Jump to content
Find Professionals    Deals    Get Quotations   Portfolios

Recommended Posts

Greetings! I have been lurking and quietly reading many threads and posts here for many moons now.

I've recently received the keys for my resale HDB flat and my renovations are about to start. So I'm sharing my experiences here in the hope that they can benefit others the way I have from the other T-blogs here on Renotalk!

First some words about HDB's new Resale flat process...

Since the start of 2018, HDB has implemented a HDB Resale Portal which makes it easier for buyers (and I assume sellers) to make transactions for their resale flats. So has it been easy?

I must say that HDB has delivered on their promise. Comparing my experience to those of my friends (who bought their resale flats in previous years), mine took much less time and was so convenient! A valuation request (after submitting Option to Purchase online) was processed and responded to in just 3 working days. My resale application submission (again online) was processed and approved in just 10 working days. And 8 weeks later, I was signing papers and received my keys at HDB Hub! Yes you read that right - only one trip to HDB Hub is needed now.

HDB staff (or at least the ones who worked on my application) are hardworking people. I was getting SMS notifications on Saturdays and even evenings to alert me to updates I needed to view or follow up on at the HDB Resale Portal. And my completion session at HDB Hub took barely any time at all. Kudos to HDB! :good:

What I'm looking for...

As a soloist, I need a nice place which does not involve too much maintenance. Logically, I would have gone for a flexi (2-room) flat then, and for a while I was tempted - especially after viewing the beautiful renovation pictures of 2-room flats on Renotalk. Smaller flat means less maintenance, so it's perfect right? But as I looked around my current home, I realised that I would need some place more spacious. So 5-room and EAs are too big, but 2-room is too small. 3-room sounds just nice but 4-room offers more options and possibilities.

So a 4-room it is!

The floorplan...

This is a 104sqm 4-room flat with a rather peculiar layout. The shapes and sizes of the bedrooms, bathrooms and yard are fine. I also love the sheer size of the dining and living areas. There are about 4 meters worth of windows in the living/dining area, so it gets a lot of natural light (especially since I have unblocked views all around this flat).

Only a few characteristics of this place did cause me some hesitation at first though

1. The odd angle in the living area. Sure the sofa and TV could run parallel against one of the 2 walls, but then aligning the dining table the same way would result in a weird angle against the living room windows. :blink:

2. The location of the store room makes the path in from the main door somewhat narrow

3. Kitchen has an odd angle and not a perfect rectangle, which limits the placement of cabinets etc. I can also imagine it being very difficult to move around if I were to line the kitchen walls with cabinets! :dunno:

4. The common bathroom has windows opening up into the yard. This means the kitchen can't be "expanded" into the yard (by breaking the walls) because...we can't have people peeking in right? :yeah:

Nonetheless, these are issues that can probably be addressed with some planning and $$$ (i.e. renovation). And so here's the floorplan!

floorplan.jpg.06e945157185ae3569c8410993b850e7.jpg

Edited by hdb4ever
Indicate the theme of this renovation
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking for good contractors? Click here for your request

About the theme...

As a soloist, it's important that my home is bright (without inducing headaches) and uncluttered (no need to spend too much time cleaning). So whitish walls are a must and wood-like flooring too. I started by looking at Muji and Scaninavian themes, but I quickly found these to be a little too light for my taste. Which then led me to Japandi.

So what is Japandi? As the name suggests, Japandi is a theme incorporating both Scandinavian and Japanese elements. Elements present in Japandi include:

  • A lot of natural light
  • A lot of natural material especially wood
  • Contrasts of light and darker pastel shades
  • Functional decorations
  • Clean lines and little clutter
  • Greenery

Some examples of what a mix of these could look like below:

Japandi2.jpg.d6beaa98bfbf66824ecfa2a49acf899a.jpg

Japandi1.jpg.8919215945d7c72e6892c1b202228f4b.jpg

In short, it has elements of Muji and Scandinavian that I like, while offering more options in terms of color palette.

So excited was I about this theme that I'd even bought 3 pieces of furniture long before renovation started :P

 

The sofa

MySofa.jpg.642a29c86be16cd6822306e682195415.jpg

Dark charcoal sofa would make it a standout against the whitish walls. Frame is elegant bended wood. Best of all, the sofa seats and sofa covers are removable and there is some clearance below the sofa - which means easy to clean!!

The dining table and chairs

MyDiningTable.jpg.cf9e1d28b5e580e171d9f38bb4058ee1.jpg

Pale wooden frames for charcoal seats and a whitish marble table top! I hope I won't curse when I need to maintain this marble table top though lol

The bed frame

 

MyBed.jpeg.b1ecff9053cf6e56303db50a7cf9fda7.jpeg

A dark walnut bedframe with plenty of storage: below the bed and even in the headboard. Again a great contrast against whitish walls, wood-like tiles and the lighter bedroom wardrobe laminate that I have in mind.

Edited by hdb4ever
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Major renovation works...

In my first post, I described some limitations of this flat layout. So in this post I'll describe some renovation ($$$) decisions I've made to address them.

1.  Odd angle at the bottom of the living area. To achieve a more rectangular layout in the living+dining areas, a partition wall will be added (see picture below), and my TV will be mounted on it. It will also have a  built in "cubbyhole" to contain the router, media devices and such.

2. Narrow walkway thanks to location of storeroom. Am hacking away the entire storeroom and in its place build wall-to-ceiling storage cabinets which are flush against the wall and less deep. While the depth will be about half of the existing storeroom, in practical terms I won't lose much space since the storeroom otherwise can't be completely filled anyway, as you need some allowance to even get into the storeroom. I also feel that storage cabinets facilitate greater ease of access to stored items compared to this storeroom

3. Difficult to move in kitchen without sacrificing cabinets. The solution seems to be hacking the wall between kitchen and dining area, and build a bar/cabinet outwards into the dining area. Yes that transforms it into an "open concept" kitchen which I'm not too thrilled about since the main door faces the kitchen! Nonetheless this arrangement gives me more clearance to move in the kitchen area without compromising on kitchen storage and counter space. I suppose I'll just need to make sure the kitchen looks good whenever any guests arrive then :lol:

More natural light!

One plus point of hacking the kitchen wall is that I will get even more natural light in via the kitchen windows. And since I was getting more natural light from the right side of the flat, why not get more natural light from the left side too?

So off with the wall and door of Bedroom 3, to be replaced with a glass door and a half-glass wall. Did I mention that my flat is on a high floor and has unblocked view all around? :notti: Hacking so many walls does leave fewer walls on which to hang stuff.... But it does contribute to the Japandi feel that I am going for.

Renovations indicated on the floor plan here

floorplan_annotation.jpg.59345d6527c62cc78955379194bc0126.jpg

 

Ok now on to the issue that doesn't seem to have a solution...

4. Common bathroom windows are in the yard. "Merging" the service yard with the kitchen is a common renovation step that most HDB flat owners take to enlarge their (small) kitchens. But this doesn't seem to be an option available to me because it would not be good to have someone's stink bomb seeping into the kitchen! As to the potential issue of someone peeking into common toilet from the ser ice yard (this scenario is possible should I have over-inquisitive guests of course_), the previous owner did this:

covered_common_2.jpg.jpg.4305efa34abbb9030b4dca6d3c2a934a.jpg

When I first entered the common bathroom, I couldn't figure out why it was the only room that was so dark at mid-day.

covered_common_1.jpg.cbb3fc79632609acbfbe6f99bf9e6c41.jpg

As it turns out, the previous owner covered the common bathroom's windows with a cabinet and placed a ventilation fan. I suppose that's one way of addressing it, but I prefer letting in as much natural light as possible (Japandi theme remember?) so this cabinet arrangement will have to go.

So looks like no solution. :bangwall:The common bathroom's window will be as it is in the service yard. And the service yard has to remain as a distinct service yard, enclosed and separate (via bifold door) from the kitchen.

On the plus side though, now with my kitchen "exposed" because the kitchen wall is getting hacked, keeping the service yard separate from the kitchen means that guests won't have to view my laundry upon entering my place!! :P

 

Edited by hdb4ever
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I felt that way too!

The sofa is from the Bambu line at Castlery.

The dining set I bought from IconicHaus. 

 

 

Edited by hdb4ever
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week 1 progress update

Hack hack hack! By the end of the first day, the floor was full of debris from the tiles and all built in cabinets.

IMG_2483.jpg.ef5b840709b0f4fea3754a9d718dae4f.jpg

The floor looked too much like an obstacle course so I dared not step in any further! But amazingly, this is what it looked like by the end of the second day.

IMG_2512.jpg.87f399b85c373692635ce75b9ce26133.jpg

All gone! Amazingly fast huh?

Not much else happened this week other than water proofing and cementing of the bathrooms

IMG_2545.jpg.b5f586aca9cb2f7eff839a49051e2703.jpg

The floor and wall look smooth and ready to receive some tiling loving :lol:

Speaking of tiles, they have also been loaded into the different areas of the apartment.

IMG_2547.jpg.f9a118a9cdda50112571c8edb6b12d1a.jpg

Two of the tiles that will be placed all over the apartment. The bottom one is a woodgrain type which will be placed over the living and dining areas, and all rooms! Actually much nicer than it looks in this photo!

One another note, thanks to removal of all the cabinets in the service yard, this was revealed...

IMG_2499.jpg.c390fb92a6d54e362ac534fddf22fb91.jpg

Yes 2 huge pipes in that corner. And the windows to the common bathroom aren't as high as I expected either!

Which means

1. No way to fit a dryer and washing machine side by side

2. No way to stack a dryer on top of a washing machine either (without cutting off ventilation to the common bathroom).

Solution? Use a combo washing machine-dryer instead. :~

Such machines have a drying capacity lower than its washer capacity (e.g. 8kg washer/5kg dryer) though. So I now also have to look into getting an electric hanging laundry machine to meet my drying needs :~

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week 2 progress update

I plan to be able to roll an Ikea Raskog out of the service yard into the kitchen when the need arises, so the kerb between the kitchen and yard had to go!

ikea-raskog-trolley-white-2177-11958602-5dd3848b43a007d5b9fb88a13264919c-catalog.jpg_600x600q90.jpg.e5fe494c66833ac2b59f009982966fc9.jpg

369401705_smaller_Yardkerbremoved.jpg.79cf198ad32beb6bda8e2808143ec3d5.jpg

As expected, tiling started this week and proceeded at a very good pace. Very happy with the wood-grain tile that I picked at Hafary for the living area and rooms. Am also pleased with how the tile layer is doing these tiles.

.1076471466_smaller_Tilingstarted.jpg.9e8c9dedfee430a87902853cf5d92e02.jpg

Floor tiles also completed in the service yard + the kitchen!

869908136_smaller_Yardfloortiled.jpg.45145eee842e75db09ba4a95731de106.jpg

This is how well the tiler has done the "transition" of tiles at at the kitchen/living+dining area border. :thumbsup:

764754822_smaller_KitchenLivingRmsidebyside.jpg.b086741b98fb934482e471882bedc6d5.jpg

 

The renovation permit for demolishing the store room has finally been approved by HDB! So it got removed, along with the bedroom and kitchen wall - all within a single day! :dribble:

Farewell store room! The entryway doesn't feel so cramped anymore!

Off with the store room!

Seeing more natural light in the living room now with the bedroom (soon to be a study room) wall gone!

1037549284_smaller_Bedroom3walldemolished.jpg.84ea436edfb998a902cdd72ea5f360e9.jpg

Removing the kitchen wall resulted in a more spacious-looking kitchen!

1300141314_smaller_Kitchenwalldemolished.jpg.7f2103eac603f20eb8ab0101c179b532.jpg

Tiling for bathroom walls and floor also all done! Did a "step down" for the shower area.

679948514_smaller_Bathroomtilesdone.jpg.2d7177364929e280a9879d47e50e8b7a.jpg

Amazing how much can be done in a week! I suspect all tiling might be completed in the coming week!:dribble:

Edited by hdb4ever
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week 3 progress update

Reality bites

Some friends are also doing renovation for their new BTOs at the same time, so I get to compare notes quite a bit. 

And I've come to one realisation: you simply need to do a lot more renovation (and spend a lot more $$$) with a resale flat - for similar results! :~ In my case, I needed to hack all tiles in every square inch of this flat, replace all existing electrical wiring, replace all piping and remove all fixtures. 

Talking about hacking,  I did not anticipate the sheer amount of fixtures (wardrobe, cabinets, cornice!) that needed to be removed - and the numerous holes that are left all over my walls at just about every location!

For example, take a look at my service yard..

2101055713_manylobang.jpg.1dc0c68f332c49e9af996f87fcedc853.jpg

...see the number of holes that need to be patched up just here alone? :~

Another offender is cornice: after removing cornice from just about every area and room in this flat, I am left with many many more holes and uneven walls.

I knew that all these pimple-like imperfections, even after some cementing and deft paintwork, can never be overlooked by my eyes. So in the end I had to top up more $$$ to plaster the entire house (whatever is not tiled).

So if you are doing viewing for resale flats, you might want to consider the additional cost of renovation if the flat has a really large number of fixtures!

Terrific tiling

2064137469_bathroomtiles.jpg.4a6e63bb6bc715eb2a8d45c0accb72c9.jpg

Really loving the marble style tiles that I chose for the bathrooms. I am glad that I'd gone with larger 60cm x 60cm tiles for the bathroom walls because the marble effect is almost seamless!

 

1993035648_skirtingwall.jpg.3088b45d6a811ae732f802d239b318cc.jpg

Tiling in all the rooms have also been completed, and here you can see the skirting too. Notice the rough looking part of the wall above the skirting???  No matter, everything will be plastered away!

813068046_bigpipeshole1.jpg.d18786c9995f318395654077f567c7c7.jpg273907044_bigpipeshole2.jpg.f06720ade20e34ee065a54f6e9358e53.jpg

As this flat is on the top floor, both bathrooms were spared from having any large pipes. Alas this is untrue of the service yard - it has 2 pairs of large pipes in either corner! I wondered what the hardworking tilers could possibly do to make these corners look pleasant?

Turns out that I need not have worried..

20513514_hole1covered.jpg.64b06012ffbf90fcb8a7847d3e5c2e8f.jpg722867586_hole2covered.jpg.a01f0ada0b67933c790ad8a9b2f9925f.jpg

Yes, they did some sort of overlaying for the areas around these pipes - so they are now much less troubling looking!

1742566490_baseforsinkandhob.jpg.756bdf1d99cfd56252017c41eca6e39f.jpg782012006_baseforkitchenisland.jpg.b751f948223debaf23e6043d123f3a20.jpg

Cement base for the kitchen cabinets (including sink) also done. Apparently not everybody thinks cement bases are necessary these days, but I  prefer to be on the safe side.

894483268_openedkitchen.jpg.cfadd4439c2aefaba4b3ad10997a7214.jpg

View of the opened kitchen (and service yard) from the living room. 

244355093_halfwallstudy.jpg.1f39a995042bf147764700ed6a9edde8.jpg

Did you know that if you want to make a "half glass wall", you need to first demolish the entire wall? A new nugget of knowledge for noobie me. The newly constructed "half wall" is ready for plastering, painting and, eventually, a translucent top glassy half!

And so after two whole weeks the tiling works in this 104 sqm flat are complete!!!

Up next should be plastering of the entire flat! :paint:

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi hdb4ever, I find it odd to have 4 pipes in your service yard. Is there another pipe in the kitchen?

There are a total 3 pipes in my 5 room flat. One in the balcony, one in the common bathroom and one in the kitchen. There is no pipe in my yard!

Nowadays new BTO flats have 2 pipes in the air con ledge and one in the kitchen. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi KFC1189 - No other big pipes in the entire house! Weird huh?

i am not completely sure but it might be because this flat is one of those short lived Design & Build flats, which would explain its very unconventional layout  :dunno:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week 4 progress update

"Not much" happened this week other than...plastering of the entire flat!

So what exactly is plastering? Basically, a thin layer of cement-like substance is spread out along the wall and ceiling to smoothen out all surfaces.

plaster.jpg.b937aec45d61316ec1c5316577000ccb.jpg

This is the wall plaster that was used.

My flat underwent very extensive hacking due to the need to remove fixtures and cornice just about everywhere, so it developed a severe case of pockmarks :blink: So how dramatically can plastering change the face of one's resale flat?

For that, compare the "in progress" and "after" photos here...

908753249_inprogress.jpg.cde39bf12eee63a7ccf4cf6f8007507b.jpg1962886481_after.jpg.622817e122d02c7bdaf203a4a6f2c1bf.jpg

No more jagged edges! No more holes!

Another advantage of plastering is that everything becomes whitish again - almost like the feel of a fresh BTO flat I suppose.

1083763999_smoothandwhite.jpg.aaf229f0b9f53fe366745a497b46cdb1.jpg

Notice the green paint on the walls can no longer be seen? Thanks to plastering, the painters won't have to paint too many coats as base before getting to my choice of colours! :)

1844160981_yardplastered.jpg.f2a1673ec419ea7cd517dcead49832fe.jpg

View of the service yard. Removal of the cabinets that used to be here left holes all over the place, that had to be filled with patches of cement!  Thanks to plastering, the yard walls no longer look like a disaster. Painting should conceal whatever traces of cement that can still be seen.

1156731446_MBRledge.jpg.9769b4b76604e0cfa39d82fb9294c6ae.jpg

I was really worried about this ledge in the master bedroom because it looked really bad after the hacking.

781788386_MBRledgesmoothened.jpg.79209182e14082b5a997964661ca1b5c.jpg

Post plastering, everything looks shiny and new!

But I do wonder what I ought to do about:

1. That (presently orange) piece of board that conceals access to what used to be the aircon bracket?? :unsure:I will be locating my aircon compressor at the service yard instead.

2. That window size ledge next to the window?? :wacko:Place some plants or a clock??

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. aircon panel can just get your contractor to lay a piece of gypsum board to cover it up. after plastering should be flush to the wall and not be very visible. if you are concerned about crack lines appearing in future, then use an entire piece of gypsum board to cover that entire bottom wall.

2. the hole can just do a custom shelving or cabinet. if don't want to spend so much $$$ to custom build, can also buy those 3 tier shelve from Giant hypermart to squeeze inside that hole.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎9‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 1:42 PM, hdb4ever said:

 

Another advantage of plastering is that everything becomes whitish again - almost like the feel of a fresh BTO flat I suppose.

1083763999_smoothandwhite.jpg.aaf229f0b9f53fe366745a497b46cdb1.jpg

 

View of the service yard. Removal of the cabinets that used to be here left holes all over the place, that had to be filled with patches of cement!  Thanks to plastering, the yard walls no longer look like a disaster. Painting should conceal whatever traces of cement that can still be seen.

1156731446_MBRledge.jpg.9769b4b76604e0cfa39d82fb9294c6ae.jpg

I was really worried about this ledge in the master bedroom because it looked really bad after the hacking.

781788386_MBRledgesmoothened.jpg.79209182e14082b5a997964661ca1b5c.jpg

Post plastering, everything looks shiny and new!

But I do wonder what I ought to do about:

1. That (presently orange) piece of board that conceals access to what used to be the aircon bracket?? :unsure:I will be locating my aircon compressor at the service yard instead.

2. That window size ledge next to the window?? :wacko:Place some plants or a clock??

 

 

Hi, your flat has many niches or recess areas under the windows. Please take note that all these niches count toward your flat's total floor area. So you should maximize it by having built in selves 

The piece of board below your master bedroom window need to be sealed up properly. Otherwise rainwater will seep in sooner or later. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks snoozee and KFC1189!

I took a closer look at the board and noticed some light seeping through the gap :blink:

1705837624_seepinglight.jpg.ca1a900abed572fba9a7b6abf2949357.jpg

Definitely getting re-sealed!

As for the niches, am now planning to place an air purifier at the bottom one and install some floating shelves at the top one!

Edited by hdb4ever
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week 5 progress update

So what do you do after plastering a flat to be all shiny and smooth?

gasp_a_hole.jpg.3777a3d9944e9afd94e650e3dccf1bc2.jpg

Punch holes through the walls again of course! :lol: But this is inevitable to install wiring and pipes at all the desired places.

pipes_to_blend.jpg.7c1ce7038c7cec3c899022364134e523.jpg

Pipes in the bathroom of the Master Bedroom which will hopefully blend in with the tiles once painted white. Why 2 sets of pipes? Because one for cold water and one for hot water coming in from the water heater...

hidden_piping.jpg.dd61633e785c87daf4077a709ca89737.jpg

...which will be placed here in the service yard, at that corner next to the window of the common bathroom. Good thing these huge pipes can obscure the maze-like pipes - at least it's good for something aesthetically!!

thankful_not_flush.jpg.a471debfa31d59e5d58785912e0dff47.jpg

Remember I was griping about the existence of 2 pairs of huge pipes in 2 corners of the service yard? :angry: Suddenly I'm glad that this one's not flush against the wall either, because it obscures and enables nicer electrical cabling into the kitchen.

small_sink.jpg.90b174340d8e168a750abceeb56225ba.jpg

The kitchen sink will be at this spot, because I don't like the idea of either the sink, hob or fridge being by the kitchen windows. Hot water will also be available at the kitchen sink because erm hot water might help in washing some stuff I think?? :blink:

clever_trunking.jpg.a62a30a103075dee5a3bce34529d1a5a.jpg

Recessed walls are put to good use, obscuring trunking.

While all this was going on, several deliveries were also made:

all_lights_and_fans.jpg.085a1460f7cc5c41a271f479e07d36e0.jpg

First up was self-delivery of items I have been buying since June :P My family members are rejoicing that the balcony of my current place is now (largely) clear again.

Basically:

  • fans (with lights) for all bedrooms and the living room, bought in Tampoi, JB before the Sales and Service Tax came into effect!
  • ceiling and hanging lights, and bathroom accessories, from various shops via EZBuy
  • bathroom lights from Sense N Bedeck, and Ikea

excel_kitchen_fittings.jpg.bba5e95508f48f56eb6e8fbe0f1b72d7.jpg

Fittings for the kitchen cabinets from Excel Hardware. Kudos for being able to arrange for delivery within such short notice! The carpenters will be incorporating these into their kitchen cabinet designs.

loot_biene.jpg.8f5c4e724e9371f1a9049f9cd1ad45be.jpg

Mirror cabinets and basin cabinets for the bathrooms from Biene

adora_loot.jpg.32d28b1139ea06b4be56923fbd99ca71.jpg

And a whole bunch of stuff from *** including my Baron WCs, kitchen and service yard sinks and mixer/tap and showerheads.

Will go through all items one at a time as they're fixed up.

Whew! All ready for another exciting week ahead! :P

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Aura Sink


×