Jump to content
Find Professionals    Deals    Get Quotations   Portfolios
Sign in to follow this  

Mission (Almost) Impossible - 25K 4Rm Bto Renovation

Recommended Posts

Contents Page/Helpful Links

NEW!! UPDATED -- Our Home 3.5 years Later - Here

                              -- Budgeting for your BTO, how much should you spend? - Here


1. Our Chosen Contractor + Reasons why - Here


2. Color Schemes we considered - Here


3. $9000 for all appliances! Only $930 for Hood and Induction Hob! - Here


4. $99 bathtub! - Here


5. Taobao purchases - Round 1! Stainless steel bathroom stuff for cheapssss! - Here


6. Taobao purchases - Round 2! $300 Sofa! $200 recliner! - Here


7. Our 3-D drawings! ALOT of carpentry for $25k! - Here

8. Our Renovation Begins! Bath Tub and Hafary! - Here

9. Carpentry: The Study! - Here

10. Carpentry: My Custom Built Table! - Here

11. Carpentry - Workmanship!! - Here

12. Taobao - Things you: MUST buy, CAN buy, DON'T buy! - Here

13. Final Pictures of our Home - GOODbuy! (haha)

a. Study - Here

b. Living Room - Here

c. Kitchen - Here

d. Bedroom 1 - Here

e. Master Bedroom - Here

f. Toilets - Here

g. Final budget + Our moving company + Sofa pictures! - Here

14. Things that could have gone better - Lessons we learnt when dealing with contractors - Here

1+1=3 in our 4 Room BTO

I refused, refused, refused to apply for a BTO before the hubbs proposed - no way was I going to go down the way of a 'HDB-proposal'. Practical? Not very, but maybe I'm just a old romantic at heart.

So yes, he proposed, I said yes, we got engaged, married, and only THEN, did we send out our first application for a HDB flat.

That was in 2012. We lucked out and got an excellent queue number for our choice estate in Tampines upon our first application.

Fast forward 2.5 years, and here we are, proud new owners of a BTO fresh off the factory floor. Perhaps the timing was just perfect - our little couplehood has since, grown to include a pint-sized dictator, which means that we need not worry about how we would have to redesign the house when the little one comes along. Now that little Z is here, he is part of our plans. (Maybe it would be more apt to say that our plans are centred around him!)

Hence, the first steps towards building our cosy little nook, for our family of three.

Our Design Inspirations

Here are some images of designs that inspired us:


Too many people doing Scandinavian these days. We like the simplicity, but don't want to be mainstream lah. So we thought about it, and quite liked Zen.


My ideal study!

I absolutely LOVE to work from a bed, hence the L-shaped bedside table is a really awesome design feature.



We also want to keep Ah boy's room clean and neat.




Edited by jez2014
Updating broken links
  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Thanks for all the welcome!

Actually, the bulk of the cost comes from carpentry. Having lived in places where there were never enough shelving/cupboards, I grew up living with, but hating clutter. Now that we have the chance to start on a fresh slate, we're incorporating lots of storage into our design! I am currently working on a longer update with more details...

But just to let everyone know, we HAVE found someone, despite our 58 FT of carpentry, to work within our budget! :sport-smiley-018:

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chosen One!

After signing the next twenty years of our lives away, we would need to commit a significant chunk of our savings to the renovation. We crunched some numbers, decided that we didn’t want the additional burden of a renovation loan, and came up with the magical figure of 25K.

We met with as many as 7 IDs/contractors (For a detailed account of EVERYONE we met, read here), and while some came close, it was at the expense of one thing or the other. While the budget was always at the back of our minds, the ease of communication was as important a factor, if not more so.

We had several non-negotiables for our house.

1. Bathtub

2. Lots of storage

3. A dedicated study where one could work at the desk AND the bed

4. Easy to maintain

5. Child-safe

As mentioned above, we met with 7 contenders, shortlisted two to meet with them a few more times and finally, picked one. I shall term them JE, after the boss and his assistant who took the time to meet us together, just so that they could give us the full picture.

Why did we choose them?

Strength in carpentry

Being a carpentry firm from the start, their strength was in carpentry and it showed in the job site that they brought us to. A lot of thought was put into the design and crafting of the cupboards. You could see the attention to detail, and the finishing was one of the best I have seen. Smooth edges, invisible joints and seams, the works. Seeing how we planned for 58 Ft of carpentry, this would play a big role in determining the success of our renovation, and their workmanship definitely put us at ease. JE gave us a tour of their factory close to 11pm, and there were many staff still hard at work. Despite the late night, this uncle was very happy to explain to us the different types of styles in cabinets, the soft-closing mechanisms and various finishings.

Working with our needs/wants

The boss, the J of JE, was also very accommodating. When we requested for a custom table that could swivel so that we can work both at the desk and the bed, but not sacrifice precious floor space, he really gave it some thought before committing that it could be done. We liked this, much unlike other firms where they promise you the sky without much thought, resulting in much unhappiness when it’s time to execute the plans.

Price, price, price

All along, JE’s quote had been reasonable. When it came down to the final negotiation, they also patiently went through with us what could go down in price, what couldn’t, and why. Very forthcoming and you could tell they genuinely were trying to make this work. We even started discussing several design elements and JE advised us what could be tweaked to cut cost! The hubbs and I learnt a lot.

Ease of Communication

The hubbs and I liked them. We liked them as contractors, and we liked them as people. There were others we so wanted to like, but couldn't for one reason or another. JE? We liked, and we felt comfortable entrusting our home over to them.

Soooo …

At midnight yesterday (yes, crazy but true), we put our names on the line and sealed the deal. Here’s to the start of a beautiful relationship (I hope!)

Edited by jez2014

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Inspiration without instant gratification

When deciding on the colour scheme for our house, we were kinda in a fix. Both the hubbs and I are rather visual creatures, to imagine without seeing the actual thing can be rather painful! We knew that we liked the clean simplicity of Zen, which came with copious amounts of wood. But what else? Where is the "us" in our home?

Then I had a brainwave.

We decided to generate a few colour palettes based on our favourite vacation spots. In general, we like the far flung north (yay for winter), and right on the other end of the spectrum, ultimate nuaness in beach resorts.

Palette 1

Inspired by our honeymoon in Alaska. :good:


Palette 2

Inspired by our babymoon in Boracay. :sport-smiley-018:


Seems like #2 would go better with the Zen theme - the woods can be used to replicate the sand in beaches? Just an idea!

Edited by jez2014

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The $9000 hole in our pockets

We bit the bullet today, and spent $9000 getting most of the electrical appliances for our home! For that amount, we got ...

  1. Mitsubishi Starmex System 4 Aircon - $4060 This was the cheapest quotes we got, considering that it was for 2x installation, 1/2" insulation, 24 gauge copper pipe, 28K compressor, 2x10K FCU, 1x13K FCU and 1x 24K FCU. We scouted the Gain City Expo sale prior to this, and for the lousier specs (all things same except 3x10K FCU instead of 1x13K and 2x10K) would have cost us at least $4500. Hopefully the installation goes smoothly and we don't regret the money saved!
  2. Toshiba Fridge (GR-W58SDAZ(S)) - $999 We got this at the Audio House fair last weekend. The fair was useful in the sense that we realised that a fridge in the 300-400L range (which we were initially considering) would have been too small for us. Seeing the actual fridge helped us make our decision to get a 554L one!
  3. 47" LG SMART TV (47LB582T) - $899 I got this as one of the hourly special deals - you know, the kind where there are only 5 sets up for grabs and you have to be one of the first to grab the card off the promoters the moment they announced the price. Yup. Can't believe I did that, but I certainly did. Got an adrenaline rush after grabbing the last card, too!
  4. 32" Philips TV (32PFH4509) - $290 Basic TV for the bedroom, the hubbs and I aren't big TV watchers but for $290, it wouldn't be too expensive a white elephant!
  5. Tecnogas Induction Cooktop (TIH 280D) with Tecnogas Hood (TH938) - $930 This was a very good deal. Scouted many places but couldn't find a price that came close! We knew from the start that we would prefer an induction cooktop - cleaning gas hobs are a nightmare for us, and since we do mostly Western style cooking, the induction cooktop would be fine. Most other places sold the cooktop for more than $1000 on its own, but we got the combo for so cheap!
  6. Beko Washing Machine (EV7100) - $390 A relatively unknown brand, but as long as it does its job, who cares about the brand! Hopefully it's as cheap and good as the uncle recommends! Supposedly made in Spain, and only recently made its foray into the Southeast Asian market.
  7. Philips XL Airfryer - $320 This was supposed to be one of the "buy later" items, but since I was at the shop and they were doing delivery altogether, why not? Philips is also having a good promo from now until the end of the year - buy $388 and get $100 in Cold Storage vouchers!
  8. Panasonic Microwave Oven (MNST342) - $115 Basic countertop model. I never knew there were so many different types of microwave ovens! ConsumerReports.org does a good intro on the different types. I initially wanted a more expensive one with inverter technology (for more even cooking) but decided to just get a basic model.
  9. Philips Vacuum Cleaner (FC9172) - $299 I hope it sucks! :yeah:
  10. Toshiba Rice Cooker - $130 Looks well made, and you can apparently even bake in it! Will try it out when I can.
  11. 3 x KDK Standing Fans - $95 each Got white ones with white blades to be as unobtrusive as possible. Wanted ceiling fans initially but was vetoed by the hubbs - he insists that ceiling fans circulate the air but do not cool the person. He wants to be cool, and he doesn't care if the rest of the house is steaming as a result!
  12. Philips Hairdryer (HR4997) - $120 Tested it out and it was indeed very powerful compared to the cheaper models. Seeing as to how I have thick hair, maybe I can finally stop having muscle aches each time I blow dry my hair!
  13. Pioneer DVD Player - $50 Recommended by the uncle for its durability. Hopefully it's really cheap and good!

I bought most of the stuff from Bedok Centre Electrical Co. at Blk 214 Bedok North Street 1. It's one of those neighbourhood shops with only a few items on display but everything can be ordered from the catalogue. Cheaper prices compared to the big names, but the downside is that I could not use my credit card to accumulate points! :bangwall:

Everything was also nicely negotiated, such that we only pay the balance upon delivery, and the uncle also very nicely arranged for 2 separate deliveries - the first for the big items that need to be mounted/built in by the contractor, and the second delivery for the small kitchen appliances! Service was awesome! :good: !

Next step? Shopping for tiles and the bathtub!

Edited by jez2014
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


About Point 9 and Point 11 of your purchase list...

Point 9. Philips sucks for their vacuum cleaner in my own view but I don't know how the quality is now considering I bought my philip bag less vacuum cleaner over nearly 7 years ago.

Barely 3-6 months after the purchase of the vacuum cleaner, it KO-ed and was working fine after sending it for repair under warranty. It KO-ed again after a month or two. Needless to say, I ditched the vacuum cleaner after it KO-ed 3rd time,

for a cheap vacuum cleaner which worked better than philips. It's still at my place to date and working fine now.

Point 11. I'm wondering how your hubby comes up with the ceiling fan circulation reasoning? A ceiling fan can cool the room by circulating the air only, not cooling the air. However, the fan circulation ability will depend on the size of the fan and the room size.

It also helps that if you have air-con in the MBR and the temperature is set for 25-26 deg with programable function to turn off the air con after a while, the fan will help distribute the cool air even more. You can tell the difference immediately & plus,

you save a lot on electricity bill because the lower the air-con temperature, the more energy needed to bring the air to the required temperature. This is especially true in hot weather during the day time as well.

Also standing fans need to unscrew first before you can clean the blades. This is also annoying as you need to do it every few months when the cow webs appears and air circulation is not as fast as before..

Edited by BunBun
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bunbun!

Wow I am glad I didn't buy the bagless unit then! Actually I selected the unit with bags because I read reviews that removing the dust from the v/c would be very dusty. Since we both have sensitive noses, I thought the bagged ones would be better! -fingers crossed-

As for the ceiling fan, well, we are both rather afraid of the heat. I am aware that a ceiling fan works extremely well with the aircon, but we have been using a standing fan after switching off the aircon and it works for us too. Furthermore, we reasoned that since we are not doing a false ceiling, it would not be too much of an hassle should we change our minds later to install a ceiling fan!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some advise on the ceiling fan installation. Although the post-reno installation might look fuss free, it might not be so.

If you only decide to install a ceiling fan post-reno, the electrical wiring will be exposed and will not be aesthetically pleasing. And if you choose to conceal the wiring, the place will get messy from the debris. Also the question of where the electrician will tap the fan wiring from will determine how much mess is created. And if you prefer to have fan switch on the wall, it might affect the orientation of your switches and you might have to buy suitable ones to accommodate your new configuration. Not forgetting touchup painting to follow which is likely diy. It takes lots of energy+time to do an effective post-reno cleanup and you really wouldn't want to subject yourself to another round of cleaning even though it's on a smaller scale.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this