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gumbokins

RENOVATION IS COMING #gameofhomes

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After months of lurking here (or maybe years, I was here back in 2007 when I was renovating my current unit too), I think it's time to start my t-blog!

We plan to start the reno a month from now, and aim to complete by mid-October which is when I have to move out of my current place.

The unit we purchased is a Tampines EM. It was actually our family home, but now that my siblings and I have moved out, my parents felt it was time for a downgrade and it was a good opportunity for us to upgrade from our current 4 room.

 

Floorplan

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Having lived here for 20 over years, I kinda thought this layout was very normal. But both my ID and the HDB valuer said that they had not seen a unit like this. 

Renovation plan

The last major renovation was done about 15 years ago, to the toilets and balcony. The kitchen, perhaps 10 years ago. But we wanted to make this OUR home, so it will be undergoing a major transformation, at least the downstairs, that is. Nothing major to bedrooms other than electrical and painting.

Our target areas

- balcony

- kitchen

- toilets

- study room

- dining room

- living room

We're playing mahjong with the downstairs rooms, shuffling the areas to fit our lifestyle.

Design concept/theme

Our main driving force in the design of our house is......practicality! Haha...I don't have a helper, my kids are still young, I don't like housework (other than laundry), so I wanted a house that would be easy to upkeep. First thing to go were the glass shower screens. No cove lights. Reduced storage to discourage hoarding and clutter, so no overhead cabinets in the kitchen. 

We also wanted a feature bookcase, because we love our books and want an area to display the various trinkets from our family holidays. Oddly enough, this bookcase will be open = dust collection = not practical? However, glass doors are a greater nemesis LOL. 

Some ideas:

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Must...have...blue...cabinets...

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Our initial idea for the study was shelved due to impracticality. But when I saw this....I thought it was beautifully done. *sends to ID*

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Our feature bookcase will occupy the long wall at the living room. Approx. 5 m

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kitchen barcounter...my ID's plan was to use kompacplus but I couldn't get over how thin it was. So my ID said, OK, we can make it a thicker countertop, but use laminate to cover. Then I saw this guy's counter and felt, well, it doesn't look too bad after all.

 

ID selection

When we renovated our current place, due to time constraints we just went with the first ID we met. What a big mistake. The guy was so immature. Lesson learnt!

This time, ID hunting actually started in April. I submitted a request for quotations on Renotalk but didn't get any replies leh. In any case, I figured less is more, and heard that word of mouth is the best so we asked around for recommendations. We visited 4 IDs, and only received quotations from 2. However, Andrew from Designer Guys came highly recommended by twinklecloud and ricepapergirl who also had their EMs done by him, and when we met up with him, he came across as someone we could get along with so I guess you could say it was love at first sight, haha! Andrew was also a little older, more experienced, he was generous with his advice and life stories.

Already we've met him 4 more times since our first meeting, 1 site visit, 2 trips to do tile shopping and 1 afternoon spent in his office choosing laminates (while my kids tore up his office/showroom!).

Our current quotation is a little over $70k, which excludes the fittings and electricals. Can faint? Budgeting an additional 20% for the 'unexpected'. Everytime someone asks me where we are going for vacation, I tell them "Tampines lor".

 

 

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

Shopping

I suppose in a way, we are lucky since we already have most of the major furniture and appliances, and so need not fork out any money for them (although we would really like a new fridge? wait the current one will stick out like an eyesore in my beautiful blue kitchen leh).

Having heard so much about TaoBao....I knew I had to get my fat fingers in there! Thank god for Google Translate. I took baby steps, starting with ezbuy first. Just bought some small random stuff to 'test water' and plan to graduate to buying some big furniture pieces soon. Their $2.99 shipping is quite shiok.

Toilet cleaning brush

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MUJI bean bag

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Coat rack

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Generally, I'm quite happy with the quality of the products. They took quite long to get here though, almost 3 weeks. 

And my other hangout, Amazon!

Delta Pull-Down kitchen faucet

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Yeah I dunno why I bought this. I can only hope that it'll fit! Paid US$155 for it, and the CSO waived the shipping for me.

I've also got my sights set on the Kraus sink but am still undecided about the size.

Scotch heavy duty shipping tape

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US$10, that's cheap right? 

Used medium carton boxes x20

$52.00 for 20 thick, study boxes. They were 'used' but still in great shape. Delivery was also very fast. Yes, even though  my move is 3 months away, I've already started packing and downsizing. 

 
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Go for it! But choose good sellers. Check average price of each good with re-inputting certain keywords or the "find similar" option. If the same pic pops up on the search page, you will see the difference in prices and locations and whether shipping cost inclusive. Don't fall for the cheapest and most expensive. 

You probably won't have the stamina to do for all purchases but the big tickets ones will be great! 

I use Amcon Express for the past 8 shipments and occasionally 65Daigou (now Ezbuy). 

Have fun!

 

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6 hours ago, Danmify said:

Go for it! But choose good sellers. Check average price of each good with re-inputting certain keywords or the "find similar" option. If the same pic pops up on the search page, you will see the difference in prices and locations and whether shipping cost inclusive. Don't fall for the cheapest and most expensive. 

You probably won't have the stamina to do for all purchases but the big tickets ones will be great! 

I use Amcon Express for the past 8 shipments and occasionally 65Daigou (now Ezbuy). 

Have fun!

Thanks! 

It's quite a maze, can really get lost in there but I'm driven to find a good bargain! Ezbuy has been quite good for me so far, their CSO also quite responsive. Not entirely without hiccups and I'm still a little uncertain over their buyforme service but one must start somewhere. 

 

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After Buy for Me, "upgrade" yourself to Ship for Me :)

Most than 80% of my house is Taobao/Tmall. Really saves a lot!

Edited by Danmify
 

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After 6 weeks of quiet (actually I have been busy shopping), RENOVATION IS HERE!

Hacking in progress

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there is some feeling of sadness to see the house torn down like this...

Andrew also took us shopping at Inter Bathroom and Kitchen Gallery. I didn't take pics of anything I bought, though! Will make a trip down next week to photo everything. Basically bought the rest of the house there: WCs, sinks, faucets, storage heater, instant heater....wrangled for a discount, can't remember how much I got.

Ceiling fans - we forked out for a Haiku and bought Samaires for the other rooms. We will have a total of 6 ceiling fans in the house.

Hob - bought a 2 zone induction hob from the TEKA 'sale' for $770

Inspired by the $300k EM reno that was featured in Home and Decor August, we decided to re-do the layouts of the upstairs bathrooms, making the MT larger. Wheee~

We also did away with the wrought iron window grills and will be getting simple alu grills in their place.

Slowly...but surely the bill is creeping upwards.....

 

 

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Probably one of the most interesting things to happen lately is my dad found a whole box of parquet flooring pieces, left over from when they first moved in 28 years ago! They still look like in great condition. Lucky for us! There are some damaged pieces upstairs that will need replacing...

The Possessed Door

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Over the year, the door of Bedroom 2 has caused quite a bit of family drama. For some reason, it has the tendency to slam shut and get jammed, trapping many "innocent victims". The first time it happened, my sister was maybe a year old then. She was napping in the bedroom when a gust of wind blew the door shut. It was locked and we (my grandmother and I) could not find the key. My parents were too far away and we were worried about the little girl inside so we had to call our neighbour, who came with a hammer and broke the lock apart.

This actually happened about 2-3more times over the next 25 years. Another memorable incident was when my MOTHER got trapped inside, leaving my infant daughternapping downstairs on her own. She actually had to call for help from the window. I didn't quite know how to react when I received a call from a kind stranger, telling me that my mother was trapped inside the bedroom and that I needed to call the neighbour to get the baby.

And of course, I suppose the door had to go out with a BANG! (literally) because it happened again on the last weekend before the renovation started. This time it was my son, and my dad managed to remove the door knob to spring him loose. Then minutes later, my dad and my kids got themselves locked in when the lockset was damaged from the hammering! *really facepalm*  Both Andrew and my husband had to kick the door down, like in the movies you know!

We are replacing all the bedroom doors and will be taking some extra precautions with this bedroom, in particular (in case it's the DOOR FRAME that is possessed!).

 

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Delayed telecast...:rolleyes:

hack hack hack

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when I showed my sister the hacking pics, her response was "you mean last time the houses made with real brick??" #btoprefab

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yaay we have a balcony again! that feeling of openness and space #priceless 

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we made the decision to open up the study and convert it into the TV room. Will be installing glass panels so that we can AC this room. 

--

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Our experience with Andrew has been a positive one. He takes into consideration what you want and has been quite spot-on with understanding our needs and vision for the house. He's also very experienced but can be a tad long-winded sometimes. 

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No fancy 3D rendering needed here...just good ol' pen and paper sketching

 

 

 

 

Edited by gumbokins
 

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work in progress

262r32s.jpg

the master bathroom. Initially we chose a hexa geometric tile but something about not being able to match it with complementary tiles due to the new layout meant we had to change them. So we opted for marble ceramic tiles and a dark grey floor. It looks pretty good, quite posh, but has a bit of a 'black hole' effect. It's DARK! very dark..like a cave. I swear it's actually absorbing the light.

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maybe we were really tired by the time it came to the tiles for the common bathroom, because it felt oddly mismatched when we first saw it up on the wall. but after the floor tiles were put in....oklah can accept

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kitchen toilet. chose these interesting wall tiles, love the pokey-pokey effect

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the kitchen has patterned floor tiles :wub: , subway and a wood-style feature wall. Most excited to see how the kitchen turns out, ironically I'm not actually much of a cook. but that may change....(mainly because we'd be too poor to eat out a lot after moving haha)

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the bugbear of resale flat living: pipes EVERYWHERE

I didn't realise this until my sister moved into her BTO, and saw that everything was concealed! Pipes, wiring...omg! Since i'm not having any overhead cabinets, the pipe is just hanging out for all to see. urgh. Andrew suggested to just paint it (black? although I'm leaning twds brown/beige). I'll also work on keeping my sights at eye-level and not looking up.

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the balcony flooring. Everyone loves how this has turned out! It's quite a strange feeling to step on it, expecting to feel wood but instead having the cool sensation of tiles instead.

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the balcony 'rock wall'. we thought they looked interesting. still divided on this one. 

 

 

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2dwgj7t.jpg

opted for a solid sink support because that's what last time people always say. wasn't quite expecting them to use the floor tiles for this though, ha! looks so fancy! Andrew said everything will be covered up though. Kitchen countertop will be kompacplus. 

So it's been almost a month since the reno started, tiling is about 80% done. They've left some parts undone to wait for the electrical and window works. Electrical just started this week, air con will be in next week. We had a meeting with Andrew last week that went on till 2am! (we started at 10pm lah) to confirm-confirm the laminates and carpentry. the man can really talk......

 

 

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Shopping loot

Gosh I wouldn't even know where to start..

- Purchased almost all the ceiling lights from Taobao/ezbuy. Nothing fancy...although one light that I got for the upstairs hallway turned out to be MASSIVE. So we are getting the electrician to install it right in the middle of the void. Just hope it doesn't fail too quickly..(just hope that it even WORKS in the first place!)

33m2xdt.png

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iypit4.png

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- rainshower set from xtwostore

$2000 in store, just over $1000 through xtwostore incl. GST and permit fee. time from order to receiving was close to one month, so plan ahead!

2nvgjyc.jpg

Price in-store: 2cibd5i.jpg

- downlights and outdoor balcony light from ecodo, plus a fancy lighted mirror for the MT (a small blessing in disguise, considering how DARK the toilet is)

Andrew is also dabbling in smarthome technology with SMART BOX, and we signed a basic package with him. 

 

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In the midst of it all, we're packing packing packing! Initially I purchased boxes from cartonboxsupply but then figured I should have just gotten them from Taobao as well! At half the price, some more...quality wise both boxes are thick and sturdy.

We will be using Assalaamualaikum Enterprise to move. $350 per 14ft lorry and subsequent trips by half-lorry loads. I saw them working nearby and was quite impressed by their work, and my colleague recommended them highly as well.

 

 

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Everything was moving quite smoothly, but also quite stressful la. the constant worrying about whether the place will be ready in time, and the sheer amount of dust is like, giving me a headache. I don't know if we'll ever be rid of it!

But Murphy's Law, right? A bit heart pain to even think about it...

We actually went tile shopping all the way back in May. When I saw this display, it made my heart stop; it was truly love at first sight:

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Initially we thought about putting them on the balcony wall (where our 'rock wall' is now) but both Andrew and I agreed that it wouldn't look very oomph as it was a low wall. So we scraped the plans of hacking part of the living room (now dining room) wall and turn that into a feature wall using these gorgeous jungle tiles. This wall would be the pièce de résistance of our house.

The tiles sat at the the corner of the room over the 2 weeks of tiling, teasing us. The wall remained bare as the tilers worked on the other rooms. Then suddenly, one afternoon, they were up, just like that. It was such a exciting moment! I stood there, admiring how beautiful they were....then

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I realised they were UPSIDE DOWN. my heart just stopped. I had to break the news to Andrew. 

For comparison:

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I dropped by again this afternoon, and the tilers were there, doing some final touch ups. Together with the electricians, all 6 of us were standing around the wall trying to figure out if they were really upside down. (For the record, it seems I'm the only one who thinks they are the wrong way around, the other 5 + my husband and his colleagues all don't think they are...men!) But I just cannot unsee! I'm not entirely sure how to resolve this, even though Andrew has said that he will fix it. 

 

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Electrical work by KS Lighting. By chance I kept their invoice when they did my current place 9 years ago and they did a great job (my prev reno in 2007 was full of drama, you can find all my 2007 posts to read about it). And as if we were fated to work together again, they opened up a shop right in front of my house! Go look for Francis :)

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that's a lot of wires..masterbedroom toilet - 2 lights, 1 mirror, 1 exhaust fan, 1 storage heater plus the lighting in the doorway and the ceiling fan/light :jawdrop:

trunking trunking everywhere

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mtphck.jpg

 

Edited by gumbokins
 

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On 23/09/2016 at 5:39 PM, gumbokins said:

Shopping loot

Gosh I wouldn't even know where to start..

- Purchased almost all the ceiling lights from Taobao/ezbuy. Nothing fancy...although one light that I got for the upstairs hallway turned out to be MASSIVE. So we are getting the electrician to install it right in the middle of the void. Just hope it doesn't fail too quickly..(just hope that it even WORKS in the first place!)

33m2xdt.png

29l08pz.png

iypit4.png

10enax4.png

nvzjo6.png

- rainshower set from xtwostore

$2000 in store, just over $1000 through xtwostore incl. GST and permit fee. time from order to receiving was close to one month, so plan ahead!

2nvgjyc.jpg

Price in-store: 2cibd5i.jpg

- downlights and outdoor balcony light from ecodo, plus a fancy lighted mirror for the MT (a small blessing in disguise, considering how DARK the toilet is)

Andrew is also dabbling in smarthome technology with SMART BOX, and we signed a basic package with him. 

Hello I'm trying to purchase fromxTWOstore , 1st time of purchase, is it safe? Total purchase EUR1,212.16, total 15.75kg shipping EUR124.90, no indication of taxes? Thank you.

 

 

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