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Like many others, I have been getting ideas from fellow renotalkers for our home. After 4.5 years of wait, we finally got our keys to our 4-rm BTO!

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As you can see from the floor plan, our bomb shelter is in the kitchen :( And these are some pictures of the rest of our "kosong" house as we did not opt for any flooring, doors or sanitary fittings. We did not have any wash basins in the toilets as well. So basically, we only had kitchen floor and wall tiles and a toilet bowl in each toilet!

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And so because we waited for 4.5 years, upon our collection of keys, we went straight in to roll all the pineapple, sprinkle rice at 4 corners, etc. I am not that superstitious, but the hubby wanted to follow the rules and whatnot so I complied. We did our defect checking on the very same day and I must say that we were lucky to not have that many defects. These were the few things which we spotted:

- cracked wall along the entrance to the master toilet

- stained / cracked tile (only 1 in the entire house)

- hollow "openings" below the windows

- scratches on main door and metal parts of windows

We submitted the defect list the following day and we were told it would take 14-16 days for rectification to complete. To our surprise, it was all done after 1 week! 

ID and contractor selection

As I was constantly excited about our house, our search for an ID began about 1 year before our key collection as I always heard that the TOP will be a year earlier (in fact, it wasn't). We were rather naive and gullible then and went to meet almost 10 IDs who gave us quotations just with the floor plan. By the way, we relied on q a n   v a s t heavily during our search for an ID as we wanted to have a look at their past projects before meeting them. 

Sky Creation
I forgot his name but we went to his office twice to discuss about the things that we wanted. He wasn't very pushy, but he still wanted to talk us into placing a deposit on the 2nd meeting. We wanted to look around so we turned him down politely. Fortunately, we didn't place any deposit as we have heard quite horrendous reviews about them over the 1 year.

M3 Studio
This lady was very frank (too frank actually). She did suggest some ideas and drew what we articulated quite well on a piece of blank paper. She also suggested quite a few ideas which other IDs did not managed to. It got quite uncomfortable when we told her that we haven't gotten our keys and she went like "I know you definitely won't come back if you leave now. It's ok, it's your choice ultimately."

Starry Homestead
Again I forgot his name, but he looked very decent (and totally like a salesman more than an ID) and discussed some ideas with us. We were at their office which had a showroom so the discussion went on and it was time to leave. He did not press us to place any deposit and told us to think it over before getting in touch again. However, after turning him down, he contacted the hubby several times and asked "so how?" many times until he finally gave up after 1-2 months?

Lux Design
We got to know them through q a n   v a s t. We liked some of their works shown. I think they are contractors turned IDs because they have their own carpentry factory. Our meet up was always with the two of them because one was an apprentice. We did not take them up as we did not feel comfortable letting an inexperienced apprentice take over the design of our house. Also, most ideas were from us and they just said "ok".

Chapter One Design
After reading positive reviews about them on renotalk. We had a pleasant meet up with Fadhil. However, somehow Jonathan was roped in and the project became quite "grey" as we did not know exactly who was in charge of designing our home. Fadhil is a very nice guy and his ideas were also in line with ours. He also wasn't pushy and checked back with us even after 6 months! The hubby really wanted to sign with them, but I stopped him because I was so engrossed in reading all the renotalk tblogs and came to know of a few popular contractors.

Contractors J & E
I texted Edmund on the very day we collected our keys. Perhaps it was my fault to text him at 10.15pm so I did not receive a reply. The next morning, I texted him again with a "hello?" and he finally replied and we met the following week at our "kosong" house. As we communicated our ideas to him, he was constantly busy answering calls. I sort of expected this but still, I appreciate the fact that he was still trying his best to listen to our needs and wants. He jotted down briefly in his notebook and drew some rough drawings in it. The quotation came 3 days later as promised and we were quite disappointed to see that it was on par with an ID quotation. However, the hubby reminded me that at least this was an accurate quotation as compared to IDs who relied on floor plans to quote us. I told him to let me have some time to look through the quote and I'll get back to him next week. It has been 2 weeks and I never got back - and he never did as well. Although we have heard great reviews on their workmanship, the hubby and I were just not comfortable to engage someone who was constantly busy and unable to attend to us.

Contractor K from h2o Interior
Another renowned contractor is Mr K from renotalk. I texted him on the same morning I texted Edmund "hello?" and he replied almost immediately! I thought that his reply was fast because he was excited that he would be getting another project to work on. However, throughout our 2 weeks of communication, his replies have been quite fast. Even when I was upset about an increase in price in the quotation (also because hubby and I kept changing our ideas), he called me immediately to explain the reasons and that he doesn't mark up prices for no reason. I calmed down and listened (the hubby also talked some sense into me) and everything was back to normal. We changed our quotation a total of 5 times within 2 weeks! Even with so much going on, Mr K never once mentioned about taking any payment from us. Oh yes, he came down to our house twice because we needed to clarify some stuff. It was hard to fix a date to sign the contract as he is also very very busy! Weekends were out so we are going to sign the contract with him the week after next and choose our tiles and laminates for the cabinets and wardrobe on the same day. With no payment collected from us yet, Mr K has passed us 3 forms to fill up (installation of service yard windows, hacking of walls, commencement of reno) which we have since passed it back to him. He has submitted those forms to HDB which means that reno may commence very soon once we select our tiles at Hafary!

In my next post, I shall share the things that we have bought thus far from Amazon and local stores as well as Taobao. Oh yes, and my mood board :)

 

Edited by infatuation1527
 

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

hello! mr k is really nice and i would have gone with him if not because hes really expensive and refused to give me a breakdown in quotation. he had lump sums in many things, which i didnt feel comfortable. i asked him and he said "im afraid i cant give you a breakdown". nevertheless happy you're going ahead with him. mr k does nice homes and im looking forward to see yours!

 

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Hi @matchalatte! Having lurked around reno talk for quite some time, indeed many have commented that Mr K's quotation is always on the higher side for a contractor. I just cross my fingers and hope that what I pay is what I get. 

For our quotation, he lumped the counter top, kitchen cabinets and tall unit into one lump sum. He also packed the plumbing works like the installation of sinks and bathroom accessories in a lump sum. 

Have you started your reno? Who did you go with in the end? :)

 

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Actually, I'm not exactly sure if this is called scandinavian. I just plonked every photo that hubby and I liked in (and hope that it fuses nicely together). So I sourced Pinterest a lot to get pictures and I realised that it's also helpful to save some of them to show the contractor what some of your ideas look like in real life. So this is our mood board (from Pinterest):

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The price of my quotation increased a great lot because of our hacked bedroom 3. To achieve this look, Mr K suggested the use of tempered glass with metal frames. I did not like the thick aluminium frames and insisted that the "black lines" must be slim. The price of using metal frames with tempered glass is 3 times that of aluminium frames with normal glass.

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We will be overlaying our entire toilet and I had a hard time looking for my "dream toilet". I sourced high and low and this is the closest to hubby's and my liking. Anyone has better suggestions of how to overlay the toilets? Oh yes, I'm a total fan of floor standing basins so this is a must! No vanity because hubby and I feel that if water leaks, the cabinet is gone.

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We were pondering hard whether to get a white + wood kitchen or a black + wood kitchen. In the end, we decided to have an iQuartz white counter top with wooden cabinets. I have heard stories about black countertops - how water stains will be more visible. And white countertops - how curry stained on it will cause a permanent yellow stain. So I'm really lost! Any kind souls can advise on this? No KompacPlus because hubby and I (or maybe just I) don't exactly trust it.

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Purchase of Furniture and Appliances

We did some research at Harvey Norman, Best Denki, Courts, Gain City and finally found the the prices at Gain City were the best among all. In addition, their air-con installation has been widely raved about too. Hubby like the idea of purchasing everything possible at one place so we also bought the following for our house:

Hitachi Made in Japan Refrigerator R-F6200S $3,750

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Bosch Induction Hob PPI82560MS $1,399

MCSA01745725_PPI82560TW_ElectricHob_Bosc

 

Bosch Chimney Hood DWB097E50B $1,099

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Bosch Serie 8 Compact Oven CSG656RS1 $2,920

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Bosch Washer WAW32640EU $1,730

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As you may have noticed, we bought many Bosch items.. probably because I like this brand :) Oh and please look for Devon at Gain City Sungei Kadut if you are purchasing your items there. He's very knowledgeable about all Bosch stuff. I recall we went down twice (the first time without purchasing anything and he was patiently explaining the functions and differences of each oven). The second time we went, he still explained everything again because we told him that we were still undecided. And because we bought quite a number of Bosch items at a go, they were able to offer bundle discounts. The refrigerator is crazy I know, but hubby and I just cannot resist the look and feel of it. And according to the sales person at Gain City, it keeps food fresher for a longer period of time?

 

Purchase of Sanitary Fittings

I did some research on where to purchase floor standing basins because most places sold vanity kind of basins. I finally found this place called Universal Union at Geylang. The aunty who served us was quite lost to be honest (she did not know that the Vento Fino fan existed). Anyway, she assured us that the price was the best and we told her we will come back if we cannot find a lower price outside. As we were about to go to Hoe Kee, we saw Heritage Bathroom just beside Universal Union and decided to take a look since they sold lights too. We were served by this chap known as Ah Lim. Prices stated were not the final prices and Ah Lim gave us discount on almost everything. We purchased our Made in Thailand Grohe items and our KDK fans from them in the end because their prices were lower than Universal Union. We were quite sad to find out that Hoe Kee is the sole reseller for Blanco sinks so we had no choice but to go there. My forum readings told me that Hoe Kee at Tanjong Katong had the best service. Heritage only carries Carysil sinks. They are also granite sinks but unlike Blanco which is 100% granite and made in Germany, I think Carysil is only 75% and made somewhere else. Anyway, we also purchased our Grohe faucet at $140 each and shower head and mixers at $150 each. We chose the Made in Thailand ones as the Made in Germany ones were like $400 each. We did consider insani24.de and Amazon.de but the hubby prefers seeing the actual thing before purchasing it. 

We purchase our Blanco sink from Hoe Kee Genting Road (because that's where my friend bought her stuff and it was quite a huge warehouse). Indeed, when we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, it was crowded! Hubby wanted the biggest Blanco sink so we went for the 86cm Naya 8 Silgranit Sink which cost us $688. The lady did not want to give us any discount because we only bought one item. Their Blanco (commercial-style) faucet was $2,300 before discount so we did not get that. It looks like this:

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So how? We turned to Amazon.com and got a Kraus KPF-1640SS instead. Costs us SGD $398.03 including shipping. Order was placed on Jul 8 and it was shipped on Jul 13! Can't wait for it to arrive.

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Looks almost the same right? Kraus sinks are also highly raved apart from Blanco sinks. So I thought their faucet should be not bad too. Kraus is not sold in Singapore and I've read that their stainless steel sinks are quite good too. One way to shop easily on Amazon.com is to filter the items by "eligible for international shipping" and "sold by Amazon" as this would entitle you to get free global shipping if your order is above USD 125.

 

Taobao purchases

When we ordered our lights from Heritage, I got a hunch that Taobao may be cheaper so I just went online to check if they have the dining lights that I wanted. True enough, there is!

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Link to dining lights: 北欧餐厅LED灯具饭厅餐桌灯客厅办公室书房吊灯 简约现代日式吊灯

The one that we wanted was Type E. Heritage was selling it at $150 (after discount) each! And on taobao here it is only RMB 48 which works out to be about less than SGD 20?! As we only paid a deposit for the items at Heritage, we told Ah Lim that we would like to cancel the lights and just go with the KDK fans. Talking about fans, I have contemplated buying them in JB as it is so much cheaper. And my Vento Fino fan I think over there in JB the price is 1/3 that of SG. But, hubby and I do not own a car and we did not want to trouble any friends. So we have decided to just purchase everything in Singapore.

We also bought this 现代简约led吸顶灯圆形卧室灯客厅灯书房餐厅走廊过道灯阳台灯具 for our toilet which is half the price of that sold in Heritage (looks exactly like it):

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Purchase of Furniture

For our sofa and dining table, we did some research and couldn't afford Grafunkt or other atas furniture places so we settled for Star Living! Prices are not as cheap as fortytwo.sg or hipvan, but cheaper than Castlery! We also like to have a feel of the items before we make any purchase so their showroom at Labrador Park MRT fits the bill. The sales person was normal, not pushy nor very friendly. We bought our Dory sofa and dining table and chairs there.

Dory 3-seater sofa - $790 (there was a bundle deal for 3+2 seater @ $1,190)

 

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1.5m Striell Dining table with additional tempered glass - $499 + $120 (glass)

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Vest dining chairs - $59 each (we bought 2 of each colour)

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Perhaps our mattress purchase was my biggest regret so far. A month ago, I chanced upon the furniture fair at expo. I thought that prices at expo cannot be higher than anywhere else. We were quite set on getting a Simmons so we immediately zoomed to the brand at the fair. Well, the sales person was quite knowledgeable and so we bought a BeautyRest @ $3,350 inclusive of a bed frame which we could select from their warehouse / office at Kaki Bukit. Upon placing the deposit of $1,350, I realised that they were merely an authorised dealer of Simmons mattress (Sleep Savvy) and to my horror, I searched for reviews online and saw stuff that wasn't very pleasant. Let's keep our fingers crossed that I get my mattress in the end. I always liked purchasing items from the brand itself, so excited homeowners, please do not make the same mistake as I did. Sometimes, a little patience and less kan chiong-ness helps.

Edited by infatuation1527
 

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Thought I'd do an update on the reno works that hubby and I have decided. Our quotation came up to $41k and these are what we have requested:

(Note: We won't be sharing our exact quotation as we feel that it is better if you consult Mr K directly on your individual needs and wants.)

Flooring

Initially, we were quite decided on using vinyl flooring as that would enable us to achieve the "wood" feel and at the same time not bursting our pockets because vinyl (as compared to tiles) are really much cheaper. However, hubby and I will be adopting a dog and some IDs that we met have advised that if the pet pee is not cleaned up after several hours, water may still well seep into vinyl. Not wanting to run into any problems in future, we decided to play safe and go with homogeneous wood tiles instead. 

NO False ceiling

No false ceiling because we will be having track lights for the entire house. We also don't want any creepy crawlies stuck somewhere up there. Some IDs also said that depending on the design of the false ceiling, some ceiling fans "wind strength" may be "blocked" by the shape of the false ceiling. 

Overlay both toilets

Hubby and I decided to spend a bit on beautifying our toilets. It came up to $2,500 per toilet for wall and floor tiles.

Hacking of bedroom 3

Perhaps the main focal point of our house would be bedroom 3. Initially,  bedroom 2 was a study room and bedroom 3 a game room. However, we thought that we would have no place to house the computer table and iMac in future if we were to have kids. So we redesigned bedroom 3 to make it a game + study room, leaving bedroom 2 completely untouched. As mentioned previously, the decision to go ahead with tempered glass panels with metal outlines was not easy. I hope we make the right decision. 

Kitchen

Initially, we wanted to have a wet and dry kitchen, i.e. The fridge and tall unit will be placed "outside" where the dining area was, making it the "dry" area of the kitchen while the sink and oven stay inside, making it the "wet" area. The kitchen wall will be hacked. However, after pondering over the idea for some time, I told the hubby that putting the fridge and tall unit outside would cause the living room and dining area to have lesser space. So, we scraped that idea and placed everything that needs to be in the kitchen back to the kitchen. No kitchen wall will be hacked too. We will be plastering the walls of the kitchen with any exposed tiles. This idea was gotten from a fellow renotalker as we do not want any white ugly kitchen tiles to be seen. We are doing both sides lower cabinets and 1 side top cabinets... trying to have lesser things in the kitchen to create a more spacious feel. 

Living room

We will be having a craft stone feature wall on the tv side, stretching all the way to our shoe cabinet which is beside our DB box and main door. No built in tv console as we can easily get a scandi look console from v.hive or star living for under $300.

$41k excludes electrical works as that has to be done on site. Mr K has advised that $5k is quite exaggerated so we are budgeting it at about $3k.

We have decided to have blinds for the entire house. Hubby's friend's uncle owns a curtain business so we have gotten a quote from him at $1,800 got the entire house (including our hacked wall in bedroom 3). My research also tells me that Alto Fabric is a not bad vendor and we are meeting them next week for an on site quotation. Will update then!

 

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Wow. Interesting idea that there might be creepy crawlies on false ceilings and wind that will be blocked by cove designs.

Perhaps I want to rethink my now reno concept. Hehe.

 

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Nothing much happened so far, except that I just asked Mr K if our 3 permits (hacking, overlaying, window at service yard) have been approved. He's really fast. Almost instantaneously he said that he will check and let me know again, and 5 min later he texted me saying that everything else is approved except for the overlaying of tiles. He said that overlaying permits usually take very long. 

I shall update again next Monday (24/7) when we meet him to select our tiles at Hafary and laminates at his office. Till then!

 

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Today, Justin from Alto Fabric came down to do an on-site measurement for our blinds. He was on time for the meet up and easy to talk to. He came with a female assistant, possibly his wife? Anyway, he quoted us the promo price of $889 for our 4-room flat. We told him that we would also need blinds for the hacked bedroom 3 and told him to estimate the cost for that. He said the blinds for bedroom 3 would cost $300+, so blinds for the whole house would cost about $1400. He showed us a few samples of the fabric to be used. He said that this is good quality PVC and prolonged exposure to the sun would not cause any "cracks". He mentioned that the promo price should stay for about a month from now and he would inform us if the promo ends. Hubby is quite unwilling to reject his friend's uncle but because his friend's uncle quoted $400 more ($1800 in total) so I've successfully convinced him to get Alto Fabric to do our blinds. 

On a side note, we contacted UniArm for the soft closing of the main door and they were really stuck up. The first time I pm them on fb on a sunday, they replied with a "pls contact us again on monday as our office is now closed". When I pm them again on monday, they simply replied with a "no installation for your estate on monday". I went to my estate's fb page and got to know another vendor called Teck Tai. Let's hope for good news. The purpose of the soft closing is to protect the door when reno works start and they need to move bulky items in and out of the house. 

Can't wait for next Monday!!!

On a side note, here's my Kraus kitchen faucet! Very sturdy and in great condition!

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Edited by infatuation1527
 

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i think alto fabric is really expensive. even for the special group buy price for my BTO, their timber blinds are like $7.99 psf, which works out to probably $600+ for just 1 window. im buying mine from taobao instead lol. it will be around $200, even cheaper if its PVC. 

love your buys, you have very good taste! cant wait to see your reno progress. anyway i already found a contractor but would prefer not to divulge just yet. maybe after my reno i will lol

 

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@Remon that was told to us by some IDs! Not sure if it's true though. Anyway we also didn't want false ceiling because it would add on to the cost. When is your reno starting? :)

@matchalatte alto fabric is really very expensive? What about comparing it to local vendors? Comparing it to taobao definitely makes it very expensive. I didn't know that pvc is a cheap material. Any idea what is considered good quality material for blinds then?

 

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@infatuation1527 i would suggest that you head down to this website www.jackson.com.sg to see a range of blinds designs. for their clearance fabric roller blinds its just $2.50/sqft while their PVC are around $5 too. However, since its an online platform, the prices there does not include installation charges.

 

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Hello! your theme looks nice with the simple and natural wood feel. 41k for Mr K is not too bad I feel ? I noticed u didn't mention about wardrobe, does your quotation include built in wardrobes or bedroom carpentry?

 

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Selection of tiles at Hafary Eunos

Yesterday was a super tiring day. Saturdays and Sundays are usually out for Mr K, no choice hubby and I took half day off to meet him to select everything that we needed to select. We met him directly at Hafary (Eunos) and we selected our tiles pretty fast? However, some were already out of stock so we had to do a second round of selection. Luckily, we didn't take too long. We reached at 2pm and left at about 3 plus.  In summary, we selected stuff for the following:

- Bedroom floor tiles

- Living Room floor tiles

- Kitchen iQuartz counter top

- Kitchen cabinet laminate

- Shoe cabinet laminate

- Internal cabinet laminate

- Bedroom headboard laminate

Just a note. The tiles selection was at Hafary but the laminates and all other selection was done at Mr K's office which was also in Eunos. At Hafary, he asked if we wanted to bring home samples and I just said yes. Now I don't know why I brought the samples home? Haha.. Anyway the photos are not very clear. I just hope that they turn out nice in the end *crosses fingers* Oh yes, as our tile selection is up to $3.50 psf, and we chose the tiles that cost $4+ psf, we had to top up about $700. 

medium.59768b032e6e1_WhatsAppImage2017-0 (homogeneous wood tile)

medium.59768b0264617_WhatsAppImage2017-0 (toilet floor will be the dark grey tile behind and the wall tile is the one with the masking tape)

medium.59768b01d20fc_WhatsAppImage2017-0 (also homogeneous wood tile, a lighter colour than the bedrooms)

 

Selection of kitchen counter top

When I first sat down in Mr K's office, my eyes were glued to the Caesarstone display rack. I saw this marble look white counter top sample and fell in love with it. However, I know it is exp so during my first meeting with Mr K I already told him that I wanted iQuartz. So I selected a white marble look iQuartz counter top that looks like this:

Statuario-Venatino-LR.jpg

Mr K said that if I want this, I would need to top up. Unless I choose pure white, then no need to top up. Later, maybe he saw that I was whining a bit about paying and paying, so he said that he will try not to make me top up. I told him I am already paying extra $700 for my tiles (actually I wonder why do I have to pay so much more because my toilet floor and wall tiles I selected the $3.21 ones, then my living room and bedroom tiles I selected $4.41 ones. So shouldn't the shortfall from the $3.21 make up for the $4.41? Note that my tiles selection is up to $3.50 psf.) In the end, he said I don't have to top up for the white marble look iQuartz top. I wanted to question Mr K regarding this but since hubby advised against it and he already said I need not top up for the marble look counter top, I decided to let it pass.

My quotation includes 5 Blum drawers for the kitchen so that's something that makes me happy. While discussing about the "layout" of the internal cabinets shelving, we only managed to come out with 4 drawers. Mr K then said that for the lower drawers, he will try to split it into 2 thinner drawers instead of 1 thick one.

 

Painting works

Initially, hubby and I wanted to paint the dining table wall black but Mr K advised against it. In the end we went ahead with a dark grey paint colour for that wall. 

We left his office at about 5.30pm and by then all of us were tired. Good news is that Mr K says hacking will commence on Thursday and the rest of the work will follow! Just to share the payment terms.

10% - confirmation of contract

50% - before commencement of hacking works

35% - before commencement of carpentry works 

5% - during handover 

So we have entrusted Mr K with 60% of $ as of now! 

 

Door arm installation 

Read from my estate's FB page that there is this door arm thing (apparently it helps to hold your door and not let it auto close). Got to know this installer called Teck Tai Hardware. They were quite responsive when I called them. On the same day, the installer called to arrange an installation day (next Monday). It cost $50 for brown colour. In case you are wondering what I am talking about, it looks like this:

 

Need help! Anyone has an example of what type of LED track lights should I buy? Size / specifications / pictures / anything would be good! Thank you.

 

IMG_0536.JPG

Edited by infatuation1527
 

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On 7/14/2017 at 7:09 AM, infatuation1527 said:

Purchase of Sanitary Fittings

So how? We turned to Amazon.com and got a Kraus KPF-1640SS instead. Costs us SGD $398.03 including shipping. Order was placed on Jul 8 and it was shipped on Jul 13! Can't wait for it to arrive.

91GKNoG6huL._SL1500_.jpg

Looks almost the same right? Kraus sinks are also highly raved apart from Blanco sinks. So I thought their faucet should be not bad too. Kraus is not sold in Singapore and I've read that their stainless steel sinks are quite good too. One way to shop easily on Amazon.com is to filter the items by "eligible for international shipping" and "sold by Amazon" as this would entitle you to get free global shipping if your order is above USD 125.

Taobao purchases

When we ordered our lights from Heritage, I got a hunch that Taobao may be cheaper so I just went online to check if they have the dining lights that I wanted. True enough, there is!

Bought the same sink from Taobao. About $230. Still going strong till now.

Like wise, I bought most lightnings from Taobao/Tmall. Local prices are really rip off. My ID saw my light selling for $300 at Balestier while I got 3 for $200.

 

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