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wowach

Japanese Minimal/ Scandinavian Living On A Budget

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Hello!

What a awesome place to learn about home planning and renovation. Just so, so much to know about. Overwhelming to say the least. Hope to use this thread to keep track of my journey (approx 1 year) and to gather opinions of course!

I just signed my OTP and paid my deposit for my 4A resale in Tampines. The first appointment is in October, and I expect to pick up my keys by end-December. Still a long way... but because of my budget, I need to start planning early to cut costs. More on that later.

We love the Scandinavian/ Japanese Minimalism look. Lots of wood, whites, gray. Simple furnishings. We are not interested in those avant garde, modern look. Beautiful and classy as they might be, but I always feel that themes lack the element of a homely cosy feel. Just my preference. ;) As mentioned I have a tight budget to work on. 30K for all-in (Excludes furnishings, electronics, furniture. Includes wiring and plumbing). Further, as my unit is a resale, it is extremely challenging.

Cost is my numero uno concern. Which is why we are open to low cost options like overlaying, laminates, china tops and good-ol-Ikea.

I'm at a very very early stage of my planning. So maybe just a floor plan to share right now. :)

floorplanv.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Edited by wowach
 

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Maybe to kick things off, can I have some advise for some of my cost-saving ideas?

1) To make only cabinets on 1 side of my kitchen. I will free up the other side, perhaps decor with simple decorative paintings, simple high-top breakfast table. I'm exploring hacking the wall between my living and dining (wall near the store).

2) Overlaying tiles for floor and walls in my bathrooms. Also, I have heard that since waterproofing in seasoned units have stabilized, hacking to re-tile again heightens the risk of leaks. Is that true? If its true, I prefer overlaying. It's cheaper as well.

3) Using blinds instead of curtains. Are they substantially cheaper? Further I feel blinds fit my theme better.

4) Using open concept storage solutions from Ikea. We are intending to make small WIW inside my MBR, the area just outside the toilet. The solutions from Ikea seems cheap enough... will custom made carpentry be much more expensive?

 

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Can't stop typing. Just a note on some of my "wants". Hope it can be achieved.

1) Platform-ed dining area.

2) Mini WIW in my MBR, with a dress table at the end.

3) Open concept kitchen by bringing down the wall between Living and Dining (near store).

4) Full height book shelves in study room.

5) Simple entertainment room.

 

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Me jus bought a 4s in tampines st 42. My first appointment is on September,getting keys on November! I am very excited...sorry for my 三八,me first time getting my my own home. Now renting outside ever since my parents pass away... After paying the high COV,me dun have such a high budget like you to renovate my hse, so I thought of doing the MUST do things first,then slowly build my dream house. :rofl:

Edited by onions2hot
 

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Me jus bought a 4s in tampines st 42. My first appointment is on September,getting keys on November! I am very excited...sorry for my 三八,me first time getting my my own home. Now renting outside ever since my parents pass away... After paying the high COV,me dun have such a high budget like you to renovate my hse, so I thought of doing the MUST do things first,then slowly build my dream house. :rofl:

Mine's at St 33. Can understand how excited you are! My budget isn't high.. its barely enough for a proper overhaul with a few simple wants. The current condition is quite bad.

How much COV did you have to pay, if you don't mind sharing? I paid 18K for mine. Heart pain.

 

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Hi there, just thought this blog could really offer you some (visual) inspirations on getting on with your home.

Just a suggestion, keep the built-ins to a minimum, that'll save on the renovation costs quite a bit. Things like light-boxes/false ceilings - you won't need too much of those with a Scandinavian look; that aesthetic favours cosier lighting options like floor or table lamps.

Also, if you're feeling particularly handy, DIY-ing is one really good way to cut costs.

Edited by gakuseisean
 

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Mine's at St 33. Can understand how excited you are!

How much COV did you have to pay, if you don't mind sharing? I paid 18K for mine. Heart pain.

Hi, I also just bought a resale flat @ tampines st 71 area ..1st appt in Sep. Paid 35k COV, initial is 45k but valuation report expired n re-valuate n valuation up.

After paid so much cash, we also on tight budget for reno ~ around 40k but seems quite tough after received few quotations :( all are 67k or 78k n above .. Sigh.

Great to see you also like scandi+jap minimal .. I also looking for similar theme. Put some ideas in my t-blog ..

 

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Mine's at St 33. Can understand how excited you are! My budget isn't high.. its barely enough for a proper overhaul with a few simple wants. The current condition is quite bad.

How much COV did you have to pay, if you don't mind sharing? I paid 18K for mine. Heart pain.

Me pay $33K COV. That owner wants $35k,I told him the most I willing to give is $33K. The valuation is $390K. Even my aunt who is my agent told me this house is under value. She also said good buy. She is more picky than me, I said not bad,she always ask me to see more units,take ur time...even ask me to wait for a longer time becos more BTO coming up,the HDB prices will sure drop. I really cannot stand livingnin a rented place anymore! So I source this hse using property guru, go viewing myself,found this and ask her to see worth to buy anot plus negotiation with the owner on the 2nd viewing. The condition of the hse is actually not bad,close one eye can just move in. All things in good state but kitchen,room cabinet,window and grills quite old fashion...luckily air con quite new..Flooring is simple and nice too! .I bought the flat at Blk 451,( opp tampines Junior collegue)juz direct behind the new Tampines east MRT line. I believe that area will be beautify becos of the new MRT line. The problem abt that place is there is not much eatery around that area.

I intend to do:

1)kitchen

2)spray paint toilet wall to glossy white

3)lighting(not false ceiling)

4)toilet doors

5)room cabinet laminate( juz change the skin)

 

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Hi there, just thought this blog could really offer you some (visual) inspirations on getting on with your home.

Just a suggestion, keep the built-ins to a minimum, that'll save on the renovation costs quite a bit. Things like light-boxes/false ceilings - you won't need too much of those with a Scandinavian look; that aesthetic favours cosier lighting options like floor or table lamps.

Also, if you're feeling particularly handy, DIY-ing is one really good way to cut costs.

Thanks for the share! A lot of nice ideas. Love their wooden dining tables. An probably getting 1 with benches.

So far the built-ins I can think of are a few -

1) Raised platform - I posted a enquiry in the reno section and seems like its about 1K.

2) Kitchen Cabinet

3) Mini WIW in MBR - still exploring the possibility

4) Small cabinets under the windows (recess area) of my MBR and study.

I fully agree lightings and lamps are what make a Scandi/Jap look work. At the same time that's what I'm worry. My place is not that bright with natural light. The day time feel might be compromised.

 

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Hi, I also just bought a resale flat @ tampines st 71 area ..1st appt in Sep. Paid 35k COV, initial is 45k but valuation report expired n re-valuate n valuation up.

After paid so much cash, we also on tight budget for reno ~ around 40k but seems quite tough after received few quotations :( all are 67k or 78k n above .. Sigh.

Great to see you also like scandi+jap minimal .. I also looking for similar theme. Put some ideas in my t-blog ..

Wow, 35K. But seems like that's the going COV prices. I got mine at lower because the condition wasn't great. And its not near MRT. Its about 10 mins bus ride away.

Believe your unit's condition should fine? I'm assuming from the COV. Do you have any lookbook to share? :) I'll attach mine soon!

60-80K is crazy. I won't spend that much. Are you looking for IDs or contractors? Since you already have an idea of what you want, why not go contractors? They can advise you on the technical details. 40K sounds like a nice budget actually. I only have 30K. :(

 

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Me pay $33K COV. That owner wants $35k,I told him the most I willing to give is $33K. The valuation is $390K. Even my aunt who is my agent told me this house is under value. She also said good buy. She is more picky than me, I said not bad,she always ask me to see more units,take ur time...even ask me to wait for a longer time becos more BTO coming up,the HDB prices will sure drop. I really cannot stand livingnin a rented place anymore! So I source this hse using property guru, go viewing myself,found this and ask her to see worth to buy anot plus negotiation with the owner on the 2nd viewing. The condition of the hse is actually not bad,close one eye can just move in. All things in good state but kitchen,room cabinet,window and grills quite old fashion...luckily air con quite new..Flooring is simple and nice too! .I bought the flat at Blk 451,( opp tampines Junior collegue)juz direct behind the new Tampines east MRT line. I believe that area will be beautify becos of the new MRT line. The problem abt that place is there is not much eatery around that area.

I intend to do:

1)kitchen

2)spray paint toilet wall to glossy white

3)lighting(not false ceiling)

4)toilet doors

5)room cabinet laminate( juz change the skin)

Wow, 390K is indeed under valued. A 4S is probably averaging 410-420K. I got my 4A at 420. It's lower than the usual (440onwards) because of the condition. The only thing I can keep is the flooring. All else have to go.

Oh, then we are pretty near. Mine's at Tampines Mart area. Just 1 street down from your place. I'm totally looking forward to the MRT line too. It will be a 10 mins walk from my place when its up.

Is there a glossy white paint? I'm intending to not tile my common bathroom walls too. Intending to use anti-fungal paint to save costs.

Edited by wowach
 

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By the way,

Can I hack away my sink area? Does it loook reinforced? I see some bold lining in my floorplan. Would like to relocate my sink to the area between kitchen cabinet and service area -> L-shaped cabinet.

Edited by wowach
 

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Wow, 35K. But seems like that's the going COV prices. I got mine at lower because the condition wasn't great. And its not near MRT. Its about 10 mins bus ride away.

Believe your unit's condition should fine? I'm assuming from the COV. Do you have any lookbook to share? :) I'll attach mine soon!

60-80K is crazy. I won't spend that much. Are you looking for IDs or contractors? Since you already have an idea of what you want, why not go contractors? They can advise you on the technical details. 40K sounds like a nice budget actually. I only have 30K. :(

Yeah .. the house we bought was in quite a good condition and the living room and MBR was in parquet flooring - move in condition but we want to have our own style.

We are going to hack 8 walls :P

We managed to find a carpenter to do all the carpentry works and now is looking for ID/ contractor to do the remaining works such as tiling, hacking and ceiling etc. We have to increase our budget .. be prepared that you might not able to achieve all your wish list due to budget constraint .. We also never expected the reno cost can be so high.

I shared our lookbook here & my blog ~

I not sure if ok to share the pic of the house we bought as the owners still staying there, i.e. I filtered the photos into sketch mode .. e.g.

1344175564-322393841.jpg

Look forward to see your lookbook :rolleyes:

 

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Hello!

I too am in the midst of renovating a 4 room HDB. My opinion:

1. I'm only having cabinets on one side of the kitchen. And they're bottom cabinets. My rationale is simple. First, it makes a small kitchen bigger. Second, having actually sat down and listed the items I'll be keeping in the kitchen, I realise I don't actually need that much storage space. The key is having the right type of cabinets. Too often I find people going with "standard" configurations which may not suit their needs. Also, although it may seem a bit awkward to use, having fewer bigger drawers gives you more space than having more smaller ones. Although I only have 4 long, big drawers, I think I can store a lot more.

I would hack the wall. It really does make the space look a lot bigger. Of course, I've not seen your floorplan so there may be other considerations. But I'm quite happy I did, and I think any occasional inconveniences will be offset by the permanent openness of the space :)

2. Hacking will increase the possibility of leaks. Nothing to do with stability of the membrane, more to do with the drill bit penetrating and making a hole in it. However, I believe if you hack the tiles, you'll have to apply a new layer of waterproof membrane anyway, so this isn't an issue in the first place.

Overlaying is definitely cheaper. BUT if the flat's old, you might want to hack and redo the membrane since you're renovating. Because if there's a leak, and the neighbour below complains, you'll have to lay a new membrane anyway, which means you'll have to hack the floor. Better hack it now, then later when you've already laid a new set of tiles.

Talk to your contractor about this.

3. Blinds, in general, are cheaper than curtains. But there are expensive blinds, and cheap curtains, so hard to say. I like blinds better because you can adjust the amount of light entering evenly for all windows, and they allow air to come in. Some say blinds are harder to clean. I say everything's hard to clean so no difference. With a vacuum cleaner, cleaning blinds is OK I feel ...

4. I too am doing a small WIW outside the MBR toilet. It's not really a WIW, more like the wardrobe acts as a divider between the sleep area and the dressing/toilet area. In fact, we're disguising the door into the sleep area as a wardrobe door. The downside of this is the sleep area is small by most standards. But that's OK because my wife and I don't watch TV or do any work in the bedroom. It's just for sleep.

You could do something similar with Ikea wardrobes. 2 things to take note. Ikea wardrobes look nice but are not sturdy. Doesn't mean they will fall apart. They just don't feel solid. Second, custom carpentry isn't necessarily more expensive. It depends on what you're doing. Get a quote from a contractor, then compare that with your ikea quotation, and decide based on value for money.

This is the one lesson I've learnt - don't look at absolute price, but make your decision based on value for money. If it's cheap, but you don't feel shiok, then that's not value for money because you dont get the satisfaction even though you save $. On the other hand, if it's expensive, but you could get the same effect with a cheaper solution, then that's also not value for money.

So put some thought into this.

Maybe to kick things off, can I have some advise for some of my cost-saving ideas?

1) To make only cabinets on 1 side of my kitchen. I will free up the other side, perhaps decor with simple decorative paintings, simple high-top breakfast table. I'm exploring hacking the wall between my living and dining (wall near the store).

2) Overlaying tiles for floor and walls in my bathrooms. Also, I have heard that since waterproofing in seasoned units have stabilized, hacking to re-tile again heightens the risk of leaks. Is that true? If its true, I prefer overlaying. It's cheaper as well.

3) Using blinds instead of curtains. Are they substantially cheaper? Further I feel blinds fit my theme better.

4) Using open concept storage solutions from Ikea. We are intending to make small WIW inside my MBR, the area just outside the toilet. The solutions from Ikea seems cheap enough... will custom made carpentry be much more expensive?

 

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Re: renovation costs, I highly recommend you work backwards from final cost (reno + appliances + furnishings).

It's misleading to talk about renovation budget (ie. what the ID or contractor charges you) first because that's often maybe just 2/3s of the final cost. If you start with the reno budget first, you may find yourself not having much left for furniture and appliances which actually make the house liveable! No point having a nice place with no furniture or appliances, right?

Or spoiling the look because your options for furniture were severely limited because you had little $ left.

So work backwards.

Also, pay attention to your lighting budget. IDs sometimes work fancy light fixtures into their designs which can add $2 - $3K. And lighting's such that you can't always replace it with cheaper options. If the design calls for downlights, track lights etc, you have no choice if you want to stick to their design. I've realise most IDs just design away without thinking about lighting costs. Few actually talk to you about that cost because it's not part of the reno quote, which excludes fixtures. So if you engage an ID or contractor, tell them up front how much you're willing to spend on lights.

To save even more money, Ikea kitchen cabinets will work for the look you're going for. Their kitchen systems aren't bad, and the choice of doors are good for the price they charge. I don't think any carpenter can match their price for that type of look. Most custom carpentry designs are the same. The only difference is laminate. Laminate can indeed change the look, but you can't replace cornices or glass panes with laminate!

Sometimes, a combination of custom carpentry + Ikea doors works best.

As someone mentioned earlier, being able to DIY is very helpful. It helps you save money because you can do quite a lot yourself. More importantly, it gives you an eye for certain things .... it helps with the creative process, and in thinking of solutions. So get involved in your design. Don't just lean on your contractor or ID. Do your homework.

IDs / contractors will always take the shortest way to please you. They often don't go out of their way to save you money, especially if they're within budget. I realise (too late, sadly) that if I had been more hands on, I could have achieved a lot more and saved money. Instead, I thought my ID was doing a good job by proposing something I liked that was within my budget. But going through the details, and doing my own work later, I realised while I didn't bust my budget, I wasn't always getting value for money.

 

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