Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Five: Renovation ramblings #1

Ok, so enough whining about how we can't wait for the renovations to be done. Here's some of the lessons we've learnt through renovating our home this round:

:: We opted to live with the existing toilet bowls when we first moved into our place eight years ago, so we didn't need to choose new WCs then. This round, we had to replace them (both broke, probably from old age!), and we were clueless about how to choose from the dizzy array of shining white displays. So aside from looking at the water consumption during flushing, we just tried to get something that came as a single piece to reduce the number of grooves I had to wipe when I washed the toilet. And the advice one saleslady gave us? You have to sit on the WCs to test them out, to see which was most comfortable for you. So we did, and even Junior J helped us in this aspect. Her advice was sorta useful, since you'll find out which had wobbly seats or uncomfortable ones!

Testing taps, showers and WCs got boring after awhile.
Then it was the Endless Alphabet app for him. At least he was learning new words!

:: We didn't do any tiling work previously too, save for replacing the toilet floors which were stained beyond cleaning. This round, we opted to redo the tiles for the kitchen and both toilets, so we had to hunt for tiles. Our interior designer (who acted more as a contractor actually) did try to scout for suitable tiles, but we ended up having to pay a visit to many tile suppliers before we could find the correct tiles (Oddly enough, it was the plain bright yellow square tiles that proved to be the hardest to find. Most places had the strangest designs, like bright blue retro circles, but no plain yellow tiles!).  Soon Bee Huat seemed to have the best range in terms of aesthetics and sheer variety. And tile shopping is probably one of the most interesting reno-related excursions for a four year old, since there are loads of colours and textures to explore (Junior J was stuck really long at the mosaic section!):

:: There's a rather surreal feeling moving out of your beloved place, and coming back to see your kitchen in this state:

The kitchen after all the old, roach-infested cabinets came down.
Long story about those roaches, am just glad they are gone!

:: Hacking and drilling makes for tonnes and tonnes of dust. We (and the workers) have been mopping and the floor still permanently feels like we're at some beach.

The kitchen, after all the tiles were hacked. 

:: Expect for delays and mistakes. Everyone we spoke to for recommendations all had contractors who made mistakes, and had delays. I guess its something inevitable (but nevertheless, undesirable!), seeing that the contractors are not around all the time to supervise the workers. Our previous contractor made major booboos that couldn't be rectified (he fabricated the kitchen cabinets too high), but thankfully this round there were no major mistakes that couldn't be corrected.

The workers actually mixed up the kitchen and toilet wall tiles and mounted them wrongly, but this was discovered early and so could be fixed. Cabinets were drilled up, only for them to find out that their doors couldn't open, and had to be taken down, and the tiles replaced. They painted our entryway the wrong colour, and the cabinetry was delayed for a week. The air con pipe got blocked off, resulting in a dripping air-con. So there were delays and lots of corrective work involved, but I'm glad there were no major mess-ups. We're looking forward to seeing everything done, hopefully by the end of this week!

How about you? What are your experiences with renovating your home? Do you have any tips to share?

Mum in the Making


  1. We had similar issues too when we were renovating our home! The kitchen tiles were laid vertically instead of horizontally, so they had to be re-done, and we decided to shift our kitchen cabinets a few cm back, to allow more walking space. We had to pay for that change, because it wasn't the contractor's fault, but we figured it's a small price to pay, as we don't plan to do any more renovations for a long time!
    Looking forward to seeing more photos of your newly renovated place soon!

  2. Ohhh I can identify. We moved not a very old apartmnet so had to do alot of work, on a very small budget. We took turns going to check on the progress everyday, so that we could spot mistakes(if any) early and just to enjoy the look of our home being out together.

    My dad gave a tip: be nice to the workers. We often bought them water and snacks :)

    Love your kitchen tiles!

  3. The husband very scientifically chose our WCs by analysing the angle of the slope and other obscure factors. Apparently the shop staff had never seen such methodical decision-making before. He chose well, though. We don't have any issues with skid marks, back splash or inefficient flushing!

  4. I would't have thought of the WC tip myself.. so very practical. Love the look of your kitchen tiles!

  5. Mistakes - we experienced some but fortunately they were manageable. Hubby popped by almost every night to monitor the situation. Can't imagine if he didn't. Luckily no serious delays, and even then our landlady was kind and understanding enough to waiver the one month notice.

  6. It always thrill me to see a renovation in process! And I guess it's the love I had as an interior designer yrs ago haha

    It's a big thing to engage a reliable and efficient contractor with a handful of skilled workers who really knows what they need to do. But of cos there are bounce to hv lil hiccups here and there in any renovation work. :) oh ya, I always do spot checks during my work as a designer as well as during my house's renovation.

  7. Did you go to the shops in Balestier? Soon Bee Huat sounds familiar! I was really bored when we were choosing toilets, and I'm not too happy with our choice--seems it's harder to keep them clean as compared to our HDB installed ones in our old place! And oh, ours have wobbly seats. So yes, I would choose wisely next time!

  8. I am going to renovate my house soon, and ready to see all the mess! OMG!

  9. I hate renovating my home, the only thing I really enjoyed was when we changed the two bathrooms and we bought all the new equipment: toilet, sinks, vanities, showers and baths, etc. We bought most of the products from the brand Roca because we loved it. And we put new tiles. That was the best renovation we have done at home!



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