Renozilla Journey: Lessons I learnt from My Renovation

  • Jul 10, 2014

This will be my last post on my home renovation and I hope that you guys have found my posts helpful so far! A brief recap of the events so far:

  • Due to budget, I opted for a simple renovation where the only major works are the kitchen cabinet, master bedroom cabinet and the hacking of the service yard walls to create a more spacious space.
  • I sourced for many quotations and finally settled on Rachel Chew from 3D Innovations, since her quote was able to match most closely to our budget.
  • I wanted a mid-century theme so I try to buy furniture or choose designs that are in line with that.
Due to the simplicity of our renovation, there weren't as many issues as compared to a more major one. We also opted for tiles from HDB and while they were not perfect, this decision helped to save a lot of money. Our renovation also took a much shorter time than it would have if we had decided to lay new tiles; the entire duration was about 1 month or so.    

Master Bedroom

In the last post, I showed you pictures of my kitchen and living room so let's move on to my master bedroom wardrobe!


  This wardrobe is about 6 feet long and its interior looks like this:


  You might be wondering whether the space is enough for the two of us, given that it's only 6 feet long. Well, to be honest...I believe that this can help us cut down on the number of belongings that we can accumulate. After years of having my own wardrobe, it has shown me that I can and will hoard a lot of things that I think may be useful in the distant future but I end up not using them. =x In any case, my SO claims to have far fewer belongings than me so he doesn't need much space anyway. Perhaps a tiny little corner for him in the wardrobe. LOL. When it comes to your wardrobe and kitchen cabinets, however, it pays to plan in advance what you want to put in it. This will help ease the workflow tremendously. Here is a rough wardrobe planning guide that you can refer to. You can also consider buying storage boxes to compartmentalise your clothes.  




As for the other rooms, all I did was paint and install window blinds in them. Other miscellaneous work include:
  • electrical work to install extra power sockets, light fixtures, and ceiling fans
  • air-conditioners by a separate vendor (I chose the Panasonic ECONAVI Inverter series, read here for the 10 things you should know before buying air-conditioners)
  • shower kerb in the master bedroom bathroom
  • sliding windows at the service yard by a separate vendor
  • installation of water storage heater and miscellaneous bathroom accessories such as mirror, spray hose and towel rack




Potential Problems

During the course of the renovation, do remember to keep a lookout for any damage that might have occurred accidentally. For example, the contractors used pieces of the hacked wall from my service yard to keep the front door open. They put the pieces at the inner part near where the hinge is usually found and the rough edges of the hacked wall pieces scratched the bottom of my door like below.  


  In such cases, you'll have to ask your ID/contractor to do some touch-up work. Another issue that you might want to keep a lookout for is the grout between the floor tiles. Usually your ID will provide chemical cleaning after everything has been done. This is to help clean any stray paint or cement marks incurred during the renovation. While it helps to make things all nice and clean, the problem is that the grout will inevitably come off.  


  Sad, right? Well, fear not because your ID will help you touch up the holes. But I discovered later (after everything has been handed over) that the grout cannot really stand up to even the most basic of mopping detergent. >.< Looks like I have to buy grout fillers to repair the impromptu holes that will appear from time to time. They don't do grouting like they used to in the good old days. Sigh. Oh, and don't forget to check for the following as well.  

renozilla-wall-socketThe power socket's position was a bit off and there was untidy grout work at the side.

renozilla-fill-up-gapIf you look under your kitchen cabinet, there may be a gap between the base and the cabinet body itself. You might want to get your ID/contractor to fill up the gaps.


ID Review

Anyway, you must be curious about my final review about Rachel from 3D Innovations. Well, here is my verdict. LOL
  • Responsive after-sale service: Rachel takes the effort to keep us updated on the progress. We go to our new home practically every week to check things out or to accept certain deliveries, so we know that the various stages were proceeding as more or less planned. I also appreciate the fact that we could contact Rachel at any time and she would get back to us as soon as her busy schedule allowed.
  • Sound advice: We like that Rachel has our best interests at heart because the advice given were sound. For example, we originally planned to have the kerb in the common bathroom. But due to the way the door opens into the shower area, Rachel advised us to forgo that idea. We also decided not to do the flushing of walls in the common rooms since this would mean a significant decrease in space as advised by Rachel.
  • Prompt action on touch-ups: Rachel was rather prompt in getting her people to do the touch-ups so we're rather pleased in that aspect.
  • Quick to acknowledge her oversight: We had gotten a hob that is to be powered by gas cylinders and not City Gas, so we had informed Rachel of that earlier and didn't really expect anything to be done to the existing gas pipes. I guess Rachel was trying to help us anticipate our future needs so she got City Gas to extend the gas pipes to where our hob was to be located. Unfortunately this meant an extra cost of $120 on top of our budget so we were kinda surprised by the unexpected cost in the SP bill. I remember Rachel telling us that if we choose to use City Gas in future, SP Services will put it in the same bill as our utilities but I can't for the life of me remember her telling us about the extension cost. Anyway, I'm glad that Rachel didn't try to push the blame or make any excuses for her oversight. In any case, her reason for extending the gas pipes was valid so we decided to let it pass. =)
All in all, I personally feel that Rachel has done a great job overall although I still had to do some coordination between my separate vendors and her. I was kind of expecting she could take over the entire coordination, but I guess Rachel was pretty busy with many other projects as well. Give and take, I always say.  

10 Lessons from the Renovation Process

Before I end my RenoZilla journey, let me round up the entire experience with 10 lessons that I learnt from my first-time renovation. They're entirely from my own experience so I hope they'll help you! =)
  1. Are you staying in a HDB flat and getting a water storage heater? Then do remember to buy the horizontal version instead of the vertical one, which is usually better suited for condominiums. If unsure, check with the retailer.
  2. Check your mail box frequently and religiously for important letters such as the SP Services notification letter informing you of the temporary switch on of utilities. This will save you the hassle and cost of an express turn-on.
  3. Gas hobs come in two types: one that specifically uses City Gas and one that uses gas cylinders. Be sure to buy the right one for your needs.
  4. In the same grain, inform your ID early if you don't want any extension of the City Gas pipes so you don't incur any extra charges.
  5. If possible, install power sockets at the eye level so it's easier to plug in appliances such as the iron. For appliances like the vacuum cleaner that need to move around, install power sockets at convenient spots e.g. along the passageway.
  6. Bedside lights make great additions to the bedroom because you don't have get up to switch off the main light.
  7. Check under your kitchen cabinets for gaps (as seen above) and get your ID/contractor to fill them in if you're uncomfortable with it.
  8. Keep track of all the things you've purchased and brought to the house for installation so everything is accounted for.
  9. Overwhelmed by your dusty interiors after renovation and don't know where to begin cleaning? Then you might want to hire cleaners to give your a once-over cleaning. Instant (almost) move-in condition!
  10. New estates tend to attract more than its fair share of suspicious strangers or thieves who won't hesitate to take advantage of any vulnerability. If your furniture is delivered early for some reason, keep them in a room and lock it up. Don't forget to alert your ID/contractor's workers to keep a lookout as well. Oh, and it won't hurt to treat the workers to some food or drinks if you can. =)
  And that brings us to the end of my renovation journey and I'm glad that the whole renovation is relatively problem free. While some things haven't exactly gone the way I planned it, I'm glad that there weren't any major issues that I have to pull my hair out over. In fact, I was quite happy doing all the research and sourcing for great deals both online and all over Singapore. I don't know about you, but scoring a good deal gives me a rush. LOL. Last, but not least...enjoy the process and do as much research as you possibly can before deciding on an ID or contractor. Have fun!   Previously: Kitchen & Living Room
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