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.

Planning your own wedding like I did mine – Part 2

Read about Part1 here :http://blog.myfatpocket.com/alethea/2017/08/27/planning-your-own-wedding-like-i-did-mine/

Now I’m going delve deeper into the nitty gritty and small details on wedding planning which I hope will benefit everyone once again.

Like I said in my earlier post the first 2 things were to work out your guest list and research on venues that fit in your budget.DSC_1246

The plan
Pertaining to the guest list and all the information such as your budgeting and time line, its good to have it on dropbox or googledocuments or some sort of shared drive where you and your fiance can share, and not to mention make copies of things such as your wedding timeline/ time table or give shared access of your timeline document to vendors or your bridal entourage when you require.

The moodboard
I basically kept a folder of all things that caught my eye – things that reminded me on an enchanted garden / woodland forest. While the theme was straight forward on its own, I spent a hell lot of time mulling over the color scheme on whether to have it kept green, white and peach, or have it be more colorful and romantic. ie Green and Burgundyoriginal_forest-theme-wedding-invitation Custom-Color-Size-New-70-colors-Convertible-Dress-long-bridesmaid-dresses-Multicolor-wedding-dress-Prom-party

This was the inspiration for my bridemaids dresses which i settled for in lavender.Moss-Wedding-Decor-Ideas-signs-and-frames natural-materials-9-rustic-style-ideas-for-a-woodland-wedding

And the gowns : oh the gowns. I love zuhair murad gowns so much, as well as Galia Lahav but not their pricetags hahahha.zuhair-murad-spring-summer-2016-bridal-long-sleeves-plunging-neckline-lace-trumpet-wedding-dress-patricia-front-view

However madly in love with Zuhair Murad designs I was – I had to be realistic about my budget….you know la – cannot afford hahaha and my figure also meant that I had no boobs to reveal la to be honest. Zuhair-murad-detacheable-wedding-dress-FAll-2015-collection-1 Halia-Raffles-Hotel-Wedding-10 2016-trending-greenery-natural-lush-wedding-ideas 11-jewel-toned-autumn-woodland-wedding-shoot

As my dinner banquet wasn’t individually plated – I had less space to work with for the decorations….so I had to change plans somehow mostly by just leaving it to Regina my florist to decide for me.

On the RSVP and attendance
Have your wedding stationery designer or if you will -try your own hand out at designing an electronic save the date card which you can forward along closer to the date to remind your guests, or have it sent to them before the real invitation.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 11.23.02 PM

On that day as well assign 1 or 2 members of the bridal party to help with directions for guests who cannot find their way. Have this person tag to you like a personal assistant thruout the wedding so that he/she can help filter your calls.

Have your wedding invite feature a map and useful directions on getting to the venue, as well as a helpline ie a number to call should they need help on getting there.

Singaporeans are a notorious late bunch so be prepared to start even if just 60% guests are there. It helps to remind your guests that this is a once in a lifetime event and that their punctuality is appreciated- afterall these are close/good friends and family and you can afford to be honest about how punctuality is treasured on your once in a lifetime event.

On the week of your wedding, send your guests an electronic reminder about your wedding [during which you should expect some drop-outs so don’t fret]* remember the tip for Part 1 which was to invite a couple more people than what you’ve catered for since some were going to drop out anyway. There are however some risks involved lol.

The budget
I found this to be a useful resource when it came to planning my budget or having an overall idea of the venues prices – https://singaporebrides.com/wedding_banquet_pricelist.php
One thing to note however is the prices are based on basic menu items and prices differ if you chose to opt for the more expensive menu/dishes.

Saving on ROM cost

  • yYu could either opt for your ROM to be done at ROM [cheap and fuss free]
  • Or you can look for a venue which will provide you a free room to have this done since it was a really quick thing- about 30mins.
  • We did this on the same day just before our wedding dinner in the Courtyard of Raffles hotel outside of The Halia at no extra charge. Saving us both time and cost from holding it on a separate date/venue.CHR_2325 CHR_2327 CHR_2366

About ROM and solemnization etc
It’s a rather straight forward process
Read about it on https://www.rom.gov.sg/reg_info/rom_marriage.asp
It cost just $42 for singaporeans/PRs and can be done online, You’ll need to apply at least 21 days ahead of your marriage date

Step1 To file a notice of marriage you may do so at https://www.rom.gov.sg/
Step2: Go to the Registry of Marriages to Verify Documents and for Statutory Declaration (strictly by appointment only)
Step3: On the day of marriage, proceed to have marriage solemnized by a licensed solemnizer and in the presence of 2 witnesses

Documents Required
-NRICs (for SC/SPR) or Passports (for foreigners) of groom, bride and
2 witnesses above 21 years old
-Solemnizer Consent Form (for solemnization outside ROM) – such as ours.
-Credit card for online filing of notice; or NETs/Cashcard for filing of
notice at e- Kiosks in ROM
Looking for your photographer/videographer and vendors etc
On your wedding shoes
While i know how tempting it is to get something pretty yet uncomfy- pls pls only get a pair of shoes you think you can survive in for a whole day. I know many brides who will kick of their stilettos and go barefoot in fact, I recommend shoes from Melissa https://www.mdreams.com.sg/ you can definitely walk an entire day in it.
If you’re going for normal stilettos please consider a pair with hidden platforms as it helps to relieve the pain. Don’t forget to pack a pair of slippers or bedroom slippers and have a bridesmaid bring it around for you in case you need some moments of relief. Personally I had to walk from my hotel suite pass the courtyard of raffles to get to The Halia – during which i wore bedroom slippers, and only changed into heels before my march-in moment. This was a great idea from my bridesmaid <3CHR_1807 my melissa heels
It’s important you have a makeup trial done to ensure you like the skills of your makeup artist and the looks she can create. While it’s tempting to sign up an entire package that often throws in the makeup trial for free- do consider paid makeup trials as well before committing as you don’t want to sign up for something and then regret that the MUA skills wasn’t what you expected.
The makeup artist will probably not be able to settle your make up + your entire entourage and mothers, [unless he/she has a team] – but you’ll want to be picky too on who their assistants are. I’ve attended weddings where the main MUA was really good but their assistants were ….terrible.
So apart from Sally and Malena, as well as Shirley which I’ve recommended in my first blogpost on my wedding. http://blog.myfatpocket.com/alethea/2017/08/27/planning-your-own-wedding-like-i-did-mine/
I will also recommend my makeup artist friends who have huge amounts of experience in both editorial and professional capacities. Meaning their work is good enough for magazines!
@cccjmiko (Carmen Ong)
@muacher (Cheron)
@vinvola (Vinna Er)
You don’t want your main bridal makeup artist taking on too much as you want her focus to be on perfecting your look.
Another thing to look out for is to ensure your makeup artist includes all things such as ampoules…false lashes and things like transportation in her quotation to avoid hidden costs or added cost that can ‘surprise’ you.
Tracking your payments
Keep all receipts, invoices and contracts etc consolidated in your drop box or googledrive and the likes for easy reference. Prepare all the balance payments before hand and hand them to a trusted member of your entourage to settle the balances for you with your vendors. You’ll be too busy on the day to do so and you don’t want vendors waiting etc.
On Beauty treatments for that glow
Book your hair appointments and Spa in advance but not too close to your wedding day either incase of facial induced breakouts. Go for something tried and tested too – don’t be too adventurous, at least not on your wedding week! Don’t go trying a new spa or new therapist during your wedding.
For quick fixes visit an aesthetics doctor for things such as a hydrafacial for that added glow, or a spectra peel laser or carbon laser for quick results.
For me I had acne on my back and 6 months prior to my wedding ,my 2 doctors started with multiple sessions of laser and chemical peels to help lighten my scars so that I could wear my gown with confidence on the wedding day. For that I’m forever indebted to Dr Chiam Chiak Teng and Dr Vanessa Phua – my mom loves Dr Phua too .
The Aesthetics Medical Center
Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road #27-00, 228208
Dr Vanessa Phua
+65 6690 4690
501 Orchard Road #05-16 Wheelock Place, 238880
Yep see the acne that I have :(
2016-04-01 11.31.37
trunk acne
This was my back in May
2016-06-14 11.21.43
And the subsequent improvements
fbs paragon laser peel2016-05-16 12.27.49
You can also consider pampering your mother or mother in law with laser treatments too!
Or Spa sessions.
My hubby and I were sponsored massage sessions at Huang Ah Ma – the oriental spa chamber www.huangahma.com/ a cozy little tcm spa own by the Mary Chia group which helped to relax us a few days before our wedding.Know what the great thing is? They open till 11pm so thats great even if you’re working late you can drop by for a massage still! Huang Ah Ma – The Oriental Spa Chamber
is located at 50 Mosque Street, Singapore 059528 , +65 6536 1661
Now – the results . This was me on my wedding day – as the tulle was really translucent, I definitely was happy that the skin on my back looked clear on the day. CHR_1233 2016-10-08 10.47.40
I think it’s safe to color your hair some 2 weeks prior to your wedding, 1 week can get a little too rushed if you have lots left to do so do that earlier. For me I always choose to go to Chez Vous – an award winning salon where your hair is handled by Directors only. Each one with minimally 10 years of experience.
2016-07-27 23.48.43 2016-07-27 13.28.22 2016-07-27 12.35.21 2016-07-27 11.19.46
I had a caricarture artist to draw portraits for my guests on the day, from my company lolololol  –  you can hire from me if you like at www.partyparlour.com.sg or call +65 9828-6006, I also had a jazz wedding band from highnotes to sing live music for my guests.
I had brought along some rainbow scratchart cards and some crayons to setup a little ‘kids’ corner in case the little ones need something fun to do. This is cheap and easily done. You can also just have some coloring pages ready or a balloon sculptor or magician to entertain the kids and adults.
As I had my solemnization on the same day, we didn’t have time for a couples game segment but you can consider these as it adds to the fun.CHR_2520 CHR_2660
 I had actually customized papers for the artist but my bridesmaid had forgotten about the papers lolooolol – yes these are among the things that can go wrong and will go wrong on the day.
Alethea Wedding Essentials -1-05
Out of the many wedding planning list suited for singaporeans , I found singaporebrides has one of the more useful ones https://singaporebrides.com/articles/2016/03/free-wedding-checklist-spreadsheet/
So fun facts: Among the things that could go wrong and went wrong
Don’t worry I really don’t blame anyone hahaha here’s what happened just for sake of recounting the day and well letting other brides to be know that it’s normal for things not to go as planned.
This is perhaps a good enough reason to hire a wedding planner if you can afford it, I wished there were two of me sometimes. LOLOL
  • One of my bridesmaids woke up late and arrived at lunch missing the gatecrash , still I am glad she made it!
  • Another was a little ill the week of the wedding of which it is no fault of hers
  • And yet another left out the customized papers i printed for the caricarture to be done on – again it doesn’t matter.
  • My bridesmaid forgot about my ringbox during my solemnization ceremony lololol DSC_1326
  • Our groomsman face was stained by makeup during the gatecrash as the guys applied lipstain on his eyes thinking it was eyeshadow? LOL
  • We had a v low turnup for the tea ceremony or rather the rsvp for the tea ceremony because my family is chilled like that and his relatives that were coming from Malaysia couldn’t make it in time lol so we skipped it.
  • My makeup artist came a little later than expected during dinner *Gasp*
  • My mom got lost in the corridoor of Raffles Hotel and then turned to a groomsmen of ours to find her way out hahahah
  • My hubby insisted the flower boutonniere was not in the fridge – there goes my money. We found it in the fridge after the wedding -_- . It’s a juliet rose by the way …… so the funny thing was the next day I insisted he put in on his suit so I could take a photo . I loved the lush juliet rose, the seeded eucalyptus and the lovely orchid on it – again credits to florist Regina Mae for her wonderful work. DSC_1303
  • Another funny trivia: About 2 months before my wedding , I did a prewed video montage and was bitten all over by sandflies at changi beach – omg that was hell but i survived. It was itchy beyond words -_-
  • Oh yes I’ve been to a few weddings where by groom actually forgot to bring the bouquet so to avoid that I kept the bouquet with me hahahahhaha!! Anyway I was the one who paid for the florals ..MEH
  • We are not traditional and neither were are parents so we skipped the guo da li.
  • And frankly I’ve always been reluctant to get married – but my husband somehow convinced me . On my wedding day I was filled with so much mixed emotions – I think I discounted myself of some of the joy I could have had hahahha erm -_- hard to explain but at least I’m honest right? hahahahha
  • So hey – don’t swear the small stuff? Everyone chose to be there for us at our wedding on this special day and contributed in whatever way that can so – be appreciative! And have fun – don’t give yourself headaches like i did hahaha.