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Journey to creating our home 4 room resale

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We were so busy last few months researching the ideas for our house.

The renovation involved hacking the entire house and rebuilding it new, everything from scratch.

We started sourcing for ideas 4 months before getting the keys to our house.

Because we were staring on a fresh slate, we wanted to make sure everything was what we wanted (although it may not be the case sometimes).

We poured through Dayre/ Pintrest/ Instagram/ Home Decor magazines etc for ideas from floor tiles, to cabinets to colour combinations.

For a house to look and feel nice, there are certain characteristics to look out for:


  1. Material quality
  2. Colour
  3. Lights
  4. Flow (Lines)
  5. Space
  6. Workmanship


We started with research at Hafary:

Everyone goes to Hafary to check tiles. They are a listed company ! 


Hafary had a huge selection of tiles.

We initially were looking at marble look tiles. 

specifically volakas.

We also went to Lian Seng Hin.

They had a very nice volakas big sized tiles



Then we did more research into marble.
Real marble. 
Real rock.
It had a difference. 
Harfary marble was more pricey.
I found a marble supplier. Santari.
We went to the warehouse.. 
The price was inclusive of dry lay. 
Dry lay is basically laying the tiles in the warehouse according to the floorplan, marking the tiles by number, so that the tileman can lay the tiles (with the design nicely) easily.
Many others charge for dry lay.
Santari sells marble by the slab. 
The beauty about buying marble by the slab is that the entire floor, or in some cases, the TV back wall, will have flow. The lines will flow one to the other and tis give the feeling of space.
They would need your floorplan. They will plan the optimal amount of marble slabs.
They do sell small pieces, but depends on stock as well.
The slab price was about $160/sqm to $215/sqm
The workers there were really friendly.








Marble was really exclusive.
it was really different. 
The touch felt cool. 
But installation and maintenance was expensive because marble, after installation, needs to have special polishing and sealant.
Overtime, when scratched, will need to be re-polished.
Well maybe our next landed house we will get that marble slab.
Then we went to Rice Labs at henderson.
Rice labs is a tile supplier and they stock italian porcelain tiles.
Its advisable to make an appointment before heading down.
But we did so without and they were every friendly.
The material specialist toured us around their showrooms starting from the top floor working downwards.
The tiles were more expensive than the normal china made 30x60 tiles.
But having said that, the tile quality was really nice.
The tiles were big slabs of 1200mm in length.
We liked what we saw and went for it.
went down couple of times and each time the material specialist Jocelyn assigned to us patiently helped us and gave us ideas.
The tile showroom had tile samples with QR codes. Scan the QR codes and up shows the sample pictures in the macs.
We went with marble look porcelain tiles. 
The tile sizes were bigger than normal. They came in packages of two to three in a carton.
There was discount as well. There are some tiles that are on sale up to 50% off a well.
Delivery was prompt.
This contributed to the double price of our tile installation.
(installer needed two person to help lay each tile instead of one)
Edited by candywhite

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

Then we spent alot of time going around checking different Interior Designers as well as direct contractors.
We got recommendations from RenoTalk forum, from renotalk, from friends, from roadshows, from walking around the malls, from reno expo, from youtube...
Went to carousell to check hacking, tilers, window manufacturers, painting service etc. 


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Engaged a part time painter to view the house and quote. Btw they quoted $1000 labour only. And this recommendation was from renotalk forum. After adding paint and accessories, it was about same price as ID. And i know painting labour is not that expensive because I do that myself before!

We had many quotes, maybe more than 10! 
Even made a spreadsheet, and itemised all.

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At the start, we thought we could go with direct contractor for the renovation.

Went to a direct contractor and sat down to discuss at length on what we wanted. We actually decided on them, but in the end, they seemed to be not able to deliver what we wanted.
And after all the calculation, I found that the ID cost was only a little more than direct contractor. Which means, that the direct contractors in SG are actually charging high prices for the labour!
Engaging direct contractor also means we had to be hands on all the way. We had to be there 24/7 to ensure things go as planned or when deliveries are made.
We weighed the pros and cons and decided to go with a designer firm then.
There were many IDs to choose from and it was competitive. We spent time at each  sit down explaining what we wanted along with our floor plan.
We got quote after quote of renovation contracts.
Some of the itemised quotes were cheaper than the direct contractor.
I think it was good that we sought alot of IDs. Because different ID / contractors would recommend different ideas on how to utilise the space. Some would recommend stuff that was not advised earlier. Like unused piping can be closed off, or how piping can be re-run.
Different ideas will allow you to visualise how you would seggregate the space in your house.

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Next we bought appliances.
Not much because we already had fridge and washer.

Bought this oven and the matching hood from neighbourhood electronics store. 
La germania also gave grocery vouchers. Sometimes they have cooking classes.
We like the oven because the brand has been known to be reliable. 
And the colour - nice.


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Aircon - we got mitsubishi starmex system 4 (33k compressor, 1x18000btu, 3x9000 btu) - $4465
(should have gotten Daikin! they got free dyson fan!  $%$#@%@#$)

Water heater - we got AO Smith.

Was researching water heater for quite long. My requirements were - safe, can set the timer.
So we went with AO smith digital water heater.
Comes with 3m data cable, and digital console to set timer and also to set temperature.
advisable to buy the longer 10m cable. 

Can set temperature - normal heater usually heat to 70 degrees. AO smith can set to 50 or 55 deg. use lesser energy!
The AO smith ambient air heater - too expensive. >$2000 but it uses so much lesser electricity. ALOT lesser!

We bought the AO Smith water heater from AOSBath online. 
Pay by paynow and there is additional discount.
They will call before delivery. hasslefree! 

Warranty for AO smith - they provide comprehensive warranty - no need to pay for transport!


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Next, we went to Rowell Road to buy lights.

Lighting is very important in a cosy home. Too little lights would mean a drabby house.
Incorrect lights would render an area difficult to work at.

For lights, there are couple of brands, Osram, Philips and those China lights.
We didn't like track lights, they mostly came from china, exposed tracks was not our taste.
Track lights - some come with user changeable bulbs, others are built in, so if those bulbs blow out, the whole LED enclosure needs to be changed. 

We prefer Philips.
We decided on the bulbs first (GU10) then work backwards on the casing. haha!


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The price at Rowell Road is almost the same  as Tampoi lighting center. 
The spotlight casings cheaper in Rowell road Kim Tou Electric.
They are a family run shop I think. Very friendly, and allowed us to change even when we bought wrong casings.
IMG_8152.HEIC$43 with twin dimmable bulbsIMG_8156.HEIC$55 with twin normal GU10 bulbs
All the hype about tampoi and their lights....
Tampoi does sell a big variety of lights. we got the pendant light there. $50 sgd.
we got the triple spotlights casing from Tampoi JB.
Wanted the box quad lights but none found in sg Chan Huat. 
We wanted spotlights. specifically philips GU10 warm white for the house. Because we light the colour and the brightness.

For bedroom lights we got the philips LED.
Initially was looking at Xiaomi starry night, but in the end, i think for common bedrooms, any light is fine. we got these for $80

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Went to JB to buy TV.
65 inch. Sony. 
SG price $2400
JB price SGD$1400 - inclusive of GST. pay using the customs app when coming back to SG.
Even the customs officers were asking us where to buy. 
The TV fits in the car! Just nice! 
Bought from JB harvey norman. Can buy the additional international warranty that covers 2nd and 3rd year. We didnt. Note: 1st year is still local malaysia warranty. 
Bought the swivel mount as well. RM$428 for the mount. Cheaper than SG. Got ID to fix. 
The staff was friendly. Helped to test TV as well.
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Our ID provided fire rated door frame for main door and Nyatoh for the rest. 
That was without us asking for fire rated door frame! They really provided good quality materials without shortchanging us. 
We researched on wood look tiles, vinyl laminates, hardwood flooring for our rooms. Vinyl laminates definitely no. Because it has a hollow feel, and sound resonates through the floor when walking on vinyl laminated flooring. The glue used in the laminates, some are not eco friendly. 
Wood look tiles were the next best option. They were easy to maintain. But the feel to it is abit more cold and hard. Parquet gave that warm and cozy feel to a room.
If only can parquet the whole house like European look hahaa!
We decided to go for parquet for the rooms. This colour of wood has a tinge of red cherry. 
We did consider Forest Road solid oak wood, the colour of oak was a little more pale. The price was $4900 for three rooms. $600 for skirting. Our ID provided a quote of $4800 parquet hardwood including screed, skirting. 
We initially wanted just the back splash to be black. But our ID said, make it floor to ceiling at the end. Whole wall with the senso nero marquina tile! One of the benefits of having a proactive ID! ideas we never have thought about!

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