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About Tripper

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  1. I know it’s not, but I can’t help but feel like the cabinet near the door has been installed sideways. I want to push it over.
  2. Resolved? Yes. Finished the Reno with the same firm. The legal drama was after. Not say happy with their work but thankfully was able to resolve most issues.
  3. I’m such a dick. I started this post with the intent to share my experience. And... the post died. Probably had something to do with the fact that I ended up in court because of the firm I hired, so I couldn’t jeopardize the legal action with my postings. End of the day thou, I got exactly what I wanted from the start and the legal case was dropped. Sometimes the legal option is the best one. What an experience! Looking back, gotta say I learned a lot and the most important thing I learned; be sure about your position and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Small guy can win! Yay! Anyways, it’s been a long time and not sure if anyone is still interested in this Reno story. Happy to share the pitfalls and lessons I learned if anyone is interested. Let me know in this thread and I’ll continue the post. Thanks!
  4. ZZZ, not sure if this would be the same person. My issues with the reno wasn't only about the ID, but with the firm as well. As the reno progressed (badly I must add), I learned more about how the firm did things and other ongoing projects they had. The more I learned, the more I got worried. They kept screwing up my reno so the worries I had turned into reality. All in all, yes, my Reno is finally done (albeit a few outstanding issues and one major one) but my home was delivered late, not done properly and there are issues that I had no choice but to accept for now. Based of my experience, I wouldn't recommend this firm to anyone, except to recommend folks to stay away!
  5. So, it came to the point of getting in touch with IDs. I decided to contact those who had good reviews in here and/or who seemed to have the kind of design sense that was similar to what we were looking for. We were also recommended firms/IDs by friends and family which we followed up with as well. Rather then explain my ideas multiple times, I decided to make a list of the work needed to be done. This meant that every firm would have the exact same requirements and specifications from which to quote from. This allowed me to compare apples to apples as it were. Firstly, I took my floor plan and made up a list of things that needed to be done for each space. For example, in the kitchen the items were; hack all floor and wall tiles, hack the wall between the kitchen and living room, remove existing cabinets, lay new tiles etc etc. Then, moving on to the bedroom where I again listed the items that needed to be done; hack the wall between the bedroom and hall, lay new floor tiles etc etc. I kept things simple and to the point. After the individual rooms (including toilets) I had a 'whole house' section where I listed things like removing all the original wiring and completely rewiring the whole house, painting, etc. I did this so that each and every ID I contacted was working with the same set of requirements. I sent out emails to the different ID's (or called them and asked for their email addies) and waited for the replies. All in all, I sent out my list to approximately 15 different firms. Some replied rather quickly and professionally. I was asked for more details or asked to come in for a face to face. Others replied stating they would get back within a few days with an initial quote. This was kinda what I expected. Also expected were those firms who did not reply at all, I guess my emails must've lost their way. Those that didn't reply within a few days, I resent my email just in case of spam folder issues. A select few answered, some didn't. A few that promised to get back never did. I did not bother to chase them. They were dropped. One firm got back to me and arranged a meeting. At the meeting, they could barely speak English. They were dropped. No point engaging someone with whom you cannot communicate. I think communication is key in this sort of endeavors. One firm replied flatly that HDB does not allow the flushing (or topping up) of the kitchen floor. This is not true. That firm was flatly dropped. One guy replied in terrible english that he "is very frus... sorry take time will do quote quick." I dropped him just as quickly. I didn't need a "frus" ID. One firm took almost 2 months to send me a quote. By this time we had already made up our minds on who to go with. After getting a bunch of replies, I set up meetings with about 6 different shortlisted firms. It is important to meet your prospective ID face to face to get a sense of how well they communicate and the impression they give. This was also a great time to see if anyone had something different to add to the plan. I won't list out the details of all the meetings I had but let me share a few that stood out for varying reasons. The first firm I met with is apparently one of the largest around (let's call them firm 1). I met two ladies from this firm, one was the ID, the other was her assistant. I didn't really like the vibe I was getting, they seemed to be pushing very hard to drop all my ideas and go with what I would call a 'cookie cutter' reno. By that I mean they wanted to drop the island and go for a standard kitchen. Drop all the white and introduce colors. They suggested doing up 'L boxes' and to box up the air con trunking and introduce some down lights. I hate 'L boxes'. By this point, I was wondering if they even knew what I was going for. I was ready to drop them; no point engaging someone who already ignored what you wanted before the reno even started! The best part was their quote. They quoted one of the highest prices and that was without plumbing and electrical. I dropped them like lead. Another firm I met up with was introduced by a friend (Firm 2). During the meeting, it became clear this ID was out of her depth. She had to keep referring back to her boss for every little detail I asked. Made me wonder why I was even dealing with her, might as well speak to the boss directly. The quote was reasonable but by this time I had been to my friend's house which was done by them (he recommended this firm) and I had serious questions about the workmanship. I had high hopes for firm 3 as I had read a lot of good reviews about them in here. The meeting started a little strange, the person I was meeting seemed surprised I was actually at his office at the scheduled time (I suspect he forgot we had a meeting). He quickly got his colleague to attend to me as he seemed preoccupied. That felt a little haphazard, not a good start I thought. Anyways, his colleague (let's call him J) listened intently to my requirements and went thru point by point everything I listed. The vibe was good, he was quick to share ideas and suggestions but never became overbearing. We were able to communicate easily and I left the meeting feeling confidant about this firm. Firm 4 was a place who's work I had seen before and was rather impressed with. The ID I met was a little young, but we hit it off. It seemed like she understood what I was going for and was quick to suggest a few alternative ideas that fit my requirements. Towards the end of the meeting she said she would take about 2 weeks to come up with a design which I thought was strange as I already had my design. I mentioned this and she said "not design per se but more 'space planning'". Sure then, do your thing I told her. I was looking forward to the next meeting to see what she meant by 'space planning'. Come second meeting, I had high hopes for this ID. She started presenting her idea. I began wondering if she had opened the correct file. She was showing me a country house theme, with gaudy wall panels, fugly lights and.... L boxes! What is it with IDs and L boxes? This despite me telling her I didn't mind and in fact preferred having my trunking exposed. I had mentioned to all the firms I met that I was going for black PVC conduit pipe for all my electrical work; I wanted this to be a stand out feature for my place, yet nearly all the firms presented me ideas with the trunking hidden. She also placed the sofa with the back towards the hall, effectively nulling the whole point of breaking down walls. I was really disappointed with this. I had high hopes for this ID, she had impressed me during our first meeting, said all the right things and made me feel like she knew exactly what I wanted. She ended up presenting me with the perfect house for someone else. There were a few more firms but these were the major ones that stood out. Me and my partner discussed the different quotes and how we felt about the different firms. We were meticulous. We researched. We called the firms back to clarify. We figured we would really do our home work and choose the firm that would work best with us. Buying a home and renovating it is a major investment and we have to live with our decisions for some time. We didn't want to rush and regret our choices. By the time we narrowed it down and finally selected an ID, we felt that we did all that we could do and made the best choice possible. We felt good about our decision. So I made the call and told J from firm 3 that we had decided to go with him. Of course when we had made our choice, there was still a nagging doubt. Did we do the right thing? Perhaps we should've gone with someone else? In hindsight, we realize now that we should've listened to our gut. Little did we know at the time how wrong our decision was and how much we would come to regret our choice. But again, that's for another post.
  6. Daddywinter, I totally agree, space being at such a premium, every inch matters. Or so I've heard. The typical 3rm BTO is 68sqm? Not from what I've seen and read. I find the new BTO units smaller then the resale units, the new BTOs range from 60 to 65sqm, according to HDB anyways. I suppose they include the aircon ledge and the "store room/ shelter/ cannot touch space" does limit options somewhat. My unit is 68sqm according to the valuation report and the thing I notice about these older flats is the size of the kitchen, it seems huge! I suppose taking up almost half the length of the whole unit has something to do with it. Finkfad, thank you! I notice you've done away with most of your walls as well, looks cool. I've been very busy the last few days as things are wrapping up. Have had to crack the whip on my ID... not the first time I've had to. Its been a rather stressful time with my reno taking almost 4 months to complete. It has gotten rather frustrating at times with all the issues that have cropped up. Some were unavoidable yet others...well, thats the learning part and one of the reasons why I'm sharing my experience. One major thing I've learned; you can research and plan all you want, but get the wrong reno firm and you are screwed. Anyways, thats for another post. I'll update this thread in the same sequence as things happened, so my next post will be about contacting a bunch of different firms and the process of selecting one. Later!
  7. Hi everyone. I've finally started up my t-blog to share with everyone my recent reno experience. My place is actually almost done and I have to thank all the nice folks in here for the advise, suggestions (and warnings!) I read about in the various t blogs and PMs. This is my way of giving back to the community what I've learned; the good, the bad and the ugly. Anyways, we purchased a resale unit in Bedok recently. We got the keys in Sept but our reno journey started way before that. I had been spending a lot of time online (especially in renotalk) to get a better idea of designs, prices, suggestions, pitfalls, reviews etc. As the purchase was going thru and before we received the keys, I started getting in touch with various ID firms and contractors. Initially I was thinking about dealing with the sub cons myself and bypassing an ID firm simply because we already had a fixed design in mind and were pretty clear about what we wanted. We only had to get the ideas in our heads into reality. I also considered contractors as opposed to ID firms for the same reasoning. However, we finally ended up with an ID firm that had quite a few good reviews in renotalk. I'll get into the specifics in a bit, but first, the obligatory floor plan. As you can see, this is a HDB 3NG flat. We liked the layout and space afforded by these older flats as well as the location. We decided to go for an 'open concept' layout. Our idea for our place was a home that opened itself up to you; a home that revealed itself rather then be hidden by dividers and walls. The key words for our design was 'space', 'simplicity' and 'straightness'. Clean straight lines that guide your eyes to where we wanted you to look, a sense of space and openness with an almost clinical sterile feel of cleanness. White floors and white walls with white ceilings. White cabinets. All that white contrasted with black here and there; an almost monochrome look like some 1940s black and white TV set . We didn't want too much 'warmth' within the design of our home as we felt that we could warm things up with our personal items and our personality . The house would be our "Blank Canvas" within which we would paint our lives. Explains the title of this thread eh? So keeping that in mind, with regards to the layout, we decided to get rid of some walls. The wall between the kitchen and living room had to go, as well as the wall between the common bedroom and living room. Yes, we decided to do away with the common bedroom and make it a part of the living room, so in essence, we ended up with a 'L' shaped hall, a kitchen and one master bedroom. To further accentuate the sense of common space, we would flush the kitchen floor with the living room, hence there isn't a clear division between the two spaces. We also didn't want to do that standard kitchen cabinet thing with a row of cabinets against a wall and one row above that. Three reasons for that; we didn't want to break the flow of the walls with cabinets, we actually didn't need that many cabinets and thirdly, we always liked the kitchen island design. Yup, a kitchen island design in a HDB flat. I've seen quite a few people have tried doing that before so I knew it was possible, it was just a question of how big an island we could fit in there and not look ridiculously small or some great big monolith that would dominate the entire house. We also decided to do away with the store. This was a hard decision to make, I've always like having a store to, well, store stuff. However, we felt that the bedroom would've ended up a little too cramped with a queen size bed and a wardrobe. We figured we would get rid of the store and go with some kind of 'pole' wardrobe system. It didn't really turn out exactly that way in the end, but we still got what we wanted. Thankfully! So with that main idea in mind (and quite a lot of details), we started getting in touch with IDs and contractors. I'll detail that process in the next update, but da** if it wasn't filled with weird looks, laughter, and some true wtf moments. Stay tuned!
  8. Hi. Am looking for a hugger type fan with light option for my HDB resale unit. Appreciate if you could PM me. Thank you.
  9. Hi there! Appreciate if you could share your ID contact. Pm me? Thank you!
  10. Yup, it is the SBC logo. I can even remember the jingle! Agreed, the line between IDs and contractors is almost invisible as I've learnt recently. The notable ones have really notable prices as well! Not that I have a problem with that; I believe that the impressive talent, creativity and vision of some of the better IDs certainly deserve a corresponding cost. But you're right, me and the wife are pretty set on our design (I call it "The Blank Canvas" ) and I suppose a contractor would be better suited in our case. I have been finding it surprisingly difficult to find a good contractor. Loads of reviews about IDs in here, not that many about contractors, not anything recent anyways. The few that I've approached have not turned out too well, we can't communicate (language barrier) and I'm not comfortable with engaging someone with whom I cannot fully articulate my ideas. I don't speak mandarin, thou I'd be happy to find a contractor who spoke simple English also can! Malay also jadi. I'll probably set up a t-blog to document my journey...once I have something interesting to document. Only hope after all this I'm able to get a home looking half as good as yours, i'll be happy already!
  11. Beautifully designed! Theres a real coherence in the design despite having the two different themes; "Scandustrial" as you call it. This kind of approach can be tricky, one may end up with something that looks too disparate... kinda like a 'cut and paste' job gone horribly wrong. No such problems here, there is a nice sense of balance and coherence thru the whole house. I've been meeting a few IDs for my upcoming reno and I swear, it can sometimes be so difficult to get your idea across if you wanna try something different. Had one ID tell me that they will do a 'cut & paste'; i.e., I tell them what I want and they will do it. Which sounds great IF I was hiring a contractor. Anyhows, great place and I'm sure you'll enjoy living in your beautiful home for many years to come.
  12. Nicely done. Appreciate if you could PM me your contractor contact. Thank you!
  13. Hi everyone. I've been trying to locate this type of door but no luck. These are the doors provided by HDB for toilet upgrades and as far as I can tell, they are called PVC bifold doors. All I've been able to find are the usual aluminium bifold doors or PDdoors which I'm not too crazy about. Anyone knows where I can get these doors? Thank you!