too.2 motifs are common - Wooden plank walls and brick walls. We'll go for the wooden planks motif, but not the brick walls because we imagine they'll be hard to care for.Colour palette. On top of the whites and the woods, some colours work particularly well. Green especially. It's that bringing nature into the home thing again.Clean lines, simple forms, moderation, and high functionality. Nothing should be shouting for attention, not even feature items. They are modest and quietly self-confident of their beauty. Elegant, useful and clever things are valued.
  8. ID/Contractor I didn't really want the hassle of going to many many firms and evaluating them. As with most things I buy, I decided to rely mostly on reviews and recommendations. Professional Design Firm : SYRB (syrb.com.sg) Based on a friend's recommendation. This isn't your usual mass-market ID firm, and definitely not a wannabe. If I'm not wrong, most of their clientele is of the private property type. We were impressed by their professionalism. We felt that with them, we would have total peace of mind throughout the renovation process. We paid a professional fee and kickstarted the design process with them. However, we eventually decided we couldn't afford their rates going ahead with the actual works. Contractor : Mr K (FB: http://goo.gl/iykrXS ) Probably the most famous contractor on RT. Known for workmanship par excellence. I spoke with 2 friends whose reno were done by him, and they were all praises. We were keen on him, but he's really busy. Even for the initial appointment, have to book one month in advance. That's a testament to his popularity. We are in a bit of a hurry, so that didn't work out. Contact him early if you are interested. Borrowed quotations Aside from these, I borrowed quotations of other firms from friends and family. This gives me a rough gauge of their rates, and the market rate in general. Contractor : Alan Tan (Selected) Another popular contractor on RT. Mixed reviews, but mostly good. Known for good workmanship and reasonable pricing, in short, good value for money. Also known for being easy to work with and get along with, but at the same time you yourself have to be fairly on the ball. As our works haven't started, I can't comment on most of this, so I am largely trusting in his reputation. As for pricing, I can say it is indeed reasonable. Reflections on the process I started the renovation process a little badly. I didn't want to do any comparison. We were in a bit of a hurry and I wanted to avoid the hassle. So I just wanted to find one really solid recommendation and just stick to it. The design firm came highly recommended by a friend, and I was sold on the quality of work and peace of mind that I would have. We knew they were expensive, but this is a premium we would pay to get the job done well and done right. So we paid the professional fee of $1k+ and got started. A cheaper quote is not always better. There is no lack of companies that can give you a cheap quote. You can't quantify peace of mind, but it is something of intangible value. It is something you can pay for, and it is also something you can overlook. Only you yourself know how much of it you need. And then decide if this (albeit un-quantifiable) amount of it is worth the very real extra dollars that you have to pay for it. After the design phase, the quotation for the actual works came and it was expensive, which was not unexpected. Truth be told, we were not a 100% satisfied with the design because we had to omit many things we wanted in order to keep the costs down. But I was still keen to just go ahead, despite the pared down design and the expensive quote. I just wanted to have it done in time and with a large dose of peace of mind. We were in a bit of a hurry to get the renovation done, and in hindsight, the hastiness made me anxious. Anxious to just get it done at whatever the costs. Anxiety doesn't help when making decisions. I calmed down a bit and cleared my mind. Being less anxious made me realise that I didn't need all that much peace of mind (which does command a price). I realised the folly of not doing at least some looking around and comparing. I also became open to the idea of engaging contractors, especially those with good reputations. Mr K came to mind, but he's not available in our timeframe. Then I found Alan, who has a reputation of good workmanship and affordable rates. The tradeoff (in most cases when you engage a contractor instead of an ID) is that I need to be more intimately involved with the works being done. So far, I also find Alan to be easier to communicate with. Don't get me wrong, the original firm was totally professional and prompt. It's just that, perhaps because they are a professional design firm, they tend to be a bit opinionated. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. In fact, the whole point of hiring professional designers is for their opinions. But maybe this doesn't suit me. I have many ideas of my own, and quite a few times, my ideas got vetoed, because of budget constraints (remember, they are more costly) or because they didn't think it's a good idea. It felt like I didn't have total freedom to do what I want with my own house. With Alan, for better or for worse, if he sees that you have your own ideas, he'll let you do whatever you want and just quote accordingly. Only once or twice, when he really thought something was not practical, did he raise an eyebrow and ask "Are you sure?", explain his concern, and propose an alternative. Very easy-going. For better or for worse. If my design doesn't work, I'll have no one to blame but myself. The biggest lesson is not to be anxious and hasty, no matter how big a hurry you might be in. It is always better to take the time to find out more and consider your options, then make the best decisions for yourself.
  9. Hi everyone, We're about to start on our reno soon (as in, design is more or less done, and the workers are starting work) and I thought I'd start a journal of the progress. Partly to share knowledge, and partly hoping to have people watch our blindspots and point out boo-boos before it's too late! Ours is a fairly typical new 4-room HDB. As the title says, we are going for the Scandinavian look, but the main thing is about creating a cosy environment to come home to. First and foremost, we wanted a cosy home, and after looking at various styles, we decided that in general, the Scandi look gives us the best feeling. So we're not really purists, and I believe design is dynamic anyway. Here is our floor plan, with most of the design. For anyone starting your reno journey, I wholeheartedly recommend that you invest some time to learn how to use SketchUp, and then invest even more time to model your house in it, and then invest even even more time to do your design in it. A lot of time, but it is very satisfying, and most of all, very useful. Even if you have hired a designer, this allows you to experiment with layouts and dimensions, and helps in making decisions and communicating with all parties involved.
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