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Hey everyone,

Just wanna share with everyone our experience relating to our first home (awesomely superb feeling!) and the renovation works in progress...

A little backstory here:

Basically my older sis and I are Malaysians working and living in Singapore, and being foreigners here, we never had the luxury nor privilege to have a permanent residence to call our 'home'. For myself, I have been here for almost 10 years and have moved a total of 14 times! Have had a share of nightmarish experience (loan sharks, crazy land-lady, backstabbing housemates) while renting, and despite the sky-high property prices, we have had enough and my sis made a good choice to get a pink IC so that she can buy herself a flat under the singles scheme.

So, the place actually belongs to my sis, while I fancy myself a squatter, although my sis views me as her personal ATM (*cough blood*) and sai kang warrior to obsess over the itty-bitty details related to the renovation because I am that particular about aesthetics and comfort - but mainly aesthetics, job hazard, I suppose :P

The story starts about 1 year after my sis got her citizenship, when we found a small, old 3-room with an excellent location (MRT nearby!). COV was painful, but the time saved from the travelling will compensate, at least that's what I keep saying for reassurance.

Here's the floorplan:

gallery_55259_3_139796.png

Edited by ilkl
 

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Existing Condition - they can and have lived like that, but we can't, so we gonna make some changes

the flat is about 44 years old, the previous owners are a young couple with 4 cats (which increased to 6 just before they moved out, my God, the stink was terrrible) who had stayed 6 years, and according to them, they did do some renovation, but the place looks quite shabby :S

Living room:

gallery_55259_10_35971.jpg

gallery_55259_10_6456.jpg

Hall:

gallery_55259_10_31225.jpg

Bedrooms:

gallery_55259_10_44410.jpg

gallery_55259_10_215908.jpg

Edited by ilkl
 

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Yup, definitely renovating as the place itself is not up to our taste...

We all need a lil' inspiration...

So here's a list of things to do for the new place and some issues that need to be addressed:

1. Space, space, and more space!

- Notice that there isn't any store room? Additionally, the flat is pretty small and between my sis and I, we do have quite a lot of stuff (some hoarding tendencies which I will admit to). Hence smart space planning is absolutely essential!

- I need a big wardrobe, because I have a lot of clothes :S

- Kitchen needs to have sufficient working space since sis likes to cook, while I like to bake!

2. ​Toilet & Shower

- There is only one bathroom, unlike regular 3-room flats where the master bedroom gets its own ensuite bathroom

- Having 2 females in the house to share one bathroom is potentially disastrous, so I am very very keen on separating the toilet, shower and vanity area so that there will be no strife if ever one person is taking a particularly long shower while another needs to answer nature's call urgently

3. What's that wooden platform doing?

- Previous owners didn't own a couch - cause of the cats

- I would like a couch, but the wooden platform is in the way!

4. Kitchen:

- Hate the existing layout, definitely need to revamp the whole thing!

I'm gonna share with you some pictures which gave me some initial ideas about what I/we want for our place:

Booth seat:

gallery_55259_83_49275.png

My sis and I love the idea of a booth as we are both booth groupies (when we go to restaurants to makan, we always head towards any empty booths), and since we are dealing with limited space, this idea was also very practical!

Vanity outside shower area:

gallery_55259_83_124157.jpg

I got this photo from a PageOne book, and I really love this idea!

However, we hope to get a suspended vanity which looks more like this:

gallery_55259_83_13278.jpg

My sis has very little requirements actually, since she left most of the decision to me, but she had ONE request, and that her bedroom has lilac walls:

gallery_55259_83_639.jpg

As for my room, I like the idea of everything against the wall, hence these layouts kind of appeal to me:

gallery_55259_83_11293.jpg

gallery_55259_83_157125.jpg

Edited by ilkl
 

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Choosing an ID is almost like choosing a life partner, except, not really, cause I will be paying them!

Ok, so I prepared a summary of work to be done and sent it out to a number of ID firms to 'test the waters' - mainly to see what kind of figure we are looking at. My sis said her budget was about $20k but I was quite skeptical about that...

Here's what the summary looked like:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Living Room

gallery_55259_10_35971.jpg

Hack away existing wooden platform

Change existing tiles to laminate veneer flooring (mainly cause prev owner told us that once the water fountain is removed, there will be a hole in the floor, where no tiles exist, and to add similar tiles would be impossible, while retiling would cost a lot of money, hence laminate veneer over the existing tiles would be most economical)

Change lighting to L-box type (to hide the wires)

Install ceiling fan

Optional: TV console +/- feature wall

Dining Area

Booth seat

Half-length mirror above booth

Bedroom 1

Change windows and grills (dark brown with squares) to match with Bedroom 2 (silver colour with horizontal bars)

(Keep existing floor tiles)

Customized full-height bookshelf (1.0m width), L-shaped wardrobe and workspace table (with drawers)

Bedroom 2

Customized wardrobe (1.8m width) at recess area

Kitchen

Hack away part of 3 walls and existing kitchen counters

gallery_55259_83_288802.png

Remove existing tiles on floor and walls

Retile floor only, no need for walls

Erect kitchen counter and cabinets

Full-height cabinet for microwave and oven

Space for hob, stove, sink, fridge

Glass panel for cooking area

Change rubbish chute

Change windows and grills

Change laundry hanger bars

Toilet & Bath

Remove existing sliding/bi-fold door in between

Erect partion wall to separate toilet from shower area

Create new entrance for shower area and toilet, using bi-fold/sliding doors

Retile entire bathroom and toilet, plumbing also.

Erect vanity sink with mirror cabinet and cabinet below the sink, next to shower area

Others

Remove existing air-con unit and compressor from Bedroom 1, install system 2 for Bedroom 1 and 2

Whole unit - repainting

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I even threw in my own 3D render of the kitchen layout:

gallery_55259_83_57144.png

So some replied me earnestly and insisted that I meet them first to "discuss". Some never replied zzzz.

I listed them all down, and checked the names of their firms against the HDB List of Registered Contractors.

Those not on the list, I cancelled. zzzzz

Those whose address is si beh far for me, I also cancelled. zzzzzzzzzz

Went to meet some here and there, and got some ideas here and there too...

One suggested a walk-in wardrobe in my tiny room, and I was like, no... (dusty clothes will be the bane of my existence)

gallery_55259_83_253209.png

But I liked the effort he had, for he was the only one who actually sent me a nicely done up floor plan. The kitchen was more or less what I wanted, but he placed the vanity in the toilet (never listen to instructions bleh). I didn't choose him though cause I had weird vibes from him, and the firm seemed a little pricey...

All in all, it came down to 2 firms - one which was recommended by my colleague, while the other was found by me after some Googling

Option 1:

- recommended by colleague, her house was done by them, so she was quite satisfied, no complaints there!

- no GST!

- total quote was $31k - it was at $32k initially but I managed to squeeze a $1000 discount from them

- their website is quite meh, didn't give me or my friends any good impressions

Option 2:

- found on Google, attractive package prices

- have GST

- total quote, including GST, was $29k, with a $1000 discount also

- website looked much better, shows me that some effort had been spent to promote themselves professionally (but on hindsight, all the photos are 3D renders so that is truly not a good gauge of quality)

- checked out one of their recent projects at AMK, house looked good, quality seemed acceptable, so I felt that this was the one for me!

- plus the ID is very outgoing, felt like we click better.

Alright I will continue again with more pics esp the 3D renders from my ID! Stay tuned :) :) :)

Edited by ilkl
 

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ilkl, love the way you blog this. Comes to show that you have done your homework.

All the best for your reno process.

I have some information in my old blog that maybe useful for your reference.

i remembered you mentioned about this suspended vanity which i had similar where I got

them off from a bathroom merchant.

Free free to ask questions and all the best for your renovation.

 

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Yup, definitely renovating as the place itself is not up to our taste...

So here's a list of things to do for the new place and some issues that need to be addressed:

1. Space, space, and more space!

- Notice that there isn't any store room? Additionally, the flat is pretty small and between my sis and I, we do have quite a lot of stuff (some hoarding tendencies which I will admit to). Hence smart space planning is absolutely essential!

- I need a big wardrobe, because I have a lot of clothes :S

- Kitchen needs to have sufficient working space since sis likes to cook, while I like to bake!

2. ​Toilet & Shower

- There is only one bathroom, unlike regular 3-room flats where the master bedroom gets its own ensuite bathroom

- Having 2 females in the house to share one bathroom is potentially disastrous, so I am very very keen on separating the toilet, shower and vanity area so that there will be no strife if ever one person is taking a particularly long shower while another needs to answer nature's call urgently

3. What's that wooden platform doing?

- Previous owners didn't own a couch - cause of the cats

- I would like a couch, but the wooden platform is in the way!

4. Kitchen:

- Hate the existing layout, definitely need to revamp the whole thing!

I'm gonna share with you some pictures which gave me some initial ideas about what I/we want for our place:

Booth seat:

gallery_55259_83_49275.png

My sis and I love the idea of a booth as we are both booth groupies (when we go to restaurants to makan, we always head towards any empty booths), and since we are dealing with limited space, this idea was also very practical!

Vanity outside shower area:

gallery_55259_83_124157.jpg

I got this photo from a PageOne book, and I really love this idea!

However, we hope to get a suspended vanity which looks more like this:

gallery_55259_83_13278.jpg

My sis has very little requirements actually, since she left most of the decision to me, but she had ONE request, and that her bedroom has lilac walls:

gallery_55259_83_639.jpg

As for my room, I like the idea of everything against the wall, hence these layouts kind of appeal to me:

gallery_55259_83_11293.jpg

gallery_55259_83_157125.jpg

Welcome to RT and good luck! I did a vanity beside the shower area also with a wall like your image, and its proven to make much sense. Though im abit skeptical about the open shelving due to accumulating of dust and hard to clear deep end corners.

Keep us updated!

 
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Planning (early phase) - OCD kickin' in

Hello once again!

Thanks for the encouragement, wasn't really expecting much comments. Hopefully my posts here will inspire/help/entertain!

(by the way I just wanna say this Renotalk Blog is super awesome, learnt a lot from reading the other posts and comments, and the tips certainly helped, I hope to sow back what I have reaped from this place so others can benefit too!)

After I have picked my ID, I started obsessing about getting the right layout for this tiny flat to ensure a thoroughly functional yet comfortable living without compromising too much on our wallets and appearance.

The tricky bit was my room. As mentioned before, I like the idea of everything against the wall, which would free up the floor space in the middle, and make the room seem more spacious. Tried different combinations of long wardrobe + bookshelf + study table + super-single bed, in the end decided on the one below, despite poor Feng Shui of having the bed face the door directly:

gallery_55259_83_239962.jpg

On a side note, I'm not too fussed about Feng Shui, I'm more fussed about having my big wardrobe :P

For the kitchen, my ID pointed out that having a L-shaped kitchen with the sink against the window would result in us being unable to access the laundry poles outside, but I told her we were never gonna use them anyway (so scary! esp after hearing about maids dropping to their deaths trying to hang out the laundry). She said having the sink against the windows is very condo-style (i like!), obviously condos don't have old school laundry poles outside them windows!

I also sent my ID a PDF to help her get the 3D renders up:

gallery_55259_83_144411.png

gallery_55259_83_199955.png

gallery_55259_83_174620.png

Selected WINTER solid surface worktop:

gallery_55259_83_368668.jpg

So while I waited for the 3D renders, I diverted my obsessive energy towards other healthy activities such as walking around IKEA, flipping through Lookbox and collecting pictures from the Internet for more inspiration...

Edited by ilkl
 

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3D makes everything look good

My ID pointed out that this is unlikely to be feasible for our flat:

gallery_55259_83_124157.jpg

The reason being the space is too narrow for any bi-fold doors. Sliding doors also not an option as they are 1) expensive and 2) require more space for their tracks.

[We are getting bi-fold doors mainly because they come included in my ID's Bathroom Package]

I was a little sad, because I wanted the shower door to face the vanity so that we will get a usable space on the wall next to the shower to maybe place a kitchen trolley. Thus, I told my ID to place the door facing the kitchen, same as the toilet door.

So here are the first batch of 3D renders my ID sent to me:

gallery_55259_83_198008.jpg

Living Room:

- told ID to omit feature wall - we felt that having a feature wall for our TV is pointless mainly because we have a small TV (32") and the cost involved can be better spent elsewhere

- we are still on the fence about having a coffee table - tripping hazard!

- the door is way too nice, cause its a brand new laminate door! We're probably gonna just paint over the existing door (sigh, we are cheapos), but the dark brown colour is nice :)

gallery_55259_83_289082.jpg

Dining:

- was quoted $400 plus for the mirror, so we decided we can live without it (or that we will buy some cheap mirror from IKEA to put up later)

- we asked for the settee (that's what the ID calls the booth, I learnt a new word from her!) to have cushions cause its way more comfy to sit on, even though it was more expensive!

- the settee comes with storage! yippee :)

gallery_55259_83_218898.jpg

Kitchen:

- the 3D artist left out my build-in oven and also the top shelf above the fridge, but overall I was quite happy with how the kitchen looked!

 

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gallery_55259_83_90153.jpg

Vanity:

- didn't like having a top mount sink, mainly because gunk will build-up pretty fast at the margins, I'd rather get a one-piece sink

- ID left some space at the side of the vanity because she thought there were some pipes there

gallery_55259_83_412512.jpg

gallery_55259_83_294342.jpg

Toilet & Shower:

- we had not selected our tiles prior to these renders, so the 3D artist just put together something based on the previous PDF which I sent

gallery_55259_83_38370.jpg

Sister's Room

gallery_55259_83_18150.jpg

gallery_55259_83_419890.jpg

My Bedroom:

- I'm pretty stoked about the overall look of my safe haven :)

- wanna have glass panels over the bookshelf coz I don't want no dust on me precious books!

- gotta tweak the doors on the wardrobe

Ok peeps, I will continue the posts later on, had some changes to the layout due to certain factors, will discuss more next time!

 

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gallery_55259_83_90153.jpg

Vanity:

- didn't like having a top mount sink, mainly because gunk will build-up pretty fast at the margins, I'd rather get a one-piece sink

- ID left some space at the side of the vanity because she thought there were some pipes there

gallery_55259_83_412512.jpg

gallery_55259_83_294342.jpg

Toilet & Shower:

- we had not selected our tiles prior to these renders, so the 3D artist just put together something based on the previous PDF which I sent

gallery_55259_83_38370.jpg

Sister's Room

gallery_55259_83_18150.jpg

gallery_55259_83_419890.jpg

My Bedroom:

- I'm pretty stoked about the overall look of my safe haven :)

- wanna have glass panels over the bookshelf coz I don't want no dust on me precious books!

- gotta tweak the doors on the wardrobe

Ok peeps, I will continue the posts later on, had some changes to the layout due to certain factors, will discuss more next time!

Looks very cosy. Do u mind sharing how much did the ID quote you for these work?

Also, how much was your COV??

 

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