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Hi all!  I've been reading along and waiting for my renovation to start for the last few months, and finally the day has come! :)  We bought our 5rm resale flat in December, got the keys in January, and had to wait until after CNY to begin work.

Our theme is American-inspired, with a heavy emphasis on child-friendliness and ease of maintenance since we have two little boys and no maid (except me :P ). 

Here is our floor plan:


Our flat is about 30 years old and most of the fixtures and finishes appear to be "original condition".  In other words, we'll be doing a complete overhaul.  

We've had lots of time between December and now to contemplate our renovation, and met with 13 IDs and one contractor.  The first ID we met was at the recommendation of our real estate agent neighbor.  Their quote was much too high.  Then we spent 4 weeks collecting incomplete quotes, meeting with IDs who didn't like our ideas, and meeting with IDs who were adamant about keeping and overlaying our icky 30-year-old tiles (this isn't a BTO!).  The process really was helpful in solidifying the details of what we wanted, but it was tedious pouring over all of the differently formatted quotes and comparing them in a spreadsheet.  Meanwhile, that first ID we met had been repeatedly asking for a second meet-up.  We had been blowing them off, but since we had only shortlisted one company at that point, we sent our revised list of works to them to re-quote and they sent back the first and only complete quote we'd  gotten-- and it was competitive.  Since they seemed to want the job more than anyone else (trying to keep in touch and preparing a well-thought-out quote) it was a no-brainer.  

Edited by Rynaed

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We wanted wood-looking floors for the living and bedroom areas.  Since our existing floors weren't in nice enough condition to overlay, HREF wasn't going to be any cheaper after hacking & screeding the floors, so we chose wood grain style tiles from Hafary.  They are 15 x 90 cm tiles from China, so I'm a little worried about lippage.  Fingers crossed!


In keeping with the American look, we requested white laminate skirting boards instead of using tile skirting.  We will have to be careful to keep these dry since mdf warps horribly.  Perhaps in a few years when we're less broke we can upgrade to timber skirting.



The windows in the flat are old, scratched, and have peeling tint stickers on them so we'll be replacing them all.  As much as it pains me, we also need grilles for the whole house for the sake of the kids.  We asked for big squares/rectangles style grilles in powder-coated white so we can sort of imagine they're colonial style windows :P



Our doors are the ventilated/louvred style, and as you can see they don't even have proper lintels.  We need better privacy and sound-proofing, so we're replacing them with solid doors and hoping the kids stay in bed, asleep.

Edited by Rynaed

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I wanted a warm/earth-toned living area.  Since the floors are dark, we're doing a light taupe wall and white trim/accents.  We're getting all of our furniture from IKEA because this reno is stretching our budget quite a bit, and besides, Americans shop at IKEA too ;)

Since my husband and I already had all of our design ideas before we signed with our ID, I had been toying around making my own 3D drawings with RoomStyler.  This is roughly how we're hoping the living room reno will go:


We will be removing the glass balcony doors and levelling up the floor to combine the space.  The sliding kitchen door will be wooden with tempered glass panels. 


The Kivik is the only couch in our budget and we wanted a machine washable cover in a color that wouldn't show dirt too readily (kids again), so we're getting gray even though it doesn't exactly work with the colors.  IKEA also has a gray-ish beige-ish area rug that I'm hoping will help tie things together and brighten up the room a bit.

From the other side:


My husband wanted to make sure the kids can't push buttons or yank at cords around the television, so we're doing a suspended BESTA console above the TV.  We'll have the electrical points wired up high so none of the cords will be in reach.  They'll still be able to reach the TV so hopefully, a combination of super strong mounting and behavior reinforcement will do the trick there.




To save a little money, we are only doing a subway tile backsplash for the kitchen and the other walls will be plaster and paint.  I would love love love the shaker style cabinet doors that I see some of you doing, but it's not in the budget for us.  Instead, we'll just have dark wood grain laminate.  We ended up choosing a beige, flecked worktop to help hide the inevitable (in our house) stains.  


This time, the 3D rendering is from my ID.  Much more professional looking :)


We are shifting the entrance to the common toilet so that we can put a glass panel on one wall for the shower.  We opted out of having a door for this shower since we still have to help the kids shower and it would just be an obstacle for that.  The master toilet will have a full shower panel with a door.


Instead of wardrobes, we're doing American style closets.  It's basically just a gypsum partition with sliding doors but no built in shelving/drawers etc.  We will put up a bar for hanging clothes, and a high shelf for storage, and then customize the space as we need to.  One benefit of doing this is that we can dismantle and store our guest bed in the guest bedroom/playroom closet when it's not in use.

Here's an example of the type of closet we want:



The main door is also original and needs to be replaced.  


I've always wanted a pretty, colorful door.  Especially since it's the only part of our exterior that we can customize.  Our new door will be inspired by this one:


The plan is to do away with the main gate completely and paint the door a dark navy blue.  I've already ordered white vinyl stickers for our address to put on the door from here.  I liked that they had so many fonts to choose from.  If anyone knows of a local place that does custom die-cut vinyl numbers/letters, please do share it!  I order things internationally as a last resort.

Edited by Rynaed

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We only bought a handful of things for the house from amazon:

Corelle dining ware because it was free international shipping and much cheaper than buying locally:


Blackout curtains to block some heat and noise since our window glass will be clear and un-tinted:


Pull-out kitchen faucet:


A Kwikset Kevo because my husband really wanted a smart lock and we couldn't find any here for less than $350:


And finally, a pegboard because I really wanted a pegboard in my kitchen:


Re: the pegboard, I searched high and low locally for one of these but I could only find the metal kind with the small holes, and I wanted a hardboard/masonite one so that I could paint it.  Like this:


I'm also almost positive that these can be found in JB, but didn't want to go through the trouble of searching some more, so we just ordered it and shipped via vPost in the end.


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Hacking finished today so I went down to the flat and got some photos before they start tiling.  Lots and lots of premix screed stacked up inside.


These sections of thick walls had been curved so we asked to have them squared off.


Here is the stripped kitchen:


Our tiles were also delivered :)



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I love your design, which ID company u engaged?

I will collect my key soon. Looking for good review ID,  Can PM me your ID ? what is the total damage for ur house and electrical work?

Appreciate your help and thanks in advanced.



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Hi EmilyChong, thanks for the compliment and best of luck to you with your upcoming renovation!  We're still quite early in our project so I can't really give a fair recommendation on our ID until after work completes, hope you understand!

iluvfff - it's true that someone could enter your house with your stolen phone if they know your address; however, if you lose your phone you can log into your Kevo account online and disable your lost device.  We like that we can give out and revoke temporary 24-hour access keys to people for when we have guests staying with us or family house-sitting etc.


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We are now about 2 weeks into our renovation and tiling has begun.  Here are some photos I took this morning:

Our subway tile backsplash is nearly complete!  Unfortunately, several of the ceramic tiles in one box were damaged (I snooped), so they couldn't finish it just yet.



Our new wooden doorframes (replacing the original metal ones) have been put in, and the new entrance to the common toilet has been created.



Also, the wall tiles are up in both toilets except the areas around the windows, which still need to be replaced.  You can kind of see the wall tiles in the master bathroom here.



The tiles seem straight and nice so far, although I'm feeling a little anxious as we're almost halfway through our tiling schedule and still no floor tiles.  Not that I want rushed work of course.  I'm just kan cheong because my mother & stepfather are coming from out of the country to stay with us middle of next month (2 weeks after planned handover). 



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Hey Rynaed! Poppin to your blog to have a look after you left the note on mine that you are also not having a gate. I love your old main door actually and if the condition is good I would have get the contractor to send down and repaint it. I was looking for your kind of door in white so that I can have it painted but only found what I have now which is in wood color. The only thing we did was we requested the door to remain unvarnished and that is the most "raw" form we can find.

Congrats to your new place and I love the space your new home offers.

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