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Hi fellow Renotalkers, we are currently in the midst of renovation and found reading and learning from the collective experience of others to have helped us so much in our journey! As such we have decided to document our renovation and review the good and bad decisions we have made along the way. Hopefully it helps some of you out there!

Our theme for this house is Eclectic Scandinavian. We wanted a mostly Scandinavian theme but wanted to attempt to incorporate some eclectism into it! Basically indecisive people needing an excuse for random out of place furniture :P I suspect the house is going to still turn out 99% scandinavian but we'll see how it goes! Below is our moodboard for the house!

Living Room






Master Bedroom


Of course, the journey first started with stressful ID/Contractor search and space planning

We met about 6-7 ID/contractors in total. There's so much to say about this step but I think it can be summed up by going with your gut feel and with someone whom you can trust/can click with!

Some thoughts on the whole process

  • meet a few IDs/contractors at least before deciding
  • Try to know your requirements before meeting them, and try to standardize the items that they quote you as far as possible so that you can compare cost
  • Research and know the market price of certain items before going - e.g know the rough cost of floor tiles PSF, cost of labor for tiling psf, cost of quartz/granite/solid top per feet run, cost of cabinet carpentry per feet run, cost of paint etc. Much easier to bargain if you know which are the overpriced items on the quote!
  • Specify the material you want as far as possible
  • When one ID/contractor tells you something isn't possible, run the same problem by the other ID/contractors. We found solutions for many problems that way!
  • Most importantly is how prompt they are. You will need to contact them a lot during the phase of renovation and it will make a huge difference if they are fast. If they cannot even give you a quotation on time, there's no way your renovation will be on track.

Our main areas of built in

  • Living room
    • Craftstone brick wall
    • Wall low cabinets
  • Kitchen
    • Hacking of wall
    • Kitchen island
    • Top and bottom kitchen cabinets
  • Toilets
    • Vanity cabinet and shower screens (half for common, full for master)
    • Barn door for master bedroom toilet
  • Master bedroom
    • Straight Wardrobe
  • Flooring
    • Floor tiles for living room and vinyl for bedrooms

Decided to minimise built in furnishings in the bedrooms so that they will be flexible in their use in the future! 

In the end we decided to go with a contractor as we felt he was efficient/prompt and had the confidence that he would be able to pull off the requirements we had. Didn't see a need for an ID as we felt that we would be able to design the house by ourselves! Turned out to be both a right and wrong decision at the same time! We had the space planning and concept in mind but honestly ended up struggling so much with paint colours, lighting positioning and furniture selection :P!

Below is a super duper untidy and unprofessionally drawn copy of our space planning! Funny circles with crosses in the middle is my way of indicating chairs HAHA


We're some ways into the renovation and will try to compile categories together so that it will be easier to read! :) 

Edited by aquartermark

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1. Humble beginnings (Initial pics/Defect checking/Tile Selection/Start of reno!/Electrical works)


Initial Pictures of the house!

First impressions on entering the house: It's small as expected! probably not a bad idea to hack the kitchen wall :) Loving the length of those windows though!

Living room


1st BR


2nd BR


Master Bedroom


Common Toilet


Master toilet



Defect Checking

Maybe we weren't very picky people but our defects were generally few and minor stuff. Glad that there were no major waterproofing issues or cracks in the walls! 

We used this checklist we found online  http://www.bridetomum.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/HDB-defect-checklist-BTO-Singapore.pdf 

It does take time for defect checking and we kind of procrastinated for a while before doing it...If we could do it again we would probably start as soon as possible! That's because rectification works can take time so starting earlier will ensure it won't affect your renovation start timing as well :)

Just a few snippets of minor defects we spotted after a morning of sweating! :o I've read of defect checking services provided by some companies but unfortunately, we didn't have the budget for it!

Tip: important things include making sure all drains/taps are functioning/no major cracks along all the walls...and pay attention to fittings like the shower heads as well! We had a shower head holder that was missing a screw that we didn't pick up until a few weeks down! :o 





We mainly had to select floor tiles, kitchen back splash tiles and kitchen island tiles. Decided on a matt looking whitish tile for the floor (for no reason other than the fact that we liked the grain...terrible designers we are :P ), the classic white subway tiles for the kitchen as per our moodboards. The biggest issue we had was finding an appropriate encaustic tile for the decorative face of the kitchen island...in the end decided for one we saw at Soon Bee Huat. For those who are looking for encaustic tiles, I have included a list of the shops with decent ranges of encaustic tiles! I think at the end of tile selection I must have dropped by almost every single major tile shop in Singapore :wacko:

Floor tiles! We thought it was gonna be white but turned out as a bit more grey. ohwell! Still looks nice!


Kitchen island face tiles!  Have no idea how it will turn out...hopefully it works! If not we'll just call it eclectic... hahaha




  1. Start the tile selection process early! Best to scout out the shops together before the day of tile selection with your ID/Contractor...so that you won't have to make so many decisions in a single day
  2. Tile shops selling a decent range of encaustic tiles
    • Hafary
      • Wide range, reasonable prices, very popular place!
    • Soon Bee Huat
      • As popular as hafary. Showroom in Jurong is huge!
    • An Huat Trading 
      • A wide selection of tiles in colour combinations that are usually not found in the other large shops. A bit more on the pricey side
    • Unlimited enterprise
      • Not the largest selection but still decent
    • ArthurZaaro
      • They sell furniture that uses encaustic tiles but also have a wide selection of tiles that you can choose to purchase wholesale. The owner, Aaron, is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about tiles and is a pleasure to work with!
    • Sin Lek Building materials
      • They don’t carry the tiles in stock but have a wide catalog that you can order from and get your tiles delivered.
  3. If you do find an encaustic tile you like, no harm buying it first (or at least reserving) so that it won't sell out after you have decided on other colors to match that tile!


Finally we got started!

Fortunately or unfortunately our contractor was so fast that on the first day of renovation he has already hacked and patched up the kitchen wall....and thats when we realized we HAVEN'T decided on the electrical/lighting points we wanted! :P things got delayed even further cause we felt his electrician's quote was high and sourced for our own...anyway we were such slowpokes that he proceeded to tile all the areas that wouldn't be affected by the electrical works HAHA

Tip:There's a fixed order in which things occur and its important to ask your contractor/ID for the timeline (or order of things) so that you'll know what you have to do next! Renovation usually starts with hacking, followed by electrical works before putting up the tiles! Remember to decide on electrical points/lighting points early so that you won't have to make a rushed decision! (esp for those doing the design by yourself)


Wall prepped for bricks!


Kitchen subway tiles up before we even could blink! He left the side for the electrical wires open for now for us indecisive people :ph34r:


Wall hacked and patched! Small area of wall left for the fridge



Bricks going up!IMG_0927.JPG.3edc021775dd0abb9738b53916f7d0e2.JPG


Electrical works

The cause of 1 week worth of delay! We decided not to go with our contractor's electrician and to get the electrician who did my current house. Initially we were worried that there would be coordination issues but both parties were quite willing to work with each other! What a relief.

Tip: Arrange for a meetup between your ID/Contractor and electrician (if you are outsourcing) on site to do a discussion on the points to minimize coordination errors! 

Okay whew that's been a pretty long post! Till next time!

Edited by aquartermark

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15 minutes ago, hoWL said:

Very nice choice of tiles for your kitchen and living room. May I ask how much did the craftstone brickwall cost you?

Its a 4.1m wall, most quotes came up to around 2.4k! was also quoted an option of 1.3k for labour (tiles not included) by one of them


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3 minutes ago, aquartermark said:

Its a 4.1m wall, most quotes came up to around 2.4k! was also quoted an option of 1.3k for labour (tiles not included) by one of them

Thanks aquartermark, that's a very reasonable quote. Will be using that as the basis for my wall tiling as well since I am getting the bricks myself.


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17 hours ago, hoWL said:

Thanks aquartermark, that's a very reasonable quote. Will be using that as the basis for my wall tiling as well since I am getting the bricks myself.

We've considered that too! If i remember correctly the price direct from craftstone is around 900-1100 and if you get from taobao you can get it much cheaper


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14 minutes ago, aquartermark said:

We've considered that too! If i remember correctly the price direct from craftstone is around 900-1100 and if you get from taobao you can get it much cheaper

Indeed. Already placed order from tabao for 22 boxes at a total of SGD$214.

Including shipping, the bricks will cost me slight over SGD$500, saving me more than half the cost of getting direct from craftstone!


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