Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Best Place for Inspiration, IKEA

Considering that our new house will be based on our design, the ID firm didn't managed to impress us with anything they had, we begin our research on the furniture, decor and accessories which will suit our style.

And talking about searching for inspirations, what better place to see it all but at IKEA.

As we had decided not to do the "traditional" 2 Tier Kitchen Counter which is like practically can be found in any HDB Flat, we really need to figure out how to fully make use of what we will be having and pack in as much storage space as possible.

Saw these modernize kitchen storage solution here at IKEA and decided to take a few snapshots of it, so that we can show it to our carpenter when the time comes.

 Oh, great, saw this and it makes a good reference photo to show our ID Firm exactly what I have drew in my layout for them.

Want to nicely arrange my washer and dryer in such a way that I can still make use of the countertop space on top.
 No upper tier kitchen counter storage means need to find ways to store stuff, traditional store "up" there.

Told my wife that I wanted at least 2 tiers of these rods across the entire span of the kitchen where I could hang these accessories required in the kitchen.

Oh, and saw there ergonomic dimension specification for kitchen at IKEA.

Thought that it would be useful to take a few photos for reference later too.

We have brought down many walls in our plan reducing from 4 bedrooms to just 2.5 bedrooms.

And wife said we need to have some contingency plans set aside for situation when our parents sleeps over at our place.

So no choice but to search for a decent sofa bed to squeeze into the already small study room.

Saw this but still not sure if this is a perfect choice as it seemed more bed than sofa to me.
Wife saw this and her reaction was "Oh, I don't care, I want this in the bathroom".

So I snapped this picture.
 We thought that these would make a good display for our balcony in our room.

So I snapped this picture as well.
 Ok, though our bathroom is huge, when compared to typical HDB flat bathroom, we wanted even more space.

So to do this, we decide for some small but yet unique basin for both the common and master bed room.
 For the first time, I wanted some spotlight in the house, especially to cast that sweet warm lighting at our featured bookshelf in the living area and the feature walls at our dinning area.

Saw these which I think think is quite interesting.

But the final decision will be comparing what the electrician can offer for those built in ones.

Saw these nice hanging pendant light which I suppose would make a good match in our kitchen, above the counter top for the much needed direct lighting during food preparation.

It also gives our kitchen a little bit more of the Cafe feel to it.

After our IKEA inspiration "hunt", we did popped over at Courts to check out for anything interesting.

Sadly such a big complex but nothing worth taking picture of in it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Aussino Members Sale

Got a call from my wife one day at work and she told me that there is this Aussino Members' Sale going on.

So we went and made some good purchase of 2 complete sets of Hight Thread Count Bedsheets & Quilt Covers.

Though its a 50% sales, but I still ended up chalking up quite a bit that my wallet bleed for a few weeks.

So I hope that our 1st purchase for our new house is well worth it for this little indulgence.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Planning Ahead, Financially

Now that we have chosen the ID firm to handle our project, we can finally move on to the more detail planning required.

The most important but basic first thing to look into is however, financial planning.

Money don't grow on trees you know, hence its important to plan and differential based on our requirements, the difference between a "Want" and a "Need".

So we had entered some figures into this little excel sheets to plan, budget and monitor the amount of funds involved.

It's dangerous to embark on a project like this, if you don't plan properly financially.

Haha, with all those been said, we also have a little shopping list of stuff which we have to grab while the Great Singapore Sales are still not.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Selected One

Ok, after all the time spending all those time to repeat to all the ID firms of our requirement and showed them the our proposed layout (interestingly, I am confused who is providing who the design service here). It time for the final selection.

They will be selected based on 1st & 2nd impression (as you have read, there are already some who had failed their 1st impression to us) and on top of that, of course, is their quote.

While we will not be going into detail here about their quotes, all I can say is that, there are some who quoted us 90K+, 69K while another 50K+ but with lots of hidden stuff not included in the quote.

So in the end, after comparison, we have chosen 3D Innovation, Sam for the project.

He had given us quite an impressive 1st & 2nd impression plus his quote, though wasn't the lowest but at least was the most honest in our opinion.

So here we go......

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Impression Counts

First impression counts. That is a very important life lesson to take note of.

Especially to those IDs firm who happened to meet up with us recently and stumbled upon our blog, this might be useful for you business in the future.

During the past weekends, we have met up 4 IDs for the 1st meet up sessions. Let me express my 1st impression with the 4 IDs:-

1) Ideal Design Interior – Wilson Wee
Late for an hour as he was stuck in JB jam but at least he gave us a call that he can’t make it on time.

He is friendly and quite observant. He is kind enough to offer help to check with HDB officer on all hacking works and other special renovation works which we want.
Overall he is quite okay and pleasant to talk with but seems too careful that we found him a lot of things he can’t answer us on spot. He needs to check then can get back to us.

2) A2Z – Shawn Lee
His 1st impression to us was very “Beng look cum Beng talk”. I don’t really have good impression on him as I am quite pissed off when I am trying to explain my design and how it works; he was talking with my wife on his own design. He didn’t bother to listen or interested on what I say. 

But he is the only one who comes out with a design and present to us (Even though what he presented was typical HDB stuff). But then when we present our design and said that we want like this, he asked us whether can we allow him to put our house design as his company portfolio and he give us a good quote whereby outside can’t get, if we choose him.

We told him if his quote is beautiful and within our budget, we might consider.

3) 3D Innovation – Sam Toh
Sam is a friendly, chatty n funny chap. He is very organized and knows what he is doing. He very open to us and explain to in details. He told us that he doesn’t like to have any arguments or confusion between customers and IDs therefore everything he will say out and let customer know. No hidden stuffs which leads to misunderstanding or confusion. He gave us a lot of renovation information. He is detail and noted down everything we said. We have quite a good impression on him. 

4) Sky Creation – Gary n Yona
The 1st impression on Sky Creation was Gary screwed up our 1st meet up session. He tot it was the following Sunday and he only realized his mistake when I text him to remind him that we have an appt later. In the end, we have to re-schedule the time from 1pm to 5.30pm.

When he reached our house, there’s another lady with him, He introduced the lady to us saying she is the designer called Yona. She is very quiet, didn’t say anything.

At first, they are going to present their design. But then Gary asked us whether we have any design, let’s see our design first. So we showed them ours. In the end, they didn’t show us theirs and they gave us an impression that they are in a hurry. While we were telling them what we want, they didn’t really take note all the stuffs, just a few things here and there and wanna rush to pack and go. He kept telling us; they will also come out with a new design with ours + theirs combination and do out the quotation. So around half an hour, they left our house.

Overall after the meet up session with 4 IDs, our conclusion:-

Sky Creation (Gary n Yona) - A ‘No-No’ as they screwed up our schedule. Can’t imagine he kept screw our schedule on our renovation then we will be living in hell! Also they just took half an hour for our 1st meet up session and didn’t take note on all our “Wants” and “Don’ts”. A very busy IDs huh! How to trust and give job to an IDs who are very busy, screw up your schedule and didn’t’ take note on what you want.
But we still wait for their quotation and we are curious how much they quote.

A2Z (Shawn Lee) – Not good impression at all. Just keep listening to himself and pissed off when realized he didn’t listen to my explanation. But becos he said he will give us a special quotation if we choose him and allow our house design to be their company portfolio. Therefore we are curious how special his quotation is. We shall wait and see!

Ideal Design (Wilson Wee) – Very good impression as he is observant, listening and taking note. He is helpful and kind enough to help us check with HDB officer before we sign him up. Just that he is too careful and seems like a lot of things he can’t answer on spot and need to check before answering us.

3D Innovation (Sam Toh) – Quite good impression. Organize and details. Give lots of useful information to us. Very easy to talk with and looking forward to his quotation. Whatever questions shot out, there’s always answer from him.

So we shall see what quotation they comes out with. Very excited and looking forward!

Monday, June 11, 2012

iD Hunt

Ok, now that that we have a "plan" we need to find someone to help us execute it.

So that, we need to find someone who can connect with us, understand our requirements and most important fit our budget.

With a renovating budget of about 60K, we where hoping that someone could quote us of  around 50K and any variation orders will fall within our range.

However, life as it is, is never expectable.

So, after reading thru Renotalk forum for a very long time, we decided that we will seek out worthy mentioned people who can help us.

And since we already know what we need, plus I am already in the design field, whether its a iD firm or Contractor firm doesn't really matters to us.

But of course if the package comes with a designer, we would be most glad to exchange pointers and make sure what I want doesn't have any issues materializing.

We went to Renotalk website to request ICompare for renovation quotation.
After I click sent and wait! 1 hr later, calls started to flood in. On the day itself, I have received 7 calls. The subsequence 3 days, I have another 3 more calls. 

In total, I have around 10 Renovation contacts who want to arrange a meet up session with us. Instate, we just shortlisted 4 IDs for meet up sessions.

Here are the 4 IDs we have shortlisted:-
1) Ideal Design Interior – Wilson Wee
2) A2Z – Shawn Lee
3) 3D Innovation – Sam Toh is the ID (Benny Tan liaise the appt with me but he is their boss)
4) Sky Creation - Gary

We will touch on our interviews session with them shortly.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Painting on a blank canvas

Ok, remember what I said about painting on a blank canvas?

Because, what I normally do for floor plans, is that I would re-draw it but without those walls, except for those which I couldn't get rid off, so that I could work on it as a blank canvas.

After all, why work within the boundaries set by others when you can actually remove them and think out of the "box"?

That is exactly what I have did.

And remember what I said about having a balcony as my main priority? Well, if you have seen in my earlier post about the original floor plan, it clear that that is not going to happen.

But I am not ready to accept that. I am going to create one in the most unique places of an average HDB apartment.

Here is my proposed layout below. Nothing too fanciful but its something that both of us like.

Many some people might come to us, saying how bad it is this way or that or even if its ugly.

But, design is unique in every way, that doesn't really have to appeal to everyone. The most important people that it must be appealing to, are the people who will be using it. And that is us.

Oh just in case if you think this nice and might be interested in borrowing a few ideas here and there for you own use, kindly please provide some referencing credit back to this site would be most appreciated.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our Mini Jumbo's Floorplan

Ok, there might be some of you who wonder, what exactly is a mini-jumbo apartment?

Well, for starters, a typical 5 Room apartment nowadays is only 110sqm.

A Jumbo Apartment is a combination of either a 5 Room apartment to a 3 Room apartment or a 4 Room apartment to a 3 Room apartment. Its floor space could be as high as over 170sqm.

A mini-jumbo is just 2 3 Room apartment combined together, giving you a floors place of around 134 sqm.

And here is a peak at the original floor plan of the house.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Mini Jumbo

After we lost the chance at the Executive Maisonette, basically we were totally demoralized in the hope of finding something which would give us the feeling that it would be a perfect home.

Everything else seemed to second best and I was worried that I might have to compromise and ended up with an apartment which I might not really like or even regretted later.

It was about a month later after giving up, we came to this amazing place.

When we just thought that we are looking at a 5 Room apartment, we ended up with hopes of getting an Executive Maisonette.

When hopes getting the Executive Maisonette is lost and we thought it's back to a typical 5 Room again, we came across this "Mini Jumbo" which is actually 2 3 Rooms apartment combined into one huge space.

And most importantly it is within our budget and it is located at the top floor, within almost all the criteria on our list except for, the balcony.

I was a little reluctant at first in getting it, but after thinking thought the state of been homeless and how I can "paint" on this canvas, we decided to gave it a shot.

Though with a little complication here and there, we manage to secure the apartment and will be going through all the government required proceeding to purchase it soon.

Life, its interesting when behind every twist and turn, it might be a new possibilities.