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Hi! I've been lurking around the forum and t-blogs for information for my new place and figured, now that I'm halfway through (maybe more 1/3 way) my own renovation, its time to share my story too.

Here's my original floor plan

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My place is a resale condo and this was the only floor plan I could find of it. Its abit oddly shaped in the living room and my HTB and I really wanted it to be spacious feeling. Its just going to be him and me and my dog. Its our first place together and we're really excited. There's that huge patio too, that we love (and am pretty sure my dog will love too)

We spoke to some people and finalized on our interior designer. He's a really interesting person but thats another story altogether. Anyways, here's the floor plan that we have now.

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Thats it for now. I'll try to upload some pictures we took before we started hacking everything down later on today. Thanks for viewing! I'm so excited I've been making my poor colleagues listen to me go on about the renovations and every decision that we've had to make so far. I think they're tired of it. So this may be a better place for me to share. :D

 

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

Some random pictures of the place before we actually got the keys.

Stairway to my main door. This area is included in my title deed but there are alot of limitations as to what we can do with it because we have to maintain the facade of the place.
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View midway from the main door. Facing patio door.
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Living room
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Living room facing the main door.
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Thats it for living room.

 

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Kitchen. It was the part I disliked the most because it was dark and dingy.

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Facing the yard
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The kitchen gave us many problems at first because our first thought was to hack it all down to make it open concept. But there were two rather imposing structural beams that made us think it was impossible to do that. Luckily we met our ID who came up with a plan to give us an open concept kitchen.

 

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My favorite part of the apartment when I first saw it - Patio!

Standing at the entrance
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Facing the entrance (the patio door has gotta go, I want a bifold door so I can feel the brightness and wind when I open the doors completely)
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The patio is in an L shape, on the right are the bedrooms. Windows are part of the facade, so I can't change them. Sad, because I love the steel black framed windows for their industrial feeling.

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Also the windows are leaking, and seem to have been badly "repaired" with silicon thats now falling out all over the place.

The offending windows
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Silicon falling out. :jail:

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Edited by mishmish
 

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Just 2 bedroom picture since it's pretty normal.

Common bedroom. I love the view. But there is a lack of privacy so we're putting up lots of plants. The common bedroom will become the walk in wardrobe.

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Master bedroom view. Its much darker in the master bedroom and we considered using the common bathroom as the master instead, but our ID convinced us that a darker bedroom would be more conducive to sleeping. Also its tiny, but we figured, with the whole house to hang out in, we'll just use the bedroom for sleeping so we don't need a huge one.

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This is quite irrelevant since the entire place is going to be hacked. But i just wanted to show the very old school (not the cool kind of old school) fittings in the bathroom.

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We're hacking the kitchen walls completely, the yard wall partly, the bedroom wall partly, the bathroom walls completely. I will have a much bigger master bathroom, a small common bathroom (almost a powder room), an open concept kitchen with island breakfast bar table for 2 or 3. Our main dining table will be in the patio right in front of the living room which means a table that can take the sun and rain. I'm so excited and nervous about the renovations all at once. :rolleyes:

 

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The first thing we did, was to choose flooring. We love the cement screed look for floors, but were warned that it was hard to maintain and will have cracks and other nasty stuff in the long run. So we tried our best to find tiles instead. It took us 3.5 weeks of going ALL over singapore to find tiles to our liking. I've never been to at least 80% of those areas in my life. And we still couldn't find tiles to our liking. I think my HTB and I are just extremely fussy, we both had to love the tiles and there just wasn't one that we both liked.

Tile samples we got on the first week.
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We considered getting cement screed looking tiles, but the HTB didn't like them. Our ID recommended a huge grey tile with some texture, measuring 1200 by 1200. We loved the size but didn't fall in love with the tone, so that didn't work out. Also it cost alot, 14 or 15 bucks psf. We went to quite a few places, Rice (at tiong bahru) which was quite a nice shopping experience and we did eventually get our patio granite from there at a fantastic price. Hafary and the rest of the tile shops along the balestier row. Changi Builders Shop which was an area of Singapore I'd never been before. It had a dizzying array of tiles that made us feel overwhelmed. But the service was pretty decent and I did see some nice stuff at good prices.

I would advise anyone looking for tiles to start from these few places. We did go to some smaller ones after those, because we kept trying to find our perfect tile, but most people should be able to find their dream tiles from those places.

Eventually, we went back to cement screed for the living and kitchen areas because we really like it. Hopefully it all turns out alright. We asked our ID if we could stain it darker and put a layer over it so its shiny, but he advised against it because of a variety of reasons. We'll see how it goes and hope for the best.

 

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The layout looks like the aston :) I was considering buying a unit there

Although it was "squarish", I thought the layout had a lot of opportunities to have ***** elements.

 

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The layout looks like the aston :) I was considering buying a unit there

Although it was "squarish", I thought the layout had a lot of opportunities to have ***** elements.

Haha you have very sharp eyes. I kinda fell in love with the patio, not so much the layout. Am hoping and expecting for my ID to change that.

 

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Nice Layout! Love the spacious of yr patio and the ceiling height.

Thank you! I love the ceiling height too. It's about 3m. Initially my ID hoped that it may have false ceiling that can be removed for even higher ceiling and more spacious feel but after he viewed the place himself he said only the kitchen and bathrooms had false ceiling. We're keeping the height so no false ceilings for us as much as possible. Thus we won't be using down lights. Just track lights and pendant lights and cove lighting.

 

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okie.. on this slack monday night.. am gonna share about my ID selection experiences.

First ID I called, was the one we actually went with in the end. I shall call him Eeyore from now on since I'm not sure he would appreciate me putting his name here. He's a really special guy. The first time I called him, he said I don't really do walk-ins, usually I only do referrals from friends. :o I was pretty shocked. And all I had asked for was that the parquet floor in the bedrooms be kept, and he said he also does not like to do patial renovations, he doesn't want to be limited in what he can do with wirings, etc. He went on to say he is very busy and probably won't have time. Pretty discouraging for a first call, but I really liked his work which i saw in Sunday Times, and he must have found me persuasive because he ended the call with telling me to email him with any questions I have about my place and he would answer them, no obligations at all.

I kinda wrote him off after that, since he seemed so unkeen on my project. So I called around to a few more IDs whose portfolios I liked. One of them was Barbara from Make Room. She's a lovely person and we had several nice discussions. However we didn't go with her in the end because her proposed layout would have very little changes to our kitchen/living room area. Only the 2 bedrooms would become one with a walk in wardrobe. The two structural beams seperating the kitchen and living room area was seriously cramping our style. :angry2: Also, the fees were abit steep,but I do like the fact that she separated her design/project management fees and let her contractor quote me separately for the work itself.

We also spoke to **. I quite liked some of their projects in their portfolio, but after speaking to the ID there, L, there was a severe lack of chemistry and the ideas we were given were really nothing special. It was quite disappointing. I think it may possibly be the fact that we gave her a low budget to start with because we heard that IDs generally will take your budget and add abit to it. So maybe that was a factor to her not being keen to try anything special design-wise. End of the day, she made me feel that her ideas were gonna make my place into a typical showroom, which was not what I was looking for. Also, for what they were offering, they were not cheap. And the appointments they could give for meeting up were very far apart because they had alot of business to handle. L herself said that they were really busy because they got alot of business.

Another ID we spoke to was JQ Ong. Honestly, if we didn't go with Eeyore in the end, we would have picked JQ. He had interesting ideas and his office (in tai seng, above a car garage) was really pretty cool and close to the kind of effect we wanted for our own place. JQ had a couple of interesting ideas and a very good system. He had a set of deliverables, when to do what, etc and his contract was very comprehensive. We felt that with JQ, we would get what we wanted, no more, no less. There probably wouldn't be any WOW surprise factor, but there wouldn't be much of a OMG.. COMA kind of risk either. Which was great if we didn't want to take a gamble.

Eeyore, on the other hand, was not so into having a system, the impression we got of him at first was more of a 船 到 桥 头 自 然 直 kinda guy.. what must get done, will get done. But we did take a gamble on Eeyore, and so far, so good! One of my favourite things about him was that on the very first time we met him, it was actually at a place he just completed.

We actually didn't expect much, and after I recounted my conversation with him with my HTB, he wasn't that keen on Eeyore. I did email him asking him a few basic questions about how to make the place more spacious and he replied almost a month later!! He didn't say much, just said, why don't you come and see a project I am finishing and you can ask me any questions there. No other ID actually volunteered to show us a place they'd done, so we were excited to actually see a just finished home.

The couple who owned the home we were invited to see was there too, when we arrived. They were viewing the place that had just a few more finishing touches, no furniture yet. They seemed very happy with the place and pleased with him. The place was very cool, and we were impressed except for the fact that it was kinda dark. He explained that that was his style. It was mostly cement screed walls and dark tiled floors. But I was hoping for bright and airy! So back and forth we went. To cut a long story short, we were impressed, with some reservations, but in the end we went with our hearts/instincts, and chose Eeyore! I think he too, was unsure of whether to do our project or not, he never said he was going to do it, or gave clear indications that he was really interested till we'd met up 3 or 4 times. I think he found us pretty sincere and we had generally similar tastes, except that we wanted it abit brighter than he did. Chemistry matters and I really felt that we had chemistry. I think my HTB took longer to warm up to him, but eventually, he too agreed with me that Eeyore was The One.

Looong post.. thanks for reading! Hopefully everything continues as it is now, we're through with wall and floor hacking and have built the new walls to reconfigure the space. Some hacking pictures and tiles we chose to come!


 

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Erm, I realised that one of the names of the ID firms i went to has been censored out. :dunno: Its a firm that has been featured in Home & Decor quite a few times, and quite a big one so I'm not sure why, but if anyone is reeeally curious, please PM me.

Also, to qualify, with JQ Ong, he did show us a place he had done after we asked nicely. The place was nice and had been lived in for a while and still looked good. Like I said, going with Eeyore was instinctual and he's quite daring with space layout which we liked. With JQ, he offered safer ideas with regards to our space layout. This is my personal opinion, and JQ could be completely daring by other people's standards, so please dont take my word for it.

 

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