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The search for a home for my fiancé (S) and I began around 10 months ago. Knowing that we would be planning to get married sometime in 2017 and that we would want to move into our home right after our wedding, we wanted to get an early start on the house-hunt.

Fast forward to July 2017, and as of two days ago, we are now officially (both on paper and in practice too – we just received our keys!) home-owners of an HDB executive maisonette in the west side of Singapore (:

We’ll be doing some pretty extensive renovations (pretty much a complete makeover) – hacking, shifting layouts of the existing rooms, flooring, electrical works, a whole great deal of carpentry etc. 

The original floorplan:

5965b89292b7e_floorplan.png.4acd9d4cf889f5e79a3abec9e0d79d21.png

The 2 biggest changes to the layout will be:
1) Kitchen: As an avid baker, I know I'll be spending a great deal of my time here. So one of the prerequisites in our house hunt was to find a place that could accommodate a big kitchen. Thank God that HDB has approved our proposal to knock down the existing wall between the study and kitchen, so that we can convert the entire area into 1 giant kitchen (:
2) MBR: One of the first things we noticed when viewing the flat was that the existing corridor space outside Bedroom 2 is pretty much a dead space. So we decided to wall in the entire area, "reclaim" the dead space for a walk-in wardrobe, build a door from WC2 to Bedroom 2 and use that as our MBR instead. 

One more layout change is to make WC3 into a slightly more squarish layout, as this would improve the layout for the kitchen, and what will become the "corridor" to the yard area doesn't have to be quite so wide anyway. This is still pending HDB's approval though, but we're keeping our hopes up and praying hard!

 

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11 hours ago, Clarence Lye said:

wow big house.. where is it and how much did you bought it for?
Love the giant kitchen that you're gonna have. It's gonna be masterchef worthy. :lol: LOL.

It's somewhere in the west, and well... we got a pretty reasonable price, bearing in mind the crazy $1m EMs out in the market :o Hehe thanks, I'm really excited about the kitchen too!

 

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The "ID"

Very broadly speaking, from what I've seen, a big difference between an ID and a contractor is that an ID provides the additional "value-add" by doing space planning and providing 3D renders. Basically, the creative/design side of things. Whereas a contractor just builds according to what you specify, but you have to be very clear about what you want and where you want it, cos you can't expect the contractor to be advising you on how to maximise your space or how your layout should be like. 

In the midst of our eventually-fruitless ID hunt, I discovered a secret talent of my fiancé S. Seemingly overnight, he turned into a Sketchup pro, taking all my ideas of my dream kitchen (and eventually house) and turning them into fantastic designs! This was right about when we met up with our carpenter from CC as well, so that basically settled the issue once and for all of whether we needed to engage someone who could handle the design side of things. 

[Sketchup is a free 3D modelling software available online. To me whose only experience with designing houses is in Sims, it’s pretty mind-blowing. S used to work with CAD software at work, so he was able to pick it up very quickly.]

At our first meeting, F suggested the idea of a mudroom concept in what is originally designated as the dining room. Sort of a foyer area to kick off your shoes when you enter or where you can sit down and lace up your boots before leaving:
59671aa85e074_mudroominspiration.jpg.d01d9068b242807cba6abc697425a213.jpg

So after many many rounds of revision, S came up with this design: 
mudroom.jpg.90ec4c7864cc1cbda2792ec35c3e9188.jpg
Seating on and storage below the benches, overhead cubbies for storing sports gear and other knick-knacks, and tall pull-out drawers for all my shoes!^^

View from the mudroom: the "corridor" linking the entrance to the living area will be kept clear. Ooh and also rafters overhead spanning the whole of the first floor, to really give it that farmhouse look. Not purely for aesthetic purposes though, cos they'll also be used to house the wiring for ceiling fan/lights. 
59671aa5053f3_frommudroom.jpg.f06ff2205c8c492df23674adedcdee08.jpg

And here's a render of the living/dining room: 
living_render.jpg.05ccc39cbe22719bac15095fce31a8fe.jpg

As we've decided we won't be having a telly, we'll just have a cosy living area with a 2-seater couch (ignore the armchair, it probably won't be there) and coffee table. The rest of the space will be given over to an 8-seater dining table, which is where we imagine most people will gather around anyways when we have family or guests over. 

Also another wacky-cool idea that S dreamed up is our one-of-a-kind "piano hutch". I'd really wanted a buffet hutch somewhere in the dining or kitchen area, with nice glass display cabinets, something like this:
59671aa492bc9_buffetinspiration.jpg.dc68115be2b807c9d76e3219fc65eafa.jpg

It was clear that it'd be too tight to fit it anywhere though, which is when S came up with the crazy idea of having the hutch double up as a piano bookshelf. We've been advised that it might make it a wee bit difficult to access the piano for tuning, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there :D

Moving on to the kitchen, this is roughly the layout we've decided on, although the position of the fridge will be shifted to be beside the range cooker (with 1 cabinet space still in between), and the tall unit (housing oven and microwave) will be shifted to the corner on the right (where the coffee machine currently is).
kitchen1.jpg.03785ef2bf631d65a8d7c2fb9c7bb268.jpg

59671aa58a761_kitchen2.jpg.e8c056ab448f5464a734990694c81ab7.jpg
The stove backsplash is something which gave us quite a bit of headache, because we simply couldn't quite find the right tiles to give us the look we wanted. Eventually, S found the elusive tile trim at a tile shop recommended by J, An Huat near Great World City (all the other big tile shops don't seem to carry such stuff). Our design is quite closely based on this:
59671aa42c16e_backsplashinspiration.jpg.366db595e58d726c737e8aa1ff707fe6.jpg

And here's a render of the kitchen...kinda dim cos the only light source currently comes from the pendant lights hehe. Here the fridge is in a more correct position. Also the island sink will be shifted over to the right side of the island, to be nearer the cooking/baking area!
kitchen_render.jpg.6cac49bac854c542cc892a5948c0656c.jpg

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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Kitchen appliances

The central point of a country kitchen is the stove (though in our modern society, it's more likely to be the microwave :p). From many months ago, S and I began discussing whether we'd want a built in hob, or a freestanding one. 

596845d1942c7_bigchill_mint.jpg.aa19142d898f30b5cd188f20e225ea84.jpg
Gorgeous mint appliances from Big Chill

A freestanding range cooker is a majestic creature, but sadly it is an endangered species in this side of the world. I could only look wistfully at the classic Lacanche ranges or the fabulously retro-chic Big Chill ones, and lament the fact that none of them have a local distributor (and anyway the 5-figure price tag on a Lacanche is just impossible). From what I could find online, there are very few models of freestanding ranges available in Singapore; and even then they looked pretty meh, like with just the normal metal finish. 

lacanche.jpg.36625267f5c1838d1e5650d238120b45.jpg596845d0beb81_bigchill.jpg.e30821eb3f58c792b21bb2b9ade8e54a.jpg

Also, a big pro of going with built-in is that the oven can be positioned in a tall unit so it can be at eye level and I won't have to keep bending to take food out of the oven (which is a great advantage when you have a 10lb turkey in the oven!!). So after much consideration, I had pretty much decided on a La Germania hob + hood set with a separate oven. 

S did some more digging though, he found out that Straaten has this range of cookers available in Singapore, and I fell in love with the cream one. Long story short, we visited their warehouse-cum-showroom located in Jalan Pemimpin, and a week later we returned to pay the deposit. Patricia, the lady whom S had corresponded with prior to the visit and who attended to us, was so friendly and helpful without being pushy. Based on their webpage (which isn't very updated hehe), they used to be suppliers of La Germania and Bertazzoni in Singapore too, but now they're only selling Straaten appliances. 

straaten.jpg.d9908cc5c33470803551abbfd056aacc.jpg
This pic doesn't really do it justice, the actual colour is a warmer shade of cream

And yes, we will still be getting a built-in oven in the tall unit as well :P I was initially hesitant and was still thinking of sticking with built in hob and oven, cos I found it hard to justify to myself that I'd really need 2 ovens (and the range comes with a whopping 90cm one!) But S kinda convinced me that I would find it useful, and even though I probably won't use the big one on a regular basis, there would be times when I'd find it very handy and prob regret sorely if I didn't get it. 

On to the next thing... fridge. We decided early on that we would have 2 fridges, to cope with all our cooking/baking needs (and possibly more heads in the future?=D). My family currently has 3 fridges and even then I'm hard pressed sometimes to find enough space hehe. We decided we'd get a larger one for general kitchen use, and a smaller one for my baking needs. 

Again, I looked wistfully at all the retro-style fridges online and lamented the lack of availability in Singapore. Of course there is Smeg, but I was quite unwilling to part with that much $$ for something so small.

S texted me excitedly one day about a fridge he'd spotted at a Best Denki fair. Europace is apparently a local (or is it Malaysian) brand, so their prices are a fraction of that of other more established foreign brands. I'd seen their range of retro bar fridges online, but they'd recently launched a new range of 65cm, 359l retro fridges. Yes it looks really similar to the Smeg, but for a fraction of the price:D We went back to the fair a couple of days later, and managed to enjoy the introductory price offer ($1599, with 8% cashback when you pay by cash/nets + $60 Giant/Cold Storage vouchers.)

europace.jpg.5e2d89ecb5471bd06ddfb154c70babe9.jpg
We got the cream one of course - matches the range very nicely!

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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Kitchen layout

596897c9583c7_kitchenfloorplan.JPG.bb06cb7174b39eed728cb4c62337d6fa.JPG

Here is the (somewhat) final kitchen layout we’ve decided upon. After discussion with F and J, we decided to stick to the original toilet layout (i.e. no hacking and repositioning the walls). In order to conceal the pipes, we'll be doing a box up with wall-hung toilet.

With the tall unit (housing oven and microwave) now at the front left corner, this frees up the right side which will comfortably fit a walk-in pantry unit (we just had to have one after seeing one that F had built previously!), our smaller Europace fridge, the freestanding cooker, some counter space and a half-height unit (possibly to be used as a coffee nook).

pantry.JPG.613f42fc3bce28d26cd06ebaf2adf704.JPGpantry3.jpg.d2a79da01e7a85f8b72ac416869b91db.jpgpantry2.jpg.2a7d0607c7035781f0304bf60cb28f86.jpg
Walk-in pantry built by F for a previous customer

The bigger fridge goes besides the sink-cum-laundry area (washing machine will be to the right of the sink). This leaves us with enough space in the middle for a 7.5ft x 3.3ft  kitchen island complete with an island sink to service the front part of the kitchen, as well as comfortable walking space all around the 4 sides of the island. We plan to include seating along the island as well, 3 stools along the outside long edge and 2 along the short edge nearer to the toilet. There are still a couple of blank walls (front left, and outside the toilet), where we may put up open shelves for display. 

 

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On 13/07/2017 at 3:10 PM, purplegirafffe said:

The "ID"

Very broadly speaking, from what I've seen, a big difference between an ID and a contractor is that an ID provides the additional "value-add" by doing space planning and providing 3D renders. Basically, the creative/design side of things. Whereas a contractor just builds according to what you specify, but you have to be very clear about what you want and where you want it, cos you can't expect the contractor to be advising you on how to maximise your space or how your layout should be like. 

In the midst of our eventually-fruitless ID hunt, I discovered a secret talent of my fiancé S. Seemingly overnight, he turned into a Sketchup pro, taking all my ideas of my dream kitchen (and eventually house) and turning them into fantastic designs! This was right about when we met up with our carpenter from CC as well, so that basically settled the issue once and for all of whether we needed to engage someone who could handle the design side of things. 

[Sketchup is a free 3D modelling software available online. To me whose only experience with designing houses is in Sims, it’s pretty mind-blowing. S used to work with CAD software at work, so he was able to pick it up very quickly.]

At our first meeting, F suggested the idea of a mudroom concept in what is originally designated as the dining room. Sort of a foyer area to kick off your shoes when you enter or where you can sit down and lace up your boots before leaving:
59671aa85e074_mudroominspiration.jpg.d01d9068b242807cba6abc697425a213.jpg

So after many many rounds of revision, S came up with this design: 
mudroom.jpg.90ec4c7864cc1cbda2792ec35c3e9188.jpg
Seating on and storage below the benches, overhead cubbies for storing sports gear and other knick-knacks, and tall pull-out drawers for all my shoes!^^

View from the mudroom: the "corridor" linking the entrance to the living area will be kept clear. Ooh and also rafters overhead spanning the whole of the first floor, to really give it that farmhouse look. Not purely for aesthetic purposes though, cos they'll also be used to house the wiring for ceiling fan/lights. 
59671aa5053f3_frommudroom.jpg.f06ff2205c8c492df23674adedcdee08.jpg

And here's a render of the living/dining room: 
living_render.jpg.05ccc39cbe22719bac15095fce31a8fe.jpg

As we've decided we won't be having a telly, we'll just have a cosy living area with a 2-seater couch (ignore the armchair, it probably won't be there) and coffee table. The rest of the space will be given over to an 8-seater dining table, which is where we imagine most people will gather around anyways when we have family or guests over. 

Also another wacky-cool idea that S dreamed up is our one-of-a-kind "piano hutch". I'd really wanted a buffet hutch somewhere in the dining or kitchen area, with nice glass display cabinets, something like this:
59671aa492bc9_buffetinspiration.jpg.dc68115be2b807c9d76e3219fc65eafa.jpg

It was clear that it'd be too tight to fit it anywhere though, which is when S came up with the crazy idea of having the hutch double up as a piano bookshelf. We've been advised that it might make it a wee bit difficult to access the piano for tuning, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there :D

Moving on to the kitchen, this is roughly the layout we've decided on, although the position of the fridge will be shifted to be beside the range cooker (with 1 cabinet space still in between), and the tall unit (housing oven and microwave) will be shifted to the corner on the right (where the coffee machine currently is).
kitchen1.jpg.03785ef2bf631d65a8d7c2fb9c7bb268.jpg

59671aa58a761_kitchen2.jpg.e8c056ab448f5464a734990694c81ab7.jpg
The stove backsplash is something which gave us quite a bit of headache, because we simply couldn't quite find the right tiles to give us the look we wanted. Eventually, S found the elusive tile trim at a tile shop recommended by J, An Huat near Great World City (all the other big tile shops don't seem to carry such stuff). Our design is quite closely based on this:
59671aa42c16e_backsplashinspiration.jpg.366db595e58d726c737e8aa1ff707fe6.jpg

And here's a render of the kitchen...kinda dim cos the only light source currently comes from the pendant lights hehe. Here the fridge is in a more correct position. Also the island sink will be shifted over to the right side of the island, to be nearer the cooking/baking area!
kitchen_render.jpg.6cac49bac854c542cc892a5948c0656c.jpg

nice, always a fan of farmhouse kitchen. Are u going to carpentry up the hood?

the stove backsplash: to really make it look nice, you need to "frame" it. You managed to find the framing tiles? 

 

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1 hour ago, Changbp said:

nice, always a fan of farmhouse kitchen. Are u going to carpentry up the hood?

the stove backsplash: to really make it look nice, you need to "frame" it. You managed to find the framing tiles? 

Thanks! Yup, carpentry work will cover up our chimney hood as per the design. 

Yeah we initially thought may have to buy from overseas, but managed to find the tiles from An Huat, hopefully it'll achieve the look!

IMG_2777.PNG.2708e0e5c59286be81da7d99af579df7.PNG

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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Tiles

After multiple visits to various branches of the 2 big tile shops in Singapore (Hafary and Soon Bee Huat), we have finally made our tile selections and our contractor J placed the orders a couple of days ago. We ended up visiting both the Eunos and Toh Guan branches of SBH, as well as the Eunos and Balestier branches of Hafary:D And S actually visited SBH 4 out of 5 days in a row, just to make sure we were really making the best possible tile choices.

For the kitchen, we’re going with a traditional wood tile flooring + white glossy subway tiles for the walls. Safe and classy. The wall tiles will run up partially with paint finish above. Hopefully can achieve this look:
IMG_2781.PNG.349b7f70b955d2b8f303d0619d435699.PNG

For the downstairs toilet, we’ve chosen a brown floral tile for the floor and wavy-edged glossy subway tiles for the wall. Half-height tiles as well for the walk with tile trim (same as kitchen backsplash) and paint above.
IMG_2778.PNG.d42dd776db2430a39ef413f3f2bbab7b.PNG

For the MBR bathroom, we’re going with a slightly more classic yet rustic look, with beige floor tiles and wooden wall tiles. Floor-to-ceiling tiles for the shower area, half-height for the rest.

Finally for what will eventually be the kids bathroom, we’ve chosen a matte white subway tile which goes with these lovely colourful pastel accent tiles (they remind me of mountain ranges!), which we will use for a 3-tile thick trim running around the middle of the wall. I really like the mint+pink ones, the tiles come in an assortment though so cannot choose. Floor to ceiling wall tiles for the entire bathroom, as we anticipate kids will probably have more trouble keeping the walls dry:p
IMG_2779.PNG.ea757f7bbbb4f540fbfa8cf4c75d898a.PNG

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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Hacking day #1

The sight that greeted us when we got to the flat today after work looked like it came straight out from an apocalypse movie...well it means some people were hard at work today!:) In fact even before we opened the gate, could see dust covering the area, evidence that something messy lay beyond. 

IMG_2788.JPG.303327f18213c053c5526b1e8fe1df21.JPG
Pic from our contractor earlier in the day...calm before the storm 

IMG_2834.PNG.b4c0136935c2112446b1901487b70a1d.PNG
Current view from the front door...stuff from the upstairs bathrooms:D
IMG_2837.PNG.b6d662706a20616682b9a728b6195b73.PNG
Kitchen cabinetry dismantled, sliding doors from upstairs bathrooms I think IMG_2838.PNG.c4ab8f5e90a0f4f47d8e24972d1ed9d9.PNG
Laminate flooring in the study partially removed...wow turns out the original flooring is the same as the living roomIMG_2835.PNG.27f669bd9e1d3f44f089b45d2c59a7f7.PNGKitchen tiles allll hacked

We didn't quite dare venture upstairs:p 2 more days of hacking. The walls will probably come down tmr and it'll be even more dusty. Can't wait though!

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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Chance upon your blog and wow what an exciting journey for you. :)

We also bought an EM in the North with the same design as you. Now in the midst of searching for ID/contractor 

Can PM me your ID/contractor's contacts?

Looking forward to see and read more from you.

 

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On 17/07/2017 at 0:29 AM, purplegirafffe said:

Thanks! Yup, carpentry work will cover up our chimney hood as per the design. 

Yeah we initially thought may have to buy from overseas, but managed to find the tiles from An Huat, hopefully it'll achieve the look!

IMG_2777.PNG.2708e0e5c59286be81da7d99af579df7.PNG

Yeah, I had exactly similar tile concept for my bathroom using the 2 tiles that you have pictured. Couldn't find the lower tile locally and it costs too much from amazon. So only framed with the upper tile that u pictured. Not as nice. If I've only known about this store earlier.

 

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17 hours ago, sophia said:

Chance upon your blog and wow what an exciting journey for you. :)

We also bought an EM in the North with the same design as you. Now in the midst of searching for ID/contractor 

Can PM me your ID/contractor's contacts?

Looking forward to see and read more from you.

PM-ed you!

 

5 hours ago, Changbp said:

Yeah, I had exactly similar tile concept for my bathroom using the 2 tiles that you have pictured. Couldn't find the lower tile locally and it costs too much from amazon. So only framed with the upper tile that u pictured. Not as nice. If I've only known about this store earlier.

Yeah sadly this style is so uncommon in SG... thanks to our contractor's recommendation, we managed to find the store that carries it. Anyway I took a look at your shower area, it looks good too!

 

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Hacking day #2

Guys were hard at work again today! The sight in our flat just makes me think of Ecclesiastes 3:3 which says "a time to break down, and a time to build up"... I guess currently it's clearly the former, but can't wait for the latter to start!

IMG_2916.PNG.24206451682b39d4e9264ad001abfde8.PNGIMG_2917.PNG.5b9dd4ec472a979c2c9099fb1d5ea3c2.PNG
Laminate flooring in the study (part of future kitchen) removed and tiles all hacked.

IMG_2918.PNG.a0315837c0e0efc97960221e986134d6.PNGIMG_2919.PNG.4cc8a1b3d30235d178f65fc710716639.PNG
Ventured upstairs to have a look today. There was still some daylight left so not so scary. And the lights are still in. (Original) MBR bath completely hacked, common bath halfway there.

Tomorrow's the last day for hacking, so I guess the walls should be down by the end of the day! Excited about seeing the full future kitchen:D

Edited by purplegirafffe
 

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hi, i got the same layout as yours. My house is just done recently with some minor bits of work still. only stayed 2 weeks into the month.

my kitchen sink is facing the balcony. accessible via the balcony or the kitchen as i have hacked the half height wall. i will share with you once i snap photos of it.

my customised barn main door.

IMG_20170701_1410141.jpg

 

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