Home Renovation – for my first BTO

Getting started:

Let me be honest that I was not one to be excited about having a new home – I reckon I really loved staying with my mom ahahaha and the home came at a time where I had to juggle my wedding planning so it was a lot of stress and not to mention money.

I admittedly did not do any research prior to collecting my keys. Yup Zilch. I collected the keys in September 2015 and it wasn’t till mid November 2015 that I started to look for a contractor. Most people would have sorted this before even getting their keys etc but I did not. Coming from an unwilling bride to be hahahaha . 1 year on – I am glad all these happened, and am pretty glad I got married. Ask me 1 year ago and I wasn’t very sure TBH.

When we got our home, firstly I was bugged by two things – the tininess of it, and the floor that we were to live on. This is officially the smallest home I’ve lived in -_-, as we opted for a new 4room HDB, and when it came for our turn to choose, we were left with level 4. This turns out to be that good thing eventually. #goodbye nice views.

So a few things I had to get accustom to, tiny rooms, tiny living room, tiny everything. The good part of that was cleaning is a breeze I guess. Recently we were told by a plumber a fun fact that homes on level 4 in HDBs often have the lowest water pressure. To that I say – ok that saves me water then. LOL #Alwayslookonthebrightsideoflife.

I spent quite some time feeling upset about the tiny spaces, which I imagined could only get smaller when i put a sofa and a bed in. *curses*.

This was what I had envisioned


And this was the shoebox apartment [i guess to hongkong people this would have been a luxury?]2015-09-11 16.17.332015-09-11 16.19.072015-09-11 16.18.09

This is the kitchen – I’ve no idea why they had to put in that patterned tile – was a real spoiler haha.

With that, in between cursing the minister hahah I started to look up a few quotations for my grand plans which turn out to be less than grand after I looked at my bank balance.2015-09-11 16.20.04 2015-09-11 16.19.58

We shortlisted some 5 contractors- all of whom were friend recommendations. I was quoted between 50-70 thousand for what i wanted, so it was back to the drawing block *cries*.

I knew from the start I didn’t like plain tiles, hence I opted out of the HDB tiles, saves the contractor work of hacking away perfectly fine tiles and hopefully would save me money.

So along we went requesting for quotes from mostly contractors [but 1 or 2 IDs] for hacking works, masonry works and all the nitty gritty toilet and carpentry stufff. I figured I wanted a mainly black and white ‘british colonial’ feel with Wooden Chick blinds, yet I was also very in love with the marble minimalist look – I wanted the home to have a pop of color too so i mainly played with the color yellow.

As an events planner I wanted a home with lots of storage space, I wanted it all – a kitchen island, a hugeee shoe rack etc until I was yet again reminded about my bank account balance and that I should consume less hahahaha also that I lived in Singapore where homes are typically small and I’m not the governor’s daughter. HA

Well I was in for a surprise!  That came in the form of carpentry cost heh. I was surprised carpentry easily cost 1/2 of your renovation quote. I had to forgo many things such as bay window seatees which i initially wanted and things like a kitchen island and so on. I also chose to have just 1 toilet renovated.

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And so it began, the hacking works. We decided to hack open the kitchen , as well as one room to merge it with the really tiny living room. 2015-12-11 16.18.11 2015-12-11 16.18.05 2015-12-11 15.46.28

I decided to renovate just the master bed room toilet2015-12-11 15.46.31 2015-12-09 10.12.48

I selected a couple of tiles – a rather muted scheme I must say. 2015-12-03 16.39.29

For my kitchen I selected the marble laminates.2015-12-03 16.38.36

I must say the real marble was tempting for sure but i knew I would stain it over time. So I picked black granite counter tops. 2015-12-11 16.18.05 2015-12-12 11.14.40 2015-12-12 11.14.46

Grey tiles for my toilet2015-12-26 14.35.21

Floral motif tiles for my kitchen – but guess what [my contractor had to redo my whole kitchen in the end with another tile after . Long story short the tiles didn’t adhere properly –  a workmanship problem or material problem which resulted in my cat having asthma during the 3 days of reworks as it was done at the point where we already shifted in for more than 8months -_-.2015-12-26 14.35.35

Soothing grey tiles.

Here’s some of my inspiration: Black , white mainly with some brown teak and clean lines

SometiThe Past Perfect Collection antique furniture Singapore_ British colonial rosewood armchairShophouse-Taylor-B4855e239dad7d59a13475ee24f711100Classic1mes with asian influences9853-geoffrey-law-design-photo-2-9 blck white black-interior--wall-molding-ideas-designs-panels-mouldings Colonial black white vanity trimming on wall bathroom with porceline tiles that look like marble hidden dressing table


Ok here are the results – i was quite madly in love with my vanity area

I had skipped the false ceilings and L shape cove to save money

This was before we furnished the area so it does look spacious only because we hacked down a load of walls.

How do you like my carpark view? Prrf lol2016-04-19 17.55.10 2016-04-19 17.55.18

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M2016-07-05 11.34.272016-07-05 11.32.012016-07-05 11.31.112016-07-05 11.30.142016-04-19 17.56.40yes mirror storage! 2016-04-19 17.56.13

My cutie balloon lights hahahha that do not go with my theme lol2016-04-19 17.56.062016-04-19 17.55.34

This was my washroom before the Mirror cabinets went up.

Would anyone like to guess how much my home renovation cost?

Well – about $40000 for hacking, tiling,building the kitchen cabinets etc, renovating 1 toilet, building my vanity area and wardrobe, the mirror storage in my hall and that’s about it yup $40000 already :(.

All my home lights were purchased from taobao and so was this gold sink and tap. Wow honestly my mandarin hasn’t been this good in years till of late. #taobaosavestheday. I think we spent about $2000 on the taobao lights and some furniture (my vanity table stool + mirror cabinets for both toilets etc)

As items were large and bulky we mainly shipped them via Oops.sg which had seashipping for reasonable rates. It was user-friendly and quite fuss-free such that I use it for work etc too. https://www.oops.sg/ The lights cost a fraction of what they would have cost in Singapore, oh and most I would say 90% arrived in tact, we had 2 lights with a broken glass panel which is well barely noticable anyway. The white stool I bought for my vanity area fit perfectly too and not to mention was real cheap tho I can no longer recall how much I paid!  We didn’t rush to buy the furniture, so we took our time to select a dining table. Till date my house has no sofa nor tv, in place of the sofa is a daybed which I used to sleep on hahaha and occasionally still lounge on when I’m in the hall, my grandma’s antique marble table made its way here too :) along with a teak study table and cabinet set, recently too – as you may have heard or seen – Raffles Hotel is under a major renovation and have offloaded their furniture to Hock Siong & Co – this proved much too tempting hence I dropped by to purchase some and burnt a lil hole in my pocket!

Guess what I bought?The thing is my choices are pretty much dictated by my cats – it has always been no sofas because I’m so sure they will shred it to death and my heart will just fall.

Well I ended blew some $640 on a

  • This blue bench [ hope the cats keep their paws off this one]
  • The parrot painting
  • A laundry basket (rattan)
  • A pair of rattan stools
  • The gentleman’s valet

2017-08-25 12.46.10 2017-08-25 12.50.17Skipped the beautiful lounge chair but succumbed to this painting 2017-08-25 12.26.19 2017-08-22 12.41.132017-08-22 12.36.35I really really wanted this marble side table …..like really wanted. But didn’t buy it.2017-08-22 12.11.25

I found the teak and leather gentleman’s valet to be so unique so I bought it too.2017-08-19 13.49.40 2017-08-19 13.43.15 2017-08-19 13.47.54

Everything was such a bargain really – that i hauled 2 rattan stools home as well lol

At present I would really like to redecorate by home – you know. Have a sofa at least but i’m super reluctant to get rid of my day bed lololl.
For anyone that’s wondering we used Alan from Aian Furniture and Renovation Contractor, he’s an unassuming man, a little forgetful at times but seems honest at least and got the job done. We didn’t rush him and in fact I took my thing deciding on things too and so I think my whole renovation took about 5-6 months to complete.

I’ll like to point out how forgetful he can be :and this has been discussed on forums by others who engaged him too. Once he left his entire briefcase at my home hahahaahha, and there were a few times he got our renovation details wrong ie: my sink tap measurement and he had to redo my cabinet because of that. He also forgot I wanted black skirting and so he had to redo that as well.

I had outsourced the painting to a freelancer – but I think I should have just taken from Alan la because after the chemical wash was done before the hand over it seems like it affected the paint work and Alan didn’t want to remedy saying it should be the painters job not him. I was too tired to dispute further so I let it slide.

I moved in around July 2016 and some time around September we started noticing some hollow tiles in our kitchen and so Alan sent his men down to check and they said they needed to re-do the entire kitchen door – while was a huge hassle for us no to mention the amount of dust it created and the amount of inconvenience. Alan had absorbed the cost for this.

I had before this recommended Alan to another friend and she used him too for her home renovation and ended up with some hollow tiles as well. Hers was vinyl flooring – I think tho its typical of vinyl floors to sound hollow as I’ve come across many in other peoples homes/venues. His mobile can probably be found on renotalk – pls be sure to check the tiling works should you be engaging him!


I got most of my carpentry done by Uncle Auyong in Eunos Tong Soon Furniture Co. Uncle Auyong is damn awesome – he will come down personally to check his staffs work and things like the hinges etc, hes’ also kind, generous and helpful and did he a small shelve for us for free. His charges are super reasonable , we had our study tables [2 units] customized, along with my mirror shelve cabinets, and my bed custom built, as well as my entire wardrobe and accompanying vanity area as well as drawers by the window and all that cost me less than $10000. It would easily cost like $15-$20k at the contractor.

Subsequently we had to shell out more moolah for our kitchen sink, hob, hood and appliances such as our aircons and air purifier – is this what I’ve been working my entire life for? TO pay these? hahahaha

With this I thank you for reading and if you need my reno quotes as reference pls feel free to contact me for it. I am obviously not paid to write this review.