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Our First Reno Journey

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Good Day Everyone!

We are half way through our journey and very soon we are coming to the end of this exciting and smooth (so far so good) final half of the journey (finger crossed). I believe it's time I will do my part to contribute to this community and share our reno journey.

We get to know this community beginning of this year when we know that we will be getting the key to our BTO in July. Have been stalking t-blogs for information, ideas and I must say we are glad we found this community. All the information provided by t-bloggers have greatly help us by making our journey so much more enjoyable and most importantly the amount of time & $$$ saved throughout the journey. Thank you to all t-bloggers for sharing your reno journey/tips/experiences!  

Our Home will be a 4Rm BTO flat in the west part of our little island. We choose a layout with the HHS inside the kitchen.

Pro: Bigger living/dining area.

Con: Really small kitchen. (Can also be a pro as we can save some $$$ on the cabinet :P).

Here's the floor plan:


We did not opt for the additional fittings from HDB therefore the whole unit is bare except the standard tiling work from HDB in toilet and kitchen area.

Shall not post pictures cos nothing to see also :D

Defect Inspection

Only a few defects which we have highlighted to BCS and they rectify it within a week. Some really minor one which we choose to ignore.

So far there is one defect which they can't rectify after coming twice.

Paint crack & bubble at service yard ledge (Service yard direct west sun. Good thing is our cloths will dry faster)





Edited by osiris7777

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Living in a country where we are highly stress out at work therefore we want our home to be a cozy place, a place where we can rest, relax and chill after a hard day of work.

After searching through endless of photos in the net and visualising the type of home that we would love to come back to every day, we decided to go with the usual scandinavian with a little mix of industrial. Will be using alot of wood accents laminate & furniture, white painted walls, warm lighting and most importantly minimum cluster.   

Edited by osiris7777

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ID / Contractor Selection

Pardon me for the long-winded post for this section of my thread. Do read on if it interest you. Otherwise you may skip this section:D

We collected our key on early July and only started making appointment to meet up with ID / Contractor a week before key collection (still in relax mood zz). Somehow in total we managed to meet up with 3 IDs and 4 contractors before we decided to sign up with our current contractor in Sep. Anyway I shall not go into too much details on those ID / Contractor that we have met but we did not shortlist. We got their contacts mainly from t-bloggers who have engage them with positive reviews and some from .

Selection will be based on:

1. Chemistry - Must be able to click (Most important)

2. Acceptable workmanship - Subjective, everyone has different expectation

3. Reasonable quote - Must be able to work within our budget, don't need to be cheapest, too cheap we also scare

4. Contactable - Must be able to reach him / her (If busy at least call back when free, most annoying is don't even return your call)

5. After sales - Willing to rectify defects / issues with the reno after handling over (Of course within an acceptable period)

1) ID A from U**** D*****

Met up at our new place, first ID we met so we are quite blur and he is also blur :~ In the end we have to some how guide him :bangwall:. Quote was over our budget.


2) ID B from R*** & R****

Saw their project which they have done up for a t-blogger here and was impress with the outcome. Got his contact through here and met up at our new place, ask what theme we are going for and things need to be done. Before he left, he ask what is our budget and will send us a quote shortly. We waited for a few days but did not received any quote therefore we text him. He reply and give us an estimated quote which is over our budget. Did not pursue further as we felt he is not keen to take up our project due to our budget constraint.


3) ID C from D***** & R*********

Met up with her at our new place. Experience ID and she propose some ideas which we are pretty impress plus we feel the chemistry is there. Quote was given promptly and within our budget but some items were not included. She's the only ID that give us follow up call and ask for 2nd appointment. Went for 2nd appointment at her office to review on the quote and we feel that some of the items quoted was way above the market rate. Discuss with wifey and decided to give it a miss.


4) Contractor N

Famous N from R*******. Met him at his office. He's really blunt and straight forward. Quote was given on the spot and pricing was really competitive. We tried to ask for discount but he tell us straight he don't give discount :o Due to his competitive pricing and lots of positive review, we decided to shortlist him.


5) Contractor K

Another famous contractor from H*O. Met him at our new place and he ask what are our requirements. Proceed to take measurement without much conversation and the whole discussion was done within 30 mins. We went to his FB page and really like some of his work. Quoted given but was slightly over our budget. Shortlisted due to his work which we really liked.


6) Contractor E

The famous duo from C* R***. Make an appointment with E to meet up at our new place. We went over to our new place at our agreed timing and after waiting for close to 30 mins, wifey decided to call E to check what time he will reach. E pick up the call and told her he forgotten the appointment :blink: No choice, we scheduled another day and 1 day before our appointment, wifey called E to remind him. E came with J, as per normal they ask what we need to do and proceed to take measurement. As we are nearing the end of the discussion, wifey casually ask whether we can see some of their on-going projects and J excitingly answer "Yes we have a project next block, want to view"? Immediately, we went over to view his project and we were impress with the workmanship, especially the carpentry work. Quote came within a few days and was over our budget. Although the quote is out of our budget, wifey and I were really impress by the carpentry work therefore we shortlist them.


7) Contractor E

As you can see most of the ID / Contractor quote were over our budget for the things that we want therefore we decided to look for some more contractor. One fine day as I was browsing through the post in t-blog, one of the post grab my attention and I manage to get the contact of E from TS. He's none other than E from D* I*******. Make an appointment with him to meet at new place. As usual, he ask about our requirement, take measurement and we realise one thing about him during our discussion is if any of our ideas are impractical, he will sound out and suggest alternative. This is something that we really like about him. He does not want us to waste our money doing things that will not last. Quote was given within a week, pretty detail and most importantly within our budget. Of course we shortlist him.



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Contractor Selection - The choosen One

As you can see from the previous post, we have shortlisted 4 contractors.

1) Contractor N from R*******

2) Contractor K from H*O

3) Contractor E from C* R***

4) Contractor E from D* I*******

During the month of Aug, we did not meet up with any contractor. We have met up with all the ID /Contractor in the month of Jul and anyone who has gone through this stage will agreed with me that meeting different ID / Contractor and repeating the whole process again and again can be quite tiring. Wifey and I decided to give ourself a break and Aug will be our cool down period :yeah:

So in Aug, we decided we should do something different. As wifey is a Taobao addict, I decided to assign her what she like to do best. Source for items that we need for our new home at Taobao. As for myself, I will be taking care of all the electrical appliances, aircon and furniture. More to that later in my next post.

Although we are not in a hurry to move in cos we are staying with my parent but we wish to spend our CNY at our new home. So we plan to decide on which contractor to use in the month of Sep in order to move in before CNY. 

2nd Appointment & Viewing of their projects

Contractor E from C* R***

We have seen their project during our 1st appointment therefore we decided to skip this and meet J at his office. J has his own carpentry at his office and that could be the reason why the workmanship of his carpentry is so good. We are not taking loan for our reno therefore we have to strictly work within our budget. The inital quote was over our budget therefore in order to stay within our budget, we have to take out certain things. One of the thing that we took out and wifey is very reluctant is the overlaying of tiles for both toilet wall and floor. Final quote was a few hundred off our budget. After a few days of consideration, we decided to sign up with them and called J but wifey can be quite stubborn sometime, insist J revise the quote (discount $350) to meet our budget since she has already compromise on the overlaying of tiles. J refuse to match our budget and in the end wifey give in because we really like their carpentry work. We tried calling J & E the next day but both of them did not pick up. We were thinking they could be busy with their projects therefore we try again the next day. Same thing, no one pick up our call and not even a return call from them. In the end we decided to drop them cos we think they are not interested to take up our project.


Contractor K from H*O

Met up for 2nd appointment at his office. His office is nicely done and we get to see all the different type of material and laminate. Final quote was within our budget but same thing we have to take out the tiles overlaying. K is the only contractor that give us blum for our kitchen cabinet. We went to view his project and really like his flair for design. Although final quote is within our budget, wifey still couldn't get over the fact that we can't have the toilet overlay, therefore KIV.   


Contractor N from R*******

We met at one of his project, workmanship for carpentry is quite good but wifey pointed out that the tiling work is not up to her expectation. Final quote was within our budget and include overlaying of tiles for both toilet. Although we could overlay the toilet and keep it within our budget, we feel that we do not have the chemistry with N to see us through the reno for the next 2 months, therefore KIV.


Contractor E from D* I*******                

E is the last contractor we met out of the 4. Went to one of his project at Sengkang. Good workmanship for carpentry and tiling which wifey and I are pretty impress. We decided to go to his office to discuss on the final quote. Final quote is within our budget with overlaying of toilet tiles plus we get to choose the color for all internal PVC for carpentry instead of the usual white color which we don't like. We decided to sign on the spot with E and he was taken aback by our discussion :lol: We spend close to 3 hours looking at the different material and laminate and chit chatting.

Reasons we sign with E:

1. Chemistry - Easy to communicate with, he's quite easy going and we feel he's quite honest.

2. Acceptable workmanship - Wifey and I think that his workmanship is pretty good.

3. Reasonable quote - Within our budget and willing to compromise example certain things he forget to quote but give us FOC.

4. Contactable - He set up a group chat on the day we sign up and so far he always respond to our queries within an hour our within the same day if he's busy with other projects.

5. After sales - Can't really comment on this point but heard from some t-bloggers that some of his projects that he done 1 year ago having issues, he still take ownership.

Enough of all the long-winded writing, I shall be posting more pictures on the progress of our journey. Stay tune! :D


Lastly just to clarify that our experience with all the ID / Contractor is solely our own observation. Your mileage may vary. One man's meat is another man's poison :P

Edited by osiris7777
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Cement Screed

Before we confirm our contractor, we had already decided to go for vinyl instead of tiles for all bedrooms and living / dining room.

1) Cheaper as compare with tiles (HDB "free" cement screed)

2) To get the Scandi feel

I drop by the HDB brand office in charge of my estate and submit a form to apply for the "free" cement screed. The officer told me that it may take up to 2 months depending on the demand for the cement screed in the estate.

I was prepare to wait for at least 1 month before receiving any news from HDB but to my surprise, I received a call from HDB sub con in 2 week telling me they are coming to do cement screed in the 3rd week. I told me wife we so lucky don't need to wait so long as some t-bloggers here mention they need to wait for months. I was wrong, the next day HDB sub con call me and told me the free screeding from HDB is only up to 40mm. In order to make it level with the kitchen, I need to top up additonal 35mm. Was quoted additional $950 to top up additional 35mm. HDB sub con was very firm with the pricing despite me trying to nego with him the pricing. 2 options was given,

1) They do 40mm, the balance 35mm let contractor do

2) Pay him $950 and he do everything

Check with E and he say if he do definitely will cost more than $950. Suggest to nego again with HDB sub con.

Told my Wife and she say will call the HDB sub con. After half an hour, wife called and say she manage to bring down the price to $700! :angry: 

Don't know how she do it but at least we saved $250! Afterall the "free" screeding is not really free. 

Screeding done on early Sep




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Renovation Start

We need to apply for renovation permit due to hacking off part of the wall between the dining area and kitchen.

Will waiting for permit to approved, we drop by to have a look at the cement screed and found this at our door.


and this at our bedroom floor


Week 2 to week 3

Renovation permit approved by HDB and let the journey begin!

Hacking of wall done and wiring done




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Till now I still don't understand why HDB cannot do the screeding till 45mm. Free one do incomplete one, so illogical. Anyway looking forward to see more updates of your reno! Have you purchased your furniture/electronics yet?


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3 hours ago, slashmylove said:

Till now I still don't understand why HDB cannot do the screeding till 45mm. Free one do incomplete one, so illogical. Anyway looking forward to see more updates of your reno! Have you purchased your furniture/electronics yet?

Hi Slashmylove,

Yay... HDB always have those funny rules but what can we do :(

Yes! Already purchased 70% of the items. Will be posting more updates when time permit.


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3 hours ago, Totoro0268 said:


Enjoy reading your blog!  Can you pm me the contacts & quotations of the 4 shortlisted contractors?  Thanks a lot!  


Hi Totoro0268,

Tried to pm you but think ur mailbox is full :)


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I have received a few PM asking me for contacts and what are the things included therefore I shall add in this post.

Work to be carry out

Living Room

  • Overlay Vinyl
  • Full height shoe cabinet at Foyer
  • Box up uneven wall
  • Carpentry work to replace existing HDB DB box door
  • L-Box with cove light
  • Box up HHS ventilation hole
  • Lay dedicated power line from MCB to bedroom 3 (This is for my entertainment system :D)
  • Construct tiles at main entrance

Master Room

  • Overlay Vinyl
  • Casement wardrobe
  • L-Box with cove light with false ceiling
  • Box up uneven wall
  • Box up Aircon trunking

Bedroom 2 (Reserved for our kid in future)

  • Overlay Vinyl
  • Casement wardrobe

Bedroom 3 (My entertainment room)

  • Overlay vinyl


  • Top / bottom kitchen cabinet at sink side & bottom cabinet at opposite side
  • Quartz worktop
  • Cabinet base
  • Glass backsplash
  • Hack off half wall
  • Install aluminium frame glass at half wall
  • Install aluminium frame glass swing door at kitchen entrance

Master Toilet

  • Overlay wall & floor tiles
  • Construct shower kerb
  • Vanity cabinet with quartz top
  • Top hang mirror cabinet

Common Toilet

  • Construct shower kerb
  • Overlay floor tiles & shower side wall tiles


  • Install sink, tap, heater, bidet spray, toilet accessories, shower set
  • Dismantle & install 2 x toilet bowl
  • Install vanity cabinet & mirror cabinet at common toilet (From Taobao)


  • Whole house


  • Install light
  • Run light point and fan powerpoint with concealed wire (hack & make good)
  • Install fan
  • Install hood, oven
  • Convert telephone line to LAN point

These more or less will be all the things that E will do for us.

Decided to source on our own for all the room door, toilet door and shower screen.

Am still contemplating whether to install window at service yard :rolleyes: My wife prefer the wide open view without having a window but our concern is rain might damage our washing machine.


Edited by osiris7777

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Everytime when we are going over to our new house, we feel very excited to see the progress of the work being done.

But when we are there, one of the things that we really hate is... The main door. As we all know, during the reno process, we prefer to leave the main door wide open so it's more windy and better air circulation.

Due to the stupid design of the HDB door tensioner, in order to keep the door open we have to find paper and stuffed it between the floor. Good thing is new BTO got alot of paper... Those advertisment flyer at our gate and door step is really handy :D

Therefore we decided to install this little device from Uni-Arm.


You can adjust the angle of the door you wish the door to stay open. No more stuffing of paper haha. Affordable pricing and good service. Highly recommended!


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As I have mention earlier in my post, my wife is a Taobao addict so I gave her the task to source for some items from Taobao. I am not really into Taobao cos:

1. My mandarin is really limited

2. I always believe good things don't come cheap and cheap things don't come good

3. Have the perception that vendors in Taobao are not honest example the things we order when we received looks different from the picture

4. Quality issue

But after going through lots of t-blog and seems like alot of ppl order from Taobao so decided to give it a shot.

Total we order close to 4 cubic meter of goods from Taobao. So without further ado, lets see what we have ordered.

Tap for Master Toilet




Rain Shower






Simple ceiling light in black and white color for common room, toilet, kitchen, service yard & HHS


Dining light


Track light


Floor lamp


LED Strip for cove, shoe cabinet display, kitchen cabinet & master room mirror cabinet


Vanity set for common toilet


Rack for condiments & Knife


Door handle


Sandi theme artwork


Study table




Hifi rack


Order this dining chair but request to change cushion to grey fabric


These are some of the items which my wife ask for my approval before she order. There are still quite a number of small items for kitchen, bathroom accessories she order without asking for my approval :~

Edited by osiris7777

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Tiles Selection

As we will be overlaying our toilet tiles, therefore E made an appointment with us one of the weekend to meet at Hafary Balestier to select our tiles.

We were there early so we proceed into the showroom to view the tiles first while waiting for E to arrive.

Now I know why tiles selection can be such a difficult part of this journey... So many tiles to choose from, we were basically spoilt for choice.

Although we only need to select the tiles for both the toilet but even that we really had a hard time trying to decide. Can't imagine for those couples who need to select tiles for the whole house especially for those buying re-sale flat :bangwall:.

Luckily with E's help and advise, we manage to reduce the number of selection as some tiles are not suitable for flooring and some are not suitable for wall.

Initial plan is to have different tiles for both toilet but in the end we decided to go for the same tiles for both toilet. Decided to go for wood grain type of tiles so that it's more in-line with our theme.

Selected tiles (Darker tone for floor and lighter tone for wall)


Hopefully it will turn out well...

Edited by osiris7777

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