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Found 26 results

  1. Will be collecting keys to our resale flat soon. Any advice or ideas to share? Would prefer to use contractors, and avoid constructing in-build wardrobes.
  2. Greetings to all fellow Renotalkers! I have been a curious reader for the past 3 months, absorbing any and every advice given in this community. Me and my missus have purchased a 4A Resale flat after 5 failed attempts at BTO/SBF. After deciding to look into the resale market, we listed down our criteria for our home: 1) High Floor 2) Corner Unit 3) Must have storeroom (to stash away all our chapalan stuff) 4) North-South facing 5) Fits our budget After looking through many units around my parent's area, we finally saw one which fit our criteria (4/5). Although this is not a corner unit, we loved the view. That feeling in your gut that says "THIS IS THE ONE" once you step foot into the unit. ">http://www.renotalk.com/forum/gallery/image/12621-floor-plan/] We exercised our option late in October and fast forward, we collected our keys today! Excited to finally have our own place to call HOME! Next up: ID/Contractor Selection
  3. Hello Everyone! After years of lurking around here, learning so much from all the seniors here, I am finally starting my own T-blog! Why Smelly Nest? Its just our pet name for each other Lets start with the conventional boring floor plan. ">http://http://s307.photobucket.com/user/melakamalacca/media/Punggol/floor%20plan.jpg.html'> Our unit is a tiny 87 meter sq ( 90 meter sq including air con ledge). So our main challenge is creating enough storage for all our rubbish. The next post will be summarizing our visits to the IDs.
  4. Hi, I am looking for a contractor to refurbish my current 4 room flat that is about 20 years old. Specifically, I need the contractor to: 1) Sand down the current spray paint painting on the wall for the whole house. 2) Fix up hairline cracks around the house (~10 to 15), and a small hole (~10cm diameter). 3) Paint the whole house. Could any one advise me of the likely cost and duration for such works? Could I stay in the house during the refurbish period? Also could anyone recommend a trustworthy contractor that have experience in such job? Thank you very much.
  5. Hello all! Been stalking this place for a couple of years and it is finally our turn to start a t-Blog for our first home! We are currently in the sixth week of our renovation already, will try to recap and share as much as possible. Opps, we digressed for a few weeks because the to-do list is never-ending..... and we, or maybe myself, are/is very very very fickle. Renovation is full of life-changing decisions which will be cemented onto or nailed into the house, quite scary since these decisions might stay with us for the rest of our lives (if we don;t move)! Also, the need to balance between quality, aesthetics, practicality and price is very very very challenging. We can be pondering over the same issue for weeks, visit many many different (or the same) shops and look at many many different brands/designs for each item before we can finally make a decision. Our contractor is constantly chasing us to tell him our choice of colors, chasing us to buy the items and etc, but I guess we are pretty lucky that it is not the other way round hahaha! Contents (will update when there are new posts) Our story + About the flat + "Before" photos Our Theme + Moodboard <future posts> <future posts> ...
  6. I have been following this reno blog for 1-2 years to lookout for renovation ideas as well as ID recommendations and it’s finally my turn to start my own blog . In November last year, hubby and I placed deposit for a 4-room resale unit in Jurong West. 1. Floor plan for our unit: 2. ID Selection: While awaiting for key collection which was scheduled in March 2017, we meetup with close to 15 IDs/contractors recommended by this reno blog/from other bloggers/ from friends/ from Reno road show. After 1st meeting, we shortlisted 2 IDs and it was a tough decision on which one to select as both has their pros and cons. ID 1: Could not remember where I got the contact of this ID, probably from some blog/forum. During our 1st meeting, he provided us with some good space planning ideas and most importantly he also pointed out some technical issues which all other IDs did not spot. As my living room is in between bedroom 2 and main bedroom, there will be some air-con piping issues and if we insist to install air-con in bedroom 2, some modification (installation of false beam, piping going thru my main bedroom wardrobe thereby I might need to dismantle the wardrobe, dismantling bedroom 2’s door) will be needed which mean additional renovation cost. He provided us a very comprehensive quotation within a week, included some optional items we mentioned we might be interested in, as well as some modification required if we were to install air-con in bedroom 2. Some of the items were priced higher as he prefers to use quality materials such as caesarstone tabletop and big frame toilet doors. He explained that he prefer to use more durable material since he provides longer warranty on workmanship so we would not need to keep looking for him haha ID 2: Recommended in Facebook Group “Budget Reno”. Contacted this ID as we really like the design of his BTO project as posted in the Facebook Group. During our 1st meeting, we were impressed by his strong design idea and good space planning. He promised to provide us with quotation in a week or so but we did not received it. Upon chasing for the quotation, he rushed it out the next few days and meet with us to explain the quotation personally. During the meeting then only we realized that he was down with fever yet still took the effort to meet with us. However, the quotation was not comprehensive and did not include costing for electrical works and aforementioned optional/modification works. In addition, as we would like to keep cost low by hacking bathroom floor tiles only, he is unable to do it. If want to hack must hack the whole bathroom. Final decision: Even though our heart side ID 2 as we really like their design idea but our mind told us to play safe so we decided to engage ID 1, reason being 1) To keep cost low. ID 1 is able to hack bathroom floor tiles only while keeping the wall tiles. Doing so would save us quite a lot. 2) We do not like bill shock. ID 1 quotation is quite detailed so that we know how much we are paying for every items. 3) We feel that ID 1 is more experience in resale projects. A lot of patching work needs to be done for resale house such as patching part of the false ceiling, hack away fridge & washing machine base to replace with similar tiles etc. Most ID specialize in BTO projects are not willing to take up patching work, some advised us to dismantle the whole false ceiling and rebuild new one which will cost double. We engaged ID 1 in early December which he provided us with 3D drawings about 3 weeks later. The 1st draft was unsatisfactory but after 3 changes, he got what we want. 3. Existing conditions/ Work to be done a) Kitchen (Top being 3D drawing, bottom being existing condition) We would like to keep the wall and floor tiles of kitchen as it is still in good condition. To have a neater looking kitchen, our ID suggested to get a front load washer and slot it in beneath the bottom kitchen cabinet as shown in the 3D drawing. Major works to be done include: 1) Hack off existing cabinet + fitting 2) Hack off fridge and washing machine base and replace with similar tiles. The existing kitchen has fridge base and washing machine base which we think is redundant. Imagine if we kick on the edge it’s gonna be really painful 3) Install kitchen cabinet with caesarstone work top and crystal white tempered glass backing between top and bottom cabinet 4) Our kitchen is quite small which we feel lack of storage space so we decided to install a low height cabinet next to fridge area b) Common Bathroom Major works to be done include: 1) Hack off existing floor tiles ,lay new homogenous floor tiles and construct shower kerb 2) Dismantle existing sanitary, toilet accessories and install with new one 3) Dismantle existing door and install new Big Frame Aluminium PD door c) Master Bathroom Major works to be done include: 1) Hack off existing floor tiles and lay new homogenous floor tiles 2) Overlay wall with homogenous wall tiles 3) Dismantle existing sanitary, toilet accessories and install with new one 4) Dismantle existing door and install new Big Frame Aluminium PD door 5) Construct shower kerb ,install shower screen with swing door d) Master Bedroom (Top being 3D drawing, bottom being existing condition) Major works to be done include: 1) Dismantle existing L-shape cabinet 2) Install 3ft dressing table. As I do not like exposed mirror, I quite like the top part of this dressing table design with storage swing door and embedded mirror so requested ID to design a similar one 3) Hack off existing wardrobe and install new 6ft wardrobe with full height mirror. 3D drawing for wardrobe: e) Bedroom 3-Study room (Top being 3D drawing, bottom being existing condition) Major works to be done include: 1) Hack off existing wardrobe and modify existing L-box. As the existing L-box is built in a way that is in line with the wardrobe, dismantling the wardrobe will make the L-box look odd. Therefore, modification on L-box is required to make it in line. 2) Install 9ft study table with drawer and power point area finishing (hidden power point so looks neater) f) Living Room(Top being 3D drawing, bottom being existing condition) We did not take much picture of the existing living room as it was quite empty, only has a feature wall & TV console. Major works to be done include: 1) Hack off existing feature wall & console 2) Install low, medium and full height shoe cabinet with full length mirror starting from kitchen door entrance 3) Install low height TV console with storage (continue from the aforementioned shoe cabinet) g) Air con As our air con piping is a more complicated, we decided to engage air con contractor recommended by our ID so that he can coordinate closely with the contractor on installation. Price quoted for Mitsubishi Starmex (MXY4A28VA) system 4 was comparable to gain city pricing. In addition to dismantling masterbed room wardrobe, some additional modifications needed to make way for air con piping as follows: 1) Hack off existing door frame and door for bedroom 2 and install with a new door and door frame 2) Construct false beam to box-up air-con piping in living room
  7. Hi All, I am in the process of getting a resale flat. This is our (wife and me) first time buying and renovating a house. The first appointment is over and now we are waiting for the second appointment. Currently sourcing out for contractors for our renovation. The idea is to keep the house as simple as possible. As much as possible, no built in carpentry other than the kitchen cabinet of course. We do not have any kids, therefore, the 2 common room will be of the least priority. Do note that it is more of hacking / re-instate the unit to its original condition. I like it simple. Easier to clean and replace. No cookie clutter. Plumbing and electrical can be done on my own. So no issues for that. Is 15K a realistic budget to set for the following? Your advise is appreciated. Thank you.
  8. Hi guys, Just want to share my humble 4RM BTO flat. My wife and I wanted something really simple so we opted for loose pieces of furnitures centred around a colour scheme of white, brown and maroon. Hope you like it! Also, any ideas on where I can find affordable art pieces?
  9. I have always wanted to start a blog, and decided to do it slightly differently with others. Instead of recording down my reno journey, I hope to do a review on the decisions made 2 years back. Just a quick description on the house design: 4 room BTO Hack a bedroom to make the living room bigger Reno + Household appliances + furniture cost = 50k Light wood, white theme and a simple clean layout Minimum built in carpentry and "ID-style" stuff Flooring (Evorich Vinyl) Original floor plan (minus the bedroom wall that we intend to hack): Space Planning: Lighting Plan: Actual Living Room photos: That's all for today! Will upload the photos of other parts of the house in the new few posts!
  10. Very long winded post ahead on our reno requirements & our ID selection. After 3 years and 4 months of wait from BTO Sales Launch to key collection, we have finally stepped foot into our house with kosong $$ in our CPF accounts lol. I had benefitted from the sharing from this forum and thought I would share my simple reno too, although don't know will benefit anyone or not haha! Anyway, prior to key collection, we had decided on our ID, chosen our tiles and laminates and seen the 3D drawings liao. Cos we were also planning for our wedding and I didn't want everything to come together for us to make decisions, very overwhelming. First, let me start off with presenting our very typical floor plan: We had chosen this layout with the household shelter in the kitchen cos we didn't want to spend money on doing up a feature wall just to cover the household shelter's doors. Things we had decided that we want, prior to meeting IDs: 1. Most important - flooring (tiles in living/dining area & vinyl in bedrooms); 2. TV wall + suspended console; 3. L box in living room; 4. Ceiling fan in living room above sofa area; 5. Kitchen carpentry (top & bottom cabinets & drawers, sink, hob & hood on the long side; bottom carpentry on short side); 6. Glass door to separate kitchen from living/dining area; 7. Base for fridge & washing machine; 8. Full height wardrobe in MBR; 9. Full height wardrobe in BR 2; 10. Ceiling fan in BR 3; 11. Painting for whole house; 12. Windows in service balcony; 13. Window grills for whole house; 14. Electrical works; and 15. Plumbing works After meeting a few IDs, we added: 16. False ceiling in dining area/corridor. We didn't want cove lights despite it being recommended by a few IDs. In fact, we eliminated the ones who insisted that we do cove lights - if this also cannot then I foresee we may have disagreements in future so, eliminated! Once we had an idea of what we wanted to do, we met up with quite a few IDs to discuss. First, we went to a big company to see whether these can fit into our budget. The ID was kind of helpful but didn't give us a friendly feeling. He gave some good ideas and some nonsense ideas. Felt like he was trying to smoke us. Asked us for our budget and then the quotation was exactly our budget. Then keep pushing us to sign on the spot, despite us telling him that he was the first ID we met and we needed time to consider, plus key collection was still an unknown date of at least 3 to 4 months away. Plus the company was quite empty despite it being a big company with a few branches - on a Sunday afternoon! Second, we passed by this ID shop and saw the staff inside quite busy, decided to just approach them to ask for quotation so that we would have a better gauge of the market rate. The ID was friendly and after listening to our requirements, gave us some ideas and feedback. Like there would be a beam between the living area and the dining area, based on his experience and a few other suggestions (which I had forgotten now haha else I can share with you guys). We were impressed by him drawing out how he plan to do the TV area, the kitchen and the wardrobe. Gave us an rough estimate of the quotation on the spot, based on the stuff we wanted, and then emailed us the quotation. Anyway, his quotation was not the cheapest but also not the most expensive. Third, fourth, fifth etc, we went to quite a few more IDs and we rejected them mainly because: 1. Insist that we do cove lights; 2. Never get back to us; 3. Unbelievably cheap (lol humans - too cheap cannot, too expensive cannot); 4. Not so convincing, the ID sounded like he was unsure (scared he chut pattern then we all faint together); 5. Expensive!!!! Then it was decision making time. We couldn't find any reviews of the second ID online, despite the fact that the company had been around for 20+ years. No reviews nvm, as long as no negative reviews - our thinking is that, if really jialat sure got people complain online lah... Felt that we could click and got the feel, so we decided on him, after comparing the quotations, although I keep niam-ing my bf that some stuff a bit expensive, but still within our budget (which we didn't tell him). After deciding on him, we met up to sign the contract and he passed us the paint colours book for us to choose colours. We then decided to meet up another time to discuss on colours, laminates etc cos we were quite tired after work. So we met up and first, his partner brought us to the Lian Hin Seng at Balestier to choose tiles and being the fast decision makers that we are, decided on the tiles rather quickly. Returned to the shop to choose laminates, vinyl flooring and to confirm that the paint colours we had chosen can match the flooring. A week later, received our first draft of 3D drawings and had some amendments. To be honest, the amendments to 3D drawings were a bit slow but also maybe cos our key collection also donno when lah, not priority. After we informed him of our key collection date, the revisions came faster. Nonetheless, so far so good. Next post on key collection + open door.
  11. 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:
  12. So... I decided to do this. I have actually finished my reno and moved into my place. I thought I share some thoughts on this forum about my reno experience. I don't think I will write a lot of posts, but will try. My journey started about a year ago on 13 Oct 2014, when I first viewed this 4 room re-sale HDB. Made a very quick decision and issued the cheque on the very day after I viewed the place. I am actually very happy with my purchase. Near to MRT, parents, city and high floor. The flat is about 31 years old, so would need some major reno. Will show you guys more photos of the old place in my next post when I upload all the photos! Below is the layout plan of the flat. I started to look for an ID in Nov 2014. Only met up with 3 but already felt so tired! Appointed my ID in around early Jan. Collected my keys on 21 Jan 2015! That was a very exciting day! Next post I will show the photos of the place before reno, and the experience with the 3 IDs.
  13. Hi Fellow forum members, I would just like to feedback on my experience with Best Tech and Midea system 4. In Dec 2014, my wife and I went shopping around for air conditioner at a consumer fair. We chanced upon best tech booth and went in to take a look and was served by one of the salesperson. We were looking at a system 4 and he recommended Midea, as he was using it as well. Tempted by the price (mistake of my life) and the insulation material and 2 times installation thrown in, I signed on the paper (The Start of my nightmare) The aircon finished the installatin in March 2015 and we began using it. Before this, I placed great faith in my choice due to the confidence and branding sales talk done by the salesperson from Best Tech. On the first night, aircon was not cold!! (We had a 22K btu compressor and our room is only 12K btu). We had patience and told ourselves, the aircon was breaking in. Using the aircon for a week, my wife and I felt like a clown each night, when we have to turn on our fan at full power, coupled with the aircon at 17 degree celcius. The living room aircon is even worse. Literally, one fan at full power is more powerful than my aircon at 17 degree celcius. (I am literally typing in sweat now) Called in to Best Tech several time, each time they will request that you leave number and never got back. I have to standby the phone and insist that someone attend to me immediately, before they allowed a booking of aircon appointment (So this is singapore no. 1 company in Air Con). Cut the long story short: 1st Best Tech visit to home 5th June 2015: A pair of chinese and indian technician came. The indian technician was a second fiddle to the more experienced Chinese Technician. The indian technician keep on insisting that aircon was cold and I have to challenge him to bring a thermometer and prove to me. Chinese technician was better, he said that the aircon was not cold and check the compressor with findings that the gas was a bit low and cited that his company did not check it before installation ( , what is this?? SIngapore most trusted aircon partner). He proceed to top up, the situation did not get better. He told me to monitor and went back. During this time, the indian technian climbed my drying yard wall (dirtied my new paint!!), even though I provided the chair. 1st Best Tech visit to home 4th July 2015: Really did not get better, I called them again. The same scenario of calling and waiting and transferring happened. Fast forward -> The same pair of technicians visited us, chinese technician literally tell us that there is nothing much he can do and can only refer back to Midea (come on, as if I need you to come to my house and tell me this). At this moment, the indian technician went to check my compressor and done nothing to it, as all the gas level was right. They were here for 10 mins and decided to leave. (#&@(*^(*#&) Wasted my time to wait. Subsequently, I have to keep chasing Best Tech to make my appointment with Midea! This is a painful process, apparently they don't do emails and communicate between the principal and reseller via fax (welcome to the 21st century). Finally i got my appointment on 25th July 2015. Midea visit to home 25th July 2015: Midea technician came, measured the aircon gas, said that pressure too high because pumped too much gas inside ( ). He released the gas and set it to normal. Next he checked the cooling coil and measure it with the thermometer. He mentioned that the cooling coil is doing the work of blowing air but not efficient (i.e not strong enough), however the cold air is absence and takes a long time to feel cold air. (Yeah, I experienced that right from the start). He mentioned there is a problem with the compressor and will inform his company to send down rectification solution. ** wait ** and wait** and wait ** and more waiting !** MIDEA DON"T CALL and when i called the customer service, they told me they have reflected the problem as compressor low aircon gas, I was like WTH! OH COME ON! Seriously, come to my house and enjoy the aircon suana!!. This customer service guy is call jason.He said he has faxed to BEST Tech and they need to come back to my house and top up the gas ( ). I called twice and still waiting..... Today is 7th of Sep 2015 and I am still waiting for MIDEA OR BEST TECH to GET BACK TO ME! My advise to fellow homeowner Go for a established brand like mistubishi and also reseller. I am humbled by my experience and will continue to wait. Anyone who reads, constructive help will be good. If the operation manager of BEST TECH is reading, I am still waiting for your guys and soaked in my sweaty T shirt!! CONTACT ME to fix my problem! if not, offer my to trade up to a Mistubishi aircon.
  14. Hello all! Just finish my first appointment before the CNY for my resale hdb and I'm excited to share my reno journey here, especially for those who plan to stay alone when they hit 35 As I will be getting my keys late March, and it's about time to start my renovation planning. Style White/Cement/wood/glass Going for cement screed flooring for living/dining area Green: Don't like the indent of the wall structure, gonna fill this up so it look flushRed: Hack!Blue: Hack and replaced with Glass!*Finger cross*
  15. I started this blog to document down the journey that we will be going through and when the renovation is complete, to read and relive the “I told you so” mistakes or the “that was wise” decisions. A little backstory on us: We got our keys in early 2014, but was not in Singapore at that point of time. We did very basic renovation (kitchen cabinets, toilet accessories and fridge/washing machine/aircon), signed a power of attorney to our mother, seeked approval from HDB and managed to rent out the flat. Fast forward 2 years+ later, we came back to Singapore and waited for the lease agreement to end. Disappointingly but I guess unsurprisingly, the house had deteriorated quite badly. The floors and countertops had huge marks and dents, the washing machine lid could be detached, and the aircon leaked like a sieve (I don’t think they did any servicing at all!) We decided to bite the bullet and spend some hard earned cash to redo the house. The requirements were simple: 1. To redo the kitchen cabinets but this time with a built in oven and a bigger fridge compartment. 2. To overlay the 2 bathroom tiles and replace the toilet bowls, basin and shower mixer. 3. To have a built in wardrobe in the Master Bedroom and the study. 4. Master Bedroom to be able to fit a King size bed 5. To have a study table in the study (captain obvious!) 6. To have a TV console and built in cabinets in the living room We didn’t have a theme in mind but we knew that we love the clean sleek modern look with a touch of earth tones to make the house cozy. The budget that we had in mind was at $25K. We set about checking in , Renotalk and asking friends for any recommendations. In the end, these were the IDs that we met. ID 1: One of our friend was an ID and we were very impressed with his house. We trusted him but his quotation was over what we wanted at $35K. In the end, we decided not to engage him, only because of the fact that we wanted to preserve our friendship. ID 2: A couple that we have been friends with for a long time recommended their ID. We liked their place and even asked if we could copy some of their designs and they graciously agreed. The ID had some chemistry with us and we liked him a lot. On the 2nd meetup, we went down to his office and he had a proper office with carpentry space and had workers that were all uniformed. Very impressive and with that setup, we knew he wouldn’t take our money and run. Additionally, the couple friends mentioned about several issues that they encountered, which the ID fixed it for them without a complaint. However, his quotation was at $50K! We tried to cut some stuff out and reduced it to $40K, but in the end we felt that we were compromising too much, hence we rejected him. ID 3: Referred via Renotalk. Their quotation was at $35K, similar to ID 1. The ID certainly knew his work as he recommended some ideas that were enlightening and fresh. I wanted to pursue him, but my other half didn’t like any of their past projects that they showed us. ID 4: Referred via Cromly. This ID was a total letdown. We invited him to the house, he came and when we started telling him of our expectations, he kept saying “can be discussed later, can be discussed later.” I was kind of pissed off at that point. Yes, he was the professional but shouldn’t he listen to our requirements as well? We told him our budget, he left in a hurry and we waited for a quote back. 1 week later, there was no reply and my other half dropped him a message. His reply was “I have many projects so find someone else.” Grrrrrr....... He sure must be doing very well to be able to choose his customers. ID 5: Referred via . Looks can be deceiving and I must admit that our first impression of him was he will take our money and run. However, he listened to our requests and was willing to look into them. His quotation was $30K, which had set some alarm bells ringing as it was lower than everybody else. After the 2nd meet up, we didn’t want to consider him due to the above factors, but he dropped a message 2 weeks later asking if we can meet up to go through the quotation and if we had any concerns he can address. My other half didn’t want to meet him at all, but I suggested we gave him a try. We prepared a list of 25 questions to asked him, some of which were personal and met up with him. He answered them all, some by throwing some smoke bombs which we immediately caught him but overall he addressed our concerns. We asked for several extra things and the quote increased to $32K. As of today, we still have not chosen any IDs yet. Still considering if we should see more? I have seen several reno blogs and they are usually filled with requests for PM of ID contacts. I won’t reveal the IDs that we declined but will reveal the ID that we chose. To be fair, the ID will only be revealed at the end of the blog once the renovation is complete. I want this to be as non-judgmental as possible and for our final review to be done after completion. Please don’t ask for PMs, I will do my best to answer any other questions
  16. Hey guys! Since my reno started slightly more than a week ago, I decide to get in the radar and hope that sharing my fortnightly reno experience will be beneficial for home owners attempting to DIY without ID. I will be skipping the selection process details as my decision was made up towards pricing. 3*, R&R, and a few others were throwing out quotes ranging from $50-70K and the same time throwing themselves out even after being informed of my $35K budget. After comparing quotes from 4 IDs, 3 Contractors, I decided on my current contractor with NO reviews on RT, it was a long discussion spanning 2 months and 4-5 meetings and countless of amendments (removal of items usually) from the quote. All within $35K inclusive of GST. Yet I know it was a huge risk for someone with no online presence. Branded firm with poor project manager = . Humble company with good project manager = . Branded firm good project manager = $$$$$$ Here is the original floorplan, and I will be doing massive hacking and erecting of walls due to some fengshui beliefs.
  17. Hullo Renotalkers, I'm starting this t-blog because I gained so much from senior t-bloggers, and hopefully this space will be as memorable for others in future! I've named myself the Bookworm because reading books is pretty much the only thing I know how to do, while my better half is, well, brilliant. Kind of like Gandalf- “Though one Wizard that I know took up the art long ago, and became as skilful in it as in all other things that he put his mind to.” The Hobbit, Chapter 2 So, hmmm. We collected our SOB BTO keys in Feb via the FIL because we were overseas (you know you're Singaporean when you understand all the acronyms!), and now that we're back for awhile, we decided to set our home affairs in order! This is what we've done so far (will do a separate post on each): 1) Mood board 2) Contractor (no ID) We're currently awaiting our revised quote! Then the stone will start to roll, hopefully. I'll wrap this introductory post up with our very ordinary and standard floorplan: Love, the Bookworm
  18. I had sign up with A&D for my 5rm resale flat renovation and my ID is Elijah Yeo Renovation completed for almost 1 month and I'm very satisfied with the work done, some minor rectification that need to be done are done. Elijah was punctual for all our meetings. He kept his promises and knowing that we had to get the renovation done quickly, he went all out to help us achieve this. We were away for a week and he made sure that work was done properly while we were away. He's very easy to work with and helpful - he volunteered to wait for the delivery of our equipment eventhough it's not his job. When we texted him at 10 plus at night on a weekend, he even called us back to give us feedback. Afterall, the job was done so smoothly and without any fuss.
  19. Hmm.. I've read some of the t-blogs here.. So its time for me to contribute.. To share our experiences in this home reno journey. We collected our keys on 11 March 2014.. Signed everything & there goes our CPF balances~ Here is our floor plan.. Here are some pictures of how our house looked before the check.. This the 3rd week since we collected our keys but we have not submitted our feedback form to the BSC. There are so much to check and I wondered how to complete checking within 7 days. With the help with an ID, we finished checking & will be submitting the form in today. Now my house is full of masking tapes to show the defects. Our project is the developer’s first HDB project. While checking, my id was shocked by the quality of the work being done. We have slanted switches, uneven & rough walls, lots of gaps between top & bottom of wood skirtings, badly filled grouting, leaking toilet bowl, cracked floor tiles, missing window screws, all the windows cannot be opened smoothly and dent window frames, chipped walls, and many more.. Will post some photos on the defects later.
  20. In advance: sorry for the long post! This first post is pretty much a summary of 4 months, so bear with us, the newer posts are going to be shorter After being married for a few years, my wife and I were finally ready to purchase our first home. The wait for a BTO would be too long, so after a search on the resale market we found a 4 room flat in the west of Pasir Ris that matched our needs. A corner unit, 108 square meters, with a layout that we can work with. The state of the interior of the flat was nowhere near what we were looking for, so we already knew from the start that we wanted to do a full renovation. In February we sat down for two weeks, purchased the floor plan of the unit from HDB, and started thinking about what we wanted. We came up with a revised floorplan, more or less to-scale drawings of kitchen cabinets, laundry room, even some very rough perspective drawings of our feature wall in the living room, the feature bed head and the bathroom. With the help of the enormous amount of information on this forum (too many different threads and people to thank, so just a general THANK YOU towards this entire community!), we shortlisted about 10 interior designers and contractors. We sent our package of the original floor plan, the revised floor plan, and all of our drawings complete with a list of specifications to each of these companies in late February, with the expectation of receiving quotations that will help us compare apple to apple. I have to say it was quite successful. With some minor exceptions we received quotations that were comparable, and we visited each and every company that responded to us. Some were very eager, some sounded eager and then their excitement died down, while others maintained a bit more composure. I'm going to write down the companies we visited and our experiences with them, so anyone looking for a contractor can draw their own conclusions. It's really important to find the right person to work with. My wife and I both work in the creative field so we can handle the design conceptualisation portion, but we need someone who can bring our ideas to fruition, someone who can tell us "no" when we need to hear it, and who has the right connections and time to do the coordination, which I believe we found. Anyway, the contenders: ROUND 1: Sense Ideas Design We met with Renato twice. He's an incredibly friendly, talkative guy, who had a good understanding of our design intent. Ultimately, we ended up not shortlisting him further due to his price being slightly higher and us having a better gut feeling about the others. Summit Design Studio When we visited Summit, we were met by one of the staff who had definitely taken a close look at our drawings and knew what he was talking about. The problem here was the quotation. Summit has a "no hidden cost" policy and it shows. Their quotation was easily 30% higher than the rest, and it was just something that could not be overcome. We had to cut somewhere and unfortunately we didn't continue with Summit. ID Note We heard so many great stories about Henry from ID Note that we could not leave them out of the list. We eventually met up with Henry's colleague, whose English wasn't too good. Their showroom cabinets were nearly falling apart and their incredibly competitive quotation was competitive because everything was priced at its absolute lowest. Lowest range tiles, lowest range laminate, no additional works like screeding. It's a practice that we felt a little tricked by and we decided to not go with ID Note. Ideal Design Interior Christine from Ideal was actually the first to respond to our package, and met us at McDonalds in Pasir Ris, which was easy for us. Our biggest issue was that we prepared this set of documents to give everyone all the information they needed, but she never took a good look at it. We worked a solid 2 weeks to get this done, so we felt a little disappointed with that. Ultimately, this was probably the main reason we didn't continue with Ideal. Earnest Interiors Earnest Interiors was one of our favourites at the start based on several raving reviews and their impressive portfolio. Unfortunately, when we finally met the guy, there just wasn't a click. He didn't make us feel very good about our house by calling it very small (I know 108 square meters is no mansion, but tiny?) This together with a non-competitive quotation made it easy for us to not go with Earnest. Carpenters When we first met the girl from Carpenters, she hadn't taken a look at our drawings prior to the meeting. She also hadn't printed them out, so we had to bring out our own copy. Since this was the second time this had happened (first time with Ideal) I was already a little frustrated, but I walked her through our entire design from start to finish. She had not heard of Caesarstone before, or even quartz for that matter. She saw no possibilities to shift the sink to the other side of the kitchen, and her overall logic was just flawed. The quotation was also littered with errors and was not itemized. It was very easy to cut Carpenters from the list. ROUND 2 Rezt & Relax Ivan Lin from Rezt & Relax was the first one that got us really excited about the process. He took his time with us, we spent a solid 2 hours in his showroom to discuss the details of what we wanted, his quotation, and how we can try to keep it within budget. His design aesthetic seemed really good, and the company itself comes across as very reliable with a focus on quality. We met him two more times for some value engineering, trying to make the entire package affordable. Unfortunately, we eventually found ourselves in a situation where we took out quite a few significant things from the quotation, and it was still over budget. My wife and I were both quite sad that we had to make the decision, but we dropped Rezt & Relax in the last round.ROUND 3 Artrend Zhi Qi from Artrend did not follow our initial quotation. She made a few small changes to our design that made the overall cost lower than the others. When we met her at their Balestier showroom, she showed us a sketch of our living room that got us extremely excited. There were two moments where we almost signed with Artrend, but didn't as there were still some small things nagging at us. Small details omitted from the contract: no replacement wall for a hacked door, no main gate, etc. Albeit small things, they still added up to a few thousand dollars in all. Telling her that we decided to sign with another company was the toughest. She had a great design aesthetic, my wife (designer) and her really hit it off and were on the same page when it came to the look of our home, and she came across as very knowledgeable and experienced. If money was less of an issue we probably would have signed on our second appointment when she gave us a really good discount. I would definitely advise anyone to at least visit and see what they can do for you.W.J. Design & Renovation Contractor A few days after we sent out our drawing package, I got a call from Clifford Lai from W.J. Design & Renovation Contractor (let's just call them WJ from now on because we're going to be using this name a lot). There was a small issue with our drawing: we had shifted the position of our toilet in our proposal, and that is something you can't do in HDB flats apparently. I called HDB to check and he was right. He was the first to point this out to us, while some others didn't even point it out at all. His quotation was definitely competitive and transparent, itemized, and when we met him we immediately had a really good feeling about working with him. His strengths made up for our weaknesses, he has a similar design perspective, he told us when something is impossible immediately, and he thinks about the end result even during the concept stage. Example: we wanted a glass shower screen at the bathtub, and from plan he could already tell that we were going to have a problem with opening the ventilation panels. If he hadn't and it would have been fabricated, these are the kind of things that I would feel annoyed with. After visiting him three times and emailing back and forth with amendments, and questions, and value engineering, and more changes, we finally decided to sign with him. He was even able to add in a few FOC items to sweeten the deal. So here we are! The contract is signed, the renovation loan with RHB bank approved, initial payment is made and we ran through the process with him. Step 1 was going to be to select the tiles. He gave us three suppliers that we could go and visit together, and we decided to stick with what's probably the most known supplier: Hafary. More on Hafary in the next post! We hope that with this blog we can give people inspiration through our concept ideation and design aesthetic. We also hope that through this blog, first time home renovators can understand a bit about the processes involved in a full home renovation and also the challenges that come along with it. Most of all we just want to have fun with our renovation and share this experience with like-minded people who will enjoy reading our posts and hopefully gain some valuable insight. We are both very open-minded people who welcome constructive criticism. Feel free to comment or feedback on any of the decisions that we have made. We are also open to any ideas or suggestions that you feel might work in our space that we may have overlooked or not considered. Cheers! Chrizz & Hilikusleech
  21. Hello all, We have been reading and searching for good lobangs and ID/Contractor in RT for quite sometime but only decided to be member early of the year. After following some of the blogs here and envy their home, we decided to create ours as well. We strongly agreed that finding and shortlisting of ID/Contractor is a pain in the @ss. Hubby went through every single page of each blog for 2 weeks, to search for a good ID/Contractor. For that 2 weeks process, hubby managed to find 4 IDs and an unknown contractor. Out of the 5, we managed to meet 3 of them. The 1st ID was very patient and professional. As we are totally noob about renovation process and details to take note, he explained to us almost every single details. He also showed us his past projects. The best part was he knew that he is the 1st ID we met based on the questions we post to him. Then came the 2nd ID. He is quite young and he listened to all our queries.He did his homework and explained to us the position of the lighting etc. He also showed pictures of his projects. The final one was a contractor. We arranged to meet at 1 of his finish project to see the workmanship. Oh gosh, he was super late. Promised to meet at 1730 but he show up at 1840. While waiting, he advised us to enter the house to see the workmanship. Both hubby and wifey was surprised he allowed us to enter the house by ourselves. At this point, I wondered if I am to engage him, my new house will be his showroom and allowed strangers to enter my house. When he finally appeared, he bring along his wife and kid. What was he thinking? So we continued to discuss of the renovation details and he quote us slightly lesser than 2nd ID. Eventually, we decided to engage the 1st ID.
  22. Ok. Same story as some of the people here. Been hanging around here.. reading and reading. viewing and viewing, envy and envy. Finally decided to create a blog to note down progress, and a page for me to save wonderful links. HEE. So as usual, first thing, floor plan. and these are some requirement that i'm looking at, in my floor plan..
  23. Hi all, I have been wanting to write about my renovation experience for a while now but have been putting it off until now . We took our keys back in July 2013 and officially moved in in Nov 2013. This forum has been a great source of information for me and I would like to give something back to the community. Hopefully, it will be of some benefit to anyone who is reading this . First of all, the floor plan: We started researching for our renovation since 2012. We read forums and flipped through home decor magazines at the library or bookstores etc. Take pictures - they might come in handy in future when you meet with contractors. A good idea is to write your notes in Google Drive so you can access them anywhere. We also kept a spreadsheet with all the quotation breakdowns from the contractors/IDs we contacted. This keeps things neat and easy to compare. Do include the prices of everything else you will need to budget for e.g. furnishings, electrical works etc. In this way, we knew for sure how much we spent in total for renovation (including all hidden costs!). Try to know what you want before going around asking for quotations. For example, we knew (after looking through countless magazines ) that we want a Scandinavian look for our house. That means: - furniture with simple and clean lines - bright, open spaces - light-color themes - wood-looking flooring - minimalism In short, there are lots of planning and research to do even before getting your keys. Do walk around home exhibitions (regularly at Expo) and furniture stores (IKEA). Shortlist the stuff that you like. Take note of prices and put them down in your budget spreadsheet. We had planned for a renovation budget of 40K (including furnishings) and I was quite proud that we spent within our budget AND did not compromise on the Scandinavian vision . Preview: I will try to narrate and dissect our renovation process in future posts in this topic so stay tuned! (I am rather slow in writing, so bear with me, hopefully just need a few weeks! ). P.S. In the meantime, you can head over to my wife's blog (http://yunzhijian.blogspot.sg/) for pictures and her views on our renovation (YES she has already finished her blog!! And I am still on my first post!!)
  24. chubbylobster

    floor plan

    From the album: home sweet home

  25. I've have been following this forum for some time and now this will be my 1st post. We are collecting keys to our Montreal Ville 4 room BTO later this year. We are planning to have a resort themed home thats cozy and relaxing to go back to at the end of the day. We are looking for suggestions and Ideas for our future home and if you have contacts for good IDs please do share them!
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