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QUOTE (ckhoo @ Mar 25 2010, 11:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hi all

i m new EM owner. have been following the forum for a looonnng time. finally getting my keys next week. would like to check with EM owners who have done total overhaul for their house, how much was ur reno? the 1st quote i jus received fr a contractor is $123k. almost fainted! !!! is this normal? i am really tearing down the whole house, even realigning stairs.

can anyone who has done a total overhaul for their reno share their quotation with me? quite desperate cos once i get keys next week i hve to start reno immediately....only hve 6 weeks to complete reno so that i cn move out of my current location.

thx in adv

Can't comment much cos didn't see you quote but if it is ID and u r using all top grade material then it is about there. For your info, the stair is a killer.

I have seen many doing major over hual from 50k to 80k.

Hello! Can i check if you managed to realign the stairs? Did you need to go get some engineer/architect and submit proposal to HDB for approval? Or can just hack. How much was the cost?


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Join 46,923 satisfied homeowners who used renotalk quotation service to find interior designers. Get an estimated quotation

Has anyone changed the direction of their staircase? We have just bought an EM but the start of the staircase faces the kitchen door and cuts the space between the living room and the dining room. The demarcation is good but we were thinking maybe can shift the lower half of the staircase against the wall - which is similar to other EM layouts i've seen. This will then open up the space of the house. Currently the space under the stairs is very wasted!


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Looking forward to the start of my own EM reno t-blog. :) This is my 2nd attempt at reno for EM and **** prices have changed over the years...sobs...oh well


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looking for advise with em gen2. any advise installing a pendant light in your balcony?

Consider how safe it would be to change the bulbs, which you would eventually......


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Hi all...

I am currently looking out for a flat for my family of 4 (coming 5!)...

Would like to check if it's possible to have a complete makeover of an EM within 60K?

Expected works including hacking away of (really) old flooring & kitchen, and just doing bare minimum of relaying whole flooring + kitchen + 3 toilets + (maybe) built-in wardrobe for Master.


Unlikely. 5 years ago I did it for just over 40k and did not do the flooring (except for kitchen and bathrooms). I repolished the marble and relacquered the parquet. I also redid the staircase and windows. If it is the first owner you are buying from (I suspect it is, since the extensive makeover) then you must allocate money to redo the 20-year old electrical wiring for safety's sake. We need much more powerpoints now than 20 years ago and extension plugs and cords are just a fire waiting to happen.


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Hi all...

I am currently looking out for a flat for my family of 4 (coming 5!)...

Would like to check if it's possible to have a complete makeover of an EM within 60K?

Expected works including hacking away of (really) old flooring & kitchen, and just doing bare minimum of relaying whole flooring + kitchen + 3 toilets + (maybe) built-in wardrobe for Master.



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Toilets hacked - New waterproofing & new tiles (Problem Solved!)



No more leakage. No more flooding. Totally dry


My apologies. In case your question goes unanswered due to my long response, I am reposting it:

Posted Today, 02:17 PM

Dear Icon Interior, in an unrelated issue, is it your practice and credible to start carpentry works before satisfactory acceptance of 3D design by your client?

Edited by AxelC

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To all Renotalk Forumers,

I have made the conscientious effort in documenting my experience with Icon Interior Design, providing evidences where possible and both accounts of my claims at Small Claims Tribunals, Singapore. If you have taken the time to read, I would not want to repeat what have been posted (so as not to bore you). It is definitely fair to give Icon Interior Design a voice. Yes! You have heard both sides of the story and the decision to engage which ID firm or renovation contractor for your house renovation is entirely yours.

On hindsights, there are many perhaps (which show that Icon Interior Design may not be the one responsible for the defects/water leakage at all):


Perhaps after spending $76,000 to renovate my house (excluding variation order), I had wished for the water leakage to happen. And perhaps I love challenges and I wouldn't mind handling the problem and seeking compensation from Icon Interior Design. The entire process took 8 months and lots of my energy.


Perhaps it was the aircon piping that leaks (and NOT the quality of waterproofing works) even though the waterproofing report provided by Icon Interior Design has indicated that waterproofing is not functioning well (one possibility). The same document was submitted by Icon interior Design in defense of their claim. However, this claim was found inconclusive by Small Claims Tribunals.


Perhaps Small Claims Tribunals has made a mistake to rule the first claim in my favour. Despite considering all evidences submitted by Icon Interior Design, Small Claims Tribunals has ordered Icon Interior Design to make a payment of $6000 to me. Perhaps it was really a mistake!


Letter from CASE (dated 25 October 2013) sent about 2 months after Icon Interior Design was notified of the defects. It was ignored. Lawyer letter sent at a later date was also ignored.

Perhaps Icon Interior has been diligent in responding to the defects and has been very prompt in its rectification (how long was it that I waited?). Perhaps CASE could have made a mistake, giving Icon Interior Design insufficient time to respond to the rectification.

Perhaps the law firm that I engaged to seek compensation (weeks after CASE letter was sent) had also made the same mistake. Perhaps everyone made the same mistake. We were just too impatient. We could have granted more time to Icon Interior Design.

Perhaps Small Claims Tribunals has also failed to see this point or perhaps the tribunals is equally impatient like me (demanding for compensation without giving sufficient time and space). And the perhaps go on.....

Here's an update on the water leakage. I have personally monitored the renovation of the two toilets (I have to since I did not move out during the renovation) in January. Four months have passed and I am more than happy that I had the problem solved. Both my kitchen ceiling (located below the bathroom) and the area outside the bathroom (which was flooded) are totally dry.

Perhaps it wasn't the waterproofing even though the hacking and laying of new waterproofing to the two toilets solved the problem. And everything is settled in 3 weeks. Perhaps many of us (including CASE, the law firm and Small Claims Tribunals) need to deeply reflect so that we are not fast in making a judgement on the renovation work and service provided by Icon Interior Design.


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Dear readers,

We are writing to clarify on the above unpleasant incident put forth by forummer Axel C (AC). And, we are taking this opportunity to explain our side of the situation.

AC engaged our former designer Clive Lim (whom has left in 2013) to renovate his resale maisonette in 2012. The unit was handed over in Jan 2013. In Aug 2013, AC contacted Wayne Chan to complain signs of leaking on his dining room ceiling which is directly underneath the 2nd floor common bathroom. Subsequently, Wayne followed up with 3 inspections that were arranged between Sep and Oct.

During the 1st inspection, there was a leakage test by sealing up the floor trap and then flooding the entire common bathroom floor for a week without switching on the air-con. This was to test if there was a leak caused by waterproofing in common bathroom. Results in Pic 1 and Pic 2 below.

(Pic 1: leaked ceiling wiped dry before leakage test.)


One week later.

(Pic 2: Ceiling became dry after leakage test.)


After 1st leakage test, we proceeded with a 2nd test. This time, we left the air-con on and wiped all water in common bathroom and stop the use in 2nd storey common bathroom to confirm if the leak was caused by the concealed air-con piping. When we returned to inspect on the 2nd test done, we discovered that the ceiling was wet while the aircon was running hence we strongly suspect that the leak likely came from the air-con piping.

Wayne explained to AC that a leaked ceiling could be due to several factors and from this result revealed that there was high chance that the aircon piping was the cause of the leakage. But AC is still not convinced and insisted we do a 3rd test.

For the 3rd test, we engaged our waterproofing specialist to do a site survey on the leak. While waiting for the report (attachment 1), Wayne suggested to AC to conduct a joint inspection with AC’s air-con installer, along with our carpenter who would aid in the dismantling of the wardrobe to access the air-con piping concealed behind the wardrobe. While we regretted that there were lapse in timely reply by Wayne to AC, and with the carpenter car broke down on the day of appointment, it was never our intention to shun responsibility on our part. This occurred during the year-end peak period which cancellations in appointments were unforeseen.

(Attachment 1: Investigation report from our waterproofing specialist which states the possibilities that had caused the leak.)

GWS Report

Being unsatisfied with the cancellation of appointments and growing impatient from waiting, AC demanded for a monetary compensation to rectify the leak by a third party contractor. A quotation by the third-party contractor was sent to us stating an amount of $17,387.45, which we felt was ridiculously overpriced. And by this point of time, the waterproofing results had been concluded and Wayne had tried to explain our situation to AC and requested him to allow us to arrange for rectification works to be done by us. However, we were rejected and were repeatedly demanded to compensate him the monies to engage the third-party contractor. (Attachment 2, Pg 1 to 3)

As per attachment 2, the quotation submitted by AC was from a third-party contractor who specialized in customizing wooden furniture (Attachment 3) and the amount of $17,387.45 was only for re-doing one common bathroom. This quote was deemed heavily overpriced and we felt that the 3rd party contractor who specialized in customizing wooden furniture would NOT be familiar with solving waterproofing issues. And we decided to attend the claim by AC to settle the claim in SG Small claim court as the amount of $17,387.45 was deemed unreasonable.
(Attachment 2: Quotation from AC’s contractor for repair work, page 1/3)

Teck Lee Quote 2  1

(Attachment 2: Quotation from AC’s contractor for repair work, page 2/3)

Teck Lee Quote 2  2

(Attachment 2: Quotation from AC’s contractor for repair work, page 3/3)

Teck Lee Quote 1

(Attachment 3: A screenshot of third-party contractor’s website stating their specialization in custom-made furniture.)

Teck Lee General Contractor

In Jan 2014, AC proceeded to file a claim in SG court of $17,387.45 against us for this leak issue.

In Mar 2014, SG Small Claim Court issued us to compensate AC a total amount of $6,000.00 (instead of the exorbitant $17.387.45) to hack a common bathroom floor and redo the waterproofing membrane. We duly paid the $6000.00 hoping that owner AC can proceed quickly to engage his own specialist for the hacking and waterproofing works so his family can be relieved of this inconvenience without delay. We regret for AC and his family to encounter the leaking problem even though the results proved that the leaking was very likely due to the concealed air-con piping, but having to live through the inconvenience and hassle, we hoped AC could quickly resolved the problem for his unit after receiving our compensation.

In Aug 2014, Wayne received another call from AC, this time, on a leak spotted along his corridor parquet floor. We were curious how another leak should occur just inches away when there should be rectification works done after receiving the $6000 we paid to AC after the court case in Mar 2014. Please refer to Attachment 4 and 5 for the new leak area at kitchen ceiling and the map of #2 leak area from #1 leak area.

(Attachment 4, Photo of ceiling highlighting new and old leaking area.)

leak location

(Attachment 5, Floor plan illustrating location of old and new leaking area.)


Wayne then made an appointment with our waterproofing specialist to do a site inspection on this 2nd leak. During that inspection, to our non surprise, we saw that the common bathroom floor did not look like it has been changed and that was almost 6 months after our compensation to AC.

While keeping our suspicion, we called up our tile supplier to check if there were any orders placed for the same bathroom floor tiles and delivered to AC’s home for the past 1 year, the answer was no. Valid that AC could have ordered other tiles from other supplier, we further checked with HDB HQ to see if anyone had applied for permit to hack AC’s unit within the past 1 year. HDB officer replied then that no other hacking permits applied for AC’s unit since our application in 2012.

(Question: So what did AC do with the $6,000.00 compensation paid to him at the first trial that was meant for him to hack, re-lay the waterproofing and changing the concealed aircon piping connector in his bathroom floor?)

After assessing the premises, our waterproofing specialist’s recommended that leak #2 had possibly come from the same source as leak #1. At that point, we suspected that AC did not carry out hacking to relay waterproofing which should include the changing of concealed aircon piping connector, but instead engaged his own waterproofing specialist to do a PU injection (costing approx $500 market rate) to stop leak #1. We were convinced that AC did not proceed with proper rectification works after receiving the $6000.00 from us but instead engaged a non proper rectification work which could have led to the 2nd leak. With this reason, we decided not to honor any responsibility for leak #2, and informed AC that we maintained that the waterproofing warranty for his unit had expired based on the contract agreement signed in 2012.

In Sep 2014, AC filed a claim at SG Small Claim Tribunal against us for the second leak for an amount of $4,758.60 to rectify the issue due to new leak that appeared within the warranty period. According to AC’s submitted report (Attachment 6 ) done by his newly engaged waterproofing specialist, leak #2 surfaced more than 12months ago which put leak #2 into the same time frame as leak #1.
(Attachment 6, AC’s self-engaged waterproofing specialist’s report that puts the leak #2 into the same time frame as leak #1.)



-According to AC’s water proofing report (Attachment 6), both leaks occurred around the same time (12 months ago) and located inches apart around the same area, why was leak #2 not spotted or mentioned by AC during the first claim against us?

- Is there a kind of detector can test how long has the water leakage surfaced as claimed by AC’s water proofing specialist?
In view of this questionable report submitted by AC, we decided to defend fully against the claim by AC.

(First photo, shows the leak occurring over a period of 7 months.)

Leak For 7 months

(Second photo, shows the leak that was claimed to be occurring over a period of 12months.)

Leak For 12 months

Further cross examination of photos of the common bathroom floor tiles which were taken before and after the first claim, revealed that that the flooring in the bathroom that was supposed to be rectified but had remained unchanged.

(Photo of the common toilet floor that were taken before first claim.)


(Photo of the common toilet floor that were taken after first claim.)


On 2nd Jan 2015, SG Small Tribunal Court dismissed AC’s second claim against us due to insufficient and dubious evidence that leak #2 was caused by our waterproofing.

As the law in Singapore does not require a follow-up report from the claimant on how they utilize a successful claim, it is at the sole discretion of the claimant on how they utilize their compensation which could possibly include engaging less effective methods of rectification at cheaper prices, or simply not doing anything at all.

In conclusion, we will not discuss AC’s purpose and integrity from these 2 claims. But we hope all of you will come to understand the full picture of this incident.

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In a dilemma here.
Unit A is available and I have paid the initial sum ($1~$1k). I have 21 days to consider. I understand that the sum I paid cannot be refunded once the seller accepted it but I still can back out.

The floor is the highest with 3 more bedrooms upstairs.
Basically the stairs end outside unit B, so there won't be anyone coming down.

Ok, let me compile all the points that I disliked about unit A against B.
1. Main door, living room and the room upstairs can be seen from the corridor.
2. Unit B family will walk past unit A.
3. Unit A living room will get the East morning sun, while unit B living room is the NS facing.
4. Area (maybe and the staircase) infront of unit B "belongs" to unit B.
Are these points enough for would be buyer to totally give up unit A?

The good points about unit A and B are (to me) top floor, corner and normally, the 1st floor room is just after the main door, but this is a rare layout where the room is at the furthest end diagonally from the main door.
I find it a pity to let go since it's really hard to find a corner, top floor EM with such layout. But if I get it, I will have a 2nd class feeling to unit B since that unit is a corner corner unit whereas my living room and the room above the living room can be seen from the corridor. And also I don't like knowing I am paying a price that is 3 or 4 times higher than what unit B paid for if they are the 1st owner. Really is in a dilemma here.

What do you all think?

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Dear Homeowners,

In response to my post on Renotalk Forum, Icon Interior Design has publicly published my personal data, i.e. name and residential address. In its enthusiasm to present a more convincing account, it has failed to protect individual’s personal data, be it intentionally or unintentionally. Clearly, this is a breach of Personal Data Protection Act (2012).

I have lodged a complaint with Personal Data Protection Commission, Singapore, providing evidences to support my claim. I have also kept HDB informed of this breach. At the same time, I reiterated the outcome of my case filed with Small Claims Tribunals - The order made by the Tribunals was in my favour as Icon Interior Design has provided an unconvincing and unreliable account of the incident.

I have notified the moderator of Renotalk Forum of the breach and requested for the thread “Daunting Experience with Icon Interior Design” to be taken down. It is now temporarily removed. My appreciation goes to the team for their quick response.

Meanwhile, I have directed readers to my personal blog to learn about my renovation experience:


For other's experiences, you may look at:



Although this blog has documented what I have posted earlier in the thread removed, unfortunately it does not capture all other posts that are put up by members of Renotalk forum. Neither has it included the response from Icon Interior Design. I welcome Icon Interior Design to repost his account of the incident on Renotalk Forum, so that the concerned party gets his voice heard. However, the onus is on Icon Interior Design to check his post.

Learning Point:

To all forum users, please take note that we are obliged to protect personal data of any individual that is mentioned in our post. We have to ensure that we made the effort to delete/black out important information such as name, phone number, residential address etc. This does not apply businesses data.

Likewise, no organization/company is allowed to use or disclose your personal data without your consent. Neither can they use the information for other purposes, i.e. deviate from the original intent.

For more details, you may refer to the following website:



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Hi eastlovin,

You are right apparently it is a BCA ruling that minimum rental has to be 6 months unless it is a serviced apartment. Kinda leaves people like me in a quandary as to where are we supposed to stay. Are expected to stay in hotels for that long a period?


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