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Pirvan

EM in Tampines - Time to move on!

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Good evening everyone!

Wife and I have been active readers of renotalk's TBlog since 2012, and for a small amount of time, we were also actively posting and archiving our experience of our renovation journey back in 2012. 

 

Time flies! We were very happy with our old place, but as the world moves on, we decided that its time for us to explore the possibility of finally staying in an EM that we've always been dreaming of. So many things have happened in our lives during these 6 years and we have to say our current house has been extremely good to us. Boomtown occurred when god granted us a little bundle of joy. Born 18/09/2017, our new boy Cooper joined us and has been brought such joy to our lives.

HOWEVER, when we were designing our current place, having a little one was never in the plans. With the little devil needing more space to run, a helper (godsend!) helping to manage him, space is becoming a premium. Hence, our adventure to look for a new place begins!

We didnt stray far from how we went about looking for a place to call home from our previous journey. Our requirements ran in the range of, location, layout of house, amenities in the vicinity, transport, future schools etc. 

We finally narrowed our search locations down to a few blocks of EM in the area we were familiar with. Predominantly in Tampines and Simei.

After months of househunting, viewing, negotiations, highs and lows, we finally settled on an EM that is just across the road from Tampines Hub! 

Becoming proud owners of our dream EM in the month of April 2018, the hard graft for reno works can finally begin!

 

Attached are some of the pics of our current place. Dont mind the watermark for the agent as these were the pictures we used for the marketing of our place. :P

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Edited by Pirvan
 

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

The layout of the place we choose. We really wanted this particular layout as we loved the double volume balcony. There are so many possibilities when it comes to how to best make use of the balcony. Some have built a roof over the balcony to convert it into a room. It was a straight toss up between leaving the balcony open and making it into an outdoor area vs sealing the balcony up with full height windows to make it into a double volume dinning room. That is but one of the many many decisions we had to make in trying to convert the original layout into one that will serve our needs, yet at the same time, unique. 

1) Open balcony (more or less decided after a coin toss :P )

2) We wanted a slightly open concept kitchen with and adjoining dinning area. Hacking down the study room wall would open up the place and make it more functional, however, we needed to make sure we kept 4 usable rooms, else it would have defeated the purpose of us moving to a new place.

3) We love staircases, hence, we had to brainstorm on how to make the staircase not just functional and safe, but also pretty! (for the lack of a better word)

4) We came from a house where half a room was converted into a walking wardrobe for my wife. Somehow, i'd have to find a way to squeeze that out for her as well. My mantra has always been "happy wife, happy life" :)

5) Noticed that there wasn't any designated storeroom in this particular layout. Hmmmm.. more headache. 

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One of the dilemmas we had was in choosing the ID to work with. We have used our good family friend Donny  for the works done to our current place. In fact, we trusted him so much that we even asked him to do a touch up reno 3 years into our stay. Nothing but good things to say about him!

However, one of my good friend James has been running his own ID firm for about 2-3 years now, and his works have been getting pretty good reviews. We chanced upon an occasion where, over dinner, i was detailing on how i want my new place to look. He realize modern industry was a theme that he hasn't had much chance to work with but was still really enthusiastically helping me beef up some of my ideas. he seemed really up to the challenge and to cut a long story short, we decided to give James a shot. Knowing he is a meticulous person and that he is personal friend that has vested interest in making sure the project turns out well probably helped us in our decision. 

I gave him the long list of the things we need, want and could possibly do without.  It helps that he is very proficient in GoogleSketchup, hence ideas or changes that i threw at him could quickly be drawn up and discussed over whatsapp, over the phone or even in a coffeeshop on his laptop. Instant VISUALIZATION! Hallelujah!

This particular process was extremely challenging. Anyone who has even done renovation works before would definitely share our pain. Having to juggle multiple wants/needs vs practicality vs a limited budget set the tone for many many onerous discussions on what can be done, can be had, and how to go about maximizing the budget. Everything was transparent to us, the many times that the quotations had to be revised made us realise that getting a bigger place (and older place) pose a challenge to our budget. However, we knew from our previous experience that the quotation we were getting from james was super detailed and that limited the amount of Variation Order that could potentially crop up at the end of the project. 

Attached are some of our many many variations and discussions that entailed chopping and changing of ideas, basically being visualized by James over sketchup. That really helped us picture the final product on the fly. 

 

 

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Edited by Pirvan
 

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We wanted some kind of feature wall for our balcony and stairwell so started sourcing around for the different options available. The more common ones were wall paper, craft stones or stick on wall art from korea. James managed to find a particularly interesting product that was fairly new in the market. This company called DECOART apparently does wall painting/mouldings using special paint that was apparently brought in from Turkey. I was skeptical initially on the outcome of such methods. We decided to pay the showroom a visit to look at the samples available and judge for ourselves. 

Apparently, Roy is the boss of DecoArt and he is bringing in the product called SAN DECO from Turkey. He trains specialist to apply such techniques to wall to create different effects eg, wind effect, brick wall etc. The one technique that interest me the most was slab molding. I wanted the effect of huge slate concrete pieces on my stairwell and balcony wall. At the showroom, we were amazed at the different methods being used. However, this isn't like tiles were we could see the end product straight away. The final product would really depend on the skill of the artisan being employed. Definitely interested! but at the same time super hesitant on being too adventurous :(

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Evening!

Due to some screw-ups from HDB. Our final appointment for the place actually got pushed back slightly. As we both bought and sold our old place at the same time, we are stuck in a position where the reno project had to completed within 7-8 weeks. I had my ID tearing our his hair as he mentions that a project this size with a house this old, usually takes ~3mths to complete. So our solution was for him to rush out the top floor  so we can move all our stuff over. And at the same time, get mother in law's help to house the little one for the remainder of the renovation. We dont really want our kid to be breathing in any of the by products of the renovation. Fingers crossed we wont have to resort to that. Sigh.

ANYYWAAAYYY, on to the good news. After countless space design changes and trillions of whatsapp messages. We finally more or less settled on what the foundation of our reno will be based on. 

1. We will tear down the additional room on the first floor to create a combined kitchen and dining area.

2. Build up a small study room on the first floor just beside the staircase so that daddy can have his mancave (check!)

3. Leave the balcony open to be a usable area. Unfortunately, we'd have to resort to using a clothes dryer to keep the clutter away from the balcony. Never tried that before so hopefully the family can adapt to that. 

4. We've been living with 2 toilets in our current place and as with all EM's, they come with 3. So we decided to do away with the ensuite toilet and make it into a walk in wardrobe for the missus (check 2!)

Thats basically the main works we will be doing in regards to space planning for our place. Next stop, theme, colors and addons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Pirvan
 
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As a disclaimer, we are actually right now in the middle of the renovation. We started the blog a little late as we were both so busy with work and the actual reno process that its now time to play catch up and to try and document the initial part of the process as much as we can. 

As we are both working full time, after work, dinner and settling the little one down to bed, we are barely left with any time to discuss the reno and at the same time, research on colors, furnitures, add ons etc. We are just glad that portion of the reno process is over! LOL

Hacking was probably the most no brainer part of the process! Just whack! My wife even wanted to take leave to partake in this process and to use this as a stress reliever! lol. Fortunately, our ID put his foot down and barred us from doing just that. 

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Aircon

As mentioned earlier, we made the mistake of 'under-planning' the cooling requirements of our current place, especially in the living room. Although we researched online on the required BTUs that our space would need and even added a buffer on top of that, we noticed whenever we have guest over whilst hosting dinner or the weekly poker sessions, the cooling would be insufficient. And the worst thing is once all the pipings and trunkings are up and running, there is no possible way to add in additional blowers to help with the cooling. We even resorted to portable aircons and water coolers whenever we had a bigger crowd over. Definitely a big lesson we learnt. 

For this particular house, I insisted to 'overbudget' when it comes to selection of aircons. We decided that we need 3 x 9/10k btus to power the Master bedroom, kids room and the study, (side note, if you want to future proof and run additional trunking to an area that you MIGHT want to put in a blower later you can. Probably cost around 3-400 bucks, WHICH we thought with that cost, might as well put a blower there in the first place lol)

We went straight to AON for a quote. He has apparently being on this forum for a while now. I remember when we were doing up our first place, we did ask him for a quote but somehow, did not get a chance to work with him. We also did some additional leg work by getting a few more quotes. Both from independent installers, and also the bigger boys like Courts etc. 

In the end, AOn's quote was fairly reasonable and he has been getting fairly good reviews hence we decided to engage him for the installation. 

3 vs 5 ticks

Apparently, 5 ticks are the newer generation aircons which is suppose to save you money in the long run. It probably would cost about 10-15% more for the higher ticks. However, we also noticed from our own research from forums and our own friends that when you get 5 ticks, you'd be sacrificing some cooling power (layman term, please dont quote me!) I basically just told Aon i wanted the coldest possible solution and he recommended me the Daikin 3 tick series. Saves me about 500 bucks and they are apparently having a 50mths spare parts warranty promo for this month. SCORE!

The conundrum comes as we are having 2 x 24k btu units and 1 x 10k unit on the first floor. Which 1 compressor just isnt going to cut it. So his chief installer Ah boon (one helleva cheeky fella :p) proposed 1 compressor to be connected to 1x24 and 1x10. The other compressor will power the rest. Hence when most of my guest are on the first level, both compressors will be powered and be able cool the lower level down quickly. Only issue will be that there will be a need to cross the trunkings. between top and bottom compressors. I'll leave that to Ah boon and my ID. Just tell me where to sign the cheque :P

Edited by Pirvan
 

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Electrician

This is where things got a little tricky. 

One of the requirements we had for the house was minimum false ceiling. One is because we wanted to keep the height of the ceiling. And also with exposed trunking, adding and removing points would be a lot easier. Tying in with our theme of industrial look, we decided that running pvc pipes as a conduit would look better then the conventional rectangular PVC trunks. An option on top of that would be to use GI pipes (steel i think?) instead of black PVC. but OMGAAWDD, one electrician quoted us 4K JUST for the trunking (bending and installation of the pipes) alone!

We were also going to run led strips on each step of the staircase. Hiding the wiring was a challenge itself. On top of that, alot of electrician wanted to charge 2 arms and half my toe to handle the project. The cost of electrician was escalating very quickly. We were hunting around to get multiple quotes from different sources and recommendations and most came back like a defibrillator, massive jolt to my heart. 

Ultimately, it was through reading one of the Tblogs that we noticed Mr Quek and Christina was getting a fair bit of reviews when it comes to electricians. 

After messaging both of them, i realized that they are both from the same company, Ooops, embarrassment much?

Mr Q is like the modern asian version of DANNY CRANE from the show Boston Legal. He enters the room with a florish and when he speaks, everyone listens. Wheres Christina is the lady boss who brings him back to earth. But dont be deceived! Mr Q is a licensed LEW who apparently does a fair bit of job for Singapore Power. 

Our encounter can be summarized like this, Christina and Mr Q wal">
 

 

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Now, normally, during a renovation. the process more or less goes like this

1. Hacker/hulk comes in, smashes your home up.

2. Tilers come in to do all the wet work and making good of areas that was smashed by hulk, probably a week or so? and then continues tiling wherever required. 

3. Plumber and electrician comes in to lay the pipes and wires before concealing

4. False ceiling guy comes and boxes things up

5, Plaster comes 

5. Painter comes

etc etc

BUT because I had such a tight timeline, my ID had to work everyone into the project simultaneously. for the first week alone, after the hacking, this is how things were working

Kitchen, Tiler one, screeding and laying floor tiles, Tiler 2 making good all walls and laying mortar base for the cabinets

Living Room, Plasterer at work

Bed rooms upstairs, air con guy laying trucking

Staircase, Artisan (Roy who happens to be the boss himself!!!) laying base layer for his artwork.

Upstairs toilet, Chief tiler laying wall tiles. 

Any other rooms not occupied, electricians (once we signed the contract) were laying the wires.  

And that set the tone for the rest of the reno, I am eternally grateful for James (my ID) and all the subcons who were willing to work under these conditions just to help me complete the project so we can move in sooner. 

I didnt think too much about this until i spent 2 days in the house together with them (making sure everything queries can be answered straight away) that i found out the tough working conditions. And as if thats not bad enough, imagine the amount of raw materials that was spewed all over the place. You had tiles, cement, water proofing, wires, pipes, plaster material, DECORART materials, scarfoldings, ladders galore. And on a good day, i count 5 electical works, 3 tilers, plaster, painter, 2 decoart guys, Ah Guang (my false wall / ceiling guy - top notch fella!!) all working simultaneously.  They'd have to plan in the morning when they get in, who gets which room, and who has to do what before another can come in to complete the other portions. 

This is where the strength of my ID and his assistant comes into play, James would visit the site daily in the morning to co-ordinate the work, and his assistant Weili would stay and ensure everyone knows what they are doing. I cannot wrap my head around the detail or coordination required to do this. 

On days i cannot make it down to visit the site, Weili would be constantly updating the wassap group chat (Godsend!) on whats going on and the progress. And I'ii do my part by dropping by as much as i can, bearing gifts of curry puffs and herbal tea for the workers. Thank you gentlemen and thank you weili! :)

 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 6:36 PM, Pirvan said:

Good evening everyone!

Wife and I have been active readers of renotalk's TBlog since 2012, and for a small amount of time, we were also actively posting and archiving our experience of our renovation journey back in 2012. 

 

Time flies! We were very happy with our old place, but as the world moves on, we decided that its time for us to explore the possibility of finally staying in an EM that we've always been dreaming of. So many things have happened in our lives during these 6 years and we have to say our current house has been extremely good to us. Boomtown occurred when god granted us a little bundle of joy. Born 18/09/2017, our new boy Cooper joined us and has been brought such joy to our lives.

HOWEVER, when we were designing our current place, having a little one was never in the plans. With the little devil needing more space to run, a helper (godsend!) helping to manage him, space is becoming a premium. Hence, our adventure to look for a new place begins!

We didnt stray far from how we went about looking for a place to call home from our previous journey. Our requirements ran in the range of, location, layout of house, amenities in the vicinity, transport, future schools etc. 

We finally narrowed our search locations down to a few blocks of EM in the area we were familiar with. Predominantly in Tampines and Simei.

After months of househunting, viewing, negotiations, highs and lows, we finally settled on an EM that is just across the road from Tampines Hub! 

Becoming proud owners of our dream EM in the month of April 2018, the hard graft for reno works can finally begin!

 

Attached are some of the pics of our current place. Dont mind the watermark for the agent as these were the pictures we used for the marketing of our place. :P

289-Tampines-Street-22-Pasir-Ris-Tampines-Singapore (1).jpg

Wow, your previous owner must have spent at least SGD100K on the renovation which had country theme. How much is your renovation budget this time?

 

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 7:57 PM, Pirvan said:

We wanted some kind of feature wall for our balcony and stairwell so started sourcing around for the different options available. The more common ones were wall paper, craft stones or stick on wall art from korea. James managed to find a particularly interesting product that was fairly new in the market. This company called DECOART apparently does wall painting/mouldings using special paint that was apparently brought in from Turkey. I was skeptical initially on the outcome of such methods. We decided to pay the showroom a visit to look at the samples available and judge for ourselves. 

Apparently, Roy is the boss of DecoArt and he is bringing in the product called SAN DECO from Turkey. He trains specialist to apply such techniques to wall to create different effects eg, wind effect, brick wall etc. The one technique that interest me the most was slab molding. I wanted the effect of huge slate concrete pieces on my stairwell and balcony wall. At the showroom, we were amazed at the different methods being used. However, this isn't like tiles were we could see the end product straight away. The final product would really depend on the skill of the artisan being employed. Definitely interested! but at the same time super hesitant on being too adventurous :(

 

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Hi Pirvan, Deco ART feature wall design looks interesting and I think it is similar to Nippon Paint's Momento effect.

May I know how much does it cost to paint a wall measuring 3m x 2m?

Thanks for the information.  

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 11:26 AM, KFC1189 said:

Wow, your previous owner must have spent at least SGD100K on the renovation which had country theme. How much is your renovation budget this time?

Hi! Oh, actually, the pictures of the house is actually my current place. :) 

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 12:23 PM, KFC1189 said:

Hi Pirvan, Deco ART feature wall design looks interesting and I think it is similar to Nippon Paint's Momento effect.

May I know how much does it cost to paint a wall measuring 3m x 2m?

Thanks for the information.  

Im actually not too sure how much it will cost for that exact size. Maybe you can give Roy (the boss) from Decoart a quick call. He is super nice. A sneak peak for one of the walls he did for us

 

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On ‎5‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:03 PM, Pirvan said:

Hi! Oh, actually, the pictures of the house is actually my current place. :) 

Wow, your old place looks really classy! You must be sad to let it go!

By the way, I noticed that you are going to reposition the staircase. Do you need to engage a PE for that?

 

 

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