Hello everyone! I've MIA-ed for so long due to some restructuring at work and since then everything have been so crazy! Now I'm back! Updates since last year : 6 February - Completion! Got the keys and felt so proud to finally be a home owner! January to March - brainstorming ideas on interior design. Finally I have decided on an English country-theme concept. Just personal preference as I have always liked this kind of interior deco. I wanted the following : Common bathroom - shift the door next to the kitchen window, install a shower screen and rainshower. Master bathroom - shift the door to the other side next to the room window, that whole shower area install a small bath tub Master bedroom - build casement wardrobes on the wall next to the door, king-size poster bed on the wall next to the window, side table, study table and dressing table. Balcony - build a panel / sliding door to separate the balcony and living room, full height shoe cabinet and settee Living room - full height CD / DVD cabinet next to the TV console Wall separating the living room from the bedrooms - full-height bookshelf I also like the idea of a fireplace to make the place more "country" feel. February - April - meeting with IDs to see which suit me best. April - decided to rent out 2 rooms for the time being. So renovations on hold but still sourcing with the aim for future renovation but I got the flat repainted all white to make it seem brighter. I also changed the windows from sliding to casement, as the sliding windows were a little spoilt and became difficult to push. The windows were done by Dennis of Home Style Design. He was one of the IDs I shortlisted but because he could only give me a modern look, I didn't get back to him in the end. Still since he had been so nice and patient, I decided to ask him to do my windows which he happily obliged. So the old brown square grilles and sliding windows gave way to a new white square grills and white casement windows with dark tinted glass. I initially wanted to do lattice windows but since I decided to have grills as well, I took the plain design as lattice would make the whole place look too messy with grills. May - Finally shortlisted 3 IDs specialising in country theme - Country Concept, Cottage Craft and Forest Woodworking. Out of the 3, I like the designs of Forest Woodworking best, but unfortunately they only do carpentry. If I sign the whole package (ie renovation + carpentry), it will set me back 68k for just MBR and 2 bathrooms! Besides they never got back to me after their initial quote, so I dropped them. A pity because I really really like their designs. They were willing to throw in the bookshelf integrated with a fireplace. Second choice was Country Concept, but they also only do carpentry. What I like is they do a lot of fireplaces so they said I can have the option of integrating the fireplace with the TV console or with the bookshelf. Their quote is not too bad too - 26k for all carpentry and cabinetry, including the kitchen cabinets. I don't intend to change the kitchen cabinets but they suggested changing the covers to make the kitchen less "modern" and more "country". And they use a lot of woodwork, so my entire place may end up looking like a rustic log cabin, which I actually don't mind too. However since they don't do renovation, if I intend to renovate the bathrooms and minor works around the flat, I have to pay for my own contractor, which will ultimately set me back another 30k or thereabouts. So I dropped them too. Third choice was Cottage Craft. I almost didn't get in touch with them because they took a very long time to get back to me. But because both Forest and Country Concept were dropped, I had to contact Cottage Craft again, and this time the ID came for a site visit. His ideas were really good and I really like them! He suggested using a half-height gate of sorts for the balcony instead of a full-height panel / sliding door so my living room / balcony can look bigger as the full height will make it smaller. Best is they do the whole works - renovation plus carpentry and they are full HDB licensed. However his quote was too high - 52k and his designs are too "renaissance" for my liking. I'm looking more for a Victorian to modern English country look, not the heavy Renaissance look. Still, I decided to keep Cottage Craft in mind for future renovation, until recently when I came across this other ID company. One look at their website and I fell in love with their country style interior designs! I contacted them. First meet up was in their office where they quoted me an estimate of 30k all in. Second meet up at my place where after seeing the space and brainstorming ideas, he came up with a 48k quote, all in. Still expensive but cheaper than Cottage Craft, and since I am still going to rent out and I won't be renovating until at least next year, that quote is still acceptable. I told the ID my concern that I will only be renovating probably in 1 - 2 years' time, but I really like their designs and that I will probably get them to do my place next time. He suggested that we work together by signing the contract first to show that I am a "sincere" customer so at least he can "report back" to the company, and he will hold the package for me. When I'm ready to do my renovation, I can let him know again. I only need to pay a minimal deposit. I can't believe the deal! Of course the more cynical part of me wonder if there can really be such a good deal. I read through the contract in black and white to ensure that everything is covered. Besides even if he absconds or cheats me, my loss is minimal. And if I abscond, he will not get his business ultimately so their company lose out more. Last week the ID and I met up to go through the final details. As I needed to do a bit more changes, the quote came up a bit higher than originally agreed, but it is already the cheapest I can get for the kind of look I wanted. And so we signed the agreement and I paid a very minimal deposit as agreed. I must say I am pretty happy with my final choice as this ID is willing and able to give me the exact kind of concept I want. So the final price came up to be 53k with the following items : Balcony Full-height shoe cabinet with low cabinet settee (15 feet) Low Height fencing with 1 panel swing gate with wrought iron finishing Living Room Dismantle existing TV console and feature wall and install fireplace integrated with TV console Add 2-way switch at main (balcony) entrance (existing switches are next to the old access doors next to the kitchen) Full-height CD / DVD cabinet 12-feet full height bookshelf with ladder (my favourite design of all!) Kitchen Hack down the wall separating the kitchen and the living room to convert it to a bar / counter top Alter and extend existing fridge base Replace cabinet doors Common bathroom Shift the bathroom door (seal existing entrance and open new entrance including patch up damage tiles) Hack off existing floor tiles and lay new floor tiles including waterproofing membrane 50mm high shower kerb and 10mm tempered glass shower screen Supply and install PD door Install toilet bowl, sink and rainshower Change bathroom window to top hung casement window and affix grille Master bathroom Shift the bathroom door (seal existing entrance and open new entrance including patch up damage tiles) Hack off existing floor tiles and lay new floor tiles including waterproofing membrane Construct long bath (with jacuzzi) with 63mm hollowblock and 300mm x 300mm tiles finishing Supply and install PD door Install toilet bowl, sink and rainshower Change bathroom window to top hung casement window and affix grille Master bedroom Extend the wall between MBR and Bedroom 2 and convert that part into a WIW (12 feet), with french doors as entrance Install suspended TV console with wall feature King size poster bed 2 side tables Study table Dressing table (3.5 feet) Shift existing switches, plug and ceiling fan point Common bedroom 1 (next to master bedroom) Seal existing entrance and shift entrance further in Create new entrance Shifting aircon and reinstalling aircon wiring Common bedroom 2 (next to store room) Push wall between Bedroom 1 and 2 further in Wall separating the 2 Common bedrooms To be hacked and the void space used for an altar Others Cornices for all 3 bedrooms 1 set of wrought iron gate for main entrance Painting works for whole flat Labour to install lights Plaster altar holder Chemical washing I am still keeping my option open to change flooring to black and white checkerboard. I quite like the existing flooring actually (homogeneous marble-like tiles) for the whole flat (except black laminated flooring for the kitchen), but then I always like checkerboard flooring! If I do intend to do that, I can top up another 8k, so see how!