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A "scandustrial" Concept ~ Sengkang Ea

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Hi fellow Renotalkers, I have actually been silently browsing through the renotalk forum for quite some time now, soaking in ideas and getting information and tips on what to do or not do during reno, and also what to buy and where! Having learnt alot through the t-blogs and posts here, I figure I should also share our renovation journey and perhaps some things experienced along the way. Perhaps 1 or 2 of you may also take something away, be it an inspiration or a practical lesson.

Our story begins on the 14th of April 2013, when I successfully proposed to my then gf, now wife (who shall henceforth be affectionately referred to as "E"). Having successfully sealed that part of the deal, we set out looking for a place to call home, which as a lot of you know isn't the easiest thing in the world. Some of the factors we considered were as follows:

- Near to either E's or my parent's home (easy for childcare needs in the future)

- Within 0.5 km of an MRT station, especially on the North East Line (so that E can get to work easily)

- Size of the apartment must be at least 1100 sgft (E grew up being used to lots of space at home)

- Toilet must not be in the kitchen!

- A yard area separate from the kitchen

- Preferably North/South facing (so you don't get the evening sun)

- Has to have sufficient natural light!

We didn't want to ballot for a BTO because that would mean we would have to wait very long for our unit, but we were willing to do so for an EC. In particular, we tried balloting for some return units at The Topiary, but after umpteen failed attempts at balloting for 4-rms, 3 rm dual keys, we decided to look at resale flats instead. Plus, it's easier on the pocket.

Our search was narrowed down to the following locations:

- Upper Boon Keng opposite Kallang MRT (superb location for both private and public transport; flats which just finished MOP; but friggin expensive for a HDB) :dunno:

- Serangoon Central (great location but relatively old flats; expensive as well)

- Potong Pasir (again, great location but the oldest flats out of our shortlist)

- Sengkang (not as busy as Punggol, and valuations seem to be the cheapest here. Flats are also bigger)

For those of you with more money and want to buy a HDB, you should really consider Upper Boon Keng and Jalan Membina in Tiong Bahru, but that's just my opinion haha. :good:

We viewed over 20 flats before we stepped into our current home. In fact, we put in an offer for 2 other units before this one. The first unit that we liked had a condo style layout on a high floor, relatively close to Sengkang MRT. BUT, the owner was then asking a COV of 100k (crazy!!). I think it was because he had marble floors through the living room and real parquet elsewhere. We put in an offer which was slightly in excess of half that amount, but was rejected. On hindsight, it was good that he didn't accept because that would be an insane amount just to pay for COV. The second unit was a fair bit away from the MRT, but the layout, space and facing was just superb. We put in a bid for less than their asking, but was quickly told that somebody offered them their asking. A bit of regret felt on not being able to get this unit.

We were starting to get a bit tired and exasperated with the search when our agent suggested another area in Sengkang which we had not personally scouted in Prop*rtyG*ru, and we went down not expecting much. You know that feeling where you step in and feel so comfortable that you know it's home - that's the feeling that we got when we first stepped into our new home. It also helped that the former owners were very warm and nice people. We sealed the deal that evening when the owners accepted our COV offer which was a bit less than their asking. It isn't by any means the perfect home in terms of fitting all of our criteria, but it certainly comes close to it.

Sorry for being long winded, so without further ado, here's presenting our floor plan:


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To be continued on my next post.. :yeah:

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

Post Continued...

Analysing the unit's position & layout

The good

- Relatively large size, though smallish for an EA

- Supposed condo style layout, with guest toilet located outside of the kitchen and opposite BR2 (listed as a "design plus" unit after all)

- Decent sized rooms

- No west sun so it doesn't get hot at night

- Living room area receives plenty of natural light

The bad

- Store room located at an already narrow entrance passage (how to put decent shoe cabinet!!)

- Terribly small bathrooms

- No defined dining room space

- No separate yard area

- Bedroom windows are small and do not let enough light in

The ugly

- The space for hanging clothes between the kitchen and the aircon ledge has absolutely no sunlight because there is a block directly behind it. Cannot dry clothes! :no:

Renovation Concept/Theme

In line with what's hot at the moment, we decided on a mix of decor styles which I personally coin "Scandustrial", essentially combining the minimalism and warmth of Scandinavian decor with the raw, rustic look that the industrial style entails. Because the colours involved with these 2 themes are essentially neutrals, we will be making a conscious effort to add pops of colour to various parts of our home using accessories such as cushions, rugs, art and other knick knacks etc.

Our requirements

E and I decided that we wanted our home to look good but be practical at the same time. This meant that we were going to have as little built in carpentry works as possible in order for us to be flexible with our future living arrangements in case Babies A, B and maybe C came along, which would enable us to shift things around. At the same time, we wanted it to be a place which we could enjoy as a twosome. Also, we had to figure out how to solve the yard/drying clothes problem and the lack of a properly defined dining area. Truth be told, these aren't monumental problems or something which would cause much grief to a homeowner because there is still sufficient space for a dining table and we can always air our clothes in the living room, but we are just abit anal about such things I suppose. Lastly, we had to figure out how to have an open concept kitchen (which I like) and yet keep the smells from lingering out of the kitchen (which E hates).

Presenting our proposed amendments:

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Kitchen / Yard
The parts in red represent the walls that will be hacked, save for the kitchen walls which the previous owner had already removed. In order to have both an open and closed concept kitchen (depending on the occasion), we opted to have a folding door with glass panels which can be folded away when we are not cooking, thus maintaining the look of an open kitchen.
We will also be carving out a yard area from the kitchen space. Since there isn't any space to hang clothes, we will be getting a washer/condenser dryer combo. As the yard is tucked away to the corner and therefore out of view to our guests, it should prove less unsightly.
Dining Area
This was a suggestion by our contractor/ID. In order to create enough space for a dining area without compromising walking space, he suggested to hack part of the study room wall so that a dining area could be carved out. The side benefit of this is that we save some money on the feature wall separating the living rm from the study. :D
Master Bedroom / Walk in Wardrobe
E loves her clothes, and a recurring complaint when we visited numerous showflats was the small space allocated to wardrobes. In her maternal home, she had a 2.5 m wardrobe but complained that it wasn't nearly enough!! So going into the renovations, a firm requirement of hers was to have a large wardrobe. Initially, we allocated the existing master bedroom space to be the walk in wardrobe, but that would probably mean a significant waste of space.
What we decided to do was to combine 2 rooms into 1 big master bedroom with an attached walk in wardrobe galley style, which bedroom would be accessed by a new double door, designed for maximum impact upon opening. Initially we opted for folding doors to further separate the two spaces when sleeping so that we would require less air conditioning, but in the end we just decided to close off the walk in wardrobe by using sliding glass doors with fixed glass panels on either side of it. Sweet! :sport-smiley-004:
Next up, deciding between the different IDs and contractors -->

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Just curious, how would you guys structure the layout of the unit if this were your place? Is there anything that we should have or could have done to make it a more livable space?


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I will not consider to hack one of the room into WIW. Been there, done that.

It will be a hassle to sell the unit later and reduce living space significantly.

If the plan is to have only kid then you are left with the mini study room as guest room.

Unless A , B and C are ok to live in one room in years to come.


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I will not consider to hack one of the room into WIW. Been there, done that.

It will be a hassle to sell the unit later and reduce living space significantly.

If the plan is to have only kid then you are left with the mini study room as guest room.

Unless A , B and C are ok to live in one room in years to come.

Hi OceanEleven, thanks for your input. Practically speaking, that approach makes the most sense and it's a bit of a luxury on our part to have such a big MBR and convert a room into a WIW. Our long term plan is to stay in this house for at least 10 years, and adjust accordingly depending on how many kids come along. If 1 or 2, they can live together in the same room for at least 10 years or so until they need their own space and if need be, we can then convert the study back into a proper room (albeit smaller than the other rooms).

We will be using a pole wardrobe system for the wiw, so that should aid a bit in terms of reinstatement later on. But agreed, it will be more troublesome than leaving it intact. If you don't mind, how much did you spend on your reinstatement works?

Edited by vicx1234

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Before getting on to the contractor/ID selection process, let's see some "before" pics shall we folks?

Part 1


Living & Study area at a glance


Nice view of the greenery which greets us and our visitors upon entering the house. We had come across units which had trees blocking the view and consequently sunlight as well, but did not note such problems with this unit.


Reverse view of the living room. We will be placing a full height cabinet where the mirror now is.

View of dining area/corridor leading to rooms.

Current open concept kitchen with island - we will be doing away with the island as we feel it's not the best use of space here.

Future yard area

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Study which will be shortened to make way for a dining space

Tiny bathrooms with fat ugly pipes. We should be boxing the pipes up.

Guest room which will eventually become a children's room

Wall currently separating bedroom 2 from the master bedroom - to be hacked to form 1 large room with WIW

Of all things, I took pretty poor pictures of the master bedroom. You pretty much only see the sides and not the actual space we have to play with.
Overall, the previous owner kept it in pretty good condition but the cabinetry was getting to be a bit worn so we will be replacing everything. Helps that they did not have a lot of built in items, which makes hacking easier and less expensive. ;)

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Hi OceanEleven, thanks for your input.

We will be using a pole wardrobe system for the wiw, so that should aid a bit in terms of reinstatement later on. But agreed, it will be more troublesome than leaving it intact. If you don't mind, how much did you spend on your reinstatement works?

I did not do any reinstatement. Pole system or not only make the wardrobe easier to remove or replace.

Pole system look nice when bare, but I find the shelving not practical as they do not have backing and sides.

Also more prone to collect dust over time. If one build doors, the doors are a killer.

The main issue is that you are hacking the walls away. Any reinstatement will affect the flooring as well as the walls.

The pain and agony to go thru in later years is not worth the effort in my opinion.

If you ask me do I regret, I would say yes.

I should have simply use the room as a wardrobe space and not hacking to combine the rooms.


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Thanks OceanEleven. Yes it was a tough decision for us to make, but we decided that in the end we would be able to accept some headache in exchange for some 'luxury' amortised over the next 12 years or so. Do wish us luck


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ID/Contractor Selection:

Choosing the right ID/Contractor is really largely subjective. I can say it all boils down to fit in terms of whether you like a particular ID or contractor's design, and more importantly, whether you have 'mo qi' with the ID/Contractor.

Shortlisted IDs/Contractors

Mr. K (Contractor) - without a doubt, the most popular contractor on Renotalk. His portfolio has been pretty impressive thus far as seen from others' t-blogs, although he is also know to have a particular style or "template" to use an uglier term. We always thought we would go with him, but decided not to since he is known to be a bit more expensive and we figured he must be pretty **** busy during this time of the year. May have some regrets here.

Alan (Contractor) - also pretty popular on Renotalk. his earlier reviews seem to be better, and judging by the number of projects he seems to be running, we didn't want to be chasing him all the time. Decision to drop.

Artist Room - no reply

Carpenter's Workshop - no reply

Project File - had 1st meeting with them. We weren't blown away with their ideas, which weren't too practical to begin with.

D1st1nct 1dent1ty - good portfolio of work, decent suggestions. Promised to quote within 2-3 weeks but didn't hear back from them.

Voila Design - seemed more intent on pushing their ideas than really listening to what we wanted. Promised to quote but didn't hear back.

Three D Conceptwerke (Vanessa) - in terms of design, we felt that they were the most willing to push the envelope. Vanessa, the ID assigned to us was very eager to take on this project. Judging by age alone, I doubt she's the most experienced ID out there, but she certainly made up for it with a lot of enthusiasm and creative suggestions. Concept wise, we liked her the most. If not for the high cost quoted, we would probably have gone with them.

3D Innovative (Jimmy) - I had heard of Jimmy's name being thrown around in the forum, but never really thought we would engage him because he's not known for his design prowess. If you look at 3D's portfolio online, their style is actually very different from ours. Also, reviews about him and 3D in general have been mixed, some good some terrible. Nevertheless, we initially shortlisted him because he was one of the first to respond to my call for a quotation. He was also willing to head down to our unit to check it out before quoting (though we didn't require this in the end).

After meeting Jimmy for the first time, we were quite comfortable with him. He had some relevant input regarding the practicality of certain ideas we had, and was willing to sit down with us to discuss some ideas we had at length. Since we engaged him, we have met up a couple of times with him to discuss our renovation, which meetings sometimes stretch for hours. So far he has been pretty accommodating. Also, he didn't have a problem if we wanted to subcontract stuff like carpentry and electrical work to other people. He isn't the cheapest contractor around, but his prices are reasonable. Do remember to bargain though, and know the market rate before meeting with him.

Having told Jimmy about the negative comments we read about him online, he did his best to assure us that he previously made a mistake by taking on too many projects at once, something which he would try to avoid this time around. After all our discussions, we felt sufficiently assured to give him the project.

Let's hope the whole reno process goes smoothly for both his sake and ours. :jammin:

Edited by vicx1234

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Mood pics continued..

Thinking of painting the wall behind the bed a dark colour for contrast - charcoal perhaps?

Would want the dog too if we could

We will also be using folding doors to enable us to close off the kitchen during heavy cooking

Industrial concept may come by way of cement floors and furnishings & accessories

Like the idea of using recycled boxes or crates as book shelves, storage space. Probably not as cluttered as this though.
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Hi vicx1234,

Congratulations on getting your own home and welcome to Renotalk.

It seems we have quite a bit in common with our design concepts and inspirations. I absolutely love the black frames on the glass panels!


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Hi mavicaste,

Yup, my wife and I love it and we will be replicating that effect for the study, our toilet doors as well as the folding door separating the kitchen from the living room. Can't wait to see the final effect man.

Stopped by your t-blog to check it out. Really excited to see you reno come along as well since we pretty much have similar concepts.

Good luck!


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