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Been thinking long and hard if I should start a t-blog, because I’m not sure if I can commit to writing one between life, work, and the hectic reno process. But in the end I thought I should try to document the process of shaping my house into a home.

Background

This is a 3 room unit at Punggol, along the waterway. Key collection started on 14 March 2017 for the first 2 blocks, my block is next and I think we'll most likely get our keys in April.

Different from most other t-blogs by couples, the house will be for myself, my mom and my younger brother. Since I’ll be paying for the place (+ reno and furniture/appliances) alone, I chose not to burden myself with a higher loan for my first home by getting a 4R. Hence my budget for reno isn't big at all; my challenge is to make it a nice place with everyone having their own space in a small house.

Floor Plan

I’m quite happy with the layout of the unit, even though it’s small. Kitchen is tiny but squarish, bedrooms are decent size and bomb shelter is not in front of the kitchen. Overall, I have no real issues with the positioning and shape of the rooms. It also has an open concept kitchen.

cFcZmpX.png

Next few posts will cover my mood board, the space planning for the house and ID selection process.

Can’t wait for my key collection! I was never too excited until the recent 2 months :D

Edited by spooky
 

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OMG hi fellow 3 roomer!! it looks like we almost have the same layout. you also have a teeny tiny kitchen like mine, and your household shelter is at the main entrance. will be camping here for updates! 

 

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11 minutes ago, matchalatte said:

OMG hi fellow 3 roomer!! it looks like we almost have the same layout. you also have a teeny tiny kitchen like mine, and your household shelter is at the main entrance. will be camping here for updates! 

Yup!! #3roomchallenges for the both of us, lol. Although my reno will be much, much more conventional than yours :D not planning to do anything drastic in terms of layout, will just try to prettify the place :) thanks!

 

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Just now, spooky said:

Yup!! #3roomchallenges for the both of us, lol. Although my reno will be much, much more conventional than yours :D not planning to do anything drastic in terms of layout, will just try to prettify the place :) thanks!

awww honestly i would prefer your layout, i was just telling my hubby we should have gotten one without a kitchen wall so we dont have to spend money hacking. too bad we werent given a choice whether we wanted walls or not. waterway has such a nice view, cant wait to see the pics of your new home! its always fun to see projects of the same flat type lol

 

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Space Planning

I'm no expert in space planning, but because the goal is to give each person their own space and privacy in a small house, we will need to fit both resting and entertainment activities into each room. That's the biggest challenge because we don't have the luxury of separate resting and play/work areas.

Master Bedroom:

  • Queen sized bed
  • Small desk for entertainment electronics e.g laptop, monitor, speakers
  • 7ft casement wardrobe with bedside cut out

MBR Bathroom:

  • Vanity cabinet

Common Bedroom:

  • Single/super single sized bed
  • TV mounted on wall (to save space)
  • Bedside table
  • 5ft sliding wardrobe

Living Room:

  • Desk for computer and other electronics
  • Small sofa
  • Extendable dining table and chairs
  • Full height shoe cabinet beside bomb shelter door

Kitchen:

  • Glass panel on top of an island, for closed concept but still 'open' enough
  • Sink
  • Hob
  • Hood
  • Oven
  • Cut out for microwave

Next up... some pics from mood board!

Edited by spooky
 

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Mood Board

Actually... I'm still not very sure exactly what theme is it that I like :P I have ideas of the elements I like, but the issue is that I like a lot of things (undecisive :bangwall:) and I have to make sure that everything in the house looks good together e.g. paint colors, furniture colours, laminates... ahhhh it's a lot of decision making and I was always bad at that!

The overall look will be mostly white, light wood and other neutral colors such as light grey, blue, cream. Like many others here, I like the Scandinavian look but recently find myself liking the 'woody' look less and less. We'll see how it goes...

MBR

8289dbed451c84a61062a1e72a0e6afd.jpg

95e5e0c7ee77c55362dcebedbd92c8f9.jpg

Love the grey accent wall
6f9b5e01ef58d26b64477f5b1e22e9c9.jpg

Study desk with drawers
b671a1f97f5ab002a1601f3fe6fcb967.jpg

Hexagon wall shelves
1b5ae81aee44e34384c3f8f28b5ef2d3.jpg

Bedside shelves instead of bedside table to maximize space
3e135c8969412be89d393bea31e2626a.jpg

3f6a176bd3f8edba887936b90ffc69ef.jpg

Kitchen

Kitchen is where I'm still super undecided! Even more than other areas. Not sure which colour to choose for cabinets and countertop :(

e4122815312376b4252b1690ee0dcb5c.jpg

90d967ec0d7c467defde8bb1a9dfbbe7.jpg

8301709b47c9637f68b246ff39ea3539.jpg

9F2qjAZ.jpg

Subway tiles for backsplash
35dbb0f94bd0feb2c31aa9ea8fa43eca.jpg

Planning to do something similar - glass panel sitting on cabinets
bb4e715343d248e98c18cf043d823e4b.jpg

Bathrooms

Hexagon tiles for the accent wall. Planning to have it on the shower head wall though
RDiksol.jpg

Maybe hexagon marble tiles?
JqEUoH1.jpg

Potentially overlaying bathroom floor. If I do, would like bigger, darker tiles
vOF09Yf.jpg

Not having a vanity cabinet for common bathroom, so I'll get a wall-hung sink
99a55f2693ec4b875ca09a07da4d662a.jpg

I won't be having vanity mirror cabinets, so a vanity mirror with a ledge will be nice
ea1518e4103ea9c76c043ae414ec6b48.jpg

Next post will probably be about ID selection process, it's difficult to get that many IDs interested enough in a smaller budget project! :huh:

Edited by spooky
 

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On 04/04/2017 at 0:58 AM, matchalatte said:

awww honestly i would prefer your layout, i was just telling my hubby we should have gotten one without a kitchen wall so we dont have to spend money hacking. too bad we werent given a choice whether we wanted walls or not. waterway has such a nice view, cant wait to see the pics of your new home! its always fun to see projects of the same flat type lol

Aww. I took it without the wall but I'm going to make the kitchen closed concept anyway! LOL. Will be doing quite a bit of chinese cooking in the house, bo bian. My place is at waterway but I won't be having the waterway view :P that was reserved for 4 rooms and 5 rooms. Hopefully the area stays scenic though!

 

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8 hours ago, spooky said:

Mood Board

Actually... I'm still not very sure exactly what theme is it that I like :P I have ideas of the elements I like, but the issue is that I like a lot of things (undecisive :bangwall:) and I have to make sure that everything in the house looks good together e.g. paint colors, furniture colours, laminates... ahhhh it's a lot of decision making and I was always bad at that!

The overall look will be mostly white, light wood and other neutral colors such as light grey, blue, cream. Like many others here, I like the Scandinavian look but recently find myself liking the 'woody' look less and less. We'll see how it goes...

MBR

8289dbed451c84a61062a1e72a0e6afd.jpg

95e5e0c7ee77c55362dcebedbd92c8f9.jpg

Love the grey accent wall
6f9b5e01ef58d26b64477f5b1e22e9c9.jpg

Study desk with drawers
b671a1f97f5ab002a1601f3fe6fcb967.jpg

Hexagon wall shelves
1b5ae81aee44e34384c3f8f28b5ef2d3.jpg

Bedside shelves instead of bedside table to maximize space
3e135c8969412be89d393bea31e2626a.jpg

3f6a176bd3f8edba887936b90ffc69ef.jpg

Kitchen

Kitchen is where I'm still super undecided! Even more than other areas. Not sure which colour to choose for cabinets and countertop :(

e4122815312376b4252b1690ee0dcb5c.jpg

90d967ec0d7c467defde8bb1a9dfbbe7.jpg

8301709b47c9637f68b246ff39ea3539.jpg

9F2qjAZ.jpg

Subway tiles for backsplash
35dbb0f94bd0feb2c31aa9ea8fa43eca.jpg

Planning to do something similar - glass panel sitting on cabinets
bb4e715343d248e98c18cf043d823e4b.jpg

Bathrooms

Hexagon tiles for the accent wall. Planning to have it on the shower head wall though
RDiksol.jpg

Maybe hexagon marble tiles?
JqEUoH1.jpg

Potentially overlaying bathroom floor. If I do, would like bigger, darker tiles
vOF09Yf.jpg

Not having a vanity cabinet for common bathroom, so I'll get a wall-hung sink
99a55f2693ec4b875ca09a07da4d662a.jpg

I won't be having vanity mirror cabinets, so a vanity mirror with a ledge will be nice
ea1518e4103ea9c76c043ae414ec6b48.jpg

Next post will probably be about ID selection process, it's difficult to get that many IDs interested enough in a smaller budget project! :huh:

i remember being in this stage and it was super difficult to combine all my likes into a theme! good luck to you and your reno! will be reading for updates!

 

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1 hour ago, fifteenmay said:

i remember being in this stage and it was super difficult to combine all my likes into a theme! good luck to you and your reno! will be reading for updates!

Exactly! I've always liked the Scandi theme (mostly white and wood) but now I like the neutral color look too... how to combineee? Thanks for reading!!

 

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26 minutes ago, spooky said:

Exactly! I've always liked the Scandi theme (mostly white and wood) but now I like the neutral color look too... how to combineee? Thanks for reading!!

neutral goes with white and wood so not too bad i think!

 

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ID Selection

This will be a long post because I can't make decisions easily, so I was very kiasu and met up with 11 IDs/contractors :o in hindsight I also feel like it was overkill, hahaha. The first few meetings were quite useful but after that it's just me repeating the same things again. 8 of them were IDs and 3 of them were contractors. Most of them were recommendations from Renotalk, or I chanced across their FB page and was impressed by the number of positive reviews and pictures posted.

ID K from Un*** ** - First time meeting an ID ever! She is a senior ID at the firm, but they work in teams so she was paired with a junior. I was disappointed because the meeting was really short, 30 mins. We didn't discuss any details on space planning or design ideas. It was just K asking me what I wanted to have done in each area of the house, without much details. She said she would get back to me with a quotation by our next meeting around 2 weeks later. On the plus side, at the 2nd meeting they showed me 3D drawings of certain areas e.g. kitchen. On the downside, the quotation was sky high and completely disregarded the budget I gave them (exceeded by 12k :wacko:). Also has GST, which matters because every cent matters with a small budget! Dropped.

ID M from Re******** Co******* - Got this contact from a request for quotation from ID M is very designed focus, out of all my meetings he's the one that tried to give the most input about design of carpentry and look of the house. Advice and ideas given were leaning more towards aesthetic purposes and less budget-friendly. Space planning advice was given too, but some of his ideas were not feasible once proper measurements were considered. Throughout the meeting he didn't take out his measuring tape to illustrate feasibility. In the end, the quotation was low (I was happy!) but once looked at in detail, I realized omg so many items I wanted were missing or mis-quoted. Really badly done quotation, dropped.

ID P from Co******* In****** - Very friendly and approachable over Whatsapp, but the meeting was a disappointment because he was very quiet and didn't give much inputs. Mostly just nodded and listend to me while I told him what I wanted. Discussion felt one way. However, quotation that came in was quite accurate (wasn't missing many items) and it was low too, one of the lowest. Considered shortlisting him but I think being able to communicate and click well is important too, so... dropped.

ID J from Do** * T*** - Finally, a ID that I really like. He was very easy to talk to, gave off a sincere vibe who took the discussion seriously. Spent around 2 hours talking to him about each area of the house and space planning ideas. He was the first ID that took out his measuring tape, showed me everything to scale so that he wasn't just proposing ideas from nowhere. Explained about different materials, and didn't seem dismissive nor pushy. Quotation received was good. Not many missing items or mis-quoted items, and prices were decent. Shortlisted

ID A from Co******* - A firm that I came across on FB. Lots of 4/5 stars real reviews on FB (some firms have ratings without any comments by the reviewer, suspicious). This first meeting took 2.5 hours. Very patient guy who really went into in depth discussion on space planning and answered all my questions. Didn't give me the impression that he was put off by my small budget. Also tried to propose different ways of doing things. At one point he went all out to help me visualize the ideas by placing all his highlighters, rulers and measuring tape on the floor to mark the walls and carpentry, lol :lol: quotation I got was good, prices were reasonable and items were accurate. Shortlisted

ID A from Ea*** In****** - Very popular firm on FB. Most are probably attracted to their 0% interest loan option. Meeting was ok... nothing too memorable. He was the first one to give me a quote on the spot right after our discussion, but it wasn't a formal quote, he wrote down my requirements on paper and calculated the numbers. I asked him for an official quote and he sent me one that wasn't itemized, he said it's his company's policy not to give itemized quotations. Although the overall price was decent, I preferred my other options so... dropped.

ID B from IN****** - He did up my friend's aunt's place and it was quite well done. He's the boss of the firm and they build their carpentry in-house, so that they can control the quality (he claims). Firm was impressive but ID B was just too busy. During our meeting he kept getting distracted by phone calls coming in for him. In the end, his blur junior did the quotation for me and so many things were wrong with it. I found out that if I selected them, the junior would be the one in charge with ID B supporting him, dropped!

ID B from Av*** Ga*** - Got his contact from another t-blog on Renotalk! Nice guy, was easy to talk to him and he gave inputs throughout the meeting. He seemed very sincere and accomdating to my budget contraints. Quotation that I got was also reasonably low, one of the lowest ones because he gave me a discount. However... he felt a little pushy to me. I take some time to reach a decision so he would drop me a message every couple of days asking if I had decided. Shortlisted

Contractor K from H2* In****** - I'm sure almost everyone on Renotalk has heard of him. His work looks awesome and he has done many projects of the Scandi style. Meeting was very short, less than 30 mins. It was just me telling him what I wanted. He will not take initiative to propose ideas but if you ask him for his opinion, he will give it. Didn't give the impression of being unpleasant at all, just that it was more of me talking, and he will note everything down. Quotation was higher, more expensive than the other IDs I visited. I also felt like he told his junior my requirements and got them to write up the quote. I don't like this because things are always lost when the message is passed on. Dropped

Contractor H from Im***** ** - He has positive reviews on Renotalk too. Visited him mostly to get a gauge of what a 'real' contractor prices are. Nothing special about our discussion, just me talking about my requirements. His quotation was surprisingly not any lower than IDs, and I saw no value add from him, so dropped.

Contractor E from D* In****** - I believe E is quite popular on Renotalk recently too, due to TWO very popular t-blogs! E will only entertain you if your key collection is near. His first question is always "when is your key collection?" E is a nice guy that was easy to talk to, we had some good conversation even after the discussion. Has tons of experience, even if he doesn't give design input he will be able to know what can work and what cannot. Quotation received was quite low. His carpentry prices are good, although glass/metal/masonry works are comparable to ID firms. Shortlisted

At the end of this looong journey (just the ID selection, omg), I was choosing between 3 IDs and 1 contractor. It was a super difficult decision for me because each one had its plus points and I liked all of them. Since Contractor E's quotation wasn't lower than IDs I was considering, I dropped him. I also dropped ID J although I really liked him because his prices were slightly higher than the other 2 remaining IDs (ID A and ID B). Out of ID A and B, I prefer A because 1) ID B made me a little uncomfortable when he pushed me for a decision 2) ID A's firm has more positive reviews that I'm aware of 3) even though ID A is young, his firm is small with 3-4 IDs and they can always consult with each other if needed, the support is there.

After visiting one of his existing projects and having 2 more meetings with him, I finally chose ID A from Co*******! No idea if I made the right decision even after meeting so many options, but I think I've done what I could. Let's see how it turns out!

I'm ok with sharing any contacts except for ID A (for now) because he seems to have quite a few projects on hand already. I also don't know how his work will turn out to be. Hope you guys can understand.

Next post will be about... electronics and appliances I've bought so far :)

 

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Home Furnishing and Appliances - Part 1

This will be a combination of all furniture and electronics. More parts will be added as I buy more things, haven't managed to purchase that many items yet because my keys aren't here and my current place has no space to store them :(

Fridge - Hitachi R-VG480P3MS

I know I wanted a white fridge, and 395L seems the right size for my tiny kitchen. This is not a MIJ fridge, but good enough for me. Chose the glass door version to avoid scratches. Got this from Gain City member sale.

r-vg480p3msgpw_7.jpg


Hob - Bosch PCC615B90K

I wanted a small hob to save on precious countertop space, so I looked around for 60cm hobs. Bosch's 60cm hob looked the nicest to me and I personally like the Bosch brand, so it's the perfect hob for me :lol: got this from Hoe Kee during their Bosch sales, together with the rest of my Bosch items

MCSA040756_PCC615B90E_def.jpg

Hood - Bosch DHI623GSG

Picked a 60cm hood to go along with my 60cm hob, wanted things in the kitchen to be small because the space I have is also small, hahaha

MCSA00568920_DHI625R_def.jpg

Oven - Bosch HBN331E2J

Actually was debating with myself on whether to get an oven. I never had one and I was afraid it would be a white elephant eventually... gathering dust. But I thought about all the meal prep I wanted to do after seeing online food recipes/videos and I decided to get an entry-level oven just for that!

MCSA030169_HBN331E2_def.jpg

Washing machine - Bosch WAK24160SG

I was confused/neutral between top load and front load washers since I've been using top load without any issues. But on a random Best Denki visit, the salesman psycho-ed me and managed to convince me of the quality of Bosch washers, lol. I also like that I can still add clothes mid-wash. Got a 7kg washer which should be enough for a family of 3. I'm not intending to get a dryer (yet) so I got the version with higher rpm of 1200

MCSA00833824_WAK24160SG_def.png

Office chair - Herman Miller SAYL

I knew one of my personal splurges would be a good, ergonomic office chair as I spend looong hours on the computer at work and at home. Saw a fellow forumer selling a brand new one at a great price so I bought it. Went down to XTRA to try the real thing first before deciding!

herman-miller-sayl-chair-9.jpg

Aircon - Mitsubishi Starmex 2 Ticks System 3 (9k x2, 18k x1, 28k compressor)

Been using Starmex at my current place, so far so good, no complaints. I also used Daikin at an older house and experienced lots of problems, so this was a straightforward choice.

Xiaomi Mi Robot

Something to clean the place up with minimal effort - good for lazy people like me :P read good reviews online before deciding on Xiaomi. Got it from qoo10 at a nice price with coupons. It holds up well against the very expensive iRobot Roomba

2017031501551301v3ne1xj.jpg

Edited by spooky
 

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nice purchases! i love herman miller but cannot afford real designer pcs. guess i will buy replicas from taobao lol. i cannot decide where to buy my appliances from leh. shd i go for the mainstream harvey norman/best denki or places like audio house, mega discount store. i received the member invite from gain city but missed it. is it alot cheaper compared to other places? 

im also having qualms abt buying bosch or other european brands. i heard that once your warranty expires, it will be very costly to repair since their parts are very ex and their customer service also not very responsive. else i actually wanna buy bosch, miele or de dietrich :(

 

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34 minutes ago, matchalatte said:

nice purchases! i love herman miller but cannot afford real designer pcs. guess i will buy replicas from taobao lol. i cannot decide where to buy my appliances from leh. shd i go for the mainstream harvey norman/best denki or places like audio house, mega discount store. i received the member invite from gain city but missed it. is it alot cheaper compared to other places? 

im also having qualms abt buying bosch or other european brands. i heard that once your warranty expires, it will be very costly to repair since their parts are very ex and their customer service also not very responsive. else i actually wanna buy bosch, miele or de dietrich :(

Thanks! :D The Herman Miller I got is the most budget one out of their office chairs, lol. Only went ahead with it because the forumer was selling it for... 45% off RRP? He won it in a lucky draw and had no use for it. For appliances right, I was also confused but from my own observations and shopping, I feel like generally Gain City and Harvey Norman have lower prices out of those big retail chains. BUT the better way imo would be to check for the models online and see how much they are selling for on sites like Lioncity, Parisilk and Megadiscountstore. Also can call up smaller stores like Goh Ah Bee to check. Then you can use these prices to either bargain at other stores, or just get from these sites if you're comfortable. I used the online prices to bargain at Hoe Kee and managed to get them to price beat.

About european brands warranty... I really am not sure tbh. But I'm hoping these products last me longer than if I had gone with... LG. My current place I bought mostly LG products and they weren't very good :/ so... I'm kinda anti-LG/Samsung now (except for TVs). Try to avoid it IF I can. Miele and De Dietrich too out of my league!! Lol :lol:

Edited by spooky
 

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