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Hello all! 

I have been a silent reader and follower of this forum since my fiance and I received our keys in May 2015 - we have been kinda chill about this so the process only started proper last month haha. Before I begin, I would really like to give my biggest heartfelt thank you to all the bloggers here who have shared their experiences because it has helped me so much, if not entirely in my own process.

We are halfway through the renovation process now and I thought I would start writing about our renovation journey and hopefully, our experience would help all of you in your own exciting experience. :)

The initials of our names form WHAT - hence the title ahha. We are both easties at heart so imagine our joy when we successfully applied for a sales of balance BTO in the Bedok area. It is about 10 mins walk to Bedok MRT, and we ain't got a good view (unless you count having a free show of watching your neighbours go about their business as one) but I gladly sacrificed that so that we could still be in an environment we grew up in. :wub:

So here is our very humble home layout - a 4 room unit. 

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I guess you could call our theme scandustrial (are you bored of this already?) but I love the woody warm feel, mixed with a little bit of industrial (black framed glass and wirings), and marble-tops - I will just let the photos do the talking for the inspirations.

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I guess you can say I am into a lot of white, grey and brown shades heh.

 

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ID/Contractor process

We met up with at least 4-5 contractors and IDs and this took us nearly half a year, partly due to us not being actively involved in this until recently haha. Here's our experience with some of them;

1. D from Urban Design

Recommended by my friend who had her renovations done by him. He was very nice, and prompt with following up on quotes. His quote was the second lowest and we liked him, except for a small issue which we felt that there was a lack of chemistry.

2. J&E 

Famous in this forum as most of you would know. I had extremely high expectations and was really looking forward to meeting them. However, I was left disappointed because E cancelled our appointments two times before he finally met us and they were late upon meeting us - I guess it felt like they were not very keen to take our jobs although we understand that they are very busy. Quote was surprisingly one of the highest considering they are more contractors than IDs.

3. E from De Style

Referred to him by a friend (via a networking event). He was very promising and we clicked with him on our first meeting (maybe due to us being around the same age and we felt he understood our design requirements). Unfortunately, subsequent meetings showed that he was not willing to compromise on the quote and our budget and so we decided not to engage him.

4. Nick from Renoguyz

Nick was the very first person we went to for a quote. As mentioned by others who have met him before, he was dressed in t-shirt and berms and slippers and he met us in Macs to discuss the quote. He was blunt and straight to the point, calling some of my ideas "snake with many legs" haha:( but i guess we really liked his honesty and sarcasm. He was also the last person we met to revise the quote and we decided to engage him on the spot because he was both reasonable and we liked how he highlighted some of the potential problems/issues and there was no sugar-coating at all. 

Another reason we chose Nick was because we wanted a contractor and not an ID - somebody who is experienced in the area of knowing what problems may arise in the technicality and practicality of renovations, while I am somewhat confident enough of us coming up with our own designs (all inspired of course, from pinterest :) ) . He's proved to be the right choice..so far :P

 

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Tiling process

First thing Nick told us to do was to decide on the tiles. 

This made me realize how much of a renozilla I am...making my fiance and I go back to Hafary not 1...not 2..but 4 times just to finally decide on our tiles.

We learnt that the Ubi outlet of Hafary was much bigger, had the tiles in more pieces so you could get a better picture of how it would look like eventually and the range even seemed wider than the Balestier outlet! Our advice would be for you to ask your contractor/ID if it's possible to just  choose from the Ubi outlet and hopefully this would be easier for you. We only went to the Ubi outlet on the 4th time, but man we were productive and could immediately decide what we wanted.

For our living rooms, we wanted wooden-looking porcelein tiles and the selection at Balestier for our first three times were futile because all the tiles either looked artificial (not woody) or too industrial (too distressed for our liking)..we finally decided on this set upon seeing this in the Ubi outlet; 

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Bathrooms were the same - we wanted to be consistent with the woody theme and yet still be modern/spa-like (I was highly insistent on overlaying both toilets because I think toilets are an integral part of our lives and we have to use it everyday so we should enjoy doing our business in an environment we are comfy in) so eventually we went for these tile designs;

On the left, grey wooden-looking spanish ceramic tiles (within budget!) paired with greyish tiles for the MBR toilet and on the right, brown wooden-looking spanish ceramic tiles from the same family, paired with cream coloured tiles and brownish floor tiles for the common bathroom.

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We were pleasantly surprised that Nick was super efficient, getting his men to start almost immediately upon our decision (basically if there was any delay, it was because of my fickle-mindedness sigh). 

We went down to check out our unit on that Saturday morning and found his tilers working hard on the living area. I originally wanted the tiles to be placed in a herringbone layout but unfortunately couldn't afford the extra charges so we decided on a staggered layout instead.

Living room

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Completed living room when we went down a week after that - happy with the look of the tiles!

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Kitchen and service yard

Kitchen and service yard with a similar shade of wooden-looking tiles but shorter in length. 

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Completed service yard a week after.

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Concrete sink support up with our Carysil black granite double bowl sink (bought from Heritage)

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Toilets

What i found intriguing while researching on bathroom inspirations was how wood was used to construct vanity tops... which was not going to be very durable for me. Yes, I am the type of person who splashes water everywhere while washing my face (bad habit maybe lol) so we asked for a concrete support vanity top instead - definitely waterproof and lasting :)  Nick was pretty surprised by our request and said he had never done a concrete sink support for a bathroom before us so we are glad it turned out well! Will fill up the bottom ledge with straw baskets to store toiletries and necessities. 

Common toilet

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MBR toilet

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Sinks were also purchased from Heritage. We decided not to change the HDB toilet bowls due to budget constraints for the time being.

 

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JB purchases

Went down last Saturday to Johor to purchase fans and lightings because they are more affordable there. I'm partly enjoying this process a lot because my best friend is doing her renovations too, so it felt more like a day trip to Johor together rather than going there on a mission haha. :lol:

For those of you who are keen to go in too, you can consider cabbing in from Queens St at $48 ($12 per head as there were 4 of us) and the taxi sent us straight to our first location called YES Electrical Shop for $55 in total. Alternative way is to train in for approximately $8 per pax and then uber around (as advised by the locals! cheaper than taxis). You could also take a bus in - that's the cheapest option. 

Our friends bought Le Grand light switches there - we are not sure if it could be cheaper else where but it was definitely lower than SG. Furthermore, we spoke to this friendly chatty uncle who told us how familiar he was with Singapore and telling us why he enjoyed living in Malaysia more haha..lower stress levels, bigger land to do gardening..so true sigh.:unsure: Turns out he's the managing director of the shop after we took his name card while leaving the shop! There were completely no airs about him. If you are looking for light switches, deka fans and kdk fans or panasonic instant water heaters, they are among the lowest priced I have seen because they are doing wholesale. We are considering to get a deka vento-fino inspired fan from there on our next trip. 

At this point, i would like to give a special shoutout to dadajunior for sharing his/her (oops i'm not sure of your gender sorry!) experience on purchasing fans from Johor, because they recommended going to another shop called HT Lighting Sdn Bhd instead of the usual Tampoi (which is more expensive probably due to its popularity among Singaporeans). We went there straight without stopping by Tampoi and we were pretty happy with our buys. 

Over here, we purchased an Elmark aeronamics fan in oak (52 inch) without light for the living room, Vento-fino 2 for the MBR (read somewhere that ceiling fan should not be placed above the bed? Selectively "pantang" about the fengshui in my house:rolleyes: ) and 3 LED lights (2 for the toilets and 1 for the service yard/bomb shelter) for approximately SGD$800 in total after taxes (paid about $31). 

The savings are pretty great i would say, but it does take a lot of trouble to lug the big boxes (quite heavy too) and it was especially tough for us when we decided to take the bus back to save the money. Please be prepared to carry your goods up the bus, carry it down again to go through customs and then finally back up again for the ride back to SG. Train/Cab would be a more comfortable option! And please please remember to bring a foldable trolley to wheel your goods around unless you are strong like the hulk heh. 

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Edited by pipsqueak
 

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16 hours ago, pipsqueak said:

thank you Kara! I have learnt so so much from your blog! :lol:

Glad it helped! :) Sometimes I wonder if I regret not going with Nick.
He's a great guy, meticulous and works very well, very candid as well, but I was a bit scared of his reactions in the first meeting so didn't go with him eventually.

But my chosen contractor totally no design input one so a lot of things I wondered if I could've done differently. I mean, I only have a handful of small regrets around the house, but sometimes you wonder how different it would be if you went with someone else. :D 

Anyway, excited to see how your house turns out. 

 
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On 3/29/2016 at 10:16 AM, xhomesweethomex said:

Good choice to go with nick! haha!

i have a fair share of his sarcasm too. :lol::lol:

Hahaha I'm quite amazed by his ability to simultaneously drive me nuts and crack me up with his sarcasm! Thank you for your blog too, I learnt alot from there!

On 3/29/2016 at 11:32 AM, bykaraanne said:

Glad it helped! :) Sometimes I wonder if I regret not going with Nick.
He's a great guy, meticulous and works very well, very candid as well, but I was a bit scared of his reactions in the first meeting so didn't go with him eventually.

But my chosen contractor totally no design input one so a lot of things I wondered if I could've done differently. I mean, I only have a handful of small regrets around the house, but sometimes you wonder how different it would be if you went with someone else. :D 

Anyway, excited to see how your house turns out. 

Yes i'm not even anywhere near the end and I keep thinking about all the "what-if"s. In your case however, I think your house was beautifully done with all your personal touches and DIY..I would be very happy if my house turns out half as cozy and warm looking as yours!

 

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Installation of aircon

Actually I'm quite paiseh to say that up till now, I am quite clueless about the technicalities of air-con and what to look out for..so I cannot provide much information in this area. Our chosen air-con guy also installed my fiance's family's air-con and they liked his after-sales services - he would personally go to their house to fix their air-con immediately if they have problems with it.

The cost of our air-con was not cheap and it was not my first choice (I was very keen on MHI but they did not have their option available weirdly), so we chose MItsubishi Starmex with an upgraded insulation, although I don't know if that was a wise choice since I read somewhere that a thicker insulation only reduces condensation sweating by 10%. :unsure: I am just basing on the fact that both of us are heavy-duty air-con users so hopefully this helps in some way. Also, due to the layout of my house, the trunking had to run through my MBR toilet and across my feature wall :~...doesn't help that we chose a thicker insulation so man, the size of the trunking...I must say that our aircon guy was not bad lah, he was nice and came down to visit us again and explained why the trunking was routed that way and how we could cover it up with possible alternatives.

BTW, this installation will take over 2 trips so photos showed what was done during the first trip. 

Living room

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Corridor

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Master bedroom

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Across my feature wall...fml lol. Our options are to box it up or tile over, we have not decided yet but will likely tile over. I've grown to be more accepting of this although I nearly fainted the first time I saw it. 

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Purchases from Ban Kim Chuan and Expo Sales

Spent a bomb over the weekend at Ban Kim Chuan and Singapore Expo. Only places I've checked out the cost of hoobs and hobs are actually Hoe Kee, Courts, Lion City before settling on Ban Kim Chuan at Bedok. I'm sure there are possibly cheaper shops out there, but we settled for this because my parents are long-time buyers of this shop we decided to follow suit :)  

I was contemplating not getting a hood because the house I am currently living in doesn't use one and I am not used to having one..let alone the thought of  cleaning it and maintaining it. Eventually, we decided to get one because it would not be practical to go hoodless when there is a cabinet hovering above the hob. We thought Fujioh hob was the easiest to maintain, since all you have to do is just remove the metal tray and wash it, as opposed to cleaning a grease mesh filter.

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Decided on bosch hob because..it's a Germany brand? Haha..quite apprehensive when I read about their poor customer service but I'm just hoping against odds that this hob doesn't fail me. 

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Ariston oven... actually i don't bake often. I only know how to bake chocolate lava cake lol and we are not exactly dessert fans either. I guess the only reason i got this was because I'm keen to replicate my fiance's family charsiew recipe (authentic hong kong charsiew!) hahaha. Maybe bake shepherd's pie too. I guess I just wanted the option of being able to bake. We also thought about getting a counter top oven but then a good one we saw was more expensive than this model. This oven is probably chalked under my list of impulsive buys. :sport-smiley-018:

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Total damage was slightly below $1.5k for the above 3 appliances.

Singapore Expo Furniture Fair

Reason we went for the furniture fair wasn't because we were looking for furniture, but rather because we signed a package with Evorich during their anniversary (another impulsive buy ugh) so we were there to select the HERF design for our bedrooms. Still deciding between Markham Oak Medium (left) or Kentuck Oak (right) for our bedrooms. 

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Ended up passing by this dining table and we thought..hey the wooden legs would look good with a marble table top. The salesguy who was an ah beng told us he could customize one for us. We seem to be a sucker for ah bengs sales talk..I would say Nick is quite ah beng too. :rolleyes:

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So we chose this grain among the designs available.. This actually isn't real marble and it's called cultured marble..I actually preferred that it isn't real marble coz it is easier to maintain haha.  

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This dining set (including 4 wooden dining chairs with fabric/leather) cost $1538.

To be honest, we are not sure whether this would fit in our theme, which we also not sure what it is anymore haha. In any case, we thought this dining set would look pretty good with concrete pendant lamps (fiance's idea!) hanging over it. 

Like this particular one I saw on likelightsSG instagram page - concrete-looking lamp; smooth on the outside, but has a crater-filled surface - that's why it is called the Moon (how apt!). Will visit the shop to decide if this would be our dining room light. 

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Looks like we are going eclectic here then!:good:

 

 

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I don't know the superstition about having a fan over your bed, but I was told that constant movement caused by the fan would mean that you would not get a restful sleep. For me, the phobia of the fan dropping on me while I sleep prevented me from having a fan over my bed.

 

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On 28/03/2016 at 6:49 PM, pipsqueak said:

JB purchases

. We are considering to get a deka vento-fino inspired fan from there on our next trip. 

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hey there, I have an extra vento fino 2 from JB tampoi lighting. Similar to one in your picture except can oscillate and slightly longer fan blade with more power. Never been mounted and i'm selling it. You will get the box with original contents, original receipt (I actually bought some other Fan in this receipt) and warranty card as well. If you are interested PM me.

 
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