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Norman Ng

My Mancave - 2Rm Type 1 (35sqm) HDB BTO post renovation musings

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Hi guys,

It has been a long arduous renovation journey since I got the keys to my humble 2 room flat last September. When I first started my renovation research, I realized that there is just not that much reference material out for the the type 1 2-rm flats. There are much more on the slightly larger type 2 flats (47sqm) but not the type 1 (35sqm). I did come across an excellent blog by ryanyth on Renotalk also (thank you, ryanyth!) that has helped me tremendously in piecing the puzzles together for renovating my first home. So I thought I'll share my entire thought process in hopes of helping all you new 2-rm flat owners looking to see what you can do with your space. 

 

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Planning

One of the first things to do is to have a mental checklist of what you plan to do with the space. Are you going to work from home? Do you plan to have visitors over often? It's important to be honest with yourself and kinda visualize how you see you would interact with the space. 35sqm is not a big space but more than adequate if you curate your things and habits properly. One good place to look for inspiration is Pintrest - just tag those styles that you like and soon you will have an idea of how you want your dream home to look like. 

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I have long planned my home to be my personal mancave - a place that I can not only relax and chill surrounded by my favorite things, but also a place where I can work if need be ( I work freelance so I can work from home).  As you can see from my tile and flooring choices I gravitate towards the Muji feel with natural earthy colors. 

 

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As you can see, I knocked down the partition wall with the sliding door, and it really opens up the space to a lot of possibilities. I am an avid gamer so I turned the bedroom into an entertainment space with an overhead projector and a pull down screen for movies and games. 

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The main living room with a lounging/reading corner. Furniture is mostly Muji, some that I got from Carousell at an absolute deal. The sofa turns into a single bed by just removing the 2 back pillow. I have been advised against the open shelf system since dust tends to collect on your things, but it's a compromise that I have to live with to display my favorite things like my model plane collection and books. Also, I feel that too much built in storage cupboards will make such a small space feel even smaller. The wall will be my memory wall with pictures of family, friends and travels.

There is a foldable table from IKEA that I can bring in and open up in front of the sofa bed in order to host large gatherings of people. Coffee table can be folded and stored away. I have managed to squeeze 15 people in my home - a tight squeeze but definitely doable. 

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The bedroom is turned into an office/game room with my gaming computer and flight simulator, with a bar table along the window. I am lucky to have a pretty decent view so the bar table is a great space to have breakfast and enjoy the scenery. Both the table and bar table are suar wood, and are one of the few extravagances I allowed myself.

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The bathroom is a zen space with wood like tiles on the walls and stone like tiles (from Hafary) for the floor. Mirror and sink/cabinet are from IKEA. I bought most of the fixtures from AliExpress or Ezbuy, which can be a gamble but definitely saves a lot of money. The emphasis is on clean uncluttered design.

 

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 The kitchen pantry is a customized IKEA IVAR system, with the frames painted black and the wood varnished to give a more industrial look.The fridge is small but definitely enough for one person. You do not want an oversized fridge to dominate your kitchen.

 

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Yes I even installed an improvised arcade machine in my kitchen =D That way, there is a reason for friends to hang out in the kitchen and not crowd the living room too much. The car plates are from my time in the US, and most of the other metal posters are bought from Aliexpress. The original kitchen walls are overlayed with white brick tiles from Hafary.

 

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The bomb shelter has been converted into a small walk in closet, very much inspired by ryanyth and his blog. The system is ELVARLI from IKEA, and works perfect. It is also a place to keep the tools for the many DIY projects I do around the house. 

I will keep this post short for now but plan to share many technical difficulties experienced during the renovation process later. It took almost 6 months to complete due to problems mainly with the flooring. All said and done, total costs for renovation alone came up for about $15k and furniture another about 6-7k. I got a lot of things used from Carousell. I also decided to forgo the ID since I already know roughly how I want the design of my home to be, and I can afford the time to be more hands on and involved in the renovation process. No doubt that saved me a bunch of money.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post and don't hesitate to throw some questions my way. I'll be happy to help!   

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Here are the quotes from my contractor

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I thought the contractor quote was very reasonable and work was generally quite satisfactory except when we hit a huge roadblock with the flooring, which dragged the renovation out to 6 months.

I opted for vinyl flooring since I was reassured that it is a solid option with no hollow sound or feel common with wood laminate flooring. Furthermore, It's durability, cost and resistance to water beats out wood timber which I was also considering. I also went for the more expensive Evorich vinyl tiles but please be warned that your floor screeding has to be done well for a good result. My contractor could not lay a flat floor, and there were many places that felt uneven and had the horrible hollow sound. Because Evorich vinyl tiles basically just lays on top the existing flooring, preparation is key to get a flat floor. So I told the contractor to tear up all the flooring and to patch up the trouble spots. I was around to supervise the work and it was pretty obvious that the workmanship just was not up to par. They did not seem to know what they were doing. I consulted the Evorich guys but I get the impression that they are more interested in getting me to agree to the shoddy workmanship than solving my issue.

In the end, I got so frustrated and disappointed in the workmanship that I personally had to mix the cement and patch up the floor flat, with the help of a 6 foot ruler that I got from a hardware store. Yes, the contractors did not even have a ruler to help them gauge whether the floor is flat. It was quite the effort but I managed to get the floor within specification and was thankfully happy with the final results upon installation. I have heard that other companies use vinyl that is installed over some kind of foam underlay, and that will mitigate the problems of an uneven floor.

Needless to say, this episode brought friction between me and my main contractor, but to his credit he did waive the fees for the screeding and give me a discount for the flooring. Judging from the effort I put in, I must say it is a fair trade. 

I also had the time to go supervise the work pretty often. My main con was hardly around, which was disappointing. My advice is to stick by your guns and not to accept shoddy work. Some may entice you to accept by offering you a discount but you are the one who have to live in your home for many years to come.

 

 

Edited by Norman Ng
Flooring Update
 
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The Little Things

Many times you will see showrooms or pictures of post renovation flats that are very beautiful, clean and minimalist. Initially, I aspired to have that kind of space too, but over time I find such spaces to be cold and lacking personality. So I began to fill the space with little things that spark joy haha - as Marie Kondo puts it. She advocates decluttering, but not to the point of throwing away your favorite things. Bear in mind that there is often a fine line between a place looking ‘lived in’ and cluttered. So everything must be curated and have a place in your home. It’s often the little things that makes a space your very own, so let me show you my little things :)

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A little helper to hang on to my bathroom hand towel.

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My flat came with an eco tap for the toilet. The idea is for you to wash your hands with the water that is used to fill your cistern after every flush. But I find that it’s a bit awkward to use and I normally wash my hands with soap at the sink anyways. So I turned the eco sink into a little diorama of the bus stop scene from Totoro.

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Every man cave needs a mini foosball and gumball machine 😄

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My WW2 plane model collection.

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Photo wall of my favorite places and people.

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This is actually a headboard for the discontinued IKEA Mandal bed that I repurposed for a shelf.

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Tanks a lot!

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Metal plates from AliExpress. The car plates are from my time in the US.

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Shelf above kitchen sink.

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Kitchen sink area.

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Some plants have a resident spirit. This one will help me ’huat’ 😂

 

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Tool rack in closet. DIY culture is sorely lacking in Singapore. You can save quite a bit of money by customizing your own little furniture.

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Mini garden corner and improvised bay window with seating. The shelf is from Muji and can help with seating people during larger gatherings. They have to be pretty slim though haha.

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed the tour :)

 

Edited by Norman Ng
The Little Things
 
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Welcome Norman! Thanks for sharing your space with us.  It looks pinterest perfect!  It looks so homey complete with plants - very on trend.  Love your budget too and with no ID.  Like the way you have open up and combined the rooms.  All the rooms looks great.  You did an awesome job.  Look forward to more details on how you did it.

 

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Hi Norman how long have you had your plants?  They look good.  What directions are your windows facing?  I have a similar layout as yours but windows all facing NW.
By the way how did you hang your money plant on the window sill.  Good idea, think I will do the same with mine!

 

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How long have you stayed at your place?  I see you have done a little glass screen next to your sink.  Do you have enough space to clean the side of the cabinet?  What space is still dry after you have showered.  I was advised by Id to put screen on the toilet seat side.  How much did your tempered glass screen cost?  Notice you don't have a floor curb.

 

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Looks like you are handy with your tools.  Did you assemble the furniture and fix the lighting yourself?  What was your contractors workscope and original quote?

 

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Hi Reno2020, thank you for your kind words. The whole process is an evolution. Sometimes what I thought will work doesn’t feel right during renovation and I have to be flexible and change plans if need be. It’s different looking at the floor plans and actually being in the space getting a feel of it. 

My plants are relatively new, the oldest one I got is maybe 7 months old. I’m a very novice gardener and have killed many plants haha. It’s a learning process still for me. My windows are facing NW also and generally my place is pretty bright, even the kitchen and bathroom. It does get warm sometimes during the afternoons though. The hanging planters are from IKEA, although I think their original use is for the kitchen. I forget the name but they are only 90 cents each.

As for the bathroom, I made sure that there’s enough room on both sides of the sink to clean the glass. I have about a 10cm gap for that purpose. I kept the size of the glass panel to a minimum - as long as the shower doesn’t splash onto the sink and vanity. It does splash a little but it’s a compromise I chose to make. I could have made a shower enclosure but it would just be too tight for such a small bathroom. The toilet is meant to take a little moisture anyways.

The woodworking tools are a new hobby for me. I did assemble and DIY some furniture. It’s a good way to learn how things work. I managed to restore some old teak stools and they look brand new after.

i will post my renovation quote a little later once I organize all my documents.

 

 

 

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Thank you for your prompt answers they are most helpful to me.  I will also do a screen like yours in my bathroom 😉 Look forward to your other updates.

I believe you have used roller blinds for your windows.  Good choice as it allows you unobstructed view.  Are they heavy to pull up, since they are 1 single piece? 

Btw have you put UV film on your windows?  They seem to be tinted blue.  

Yup you did a great job with the teak stools.  Thot they were new!

 

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Thank you very much, I'm glad my blog helped you.
Congrats on your mancave, it looks absolutely delightful!
Well done!!! :D

Edited by ryanyth
 

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22 hours ago, Reno2020 said:

Thank you for your prompt answers they are most helpful to me.  I will also do a screen like yours in my bathroom 😉 Look forward to your other updates.

I believe you have used roller blinds for your windows.  Good choice as it allows you unobstructed view.  Are they heavy to pull up, since they are 1 single piece? 

Btw have you put UV film on your windows?  They seem to be tinted blue.  

Yup you did a great job with the teak stools.  Thot they were new!

Yes they are roller blinds from Spotlight. They are perfect size for the windows at 2.1m, and are essential to block out the light for me to be able use the projector during the day. They are not too heavy to pull up at all.

The windows only look blue because I shot the photos in dawn and there are some light color balance issues with my warm light and the cool light outside :) Not tinted at all. By the way, I added quotes from my contractor above. Your place is already undergoing reno? 2rm type 1 also?

13 hours ago, ryanyth said:

Thank you very much, I'm glad my blog helped you.
Congrats on your mancave, it looks absolutely delightful!
Well done!!! :D

Hi ryanyth, thank you for the compliments! Your blog helped immensely in the final execution :)

 

Edited by Norman Ng
 

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Great!  I will go check out the roller blinds since they are light.  Thanks for the detailed quote, most helpful I can use that as the benchmark when I start sourcing.  Mine is a type 2 but same layout.  Expecting to get keys early next year.  Getting tips from the 2roomers on YouTube and Reno talk.  So I will definitely be checking your blog for your updates.  Many thanks for your responses.

 

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On 7/26/2019 at 4:46 PM, Norman Ng said:

In the end, I got so frustrated and disappointed in the workmanship that I personally had to mix the cement and patch up the floor flat, with the help of a 6 foot ruler that I got from a hardware store. Yes, the contractors did not even have a ruler to help them gauge whether the floor is flat. It was quite the effort but I managed to get the floor within specification and was thankfully happy with the final results upon installation. I have heard that other companies use vinyl that is installed over some kind of foam underlay, and that will mitigate the problems of an uneven floor.

Needless to say, this episode brought friction between me and my main contractor, but to his credit he did waive the fees for the screeding and give me a discount for the flooring. Judging from the effort I put in, I must say it is a fair trade. 

I also had the time to go supervise the work pretty often. My main con was hardly around, which was disappointing. My advice is to stick by your guns and not to accept shoddy work. Some may entice you to accept by offering you a discount but you are the one who have to live in your home for many years to come.

Sorry to hear about the flooring issue. Really a nightmare scenario! :o
I can't imagine having to ownself manually mix the cement and personally do patching
and having the situation drag on for 6 months! :o 
I cannot even begin to imagine the stress you went thru during this time. :o

The end result really looked good and you should be proud of what you achieved. :good:
If i were you, i'd be posting the name and contact number of this contractor to help warn others to stay away from him. To not even have a simple basic tool like the water leveller ruler is unacceptable.

Edited by ryanyth
 

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Wow awesome renovation man! Seems like you are a flight sim enthusiast. :D 

Thank you for sharing, looking forward to more updates!

 

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