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Hi!

We have been on this forum for over 3 years and have learnt a lot thanks to the generous sharing of information and ideas here. Now that our very own first home will be ready soon, it's time to give back.

Our home is a 4-room unit in Punggol Emerald that was launched in April 2010 together with Punggol Waves. At the point of writing, some of our future neighbours have already collected their keys and commenced renovation works. Even though our PCD is still stated as 4th Quarter 2013, our block still has quite a bit of work to do and as the title suggests, we are looking at a more realistic moving in date of March to April 2014.

In terms of the unit layout, we are really pleased that the kitchen is large by today's 4-room BTO standards as we are looking forward to finally hosting dinners in our home. On the other hand, this means the living room will be smaller but we feel the area distribution is balanced. The only gripe is that due to the way the Main Bedroom and Bedroom 1 are placed, the available options to hack or combine the 2 rooms are limited.

FloorPlan.jpg

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

Milestones and Progress Updates

20 April 2010 - Punggol Emerald BTO launched

10 August 2010 - Unit selected

6 March 2011 - Signed Agreement for Lease

6 April 2012 - Placed refundable deposit for mattress at Robinsons

7 September 2013 - Technically bought our first piece of furniture, king size bed from Scanteak

5 October 2013 - Started contractor/ID shopping

4 January 2014 - Laid down a deposit and signed up with AL of 9 Creation

20 January 2014 - Household Shelter commissioned

22 January 2014 - TOP approved

7 February 2014 - Keys collection

27 February 2014 - Commencement of renovation with hacking

Contractor/ID Shopping

We started out our search for the right firm to turn our vision into reality with a list of referrals from family and friends and proceeded to further narrow down the candidates based on online feedback, estimated pricing using their "promotional" packages as well as their portfolio. As a result, we only had 3 shortlisted firms when we began meeting them for quotations as the original referral list was pretty short to being with.

ZY of Ideal House - One of the youngest among them but seemed experienced enough as he pointed out some considerations I failed to include in my design. We were initially drawn to the firm due to their package "gift" items of Mitsubishi system-3 air conditioner, 20 feet top and bottom kitchen cabinet which we later found out it was only a choice between the 2 as this description was ambiguously left out. Their prices are slightly above average but the main reason he wasn't shortlisted was because he was already showing signs of unresponsiveness during the followup to the quotation when we were trying to clarify certain details. * not shortlisted *

AG of Carpenters - An experienced ID who actually carried out the most complete preparation work prior to the first meeting and displayed traits of a very organized, sincere, flexible and reliable person. He also suggested a major distinctive ***** variation to our initial plan when we have since included into our plans. Despite the lack of online feedback on their quality of work, it is clear from their portfolio that their carpentry work is top notch. The main drawback is that their prices are on the high side and even he admittedly agreed. * KIV *

JS of Monoloft - Decided to get a quotation from this firm as my friend had his place nicely done with plenty of carpentry work and hacking for under $20k. We understood that was "friendship" price and we shouldn't be expecting anything close but our quotation turned out to be no different from the other 2 initial firms. We also felt that communication may be an issue in the future and that ruled him out. * not shortlisted *

After receiving the quotations from the 3 firms, which were all around the range of $26k to $28k excluding, we felt the need to explore other firms on our own as we were certainly not getting much value from initial firms. We decided to take the plunge and filled up the quotation request forms on both Renotalk and Reno-Nation. By providing the firms who responded with a list of items and requirements to quote on, along with some of the 3D drawings to help illustrate our ideas, we hope to save ourselves from plenty of wasted time meeting up with each and every firm we are interested in. Of course, the cheapest quote does not equate to being the most value and we actually evaluated them using the criteria of pricing, online feedback, portfolio, personality and even office location. :notti:

AL of 9 Creation - He is one of our favourites as we feel that in terms of design, he is the one who share the closest vision as what we have in mind. AL is also straight forward with his opinions and quick to offer practical tips, yet at the same time does not appear to be pushy. Pricing wise, his prices are competitive and his reason was that we must have already done our homework getting them to quote on a specific list of requirements and they have to offer value in order to get us interested. The only concern here is that being a relatively new setup, there aren't any reviews on the firm but he has offered to show us to not 1 but 2 units which he is currently working on. * signed *

TT of D'Trenzo - We were quoted with very competitive pricing but has yet to meet up with this ID due to the mixed reviews pertaining to the firm. * KIV *

JF of DeFong - He needs no introduction as you can find plenty of positive reviews around in the forum. His prices are the most competitive among all quotations we have received and that came as a pleasant surprise to us. During the meeting, JF showed his experience by highlighting some issues that may require further thought which none of the other ID brought up. Well, if you are wondering why we did not confirm him shortly after the meeting since he seems like the complete package, it is due to the fact that he seems more like the "uncle" type ID who may be overly practical at times and not as inspiring on the design aspect. * shortlisted *

BC of Ciseern - Things got off on a bad note when the first response from him after receiving from us the list or requirements and 3D drawings was that if there our own ideas or were there someone else's and also if he could make changes to it. Having heard the horror story from our future neighbour of their ID from this firm making wholesale changes to their plan after a deposit is made, we decided that the wise decision would be to steer clear. * not shortlisted *

JT of Matrix Interior - We only interacted via emails and SMS but this ID deserves a special mention. After we decided to solicit for quotations using the forms, the responses we received were mostly in the low 20s until we got a $30+k one from JT. Some of the overcharging were so blatant that even people who hasn't done any research would also realised. $2200 for painting? :jawdrop: The worst part is that he still had the cheek to defend himself by attempting to smoke us with technicalities when we politely informed him that his prices were significantly higher than the others. * not shortlisted *

PTL of Ming Sing Construction - One of the few contractors we approached and also a referral from a friend. Prices are relatively competitive but not offering as much value without the services of an ID * KIV *

JY of Z L Construction - Again a referral from another friend and we thought we found the right person just after viewing their portfolio as we saw many elements we were looking for in it. The quality of their workmanship is also evident just by looking at photos. Sadly, it turned out their prices were considerably higher and way above our budget but in their defence, their team is made up of solely locals and Malaysians. * not shortlisted *

AT of Aian Furniture & Renovation - Did not display reasonable amount of promptness in his responses but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and met up with him for discussion as per his request. During the meeting, he actually got my name wrong as he was looking for my email to him in order to download my floor plan and drawings which I have already provided weeks ago. He also kept asking questions about the ideas we have in mind when they were right in front of him in the drawings I provided. We were promised with the quotation a week later but it has been a month and there has been nothing, not even a response to my messages * not shortlisted *

At this point in time, we can conclude that referrals do not work for us as the contractor/ID and our friends may share a special relationship which does not spill over and besides, business is business. So unless you have your own family or friend who is actually in the line and willing to offer you a special "friendship" price, don't expect a steal when you get a quote from a referral. Another point is that contractors are cheaper than IDs appear to be nothing but a myth for us so far.

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Design Concept and Inspirations

When it comes to building a home and choosing the style of interior design, there are bound to be differing opinions between a couple and we are not spared from this as well. To deal with this issue, we scoured through the forum, interior design sites such as http://www.desiretoinspire.net/, magazines and TV variety shows to compile a varying list of styles, elements and furnishing that we fancy. From there, we find the common themes that appeal to us and began our conceptualization from there.

If its a must to label the style we are looking to get, it will be a combination of contemporary, industrial and Scandinavian themes. So, elements such as clean lines, exposed brick walls, cement screed and wood furnishings will hopefully help us achieve the "timeless" look we envision. Themes such as these...

Inspiration01.jpg

Inspiration02.jpg

Inspiration03.jpg

Inspiration04.jpg

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Draft Drawings

These are done using Google SketchUp over a period of 2 years as I found other tools such as Floorplanner and Visio lacking. One nice feature of SketchUp is the ability to import models created by other users and someone actually did one of the exact Scanteak bed we have gotten! The textures to apply onto surfaces though can be limited and are not exactly representative of what we have in mind.

As we started out, there were unorthodox ideas such as combining the MBR and Bedroom 1, using the formal as a study cum walk-in-wardrobe and the latter as the bedroom but we have since narrowed it down to this. The concept is to limit the amount of permanent, built-in fixtures and achieve the feel we want through the furnishing. This also makes it easier to shift things around in case we are bored with the layout from time to time.

DraftDrawing01.jpg

DraftDrawing02.jpg

DraftDrawing03.jpg

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Furnishing

Mattress - We actually laid down a refundable deposit with Robinsons in April 2012 (yes, too well in advanced) for 3 Sealy models in king size as we felt the offer was pretty good. We went back in February 2014 during another one of their major bedding sale and managed to lock down a slightly lower price than before. Eventually, we settled for Sealy Bliss in king size * purchased *

Bed - There is a saying that one should not make purchase any furniture before the renovation is finalized but we were possibly frustrated by the lack of progress on our block and went ahead to get this piece from Scanteak * purchased *

ScanteakStellanKingBed.jpg

Bedroom Chest Drawers - Got this sale item from Scanteak as we were looking to hit the minimum total purchase for free delivery * purchased *

ScanteakChestof5Drawers.jpg

Sofa - Shopped around quite a bit but this water resistant European fabric sofa from Lorenzo is still the one to beat in terms of comfort and value. We chose dark grey for both the base colour and long backrest. * purchased *

LorenzoSofa.jpg

Shelf - Checked out Like That One and found this industrial steel shelf with mango wood that wasn't going to burst our budget * purchased *

LikeThatOneCurioShelf.jpg

Dining Table and Bench - Oakland Dining Table and Lama Bench from Comfort Design * purchased *

ComfortDesignOaklandDiningTable.jpg

ComfortDesignLamaBench.jpg

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Appliances/Electronics

Air Conditioner - Going with the tested and proven Mitsubishi Electric Inverter System 4 comprising of MXY-4A28VA + MSY-GE18VA + 3 x MSY-GE10VA from Aron of Star Cool Air-Condition Engineering * purchased *

Power Tracks - Picked up 2 of these Eubiq SH1 power tracks at SITEX at $65 each together with a 12-pack British Compact Adapters for a total of $288. Huat ah! * purchased *

EubiqPowerTracks.jpg

Hob, Hood and Oven - Ellane EH-2680 chimney hood with baffle filter, OS-2 SV gas hob and EO-80S oven * purchased *

EllaneKitchenAppliances.jpg

Refrigerator - Samsung RT59QBSL, from Parisilk together with free VCMA18AV vacuum cleaner, $50 FairPrice vouchers and $688 voucher for one Samsung Digital applicance * purchased *

SamsungRT59QBSL.jpg

Washer - Samsung WF806, going for the model with the least top-up required after using the $688 voucher * purchased *

SamsungWF806.jpg

TV - Sony KDL-46W704A * purchased *

SonyKDL-46W704A.jpg

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Home Networking

Being the geek, I insist on having this post for the other geeks out there as I understand the frustration when searching for technical information on these forums. ;)

Having considered the various options available to use as the backbone of our home network, we have concluded that structured cabling offers the most consistent and reliable performance over wireless and powerline networks. The difference will be best noticed during transfer of large files between 2 systems or during HD media streaming. If you have intentions of laying structured cabling around your home, there is probably no better time then during the renovation as false ceilings and light boxes will help conceal part of the cable trunking. Of course, if you have the budget for it, it is also possible to cut grooves into the wall to totally conceal the cabling. For our home, we plan to have the contractor/ID lay the cables for us with trunking and leave the termination to be done by ourselves.

Home Network Plan

From the TP (Termination Point) in the distribution box, an optical fibre will be laid to the TV console to allow the ONT (Optical Network Terminal) to be housed in that area. From the ONT, it will be connected to the wireless router in the study using category 6 cable. From there, the wireless router is then connected to the 24-port switch which will act as the central distribution point and provide network connectivity to all the data points around the house. For better cable management, an 8-port patch panel will be used for the living room while a 24-port patch panel (or 2 x 12-port patch panels) will be used for the study as this will reduce the time taken to terminate the cables. Face plates with keystone jacks will only be used for the other 2 bedrooms as they are meant more for future usage.

NetworkPlan.jpg

Cable Connections List

Optical Fibre (SC/APC-SC/APC)

TP to ONT x 1

Category 6

ONT to Wireless Router x 2

TV Console 8-Port Patch Panel to Switch x 6

Bedroom 1 to Switch x 4

Main Bedroom to Switch x 4

Study Desk 8-Port Patch Panel x 8

Wireless Router to Switch x 1

The last 2 connections will be done by myself when the study desk is up as I plan to run them at the back of the desk.

Network Equipment List

Router - Linksys WRT1900AC

LinksysWRT1900AC.jpg

Switch - Dell PowerConnect 2824

DellPowerConnect2824Switch.jpg

NAS - Western Digital My Cloud EX4

WesternDigitalMyCloudEX4.jpg

Cable - 3M Volition Cat 6 UTP

3MVolitionCat6Cable.jpg

Distribution Point Patch Panel - TRENDnet TC-P12C6 12-Port Patch Panel x 2

Study Desk / TV Console Patch Panel - TRENDnet TC-P08C6 8-Port Patch Panel x 2

TRENDnetPatchPanels.jpg

Edited by mavicaste
 
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Milestones and Progress Updates

20 April 2010 - Punggol Emerald BTO launched

10 August 2010 - Unit selected

6 March 2011 - Signed Agreement for Lease

6 April 2012 - Placed refundable deposit for mattress at Robinsons

7 September 2013 - Technically bought our first piece of furniture, king size bed from Scanteak

5 October 2013 - Started contractor/ID shopping

When did you take delivery of the house? It seems like HDB took as long as 3 years and 5 months to finish it?

Edited by gryffindor
 

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When did you take delivery of the house? It seems like HDB took as long as 3 years and 5 months to finish it?

We have not collected the keys. My HDBPage states PCD as 4th Quarter 2013 but my block's windows are only done till the 11th floor the last I checked. The ground floor is also far from ready so we are expecting delays in the delivery date.

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Shortlisted the following Electrolux gas hob, chimney hood and oven package. I was quoted $1740 by Parisilk and it can probably go under $1700 from the popular neighbourhood shops.

Does anyone has any experience with Electrolux kitchen appliances? Thanks in advance!

ElectroluxCookingPackageECA1999.jpg

 

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Hi Mavicaste,

Actually I think the position of the MBR and bedroom 1 is great! You can create two distinctive areas with such a layout. Just shift the MBR door outwards and keep bedroom1 doorless... That way shd u need an additional room for whatever reason, minimal distruption to reconfigure back to original state.

 

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Hi Mavicaste,

Actually I think the position of the MBR and bedroom 1 is great! You can create two distinctive areas with such a layout. Just shift the MBR door outwards and keep bedroom1 doorless... That way shd u need an additional room for whatever reason, minimal distruption to reconfigure back to original state.

We actually had that idea in one of our preliminary drafts but decided to keep things simple and retain the original room boundaries.

Edited by mavicaste
 

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Shortlisted the following Electrolux gas hob, chimney hood and oven package. I was quoted $1740 by Parisilk and it can probably go under $1700 from the popular neighbourhood shops.

Does anyone has any experience with Electrolux kitchen appliances? Thanks in advance!

ElectroluxCookingPackageECA1999.jpg

I have the Electrolux keyhole hob and it works great for the last 1.5 months.... The only downside is my mum keep complaining that why do we want to have a induction hob in our place 😰....

 

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