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Our 4rm BTO Renovation Journey - Retro? Scandinavian? Geeky? I don't know!!!

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Taobao Purchases

Will update this corner with a few selections of the many many things we bought from Taobao. 

- Dustbin

- Standing Lamp

- Sofa
(3 seater, this one has a wooden frame as backing, not like most models whereby the behind has no wooden frame)
The 3-seater sofa costs me roughly $450sgd+ and shipping is about $2.99 using EZBUY's Prime Promotion.


- Wooden Chair

- White Chair

- Track Lights
(They have "Sunlight" color but you need to specify. Sunlight is White light + Yellow light.. so the color is like in between..)
For Living room, you can try getting 4 pieces of 5W or 4 pieces of 7W track lights. For Kitchen, I recommend 4 pieces of 5W as I'm using 4 pieces of 3W but it doesn't seem to illuminate the kitchen well.. 


- Tracks for Track Lights  

- Stool

- Cool Industrial Corridor Light
They have clear lamp cover or milky white cover. I recommend the milky white cover because the clear cover has a more prominent logo..
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.27.31 PM.png

- Portable/Removable LED Light Bar (Chargeable by USB, or with Battery)
I bought the one that can be charged by USB instead of Battery version. It's very useful to temporary light places like inside the wardrobe or some shelves without switching on the main room light.
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.39.35 PM.png

- Household Tool Kit
It was around $15++ when I bought this (12 piece set). 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.54.50 PM.png

- Scandinavian Clock
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.10.34 PM.png

- Pull-Out Tray (installable on kitchen cabinet too, not just wardrobe)
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.18.46 PM.png

- Broom 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.24.07 PM.png

- Dust Pan 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.26.04 PM.png

- Computer Chair 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.31.57 PM.png

- Simple Mini Table 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 10.33.31 PM.png

Edited by Lala86

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Below is a view of the color combination of our final choice =)

There are a few things you need to take note when it comes to flooring:

1) Material
You will need to decide what flooring material you want. Timber flooring looks nice, and you don't get cold feet when you step on them... but they get scratched easily, etc. Then there's marble, concrete screed, Vinyl, etc.. do a research on them and decide on one. For us we went for good ol' trusty tiles.  

2) Color Scheme & Pattern
Now that you have chosen your material, you will need to decide what color scheme you want. For us, we wanted wood flooring but didn't want the high maintenance & cost of timber flooring, so we opted for wood-looking tiles for the bedroom. We also wanted concrete screed for the living room, but was worried that it may crack too much overtime, so we aimed to choose a grey-looking tile that would mimic the cement/concrete look. And because the default kitchen tiles by HDB (cream/beige color) wouldn't match/contrast our living room tiles, we decide to overlay it (inclusive of the yard area) with darker grey color tiles so there could be some contrast.  

3) Skirting (uses certain materials only, e.g. tiles, timber, etc)
Do you want to do skirting? Usually people do floor skirting coz they find it nice, and it also serves to "protect" the wall from getting dirty at the bottom (eg. accidental knocks upon cleaning the floor, etc). However, we opted out of that as in both our parents' houses, some of the skirting had kinda fallen out... (after several years, of course..). It is also harder for the tiler to do non-skirting as he has to cut the edge of the tile (that is facing against the wall) nice nice... as compared to a not-so-precise cut then cover it (the widened gap) with a skirting on top. So it's like "additional" labour but decrease in material usage (since you use lesser tiles). Depending on the id, he/she may decrease the price slightly if you opt for no skirting, but the more experienced ids/contractors will probably tell you it will be same price, no further discount 
:yeah:(becoz even though lesser material are used, it's considered "harder" to do as it requires more precision). Anyway, we prefer the cleaner look of no skirting... though there are some rumours that tiles could popped up easier with non-skirting (as the gap/grout at the wall edges is smaller)... but I observed my parents kitchen tiles (no skirting)... didn't popped... yet my grandma's living room tiles popped (with skirting).... so I conclude it's mainly based on the workmanship rather than whether or not there is skirting. 

4) Other considerations
a) Grout color (ideally to match your tiles color)
b) Tiles sizes (e.g. bigger tiles in living room so lesser grout, long/plank wood tiles looks more like wood as compared to a square wood tile, etc) 
c) Does the Tile label say "No acid wash"? If so, you can't wash it with acidic cleaning chemicals. 
d) Origin of tiles
e) Texture -- Smooth or matte surface, etc. 
f) Cost of tiles (psf). If you see a 60cmx60cm tile saying it is $4psf, it does not mean that tile costs $4 a piece. Note: 1feet (ft) is roughly 30cm. So 60cmx60cm is 2ft x 2ft=4sqft (or sf). So $4psf x 4sf = $16 for that tile. Usually your contractor/id will let you choose around $3psf to $3.50psf tiles.... do bargain on this so you can choose pricier tiles, or take out the tiles price altogether and just ask him to quote you the labour cost of the flooring... so you wouldn't be limited by what tiles you need to choose to meet the price range, etc..
g) Go to Tiles stores like Hafary, Soon Bee Huat & Lian Seng Hin for inspiration. Collect samples (it's free) on the tiles you like so you can further shortlist them at home. Do note the color of the tiles may vary in different lighting 
conditions, and the angle of its placement (e.g. whether you look at it when the tile is lying flat on the floor, or standing up against a wall). 

5) Ordering
Lesson #1: Once you have chosen the tiles you want, leave the ordering to your contractor/id. Tell him the company name & item code. Don't be like me kiasu go and call the company yourself. I had a very BAD experience with Hafary, where I called and a salesgirl said the item is Out of Stock, shipment will arrive on 19th June 2016 (roughly 3 weeks or 1mth+ ... I forgot). I said I actually knew that, I just wanted to ask if I need to reserve them now, she say no need, there will be enough... I asked how many they ordering, she then said is 7000-9000pcs enough for you? And I'm like -__-" err.. ok.. then she said called again when the stocks come, maybe 20th or 21st like that (she said no stock she can't place the reservation also). I said ok. So I called exactly on 19th or 20th.. which is when the stocks is expected to arrive... and guess what, the salesgirl (another 1) said no stock again, the newly-arrived stocks all reserved for commercial use. I said how come you all tell me no need to reserve last time...ask me to call only on the day the stocks arrived, and she then said she's not sure who spoke to me last time... but actually they can reserve if I had wanted/insisted to (so become like my fault...). So I was like quite pissed coz I waited like 3weeks or so for that tile... then no stock. After that I told her nvm about it then and then hung up. After some time, I called their service line again to enquire the same thing... hoping that another salesperson could help me out and guessed what, it's the same salesgirl and she said "Miss, no matter how many times you call, no stock means no stock", and then told me the next shipment is like 3 months later or something. Ask if I wanna place order now. That time I was quite upset already then I told her nvm about it I ask my contractor to settle for me. I complained/ranted to Uncle S about the horrid service I received, then I told him to order the tiles for me, my heart can't take it anymore. I told him the bedroom tiles need to wait 3months later then can do coz that's the next shipment. Uncle S understands and said ok. And then 3 or 4 days later I found the tiles miraculously at my house. So much for "no stock means no stock" -.- That said, their in-store salespersons are more helpful & friendly... the same can't be said about the customer phone line though.
(Left: Axis Nut, said to be restocked in June 2016) (Right: Horizon Brown, my another favourite but Hubby says it's too dark..)

The same happened for Soon Bee Huat where I enquired Tanum Sombra (they said out of stock) & Tanum Ceniza (in stock). I asked if they will be restocking Sombra and they said they will not, that we can only order the Ceniza, but even Ceniza is running low on stocks. Thus, even though Hubby like Tanum Sombra better, we asked Uncle S to order Ceniza since Sombra is supposedly out of stock. Somehow there seemed to be some miscommunication and Tanum Sombra arrived at our house instead (weird? didn't they claimed it was Out of Stock?)... Uncle S asked if we wanna proceed or to return back the Sombra and get Ceniza instead. We chose to go ahead with Sombra as it looks kind of nice actually. SBH in-store salespersons are also helpful & very friendly... I'm just not very sure why they would said something is OOS and don't let me reserve/place order on the spot when they actually do have stocks for it..
(Left: Tanum Sombra, slightly darker, more grey) (Right: Tanum Ceniza, slightly paler/brighter, more white)

As for Lian Seng Hin, I actually went there in search for the brick tile that I want for the brick wall. Their in-store salespersons are super friendly & helpful as well. Saw a living room tile & kitchen tile I like... but too late we already chose & ordered ours from SBH... If you are on a budget & would like to get cheaper non-China tiles... you can consider visiting LSH first... 
(Left: LOFT GRIGIO when lie flat on the floor, and Right: when against a wall, the lighting is different. I find this tile not bad but already bought mine from SBH...)
(find this tile similar and pattern nicer than Axis Nut (Italy).. but it is more expensive and made in China... so never get this in the end)

Conclusion: Just leave the ordering to your contractor/id and spare yourself from the roller coaster rides. Their contacts will somehow get the tiles you want, probably even "out of stock" ones. Do also remember to ask for the salesperson's name whenever you are calling in so you can hold the person responsible or clarify matters with that person again if something goes wrong (This applies to all other customer service hotlines.. not just on Tiles Companies).

Edited by Lala86

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Really a usefull tips for newbie reno :D looking forward for the end result.. 

I think craftstone have a smooth and rough bricks but the smooth is not as sleek as your pic one... I saw it when visiting one of the contractor office and I think they have the red-orange color you want. maybe can check craftstone web..


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On 29 June 2016 at 2:03 AM, Lala86 said:


Hi Edger03 and syahirahs... actually we only just started our reno journey... so I think it's a bit too soon for me to give any reviews on my contractor.. Perhaps I can only comment on these with certainty after hand over stage... or at least after carpentry stage T_T which is still a long way to go... hope you guys understand!  

Hi d3n, really? Thanks. Are you renovating soon?

Hi andytkh2004, it's at Yishun. As mentioned with Edger03 and syahirahs, we only just started our reno journey... I can only update my views on him and the workmanship next time after we have experienced / gone through our renovation. 

Hi JohnJohn, yes, I did that too. Need to leave a carton of packet drinks & snacks in bomb shelter. Hopefully they will also feel appreciated and do nice nice for us... haha =X

Still waiting for my keys...


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