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Hello renotalkers!

I have benefited from this forum immensely and it's about time for me to pay it forward.

I bought a resale apartment and obtained the keys only in late July.

It's a 1 BR, only 52 sq metres (560 sq ft) in size.

I was drawn to this space as it was relatively square-ish, not many bay-windows, no balcony, 2.9m ceiling height and floor to ceiling windows in the living room.

Knowing that size was a limitation, my challenge is to make the space feel bigger than it is.

The original floor plan (ignore the PES - the apartment does not have any PES)

Montana_zpsf1d6fcd5.png

This was how I envisioned the new layout

N3_zpsf85ec0cf.png

Red lines indicate the walls which I wanted to knock-down

Blue line is where I would like the new wall to be erected

Yellow lines is where I envisioned a concrete plaster appearance

Besides the challenge of opening up the space, I wanted to keep the budget low and time-line relatively short, yet achieve a specific industrial look. I'll be dedicating quite a bit of my blog on how I kept costs low while maintaining decent quality.

That means I will describe my thought process for contractor selection, material selection, purchasing from taobao etc

Hope new home owners that plan to renovate will benefit from my blog.

I shall post the before pics soon and some interim pics as reno is currently on-going.

Happy reno-talking!

EDIT:

I realise that it is very cumbersome to go through an entire thread without a contents page. So I have compiled the links here

1. My thoughts on ID vs contractor. All home owners struggle with this question and meeting IDs/contractors can consume a lot of time and effort.

2. How I shortlisted and chose a contractor. The key considerations which led me to chose among the shortlisted contractors.

3. My taobao shopping list. With all the links from taobao sellers which I bought from.

4. My before pics. Demolition pics if you're into that sort of thing.

5. General Info on shipment of bulky taobao items to Singapore.

6. Since it's very difficult to estimate how many cubic metres each item is and the shipping charge is based on cubic metre, I came up with a way to estimate total cost of the bulky taobao item based on my first shipment when I purchase through peeka.

7. Some chinese keywords for shopping on taobao. Although taobao is cheap and therefore tempting, there may be instances of dissatisfaction. To provide a balanced view, Another poster's negative experience with taobao items. How I minimize risk of purchasing low quality items on taobao.

8. Info on the fibreglass concrete panels in my living room.

9. A guide on choosing paint colours for your wall.

10. Kompactop final pics

11. Info on artificial turf for balconies/planter/baywindows

12. Final pics - after 6 months of living in my place, this is more or less the final look of my place, though it tends to evolve with time (and clutter). To be included at some point.

Edited by greglhc
 
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This apartment was actually a showflat for the development about 10 years ago. The condition was good for its age. It is definitely more spacious than 1 BRs which are built these days. Modern contemporary look. It even had motorised blinds for the windows in the living room and bedroom.

I really felt it had a lot of potential that could be realised!

Before pics

1. Living room

IMG_0001_zpse974dbf7.jpg

2. Living room feature wall. This feature wall needs to be dismantled!

IMG_0005_zpsd3b0c71a.jpg

3. Living room feature wall continued. Needs to be dismantled!

IMG_0006_zpsa2415dd8.jpg

4. Kitchen area. The kitchen island was really cramping up the space. This needed to go as well.

IMG_0002_zpsb5f28dbf.jpg

5. Bedroom - wardrobe and walkway. The walkway is very narrow and the bedroom was cramped by the wardrobe and baywindow cabinetry.

IMG_0008_zps33ec4b70.jpg

6. Bedroom - bay window and cabinetry. Cabinetry at bay window had to go!

IMG_0007_zpsbd609d73.jpg

Edited by greglhc
 

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Before pics contd..

7. Bathroom - quite small too. Full laid with marble. Unfortunately needed to hack away as it is not in keeping with my concept.

IMG_0009_zpsd0c78e35.jpg

Edited by greglhc
 

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Hi greglhc,

great to see you setting up your t-blog!

Am looking forward to seeing the place opening up once you carry out the required hacking - although i have to say that the current condition looks pretty good to me already! hahhhaahha

 

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Looking forward to ur pics! Good luck on ur reno!

ProjectH: thanks! :good:

Hi greglhc,

great to see you setting up your t-blog!

Am looking forward to seeing the place opening up once you carry out the required hacking - although i have to say that the current condition looks pretty good to me already! hahhhaahha

zihui: I really admire your budget for an EM! Many people will be super envious if you can pull it off

good to see your blog.... please update more progress.

drunkenchivas: I learnt a lot from your blog. Hope you get to enjoy the sexy tb sink. I bought the same one :notti:

 

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Let the hacking begin!

View of kitchen

Hacked01_zps844c670a.jpg

View of living room floor. Currently marble but will be overlay with HERF from Evorich

Hacked02_zps9e5c74a1.jpg

Goodbye wall! Its been nice knowing you

photo5_zps1a08331a.jpg

Bathroom hacked to bits

photo4_zps459d05c3.jpg

So much debris from hacking! (Means more cost for haulage)

photo2_zpsfb7c161a.jpg

After the bedroom wall was hacked, I was very very tempted to not erect a new one and keep it as a studio

But there is some economic concern, so went ahead to erect the new wall

Edited by greglhc
 

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ProjectH: thanks! :good:

zihui: I really admire your budget for an EM! Many people will be super envious if you can pull it off

drunkenchivas: I learnt a lot from your blog. Hope you get to enjoy the sexy tb sink. I bought the same one :notti:

Now you've made me sad again because you've just reminded me of the very tough task ahead of us :~

 

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ID vs contractor

I think most reno-talkers struggle with this question. A considerable number of people no doubt spend ALOT of time meeting IDs and contractors.

After reviewing a lot of experiences and accounts from reno-talkers, it's well known that ID is more expensive than contractor

Economically, they must charge more than contractor since they are the additional project managers and designers and afterall must engage a contractor to do the work

Some conservative estimates point to IDs charging about 30% mark-up from contractor based on these services. This is probably the accepted median

It is not surprising if the mark-up is higher especially if the ID firm is big. They have bigger advertising budgets for TV/print/internet, bigger shopfronts and bigger exhibition booths i.e. bigger mark-ups, probably 50% upwards of contractor price. Also, all the big bosses in the ID firm who don't do projects and generate business need to be paid fat salaries :lol:

Nonetheless, there are some contractors who are trying to go up the value chain and have ID services as well. No doubt they will charge ID type prices. I met a contractor like this. You know this immediately once the contractor offers 3D drawings, throws in freebies, has an in-house designer etc - all ID-like characteristics.

Conversely, there are ID firms which are just starting out and growing their business. They tend to have lower margins in order to get volume and grow their portfolio. These will be cheaper and may be somewhat comparable to an average contractor pricing. However, they still need to pay a contractor to carry out all the reno so how do they manage to get comparable contractor pricing. There will probably be less people working on the wet works, tiling, demolitions, erecting walls, carpentry etc. Project may face delays because there is inadequate manpower to get the job done. Moreover, once everything completed, they won't entertain many rectification works.

For me, it was a relatively simple decision. I wanted as cheap a reno to achieve the desired look/feel. Although I'm not a designer and have zero experience in reno, I knew the look that I wanted to achieve. There are very few IDs which can do industrial designs, simply because they turn to "standard" designs. This is to save effort and resource for them since they have done many projects in a certain look/feel. These are mostly modern contemporary.

Having said that, choosing a contractor meant I needed to do ALOT more research on my own. I started to gather a lot of info about reno, the process, the materials and the rough pricing. To the point where people in the industry think I'm a contractor!

If there are reno-talkers out there in a similar situation, I hope this will help you eliminate wasting time with meeting too many IDs and contractors.

Edited by greglhc
 
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looking forward to your industrial loft, great concept to begin with already!

Thanks oldskool! I also look forward to your place. the 3D renderings look good

Greglhc, i believe many of us will benefit frm ur research! Looking fwd to more posts frm u!

Absolutely. I intend to share as much as possible about what I learnt from reno. Stay tuned!

 

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