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I've been reading the t-blogs off and on for quite a bit and I must say, I really love some of the works here! My wife and I had purchased our first place in the western area of Singapore about a year ago (as we all work in the west) and it is an old 5 room HDB flat, conveniently located near a shopping mall, bus interchange and MRT. Because of it's convenience, we paid a truckload of money for it! Because of the amount we spent on the home, and because we are mostly practical people, we didn't really think want a very fancy home that required a lot of cleaning. So a simple, modest, no frills home is what we were going for. This also meant: 1) no cove lights, no false ceilings 2) little built in furniture 3) lots of space around In fact, we didn't even put in any blinds (or curtains) for about a year after we moved in! Because of our needs, I think it made it harder for our ID, who happened to be a relative of ours We did however did a makeover of all the water pipes and electrical wiring, as I felt those were the most important bits of a renovation. We are Catholics, so we had also wanted a prayer room in our home, and for it to be in a place at the centre of our home and I must say that we are very happy about how the room turned out! Anyway, it has been a year since we moved in, and the journey taught us a lot of things, and I thought to be able to share some of them with you here. especially on how things are like 1 year on! So first up, the entrance! The prayer room will be the first room that greets everyone who walks through the door. Don't worry, no one has to bow or anything, but I think it did make our neighbours do a double-take when they see our home when our door is open! To the right of our prayer room, is our sitting area. We did not want a typical living room area, and wanted just a space to chill and read, or when we have guests over, to sit around and chit chat. Because we are also starting a family, we wanted it to be as baby-safe as possible and as you can see, even for our table, it is actually a bean-bag in disguise! The round plates below the living room air-condition is actually some decorations that we bought from SKP for a birthday party that we had. The wife had put it up there and even though the party was over, we couldn't bear to take it down because they looked so pretty! We had also kept the living room floors because it was in such good condition. And too costly to hack it or overlay it! It's still pretty shiny, as you can see from the photos below, which is really kudos to the previous house-owners for maintaining it so well! Beind the sitting area, and on your right if you just step into the house, is our dining area. It's a beautiful deep-brown table bought from Castlery during a sale. They were phasing out this model and thus we got it at a good price. You can head over there to ask for which models are phasing out and ask them to give you a discount! Our lights should look familiar to all, they are the Ikea hotdog stand area lights! Very cheap and we can replace them anytime. Good news is, one year on, they are still white! The area behind the dining room is our kitchen, which we will come to later. From the other side, you can see our Daiso fan and a little shelf on the left. This little shelf is actually a narrow Muji shelf that we flipped on its side. We had used it to house our modem (because shifting the fibre network point to the rooms are so costly!) and also our speakers that are connected to a Chromecast Audio set. It is a must-have if you find Sonos speakers too costly. Just get any normal speaker, hook it up to the $50 dongle, set it up by connecting it to your wireless network, and viola. You can play music remotely on it! Some people ask me why it is better than Bluetooth and the answer is this; Bluetooth just transmits sound from your phone/computer to the speaker. For Chromecast, the dongle actually is the one streaming the music, not your phone. All you do is to send instructions to it. This means that you can continue to take calls and watch other things on your phone while your music is playing! As for the Daison fan, a must have for practical people. Just one Magic-clean wipe and you are done! No dismantling of anything and so on. Yes it is a bit noisier than a regular fan but not that much. Power wise is also good, unless you are standing a mile away. The most important thing is, it is super child-friendly too! It doesn't topple easily, because it kind of sticks to your floor. But it doesn't use tape or anything, so there is no sticky residue left on the floor if you move the fan. Next up is the kitchen! Like every young couple, we don't really use the kitchen much! I had contemplated a kitchen island because we have such a big space for the kitchen, but looking back, other than the costs, it might not be that child friendly so I think retrospectively, it is a good idea. We wanted a cement screed wall so that it will be easier to maintain, compared to tiles, where we have to clean and I must say that it was a good choice. We didn't need to have a backsplash too, because our stove actually came with a cover that can be used as a backsplash. We did have some learning points though; always cater for electrical devices in your kitchen and if possible, don't use your counter, especially if counter space is limited. We didn't really factor this in, and thankfully we don't cook complex dishes, if not, it will be a problem! Because our kitchen doesn't get a lot of light as we narrowed the entrance to our laundry area, the black shelves might not have been such a good idea. We had wanted this colour theme as it was similar to our church, but we realise that it doesn't work so well for small spaces with little light. We probably should have chosen a different colour. We also installed a fan in the kitchen, and I must say, I will be putting a fan in as many kitchens as I move into! It is so useful for dissipating smells and when cleaning, everything dries up faster! This is our sink area. Once again because of the wide space in the middle of the kitchen, sometimes we have to travel quite a bit between the sink and the stove! Not that it is a big problem, but we could have better used the space. But because there is such a big space, it really feels very airy and we can probably fit a movable island in the future if we need to. We have a double sink from Tekka, also a must-have because I think single sinks make it so difficult to wash dishes! However, I wouldn't recommend Tekka sinks because they scratch easily. Tekka taps however, are simply the best! You might have noticed the yellow plates, those were a gift from my parents, the old Mobil plates that you used to get if you pump petrol with them all the time. We inherited a whole bunch of them! Many of our friends, especially the older ones have them. You can also see a simplehuman sponge tray, which is really fantastic and looks really slick and even one year on, it still looks shiny! Now we do have a laundry area but because there is actually laundry there now, so I will post it up at another time. Our MBR is up next. Nothing fancy, it is the only room with a false ceiling (other than the MBR bathroom). We had a false ceiling done and build up cabinets to cover up most of the air-con trunking so it isn't really obvious. We had a bay-area set up, which we don't really use (does anyone have any ideas on what we can do with an un-used bay area?). I was thinking of converting it to more storage space actually! Our ID had also done up these movable side drawers, which are really good for cleaning and if you want flexibility. Especially if you have plans to set up a cot/playpen beside your bed for a future kid. I got the bedside lamps (the ones that every has) from a random shop in Balestier and our bedside switches control the bathroom lights so that it's more convenient for us. It also makes it easier for me to pull pranks on my wife when she's using the bathroom! I just wish that I had also made the switch to be able to control the main bedroom lights (which are the only lights that are dimmable in the whole house). Dimmable lights are super important for bedrooms. Next up is the MBR bathroom. I think it is gorgeous, especially at night. My ID had made a special compartment in the mirror so I can put an upside down tissue box, to dispense tissue. There are also shelves below, which I somehow missed out when I was snapping pictures. Open shelves are so important! And the Muji baskets are really helpful in storing stuff in those open shelves. I also got the usual Ikea transparent boxes to keep toilet paper! I also insisted on Grohe taps and shower heads for their (advertised) durability. So far the rainshower has been great, and it feels strange showering without one! The inset shelves in the bath area is also very helpful, just remember to build it slightly tilted so stray water doesn't stay! Now the remaining 2 bedrooms are pretty much renovation free, no built in furniture at all, as we want to keep it flexible in case our needs become different in the future. We currently have one designated room for a future child, which now houses a wardrobe and that's about it, and the other one is our TV/computer room. We got the beanbags from the same place that we got the ones in the living room, and that is from Ambient Lounge! The only tricky things about beanbags are the cleaning part. While the beans can be removed rather easily, cleaning them is quite tricky as the cloths are quite bulky! We had actually gotten the cloth mural from Disneyland, Florida, when we were there for our honeymoon a year ago. My father-in-law had set it up for us and done so beautifully. The hanging lights were cheap lights from Ikea and gave the room a "cafe-like" feeling. It's good to put the TV and computer together, as my wife and I can do our work and relax at the same time in the same space! Pretty useful when there are only 2 of you at home! The wooden table was also purchased from Ikea, which is basically a combination of a flat piece of wood with 2 supporting A-frames, all for just $100+ at that time. A really good deal as the piece of wood is very solid and thick, and I've no worries about bending. It's quite big and deep and as you can see, it houses many stuff! The bookcase was actually left behind by the previous house-owners. Once again, it is in such good condition that we just continued to use it after cleaning it! The semi-glass door is also really helpful and the stuff inside doesn't get dusty at all! I will update again about our nifty laundry area (which has a sink of its own) and also the cleaning supplies that we use!