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Found 104 results

  1. Hi everyone! This is Mrs JohnB here. We have learnt a great deal from the users on RenoTalk. Which heater to choose, where to route the air con trunking, how to spray paint, etc. What a treasure trove of helpful homeowners and information this forum is. Thank you. We are excited to finally have a t-Blog. Please feel free to share your opinion; we are new to renovation and would appreciate your advice. So, here goes.
  2. Hi fellow Renotalkers, I have actually been silently browsing through the renotalk forum for quite some time now, soaking in ideas and getting information and tips on what to do or not do during reno, and also what to buy and where! Having learnt alot through the t-blogs and posts here, I figure I should also share our renovation journey and perhaps some things experienced along the way. Perhaps 1 or 2 of you may also take something away, be it an inspiration or a practical lesson. Our story begins on the 14th of April 2013, when I successfully proposed to my then gf, now wife (who shall henceforth be affectionately referred to as "E"). Having successfully sealed that part of the deal, we set out looking for a place to call home, which as a lot of you know isn't the easiest thing in the world. Some of the factors we considered were as follows: - Near to either E's or my parent's home (easy for childcare needs in the future) - Within 0.5 km of an MRT station, especially on the North East Line (so that E can get to work easily) - Size of the apartment must be at least 1100 sgft (E grew up being used to lots of space at home) - Toilet must not be in the kitchen! - A yard area separate from the kitchen - Preferably North/South facing (so you don't get the evening sun) - Has to have sufficient natural light! We didn't want to ballot for a BTO because that would mean we would have to wait very long for our unit, but we were willing to do so for an EC. In particular, we tried balloting for some return units at The Topiary, but after umpteen failed attempts at balloting for 4-rms, 3 rm dual keys, we decided to look at resale flats instead. Plus, it's easier on the pocket. Our search was narrowed down to the following locations: - Upper Boon Keng opposite Kallang MRT (superb location for both private and public transport; flats which just finished MOP; but friggin expensive for a HDB) - Serangoon Central (great location but relatively old flats; expensive as well) - Potong Pasir (again, great location but the oldest flats out of our shortlist) - Sengkang (not as busy as Punggol, and valuations seem to be the cheapest here. Flats are also bigger) For those of you with more money and want to buy a HDB, you should really consider Upper Boon Keng and Jalan Membina in Tiong Bahru, but that's just my opinion haha. We viewed over 20 flats before we stepped into our current home. In fact, we put in an offer for 2 other units before this one. The first unit that we liked had a condo style layout on a high floor, relatively close to Sengkang MRT. BUT, the owner was then asking a COV of 100k (crazy!!). I think it was because he had marble floors through the living room and real parquet elsewhere. We put in an offer which was slightly in excess of half that amount, but was rejected. On hindsight, it was good that he didn't accept because that would be an insane amount just to pay for COV. The second unit was a fair bit away from the MRT, but the layout, space and facing was just superb. We put in a bid for less than their asking, but was quickly told that somebody offered them their asking. A bit of regret felt on not being able to get this unit. We were starting to get a bit tired and exasperated with the search when our agent suggested another area in Sengkang which we had not personally scouted in Prop*rtyG*ru, and we went down not expecting much. You know that feeling where you step in and feel so comfortable that you know it's home - that's the feeling that we got when we first stepped into our new home. It also helped that the former owners were very warm and nice people. We sealed the deal that evening when the owners accepted our COV offer which was a bit less than their asking. It isn't by any means the perfect home in terms of fitting all of our criteria, but it certainly comes close to it. Sorry for being long winded, so without further ado, here's presenting our floor plan: Uploaded with ImageShack.usTo be continued on my next post..
  3. Hi all, Wish to share my renovation journey with forumers here. After 3 years and 6months, the time to finally get our flat is here. Wifey and I are super excited! However, as we have a young kid (11months old) and both of us are working, it is really tiring to source for all the necessary for our renovation! But I'm sure we will get through this together. Here is our floorplan and our concept for the renovation. Some of you may have noticed the bomb shelter is connected to the kitchen. This is something we do not really like but we got no choice because our queue number for the BTO is too far behind! We are still thinking what to do with it. Here are the things we knew we wanted: 1.Featurewall + TV console 2.Shoe cabinet 3.Carpentry full length wardrobe at MBR, B2, B3 (study), 4.Study table and shelves at B3 5.Place to put piano in living room 6. Top and btm Kitchen cabinets, half wall to be raised + bifold doors 7.Vinyl flooring + overly kitchen and bathroom tiles (HDB ones are really ugly) 8.Ceiling fans + false ceiling with down lights Will post some the pictures we found on the net in our nxt post
  4. Hey hey I am finally starting a T-blog of my own! Have been an avid follower of this forum for a short while... Since October 2013? But this forum has really helped my fiance & I alot & we managed to learn alot about house renovation from here.. the basic technical knowledge.. like the difference betweeen laminate & veneer... quartz counter top better or solid surface better... etc etc.. So new home owners don't fret!! This forum will be your best friend with all the helpful people around! Heh heh... Well my fiance & I are just a simple young couple trying to make a life together in our small red dot... getting married soon, so we wish that HDB will quickly hand our keys over to us!! Ok disclaimer: I hope I will find the time and strength to continue to update as often as I can… ahhh nowadays quite busy.. So, here I am! Just for this space to be a record of our renovation journey & appreciate all advice given by all you renotalkers.. Thanks in advance lei.. hahaha...
  5. Hi fellow Renotalkers, we are currently in the midst of renovation and found reading and learning from the collective experience of others to have helped us so much in our journey! As such we have decided to document our renovation and review the good and bad decisions we have made along the way. Hopefully it helps some of you out there! Our theme for this house is Eclectic Scandinavian. We wanted a mostly Scandinavian theme but wanted to attempt to incorporate some eclectism into it! Basically indecisive people needing an excuse for random out of place furniture I suspect the house is going to still turn out 99% scandinavian but we'll see how it goes! Below is our moodboard for the house! Living Room Kitchen Toilet Master Bedroom Of course, the journey first started with stressful ID/Contractor search and space planning We met about 6-7 ID/contractors in total. There's so much to say about this step but I think it can be summed up by going with your gut feel and with someone whom you can trust/can click with! Some thoughts on the whole process meet a few IDs/contractors at least before deciding Try to know your requirements before meeting them, and try to standardize the items that they quote you as far as possible so that you can compare cost Research and know the market price of certain items before going - e.g know the rough cost of floor tiles PSF, cost of labor for tiling psf, cost of quartz/granite/solid top per feet run, cost of cabinet carpentry per feet run, cost of paint etc. Much easier to bargain if you know which are the overpriced items on the quote! Specify the material you want as far as possible When one ID/contractor tells you something isn't possible, run the same problem by the other ID/contractors. We found solutions for many problems that way! Most importantly is how prompt they are. You will need to contact them a lot during the phase of renovation and it will make a huge difference if they are fast. If they cannot even give you a quotation on time, there's no way your renovation will be on track. Our main areas of built in Living room Craftstone brick wall Wall low cabinets Kitchen Hacking of wall Kitchen island Top and bottom kitchen cabinets Toilets Vanity cabinet and shower screens (half for common, full for master) Barn door for master bedroom toilet Master bedroom Straight Wardrobe Flooring Floor tiles for living room and vinyl for bedrooms Decided to minimise built in furnishings in the bedrooms so that they will be flexible in their use in the future! In the end we decided to go with a contractor as we felt he was efficient/prompt and had the confidence that he would be able to pull off the requirements we had. Didn't see a need for an ID as we felt that we would be able to design the house by ourselves! Turned out to be both a right and wrong decision at the same time! We had the space planning and concept in mind but honestly ended up struggling so much with paint colours, lighting positioning and furniture selection ! Below is a super duper untidy and unprofessionally drawn copy of our space planning! Funny circles with crosses in the middle is my way of indicating chairs HAHA We're some ways into the renovation and will try to compile categories together so that it will be easier to read!
  6. Final Product my lovely wife and i bought a house back 2011, now i just can't wait for the day we will be getting the key. Our flat is near its completion and so i decided to start researching on renovation, heres our floor plan HDB floor plan HDB suggested layout My own layout Color code: red - cabinet blue - table yellow - sofa green - wardrobe orange - bed pink - fridge i designed this layout based on the following reasons: 1. we will be living with my parents so we only need 2 bed rooms 2. Suggested study room beside living room will not be constructed as we prefer bigger living space 3. we will make a suite by joining bedroom 2 & MBR, bedroom 2 will be walkin wardrobe + study room. 4. kitchen service yard will be hacked to make kitchen more spacious, windows will be installed at the service yard my bro-in-law is an ID so he will help us draw an autocad version of our dream layout and give us some advice for the arrangement of furnitures, material to use, design etc The design we're looking for is simplicity and ease of maintenance, something like Scandinavian
  7. We (the husband and I) are starting our renovation in three days. After months of sourcing for ideas and IDs, we have chosen to work with a contractor to create a little cosy home that we have been waiting on for three and a half years. We are not doing any hacking as we need all three bedrooms. And due to budget, we are keeping all the flooring and toilet fixtures that came with the flat. Honestly, we think the finishings are ok and count ourselves lucky for that. So, our renovation will kick off with electrical works, followed by air con installation this weekend. First things first, the all-too-familiar floorplan:
  8. It's been a good 10 years since I last log in to RT; the last time I did, it was for my first home - a 4 room HDB. Reno was done through a recommended ID through my friend (who had her home done by him) and I have to say, it was a 8/10 experience except for minor hiccups then but nothing serious. Workmanship was impt to me and I am glad i got past that part since all the carpentry was still holding up well by time I sold my place. I learned plenty back then and from many masters hidden around the forum but how things had changed; now, it's all about TB shopping =) Time flies, a home for 2 evolved and went to 5 by 2013; needless to say and with every Singaporean's dream, I have to upgrade. I started calculating budget, monitor the property market and worked on convincing my in laws to let us move in with them. Luckily for me, it all worked out. I managed to convince the in laws, got what I want for my place from the 2nd viewer and hit on my choice unit for my new home; all within 2013. Fast forward to Jan 2016, I got updated that my new place will most likely TOP by this year and somehow, the most natural thing to do was to login to RT AGAIN. Going through all the blogs one by one for the past few months was tiring - especially so when i see so many wonderful new homes being done up; just watching the photos and reading lobangs shared is enough to make me drool with envy (you know that feeling of wanting to get things started immediately). Reading blogs after blogs do have it's benefits: 1) Taobao lobangs and links and "How to buy" 2) All reliable and updated ID/ Contractors contact I have since bookmarked quite a fair bit of TMall and TB links, as well as contractor/ IDs contact. To be honest, I am not the patient sort and will not have the time to go ID sourcing every weekend around Balestier, Ubi etc hence getting reliable feedback and truthful sharing from members here are impt. Having spend the last 3 weeks reading, I have narrowed and will work on getting quotations with the below 4: 1) J&E 2) Mr F 3) K 4) Renoguyz I will be sharing my experience once I meet them all soon. My floor plan below
  9. Hi guys, We're starting our renovation soon and thought we'd like to share the process here, as we've gained many tips from reading the Renotalk forums and blogs the last few months. Here's the floorplan. It's a four-room resale flat in the North-east. Hacking works include all existing wall and floor tiles, and a doorway opening between the masterbedroom and bedroom 3. Carpentry is minimal- just a wardrobe and only bottom cabinets for the kitchen. For the kitchen counter top, we decided to go with quartz rather than solid surface as we will be doing quite a bit of heavy cooking. We also don't plan to have a TV feature wall. Overall, we're going for a simplicity meets Scandinavian look, and hope to do so within a modest budget! We'll be reviewing the IDs/contractors we met up with in our next post!
  10. Hi Everyone! I've been reading posts on Renotalk for a few months now, and find it a very helpful source of information. Decided that I will contribute by sharing my renovation journey! Flat Type: Resale 4 room Model A1 Size: 102 sqm Theme: Scandinavian with a splash of pastels - main colours light wood, white, light grey with splashes of pastel pink and mint Budget: $40K plus $10K for furniture ID: Y** Living - after one month of meeting and comparing quotes with 10 over ID/contractors, we decided to go with this ID as their price was most competitive, and the ID was responsive and gave us helpful ideas on how to save costs. Floorplan: The previous owner actually partitioned part of the living room into a Study. My hubby likes it because he can use it as his man-cave! The Store used to be in the living room, but the previous owner has removed it and carved space for it it out of an existing bedroom. Some photos of the "Before": Kitchen Service Balcony Living Room Master Bedroom Master Bedroom Toilet Common Room Common Room Toilet
  11. Pre-loved 3-seater fabric sofa used less than 2 years. Comes with matching ottoman. Condition: 8/10 Dimensions: Sofa > 190 x 85 x 75 (L x B x H in cm) Ottoman > 90 x 100 x 40 (L x B x H in cm) Slight chip on one side of sofa's leg. Not for fussies. Please arrange for own transport or additional $80 for delivery. Whole sofa can fit into lift. No need for assembly. Comes as it is. Smoke-free and pet-free environment. Never spilt liquid on sofa/ottoman. Original price: $2100 for whole set Now selling: $500 for whole set
  12. Hi there! After spending months trawling the renotalk forums, and learning SO much from all you regular posters, I'm creating this t-blog to give back to the community by sharing my experience. Hopefully my 2-cents will be useful to some future home owner Renovation for our place has just started, so future updates will show progress of our home as well! Cheers, Alvin
  13. Hi! We have been on this forum for over 3 years and have learnt a lot thanks to the generous sharing of information and ideas here. Now that our very own first home will be ready soon, it's time to give back. Our home is a 4-room unit in Punggol Emerald that was launched in April 2010 together with Punggol Waves. At the point of writing, some of our future neighbours have already collected their keys and commenced renovation works. Even though our PCD is still stated as 4th Quarter 2013, our block still has quite a bit of work to do and as the title suggests, we are looking at a more realistic moving in date of March to April 2014. In terms of the unit layout, we are really pleased that the kitchen is large by today's 4-room BTO standards as we are looking forward to finally hosting dinners in our home. On the other hand, this means the living room will be smaller but we feel the area distribution is balanced. The only gripe is that due to the way the Main Bedroom and Bedroom 1 are placed, the available options to hack or combine the 2 rooms are limited.
  14. Hi guys! So we got the keys to our 5rm BTO flat in October, waaaaaaay ahead of expectation. Both of us are the rather chillax kind, so we did not really do any research on reno stuff beforehand. We are in our BTO FB group and were quite amazed that people actually signed reno packages even before they got their keys . For me, I need to have a feel of the physical space before deciding anything. So, we only started reading up on renovation stuff one month before we got our keys. Our theme for the house was unanimously decided long ago: Scandinavian with essentials of wood, grey and white. Despite being an overly-done theme, it is something that we both hold dear, and one that works for us. This is our floor plan: Living room Floor--at first I had decided on vinyl/HERF because of the nice woody look. But she was concerned whether there will be a smell from the plastic in the long run, and also whether it is truly waterproof (since they are assembled using the clicking system). A valid concern; so we decided to go for wood-grain tiles instead for the whole house (incld bedrooms). Sofa/TV console/Feature wall-- We had a long discussion about this and finally decided to put our TV along the wall adjacent to Bedroom 3. There will be a feature wall of long vertical woodgrain tiles (1.8m high each) that look like wood planks. And on top of that line of tiles, we will install a thin ledge for us to place photo frames or posters. Something different from the usual brick walls. Something like this for the feature wall, just that it doesn't go all the way to the ceiling: Example of photo ledge: Dining table-- It will be placed along the wall opposite the TV console. She wants a really biggggg dining table, so we are prolly getting a 1.8m long one, with a bench to match. Planning to place a bar table against the household shelter wall as well. Built-in storage/display cabinets-- I personally hate having storage/display cabinets in the living room, period. The HDB living room is already too small for my liking (heng we chose a 5rm), having any sort of gigantic cabinets in the living room will just make it look even more cramped. So there will be none. Except for a shoe cabinet that we are planning to build into that recess to the right of the main door. False ceiling/L-box-- None of this too. It will just lower the height of the ceiling even further. Lighting-- Planning for track lights above the feature wall area. And a black ceiling fan. Hanging "spider" lights above the dining table. Track lights along room corridor. LED near the main entrance. Kitchen We are going to hack away the whole wall facing Bedroom 3, and build a kitchen island in the middle . Both of us like to cook, and can't stand claustrophobic kitchens haha. The island will be 1.8m x 1.2m, and the side nearer to Bedroom 3 will feature a counter with stools. There will not be any glass partitions or doors between the kitchen and living room. Yes it will be open but we are not worried about the smell! We don't do heavy frying anyway. There will be kitchen cabinets on both top and bottom on the other wall, and we are planning to get either Kompacplus or Pacnel countertops. Leaning towards Pacnel tops because as of now, they have more colour choices! As for the cabinets, we prefer the surface to be less "flat", contrary to the usual sleek, contemporary laminate surface. After Googling, we found out there's actually a name for this kind of design: it is called Shaker style. An example below: We are leaning towards dark grey cabinets with light grey Pacnel countertop. Along the wall adjacent to the toilet until the service yard window, we are going to build a bottom side-board cabinet; on top we are going to put stuff like my Nespresso Pixie, toaster oven, Hurom etc. Bedroom 3 We are hacking away the whole wall facing the kitchen and replacing it with a black aluminium-framed glass wall/door, to make the whole house feel even more spacious. This will be the gaming/study room! Going to put my PS4, a 40inch UHD TV with a Yamaha soundbar in there. Master Bedroom Making a L-shaped full height wardrobe! Was contemplating the idea of a platform bed, but decided it was too expensive and the ceiling will be too low (planning to put a ceiling fan). Going to put the usual queen-sized bed frame! Toilets Going to install a vanity top with mirror box cabinet for both toilets! Prolly going to use black Pacnel top for the vainty. For the MBR toilet, there will be a glass shower panel (not door), separating the shower area from the toilet bowl. Cos I feel having a sliding door is too claustrophobic. For the common toilet, there will be a shower kerb with IKEA's shower curtain rod (no shower panel, to save costs). Panel only: Contractor We met a grand total of one contractor and one ID. We invited the contractor to our new house and told him about our plans and ideas, and to give a quote. The moment I spoke to him, I knew I could trust this guy. There was rapport, we could click, and he was clearly experienced in his field. He suggested alternatives when our ideas were not feasible. We were very comfortable with him and were eagerly awaiting his quotation. It came back to be around $48K! At first it was shocking. But after calming ourselves down and looking at the things we wanted, we concluded that it was a reasonable (though not cheapest) pricing. (We later changed some stuff and the price dropped to $46k.) On the other hand, the meeting with the ID was unplanned. I chanced upon this FB post of a so-called renovation "open-house", where various companies will be there to showcase their reno materials (kitchen tops, cabinets, tiles, lights etc), so that we can have a better idea of what materials to choose for our reno. So I thought to myself, why not? Upon reaching the place, there was a group of young people smoking in the stairwell right outside the entrance to the openhouse. Impression down We walked in, one young guy approached us, and introduced himself as an ID from ___ company, and offered to bring us around. At this point, we knew it was not such a simple affair. He brought us to see all the materials, tiles, tops etc. Along the way, he kept emphasizing on how credible and accredited his company was (rolling eyes at this moment ). At the end of the tour, he made us sit down and listen to him intro his company's reno packages. Upon first glance, the pricing looks reasonable. But upon closer scrutiny, we realised the package was super basic (plain white tiles @ $3 per sq feet etc). So if we add on the things we wanted, it will prolly add up to a substantial amount. Then he suddenly whispered to us: if we sign today and give the deposit, his boss will waive the 7% GST. Ermigawd. Are you freaking kidding me. That's like the lamest sales pitch ever. Everybody knows you have already factored in the GST into your pricing right?! We walked out without signing anything. The silver lining was that our time was not totally wasted; we learnt quite a fair bit about the materials TL:DR version : Not impressed with ID company, signed with contractor.
  15. my flat is coming and we will be blowing out budget at our wedding. looking for some simple home decor that isn't expensive but yet stylish. hoping to make my house look somewhat like this avoiding expensive built in carpentry. like this airy feel at home no clutter
  16. Pre-loved with minor scratches, adding character to the chairs. Condition: 8/10 Selling at $100 per chair or purchase both at $180!
  17. Hi Masters! this is my first post on reno talk, and i would like to seek some advice from experience folks here. I just purchased a 4-room DBSS unit (resale, 94sqm), and i'm planning to do a full overhaul of the entire house. I have a 30-40k renovation budget to turn my hdb into a nordic scandinavian vibe home. I would like to make the following changes Full hacking a demolition - living room + kitchen + 3 bedrooms + 2 toilets. I think i need to take down nearly everything - tiles, carpentry work, false ceiling, etc. Full painting in every room Minor electrical work touch up; addeding a few power points. Living room - New floor tiles (Vinyl or homogeneous tile), shoe cabinet, TV wall mounting, new curtains, and possibly a featured wall, installation of hanging fan Bedroom (master) - New floor tiles (vinyl or wood-like tiles), built-in wardrobe Bedroom x2 - New floor tiles (vinyl or wood like), 1 study table in 1 of the room, 1 built in ward robe in 1 of the room. Toilets - New floor (granite or other matt/rought materials) and wall tiles (Granite, ceramic or homogeneous tiles), sink/toilet bowl/vanity counter purchase + installation, glass wall Kitchen - New floor tiles and wall tiles, cabinet (white modern looking), kitchen top (granite or marble), new sink and cooking hobs + installation. I don't think my budget allows me to engage an ID, hence i'm looking for a contractor to help me with my renovation work. Any good intro?
  18. Hello everyone, Like many young couples, my SO and I are really excited to get the keys for our future home. Since then I have been lurking around renotalk, absorbing experience and ideas shared by so many passionate homeowners. As I will be starting my renovation soon, I feel that I should share my experience here, to contribute a little back to this awesome community. My home is a 4-room BTO flat, located at the northeastern area of Singapore. As this is a premium project, it comes with HDB flooring and I opted for HDB door. Below is the floor plan and pictures of the living room. Typical 4 room BTO floor plan. Realised many of my new neighbours hack away the wall between kitchen and dining area. Decided against an open concept kitchen as both of us are too lazy/busy to keep our kitchen neat and tidy all the time. Recess wall in the living room. HDB should just fill up the recess area to make life easier for us. TV console will be placed here. Still thinking of ideas for dining area feature wall. Dislike the wooden skirting around the living area and will be asking my ID to hack and replace them with matching tiles. We have collected our keys in early March but the last month was spent rectifying the defects with HDB and sourcing for contractor/ID. Both tasks are long and daunting, and I am glad both of them have been sorted out. During the meetings with different contractors/IDs, I have these criteria in mind: 1. Must incorporate our fengshui beliefs into the design 2. Pet friendly as we have a dog 3. Scandinavian theme (love the clean and simple look) with splashes of blue 4. Keep within our budget 5. The contractor/id must be able to commit and take care of our project personally, as we both work late Finally found our chosen one and signed the contract over the weekend, journey should start next week. Next, shopping time for air condition, hod, hood, sink and fridge....
  19. We have just started our renovation recently, and decided that we should start a blog to document our Renovation Journey, so we could one day look back at our experience =) There are like so so so many tiny details that one should keep in mind during renovation. So many tricks, tips & pointers to look out for. Hopefully by sharing our humble experience, fellow renotalkers can also learn something from our renovation process as well. Nothing fanciful here, but I guess I shall start off with some pointers on ID/ Contractor Selection Process, my ideal steps as follow: 1) Get your floor plan (the above is ours). You can email HDB and they will send the hard copy to you by slow mail. Then photocopy a few copies of your floor plan, for future usage (e.g. to give to potential ids/contractors). When to start finding? It depends, we started like 3 or 2 months before we get our keys. However, if you know you are finding someone popular, then you might want to check his/her schedule earlier. 2) Brainstorm & write down in details what you would like to do for your house. Be specific. Don't just say Wardrobe in the Master Bedroom, say instead, 6ft length wardrobe in laminated finish, and whether you want casement or sliding doors. Number of drawers may matter too. Soft-closing and what brand also must say. Your ceiling height matters too (normally they do until 2.4m or 2.5m high only... extra height must top up). Whether you want the insides to be internal colour PVC finish or the standard white colour (which may turn yellow after many years..) also affects the price. Choice of external laminates matters too as some laminates can be more expensive than others. Sometimes even mirror or any fanciful design or material can affect the price, so be specific on your requirements. *EDITED ON 26 JUN 2016* 3) After having written down your specific requirements, do meet up with at least 5 Ids / Contractors to get your quotation (bring your floor plan too). Doing this will allow you to: a) compare the various quotations on the SAME job that is being done. b) observe the person to see if it's someone you can "click" with.. His/her attitude and design sense, etc. c) collect ideas. a good id/contractor may also point out impracticality of your design and explain stuffs to you why it's not good & propose better solutions. Do note that engaging ids will cost more than contractors (duh....the obvious), usually at least $2k to $5k+ more... it depends. You may consider getting an id if you have the budget + if you don't know what design you want, etc. If you already have a sense of direction what kind of design you want, then perhaps a contractor may suffice. Some contractors have designers to draw 3D drawings for them, so you can better conceptualise the design. The cheapest option, however, is to outsource EVERYTHING (e.g. find your own carpenter, tiler, electrician, etc). But that would require a lot of time & coordination on your side, and it could be quite stressful too.. *EDITED ON 26 JUN 2016* 4) Find out all the hidden costs, and also determine which items are worth outsourcing to make the overall renovation cost cheaper. Here are just some areas you can look into: a) Haulage & Debris Removal Service - Should you really pay $800-$1200 for haulage & debris removal service to your id/contractor? Or will it be cheaper if you call the HDB appointed Haulage Service contractor (his contact will be pasted near your BTO lift), and then ask your id/contractor to liaise with him instead? Haulage service is basically carrying the heavy stuffs for you, such as Tiles (if your flooring is not done yet), and debris removal is where they help you clear any debris from your renovation. I'm not sure if those who have no hacking & tiling works still need this service or not...as it may seem rather redundant unless you need to do kitchen mortar base, washing machine & fridge kerb then maybe need some labour need to carry the required materials such as prepacked cement, etc (this may probably cost you about $250?). For us, we have to hack some walls & do flooring... so we need this service. The amount of works done (hacking/flooring works) & the size of your flat (if do flooring) will determine the cost of this service. Some ids/contractors will ask you to get this service yourself and they will not include this in the quotation..., some may absorb this cost for you and provide it "free" (while jacking up the prices of other items maybe?), and some others will include this in the quotation as $800 to $1200++ and say it will be better if you engage from them as it is their own workers doing the service directly, so there will not be any miscommunication or delays. I later realised that this is kind of not true.. The HDB appointed Haulage Contractor for our BTO is "Mr Tan", and he says the service would cost $600 if got hacking + tiling works for 4 room (I'm not sure if other HDB appointed private contractors from other areas have different pricing or not..). I told my contractor (let's called him Uncle S) about it and he says he actually knows him coz they sometimes need to work together. He also remarked that he charge me cheaper than him too (Mr Tan charges Uncle S $700 for haulage/debris removal services)! So anyway, I passed Uncle S the money, he help me pay and get the receipt from Mr Tan. And from there onwards they work together no need me to call or arrange any appointments with Mr Tan at all. I never even met Mr Tan myself, only phoned & texted him to negotiate the cost of service only. Thus, it's not as troublesome as you may think if you engage Haulage service yourself, the point is whether your id/contractor is willing to help you liaise with the Haulage Contractor or not. So far everything seems okay. My walls have been hacked with debris cleared. Floor tiles are already in our house & tiling works are progressing, might be finishing by end of next week b) Window Grilles & Doors - It's usually cheaper to outsource these to those companies that do these works as their primary focus. I will update again the contacts once I am in that stage of installing these. It is better to install them at a later stage in the renovation (e.g. as doors may hinder movement or get scratched unless you protect them with cardboards and stuff). Uncle S says he will help me supervise the installation when the day comes (I hope ). c) Electrical, Plumbing Works & Aircon Works - These are usually not included in the quotation. You may choose to find your own electrician, plumber & aircon installer, or use the ones that your id/contractor works with. d) 3D Drawings - Do the 3D drawings come with unlimited edits? Or each re-draw/change of a 3D drawing (to see another design) will cost extra $$$? Stay away from those ids/contractors whereby 3D Drawings will cost exorbitant price like $500 each per change, as this will only limit/force you to proceed with the current design they proposed to you, which may not be what you really want. e) Internal Color PVC (example above) - As mentioned earlier, this is for the insides of the Cabinets/Drawers. The "default" is usually white color, but it may turn yellow after some years. If you want it to be internal Color PVC (non-white, there are a few colors & patterns to choose from..), then you have to top up. Do note that this is NOT the same as normal laminate, which is used for the OUTSIDE / EXTERNAL of the carpentry works. So, in terms of price, Internal White PVC < Internal Color PVC < Laminate. f) Full-height Carpentry works - If you are staying with higher ceiling height, full-height carpentry works will cost more. ** 5) Create an excel file to break-down and compare the quotations. Copy & paste the various jobs you have written in Step 2. Now, add in the quotations you have collected in Step 3. It may take awhile, but this step is very useful in helping you see the differences between the different ids/contractors quotation. It also allows you to calculate your costs easier as compared to writing these in word document. This means you will have 1 Column of Items, and X number of other Columns representing the X number of IDs/contractors you've seen. Additional Items & freebies can leave it to the last rows, do it in whatever format that you are comfortable with. Example, Requirements ID A ID B ID C Item 1: 7ft Brick Feature wall in Craftstone finish. $800 $1000 $900 Item 2: 6ft Wardrobe, sliding doors, height 2.6m, color internal PVC, with 1 mirror, 3 drawers, external laminates can choose $75 and below, etc (write whatever specific details) $1300 $1200 $1050 Item X: Window Grilles? (FREE = $0) $0 $900 $800 Basically you can use any method you want, no need to follow exactly the format here. The point is, to break up the quotations so you can weigh the pricing differences for the various works. 6) After comparing the quotes, and having a rough sense of who is more "reliable" or "comfortable" to you... you may then approach them again to further discuss & revise the quotes. Revise the quote? Well, remember the comparison you did in Step 5? You may approach the id/contractor you like and say so and so ID charged me cheaper for this item, do you think you can match his price? If you are lucky, the price can be matched, or a slight discount if the price difference is too big. 7) Ask to visit his current project sites to see the workmanship. Basically to see if the workmanship is good. Are the cabinet doors misaligned? Do they close properly? Is the floor grouting too wide? Etc. 8) Request for a site survey at your new house. The purpose is for a more accurate quotation... those with high ceiling height may have to top up more $$ on full-height carpentry works. It could also tell you how keen the person is in taking up your job (those not keen will say after sign contract then come...) 9) Ask lots & lots of questions if in doubt. Questions regarding the different materials, design solutions, costs, etc. Double check their facts. Do not take their answers for granted if possible. For example, recently TV got show some unfortunate couple got conned by a "contractor/ID" that claimed to be Case Trust & Radac. However, the CaseTrust website do not have the id/contractor company inside. The "contractor/id" has since disappeared and never to be found. You can also check Casetrust banned list here. If the company is not case trust, then do a google or search renotalk on their reviews. Sometimes you can find a lot of bad reviews about that company, and it may be safer if you avoid them. 10) Check check & check the contract before you sign. For example, on hindsight, it may be better for your contractor/id to charge you just for the labour for laying the tiles, instead of Labour + Price of tiles. Why do I say that? Think about it, say your id states that Bedroom tiles you can choose $2.50 to $4psf, before GST. If the Bedrooms are about 450 sqft in total, it would mean that a $2.50psf tile would cost 450 x $2.50 = $1,125. If you choose a $4psf tile, then it would be 450 x $4 = $1,800. That's a difference of $675 between the 2!! T_T And no... that will not be refunded if you have opted for the cheaper tiles. Thus, if we had taken out tiles prices in our quotation/contract, we will not have to worry about whether the tiles we are choosing is too cheap or too expensive. We could just choose based on the design. So this ideally should be discuss prior to signing the contract... unless your id/contractor is OKAY with refunding any extra $ if the tiles you choose are too cheap. *EDITED ON 26 JUN 2016* I suddenly remember something that Uncle S told me: If your house is still in initial building phase/not yet fully constructed, and you are absolutely sure that you want an open kitchen concept, you may request for them not to do up the wall that is partitioning the kitchen (if any). Also, if you don't like highlighting tiles, you may also request them not to include them in the toilets or kitchen. Although I'm not sure how true this is because I never personally tried it before (my unit was already constructed).... I suppose there is no harm giving it a try by asking your BTO/housing developer or something. If it works, then this could save you a few hundreds of dollars from wall hacking, wall tiles overlaying, etc. Not sure if I missed out any tips or pointers.. but feel free to comment ^_^
  20. We just collected our keys! Can't wait to start our reno journey! Had been quietly following all the t-Blogs that inspired us a lot and now it is finally our turn to document and share this adventure with the fellow Renotalk peeps. So exciting! YAY! Here is the floor plan... P.S. This will mostly be the wife blogging, I hijacked my husband's RT account to blog.
  21. SCANDI So the wife decided to finally start the t-blog, but I'm being forced to post. So as usual, at the start of our home making process, I decided that she would make the decisions, since she had all the arty-farty ideas. But i guess this saves me all the trouble of hearing her nag in future, if she decides that she doesn't like any aspect of the house so i guess i'm making a very smart and tactical move. My only requirements to her were that I wanted a fully functional kitchen, since i am the masterchef, and even bookshelves for the bookworm that is me =) So here goes. As usual the arty-farty wife decided that we would call our blog - Colour our Scandi Home, and our first post would be called "SCANDI" or Super Colourful And Novel DIY Ideas Why? U should have guessed it, Scandi but with pops of light pastel colours. Similar to what some of the t-bloggers here have, just that we would have elements which we hope to DIY ourselves. So like many of us here, Pinterest became our best friend. And my wife started pinning into tons and tons of boards. Well, see good choice there. This is what we started out thinking how her house would look like. p.s. Pls don't be misled by the pictures - these were what the wife was dreaming of when she started out as she was very very excited to be making all the decisions =) So as u can see, she wants it to have light brown, pastels, grey and whites. As usual the skeptical me was like okay, whatever makes u happy. so we started going around talking to IDs to find out more about how to make our her dream house come true. Here's the sample layout of our place. Time to sleep will update another day - if the wife doesn't kill me for making fun of her that is =p
  22. After reading through some of the posts here, my partner and I have decided to add in our experience too. Just a little background, I am in my mid 20s while my fiancee is in her early 20s so we have a tight budget to get our family life started. Not gonna be easy but it would be an enjoyable journey! How It All Started Early 2015, we applied for the sale of balance flats in Choa Chu Kang/Bukit Panjang and the number was pretty crappy so we scrapped the idea of trying for BTO/Balance of Sales since the units are smaller and lesser grants. Factoring in our CPF and savings, we decided to hit the nail and go for resale flats instead since the market is somewhat bottoming now. Flat viewing started around Sept/Oct 2015 and we have already decided on the location which was Bukit Panjang. Simply went to PropertyGuru and shortlisted a few units, arranged with the agent for a viewing and off we went. Yes, plenty of our friends were wondering where on earth is Bukit Panjang but having stayed in Bukit Panjang for 10 over years, it is actually a very convenient location with the upcoming Downtown Line and buses. 20 minutes to Orchard via 972 or 190, seriously?! House Hunting Our fruitful yet tiring house hunting journey took us about 2 months. We started off by viewing flats randomly within the area and realised it was leading us nowhere as none of the units was to our liking. We then decided to view 2 to 3 units per area and once the units were not to our liking, we eliminated that area out of our choices as the units within that area were usually within the same batch so layout and design wise would be similar. We had a few requirements: 1) Corner Unit (For privacy) 2) High Floor (Feels good to be up there ) 3) Squarish layout (Easy to manage in terms of design) 4) Bright and airy (Good for health to have ample natural light! ) Simple requirements yet it was a nightmare just trying to find the right unit. Finally, we found one to our liking but the owner was reluctant to sell at our price and the agent told us that the house was previously sold at $465k but the buyer screwed up so the deal didn't go through. Considering how bad the market condition was, we decided to go ahead and offer a price of $435k which kinda shocked the seller I guess. The agent told us that he could try for $460k but we had no interest in paying over the market for the unit considering there was quite a bit of renovation to be done. Credits to my fiancee for being firm by telling the agent that we would settle for $450k, take it or leave it. To cut the story short, we finally settled for $450k and valuation came about to $450k so there was no COV on our part either. Gotta give the credit to my fiancee as I was pretty alright with paying $460k which was $10k more but we really liked the unit and the house hunting was really tiring. I just wanted to get it over and done with! DIY Procedures We decided that it was pointless to engage an agent since he will just be doing the paperwork for us when we could do it ourselves which saved us at least a few thousand since buyer's agent usually go for 1% of the selling price as commission! Seriously, pay them $4k plus just to do paperwork for us? Nah! Signed the OTP and exercised it with a total of $5k as deposit. First appointment scheduled in Feb 2016 and keys collection in March 2016. We decided to take up all the grants available to us which summed up to $50k from HDB and ROM was not an issue since we would be solemnized before our second appointment. The procedures are pretty simple as it is all documented in the HDB website, I spent about an hour digesting the website and we were good to go. The seller's agent even told us not to bother with engaging an agent to save on the fees and we could approach him if we needed help, just that he could not represent both sides. Well, if we screwed up and the deal falls through, he will be on the losing end too. Feel free to call up HDB if you are unsure of certain things and they are pretty helpful I would say. Tadah! Here is the floorplan of our house. The house has minimal renovation except for wall cornice and floor skirting since it was the first owner. Flat is about 18 years old so a major renovation was in the plans with a budget of $30k and another $5k odd for furnishings & furnitures. Original Floorplan Modified Floorplan (After hacking of walls)
  23. Hi Folks, Have joined this T-blog big family for a couple of years now. Benefit lots from the lobangs and reno knowledge that the Shifus here have unselfishly shared. Wanted to start a blog to document the reno process for my family 2nd home in the east. So here I am Hopefully my reno info/experience would be beneficial to others as well. Ok kindly bear with the old man here, will start off with the usual loso part. . Flash- Back--> Background: I stay in the east for the most part of my life. Married and got a resale flat in Tampines. Decided two years ago to get a second property. Looked at other parts of Singapore but in the end bought one condo unit(3 bd rm) at Loyang. I guess I am kind of fated to live in the east. While waiting for TOP, I started to look through fellow senior renotalk bloggers' experience in reno and buy magazine for inspirations. Came up with a list of potential IDs, contractors, reno lobangs etc. Over the course of the wait, I decided that with this new house I would go with no ID path. With this decision I start to narrow down the items that I will be doing up and its designs. Numerous ppt pkg was created with images gather from various sources like Pinterest, Qavant etc. I think my theme would be Scandinavian and abit of industrial. Love the wood accent and the white canvas walls. Joined the FB page of my development to get regular update on it build progress which helps with the reno schedule planning. With completion in sight, I set out to get quotation and visit the shop shortlisted to narrow down the choices. Its not an easy task, some would see it as a waste of time as we do not have the actual unit yet. Everything is base on the drawing provided in the brochure. But to me, I get to compare the prices of various contractors and the quality of the furniture that I am eyeing. This is not in rush mode so you get to analyze things carefully and rationally. Since I am not hiring any ID, the bulk of my Reno will involved customize carpentry to utilize the storage space in a limited living space. The search for the right carpenter intensified when I got news that the keys will be ready to issue out in 2 months time. With my carpentry design in hand, I call out to 5 different carpentry contractors to brief them on my needs and ideas. Requested them to quote base on the rough estimate measurement I took from the unit floor plan. The difference as i found out is as high as 10k with same required items With a limited budget, I narrow the choice to two carpentry contractors(A &B) that offer value for $ with my carpentry requirements. Another meeting at their respective factory and further communication with the carpenters, I chose contractor A. The reason why i chose him is as follows: 1) Good rapport(Chemistry), able to relate my design easily to him 2) Workmanship is pretty good 3) Price is more flexible i more room to add in additional item(color PVC etc) PS: I would not disclose the names of the contractors that I chose as the works are yet to complete. I will reveal more info when the Reno completes which i think its a fairer assessment of the contractor capability Will try to figure out how to upload the floor plan over the weekend.
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