If we could turn back the clock…

We would have got the fan manufacturer’s electricians to install fans. As with many homeowners and usually because it’s convenient, many renovation projects routinely engage the designer’s electrician, or a general electrician to install all the wiring, lighting and fan fixtures in homes. The installation of lighting fixtures and placements shouldn’t pose difficulties, and in my observation, it’d make more sense even to get the designer’s electrician to do such – since the designer will be able to project manage the electrician and negotiate hidden wiring with false walls and ceilings, integrate the placement of power-sockets and switches alongside carpentry work and so on. Fan installation is a different matter though.

Of the five fans we installed, three were good choices and their installations were done correctly without issues by the designer’s electrician. The study/+1 room fan was a different matter – it produced cranky noises when turned on at high speeds and our designer’s electrician couldn’t figure out why. The manufacturer’s electrician came by, poked around for quite a bit, and concluded that the noises were produced by turbulence from the lack of sufficient space around the fan for air to circulate, and that also in turn caused a lack of wind circulation within the room itself. Who would have figured! The ideal solution was to relocate the fan slightly, but this wasn’t preferable as it would had meant adjustments to our intended use of the full-height cabinets there. The manufacturer electrician eventually eliminated the noise by readjusting the fan blades and adding small weights to some of the blades. Ingenious.

Our workroom fan seemed correctly installed to us initially; but likewise, the manufacturer’s electrician took a 10 second look at the fan spinning at its top speed, turned and asked “Do you notice that your fan here is wobbling?” *Groan*. 5 minute fix involving adding some weights to one of the fan blades, and all was fine.

We would have explored more options for grills for the bedrooms. Our appointed contractor for invisible grills did a great job for both of the yard balconies, but we were less satisfied with the grills in all the bedrooms – and only on account that the tension of grill cables did not give as much confidence as we’d like. To be fair, the contractor’s workers tried their hardest to tighten the cables as much as they could, but I guess they were limited by the method of installation – mounting onto the window frame instead of the bay window surface. One of the other grill contractors we invited for site measurements were proposing to do exactly just that; mount their grill frame onto the bay window surfaces, which should have allowed for the cables to be pulled tighter.

We would have rethought our lighting system in the workroom. This was a real challenge for our designer. The room wasn’t big, we wanted it to have up to three seated persons to work in it, it would had to be sufficiently lit, we wanted plenty of shelving, and we wanted a ceiling fan too.

One side of the completed workroom.

One side of the completed workroom before we moved in.

Four 12W lights, and the Fanco FF303 36" in the center.

Four 12W lights, and the Fanco FF303 36″ in the center earlier on before the cabinets were installed.

We couldn’t place the four downlights above at each of the respective extreme corners of the room, since the light produced would had been obstructed by the wall-hung cabinets. However, their subsequent proximity to the fan blades also meant that there would be some light flickering when the fan is spinning. It’s not enough to be seriously annoying, but it’s noticeable nonetheless. The four 12W downlights also produce enough general illumination – as in no chance we’ll be wandering around in the dark – but it’s still not sufficiently lighting the table surfaces for written work i.e. additional lighting is going to be necessary. We ended up getting two LED table-lamps for our two worktables that thankfully work very well.

We would have thought harder about power switch placements. This is one of those other things you only realize after you actually start living in the place! Basically; our fan regulators in the two bedrooms are on the wall near the rooms’ entrances – not where they are most convenient to be use i.e. near the beds themselves!



Now that our renovation has wrapped and we’ve finished a good part of our decorating the place, thought it’d be fun to post up pictures of the 3D renders our designer prepared during the planning phase, and the actual renovated work. They’re pretty close.:)

The Living Hall's feature wall and console deck.

The Living Hall’s feature wall and console deck.

Hannah and Peter's room.

Hannah and Peter’s room.

Our workroom.

Our workroom.

The Master Bedroom.

The Master Bedroom.

The Feature wall and TV console deck in the Master Bedroom.

The Feature wall and TV console deck in the Master Bedroom.

Of all the stuff in our Rivervale home that we discovered we had tons of unused of, it was cutlery. We’ve stuck with using cheapo Homeproud forks, spoons etc. for all the years we’ve been staying at our old home – and it was only when we were moving out, did we discover we had been given boxes of this tableware, a good portion of them decent quality WMF cutlery too. And to top it all, our new home gift courtesy of The Minton developer was another box of WMF cutlery. Ling spent almost the entire night and early morning of our Moving day sorting all of them out and packing them into boxes, managing just 2 hours of sleep that night – I managed a bit more as I was designate vehicle driver on Moving day LOL.

We engaged a moving company operating out of Tampines as our home relocation company as they came recommended from one of our neighbors. With our Move completed, our experience with them has been for the most part positive with one annoyance.

On the positive end of things, the company was:

Environmentally responsible. Important for us. They use recyclable boxes, and are loaned to you, and you return them after the move. Side benefit that we didn’t have to worry about what to do with empty boxes, and we’re not contributing to the cardboard clutter lift lobbies.

Very quick with clockwork precision. They arrived before the appointed time, had their smoke/energy break, began work at 0900 hrs sharp, all done with the move at 1015 hrs.

Friendly movers. Chatted with them and made silly jokes all round.

Competitively priced, though there are cheaper Movers around.

Reasonably careful in our move. The only damage we had were minor bumps to the dryer when it was stacked on top of our washer, but it was an old dryer, so we weren’t bothered.

On the other hand:

We were told on the day of our moving that an additional charge was going to be necessary on top of the already agreed price as the management office at Minton had recently disallowed trucks to drive past the Badminton Dome and nearer to the lobbies. This was an important security improvement that we are glad for, as some of the early units doing bulk delivery stopped perilously close to the children’s water play areas. But we were displeased with the Mover dropping this additional charge on top of the agreed-upon quotation.

We paid for the additional charge nonetheless, and followed-up with a Feedback to the Mover today. After some investigation, the Mover got back to us to say that they are refunding the charge as slightly longer push recently instituted at Minton does not apply to us. Hooray!

Just a portion of the 30 boxes of stuff we had.

Just a portion of the 30 boxes of stuff we had.


We finally moved to our new home @ The Minton about 3 months 1 week after we collecting our keys in January. The previous two weeks after we signed on with our Moving company – and especially the last four days have been real hectic – just before the move, during moving day, and immediately thereafter. The both of us were managing just 2-3 hours of sleep each day. Grandparents were fortunately able to help take care of Hannah and Peter over the Easter weekend, and that helped immensely to let us focus solely on the Move.

Our timeline in the second half of last week went like this:

Project Management 101

Project Management 101

It was pretty congested towards the end as our main renovation finished with just barely sufficient time for us to do up the final specialist contractor works, and we had to plan specifically dates of installation against when we needed them. The digital lock was especially tricky, since we wanted this done only after the main renovation and touch-up activities were completed, but before we shifted in furniture and items that we could not lose – keeping in mind that our main door key has changed many hands over the months!

It wasn’t all smooth-sailing for these last few days too just before our big Move, and the hitches we encountered included:

Night curtains that were incorrect. Our curtains/blinds contractor apologized for the mistake, and agreed to redo them. He asked if we would buy back the already supplied set though at discount, and we agreed. Now we’ve gonna have two sets of curtains!

Yard blinds that rendered inoperable invisible grills’ casement windows.  We called Legate back down to redo the casement windows – which they did – so the curtains/blinds contractor will be returning to install the remaining blinds.

Sony TV was delayed by 2 days. We’ve since received it, and image quality wise, I still prefer Plasmas!

Bosch dishwasher was supplied with the incorrect power plug. Parisilk returned on a subsequent visit with the correct plug, but did not fix up the dishwasher plumbing for us. Duh.

FortyTwo: body analyzer weighing machine did not work one day later. Currently contacting them to resolve this.

Comfort Design‘s order was real problematic, and requires elaboration below.

One day before delivery, they called to say that the dinner-table was out-of-stock though it had been paid in full a month ago (what?!?!). I hope they weren’t thinking of asking us to eat dinner on the floor. Then they called again to say it was a miscommunication: they’d thought they’d allocated our dinner-table to a different customer ordering the same item, but hadn’t. Then on the actual day of delivery, they called to say that the dinner-table they thought they had for us was of a different leg colors, and asked if they could lacquer it to our expected color, but it would mean a day’s delay. And finally, on the amended delivery date (19 Apr), they delivered a table that still had the wrong leg colors and a table surface that looked worn. And to top it off, two of the dinner chairs had to be returned for replacement and touch-up.

Ling was furious, and she was going to call the store today to give them an earful. I’ll probably be writing in too to state my disappointment at their service levels. Suffice it to say we’ll be thinking long and hard about whether to get items from this store again, even though they’ve got a pretty good range of items.

Oh well. Of all the bulk deliveries, the three vendors which did a marvelous job were Electrolux (who fitted our washer into that very tight yard space), Taylor B which came at the appointed delivery time, and Tilam King for likewise too.


Another decision we made early on in our new Minton home was to move away from bamboo poles (or ‘tekkos’) for laundry clotheslines. Bamboo poles with laundry are common sights here on the island. They’re simple in function and design, cost little to install, and nothing to maintain. Given the amount of laundry that we’re doing though, hanging laundry using ceiling-mounted bamboos has been quite a chore over the years – or rather specifically, having to use the aluminum prong to foist each piece of clothing up and down was something we wanted to move away from!

There are several clotheslines systems contractors here, and while some of them have pretty exotic solutions, many of them at least offer the same basic types:

Completely motorized

Chain pulley-based

Rope pulley-based

The motorized systems were the priciest ones, but I wanted to avoid employing systems that were electrical – on account that we would be buggered if those parts ever failed from wear and tear. The chain pulley system isn’t electronic, but uses gears to expedite the pulling process to lower or bring up the poles. We seriously considered these too, but eventually decided on rope-pulley systems. These seem to come in two flavors too: the ropes could lower all the poles at the same time, or it could be individual pole pulleys. We chose the latter.

As for us deciding on the specific manufacturer and specialist offering these systems, we went Ezzliving – as their ‘EZ Tier‘ rope pulley system which gave us the most confidence in load-bearing (quilts are heavy!), and their price points were reasonable too though not the lowest. As our yard balcony is sufficient long too, we went with not one but two of these systems. Total damage was just a shade above $400 for each of our two systems.

2 days before our move.:)

2 days before our move.:)

We went with a four-pole system. It's possible to go with more poles than this though for clotheslines systems, but we wanted wet laundry to be reasonably spread out later.

We went with a four-pole system. It’s possible to go with more poles than this though for clotheslines systems, but we wanted wet laundry to be reasonably spread out later.

A closer look at the pulleys - very key to the whole setup.

A closer look at the pulleys – very key to the whole setup.

Then the poles get mounted in.

Then the poles get mounted in.

Ropes are then pulled across the ceiling.

Ropes are then pulled across the ceiling.

One rope guide for each pulley.

One rope guide for each pulley.

Part of the ceiling is false, so we had the contractor re-position the ceiling mount bracket slightly inwards. Also gave allowance for the remaining yard blinds for the aircon ledge access.

Part of the ceiling is false, so we had the contractor re-position the ceiling mount bracket slightly inwards. Also gave allowance for the remaining yard blinds for the aircon ledge access.

Closer look at the completed setup.

Closer look at the completed setup.

Two such solutions; we just about maximize our usable ceiling space!

Two such solutions; we just about maximize our usable ceiling space!

We had ceiling downlights already installed, so the poles were positioned to be on either side of the downlight.

We had ceiling downlights already installed, so the poles were positioned to be on either side of the downlight.

Many of the unit types at The Minton have a yard toilet, and one interesting challenge for such unit type owners has been if the yard toilet can be repurposed into a washer area. I’ve blogged about our intention to do exactly just that from our renovation’s get-go, but there were various things to consider and put into place. Specifically, to have converted the yard toilet into a washer, we:

Had a Professional Engineer certify that such an alteration would be alright, and had the endorsement submitted.

Removed the existing toilet bowl, created a washer-base and drew new water inlets and outlets

Removed the foldable door and its door frame, and touched up the door way

Once the area was ready, what remained was for us to select a washer that could fit past the door way, for it to be turned around and put onto the base. We’ve been using a 6.5 Kg Electrolux front-loading washer for 8 years now, but while the machine is still nominally functional, there’s a great deal of mold growing about the edges. Washers are largely standard width and height for the most part, but their depths can really differ. I had my eye on a 9 kg Electrolux front-loader (the EWF10932) – we needed a larger capacity in view of our king-sized mattress bed linen and supplements, and also the amount of laundry Ling does for the kids – but it was a tough decision whether to risk buying this 665mm deep washer and if it’d actually fit past the door way!

To help us decide, I made an actual-size footprint of the washer base – 665mm X 650mm – out of packing box cardboard, and tried several times to fit this mockup past the door way. I discovered through the trial runs that it wouldn’t be easy, but it was possible. Basically one would need to push the washer in side-facing first, slowly jiggle it bit by bit at an angle until it sits properly into the washer base.

Still, we had our designer on standby to remove the wash basin if for any reason the actual thing wouldn’t fit. And a week ago since we made our order, I was a little nervous if my calculations were wrong; we’d be possibly stuck with a washer that could fit into its designated area!

As it turned out, the washer indeed just managed to fit in. Hooray for trial runs! Credit had to really go to our designer who thoughtfully relocated the outlet/drainage pipe and also water inlet all the way to the far corner, allowing the washer to be pushed all the way back behind.

Before the delivery and about a month ago; the newly created washer base during our main renovation.

The Electrolux EWF10932; one of the larger front-loader washers in the line. Ling is happy!

The new Electrolux EWF10932; one of the larger front-loader washers in the line. Ling is happy!

We didn't need to activate our designer's workers to temporarily remove the wash basin after all. Quite a relief!

We didn’t need to activate our designer’s workers to temporarily remove the wash basin after all. Quite a relief!

We were expecting that even if the washer could fit in, the washer door would not be able to open fully. We were thrilled we were wrong.

We were expecting that even if the washer could fit in, the washer door would not be able to open fully. We were thrilled we were wrong.

The washer door can fully swing open and close without coming into contact with the wash basin - and with buffer space to spare too.

The washer door can fully swing open and close without coming into contact with the wash basin – and with buffer space to spare too.

The old dryer will be next put onto of it soon on our big moving day.:)

The first round of touch-up work in our Minton renovation completed on Tuesday, which also saw our project handover from our designer back to us. He’ll still be having someone come by next week to help us fix up the very many wall fixtures (e.g. photo frames, TV-mount brackets, full-length mirror, hangers, hooks, bathroom shelving, clocks), and further down the year, we’ll probably be finding a few more minor areas where we’ll ask him to help touch-up or improve. He assured that this will be part of his service promises to us at no charges – within reason of course, against say our asking for the entire floor to be re-tiled – and we can call him back anytime to look through things.

Here’s my Report Card on specifically the various activities in our main Renovation project scope. Going with a scale of:

‘A’ – Very good, outstanding work or service rendered here

‘B’ – Good, and surpassed expectations for the most part

‘C’ – Average, met expectations but could be improved

And here is our Report Card, and being the critical person i usually am:

Overall project

Project management – ‘A’

Whether the designer made regular on-site checks on work done and his ability to convey to workers instructions. Our designer did very well here, and we were impressed with his general ability to remember many things we noted to him in our frequent rounds of checking over the 6 weeks.

Project schedule/timeliness – ‘B+’

Our designer said before work commenced that the project would take 6 weeks, and it took just that – except that there were a few further-on days for touch-up, and we finished exactly just in time to move. We would have liked just a bit more buffer. That said, he was able to marshal the different subcons in the final days and at very short notice to do each touch-up area in the last couple of days – not easy!

Project cost – ‘A’

Of the thirteen designers we receive quotations for against our project scope (caveat again that the project scope often varied slightly, and also materials/workmanship affecting project costs), our designer’s proposal was routinely in the lowest pricing tier.


Design and Conception for Carpentry – ‘B’

This is where things can get very subjective, since both the wife and me can already disagree on what we think are good and less-good designs, and you also have the designer’s experience and realizations coming significantly into play. I (as in not speaking for the wife!) especially liked the designs for the children’s bedroom and our master bedroom, the worktables in our workroom, the shoe cabinet, and also the massive book shelves in the study. I’m more blasé about the two TV feature walls and accompanying consoles. They’ll serve their function well though I’ve seen better designs. Oh well. We did sign off on those designs.

Design for compliance to visual theme – ‘A’

One distinctive trait Ling observed in our designer was his ability to quickly understand the look and feel of our desired home theme (‘Scandinavian’). Based on this desired theme, our designer was able to frame the rest of the visual decisions in our home and provide us good advice on this score.

3D Renders – ‘A’

It’s not industry practice for Interior Design companies to produce 3D visualizations before home owners sign-on for renovation projects. Some will but most won’t. Our designer did, and kudos to him. He also noted that these are largely calculated decisions on the part of designers, and they routinely might prepare (some) visualizations if they sense they are very close to securing the deal.

Renovation execution

Carpentry – ‘B+’

Of all the things that can potentially go wrong in a home renovation project, it’s in carpentry. Our assigned carpentry was experienced and he was able to implement our designer’s visualizations. The actual woodwork was very close facsimiles to the earlier renders, and credit really has to go to the carpenter for being able to realize the designs. On the other hand, we noted there were still some oversights in the actual built products – including rough edges along joint lines of wood and laminate surfaces, that the shelf layers for several cabinets needed to be strengthened, and that the carpenter had forgotten to box-up the bottom of one TV console. Our designer promptly told the carpenter to rectify these, which he did.

Electrical work – ‘B’

The lighting fixtures and wiring work was a mixed bag though still on the overall positive. Wiring was hidden, lights were placed (though lights were incorrectly fixed in the children’s room, and the light switch control in the workroom was initially incorrect done, but these were also quickly rectified) and shifted without complaint when we asked for re-positioning. We also give credit to the electrician team to be able to mount our LED downlights which were a challenge to install. We were less impressed with their fans installation though – which I’ll note in a different post.

Brick wall – ‘A’

This was done well, done quickly, and without fuss. Lots of neighbors have been interested in our wall here though it’s actually a pretty common home item.

Solid surfaces for bay windows – ‘B’

We thought hard about whether to go with wood laminate or solid surfaces, cushioned or not etc. The solid surfaces we chose were installed midway in our project, but at project conclusion, we saw that there were marks and damage spots in the surfaces for two rooms. These were buffed away during our touch-up phase, but that these marks occurred so soon left us a little worried about how well these surfaces will fare against our rough and tumble usage long-term, or we’ll have to exercise greater care in our use.

Painting – ‘C’

We were least impressed with the painting work. There were little paint spills especially in the living room tiles, rough work done in several places (e.g. painting along door frames), and along skirting. These were all rectified during the touch-up phase, but it would had been nice if the painters had done it properly the first time round.

Post-renovation touch-ups – ‘A’

The touch-up workers however were able to rectify the issues coming out of the main renovation. Very impressed. If it wasn’t for this safety net at rectification, Ling would had been quite displeased!


Honesty – ‘A’

At no point in our renovation discussions and actual execution did our designer try to sell us things that we wouldn’t need. In fact, if anything else, he would dissuade or caution us about items that were extraneous, too expensive, or would not fit well against our home theme. He also readily deducted items that we dropped from our renovation project, and also absorbed the cost of varnishing from our original proposal on account that this turned out to be necessary only because it was caused by renovation. That alone saved us quite a bit of money.

Perception to blindspots – ‘B+’

Our designer was experienced, being the co-owner of his own company and also having been in the trade for decades. For the most part, he was alert to potential problems with our preferred design ideas (especially in carpentry). However, there was one project scope item that had to be amended just before the actual renovation began after further-on site visits showed that it would not be practical. And in another case, the placement of the study room’s ceiling fan was not ideal as advised by our fan manufacturer technician, but it was too late to correct that. I’ll comment on this in the later post as well.

Accommodation to changes and added value – ‘A’

We had additional requests as we went along in our renovation e.g. additional shelving, conversion of the dry kitchen shelving into enclosed shelving, wall-hung Scandinavian-styled shelving, reinforcement of various shelf levels. Thankfully they were either all minor or did not require changes to other project aspects. Our designer readily factored them in and did all these additions for us without fuss. He also brought us to laminate factories just so we could visually see and feel the large laminate pieces to better visualize our choices. He had workers come by to do not just one general cleaning but two. And finally, he assisted us by assigning workers to do the many other home fixture items without charge.

Communication and responsiveness – ‘A’

Credit especially to our designer here; he was easy to reach on phone, always called back when asked to, did not forget arranged meetings, always alerted us if he was going to be late, and was willing to reschedule his other appointments if we had to urgently meet. Caveat though; that we had great communication with our designer isn’t to guarantee everyone else who engages him will have the same experience! As these things go, the customer really has to be able to click with the service provide, and in our case, we count ourselves blessed that we were able to.

On the overall, would we recommend our designer? Our answer – a solid and resounding ‘yes’.:)


The other home renovation item to complete earlier this week was installation of our Internet service. I’ve stayed with Cable Internet for more than a decade now, but in our new home transited to Fiber broadband. There’s been an interesting ‘killer’ offer around our island that’s billed itself as the world’s fastest home broadband at 1 Gbps. Not that I’d know what to do with that kind of bandwidth since we don’t watch streaming Internet TV nor do I have any ambition to download the (whole) Internet, but it was a steal for its relatively low asking price. The service provider’s pricing plans are identical in terms of theoretical maximum throughput, but differ in its support and additional features.

What were the harder decisions to make though are in how to ensure that we have Internet access to most if not all parts of our home. I first set up my home wireless network at the turn of the century – early adopter etc. – and then achieved my lifelong dream of surfing while in the toilet LOL, but the needs for such access via Wifi has diminished now that mobile devices are routinely capable of access via mobile data networks. Outside that; my requirements are pretty much the same as my current home:

Main Internet access ‘hubs’ to be in the workroom followed by the living hall’s TV console deck (in case we ever desire Internet TV)

Wifi access in the bedrooms and front balcony, followed by the rest of the house

The problem with consumer level routers though is that they typically work optimally when not having to get round obstacles like walls and other electrical appliances. Our current home has a gazillion things that can progressively weaken the Wifi signals, and that includes full-height wall cabinets, concrete walls, a 3 feet fish-tank, and lots and lots of electrical devices all generating EM waves of their own. We did get by though using a combination of wifi and also Powerline Internet – two technologies on top of wired Internet that I’ll be retaining for our new Minton home.

So, this is what I’m doing for our new home Internet setup:

Wired Cat6 LAN ports in the living hall and both sides of our workroom. The latter required additional cables to be laid by our electrician – he buried these inside our existing walls, or hid them away in our false ceilings.

Wifi router 1 in the living room.

Powerline Internet connecting from workroom into the Master Bedroom

Wifi router 2 in the Master Bedroom

The device setup was actually quite easy, since new homes in Singapore are already have the Opennet Box (or Termination Point) already installed. Ours is located in the junction box just aft the kitchen:

Connecting the Opennet box to the modem.

Connecting to the ONT (optical network terminal). Have to tidy this up later.

From here, the Internet Service provider is to supply the ONT which functions like the cable modem I’ve been using, and connect it to the Opennet Box. Funnily, the installation technician was uncertain about the process of setting up the home fiber broadband – he confessed that this was his first time installing it even – and I ended up advising him on what to do, what equipment he needed, and what equipment came with the router that I’d chosen. Not impressed. But oh well; it was working by the time he (we) were done, so I didn’t care either way.

As part of the new fiber broadband service, I was given the choice of three routers – the normal one, the one that is a bit more featured, and a third one that has everything and the kitchen sink – the Asus AC68U. The latter’s price difference within the package wasn’t that much compared to the others, it was well-speced and reviewed, and even regarded by one site reviewer as ‘overkill for some’, and another said “too many features for most users”. I’m sure that wasn’t a reference to users like myself, especially since I rely so much on Wifi at home, so easy choice there. This fellow is probably going into the workroom and I’ll see if I can hook it up to our printer for wireless printer later too.

The Asus RT-AC68U.

The Asus RT-AC68U. Looks like a three-horned monster!

So, Internet services are up in our Minton home ahead of our big move – all is well in the world!



We’ll be moving into our new Minton home this weekend, and that’s meant a lot of trips between our current and new homes transporting fragile equipment that we’re not trusting to the movers. These have included the many electronic appliances from the kitchen and kitchenware – and lots of other things that will not be easy fitting into the stack of rectangular boxes that we’ve been given – e.g. Hannah’s (many) toys. And anything else that can fit into the car each trip. Come to think of it – I don’t think our movers will have much to do during our Big Moving Day this weekend, besides carting along a few boxes of books, the fridge, the dryer, the TV, and a couple of other large pieces LOL.

Our new home has gone through several rounds of washing since the middle of last week too; including one general washing as included as part of our main renovation and another cleaning done by our own part-time helpers. As it turns out, these were both wasted as we discovered scratches on our parquet floors caused during the main renovation. That’s required urgent re-sanding/varnishing of our parquet floors one more time round just yesterday, and the dust and particles generated have coated the bedrooms and to a lesser degree the other parts of our apartment with a dirt layer. So, the general cleaners came in again this afternoon to do another round of washing, and our own cleaners will be returning also for another round. With hindsight, we should have expected that some damage to our wooden flooring would have occurred and required our designer to explicitly forecast it into his project schedule. Oh well – lesson learned, and ultimately a price to pay for a tight timeline for us to move-in.

The apartment does look quite nicely done up at this point, and the look and feel of our new home has changed significantly since the curtains and blinds went in this afternoon. To be fair, we didn’t look too far and wide for curtain contractors (we checked out perhaps just about 4 such contractors), before deciding on a Johore Bahru-based curtain specialist who’s also incidentally doing a number of other units at The Minton. Ling was in charge of choosing the types of curtains and blinds and the materials for each to her, but we did have a couple of commonly-agreed considerations guiding the decisions:

Our parents once remarked that curtains project a sense of ‘homeliness’ (whatever that means!) that is less evident in blinds. Might be traditional thinking at play.

We were watchful of shrinkage in curtains. Our Ikea curtains in our first/current home shrunk significantly over the years.

We were mindful of maintenance, taking into account that we’re staying in a relatively dusty environment.

Pictures of the three men who came by to work on the curtains:

Marking out drilling holes to mount the blinds frames in the children's room.

Marking out drilling holes to mount the blinds frames in the children’s room.

Lots of blinds everywhere!

Lots of blinds everywhere!

Timber blinds for the Master bedroom.

Timber blinds for the Master bedroom.

Day and night curtains for the living hall.

Day and night curtains for the living hall.

We also made sure that our designer was looped in our discussions with the curtain specialist before main renovation began, since we did want colors and materials to mutually complement. Here’s the outcome of each room and its covers. As it turned out, our curtains specialist might have made a mistake in one of the materials used.

Zebra blinds for the Children's room.

Zebra blinds for the Children’s room.

Zebra blinds in our workroom.

Zebra blinds in our workroom.

50mm timber blinds with decorative tape in the Master Bedroom.

50mm timber blinds with decorative tape in the Master Bedroom.

Simple roller blinds for our Master bedroom toilet.

Simple roller blinds for our Master bedroom toilet.

'Marisa 1' day and night curtains. Ling said this was the original choice months ago, but was changed at a discussion with the curtains contractor at a later point. I think this color looks fine though (but the wife disagrees violently!).

‘Marisa 1′ day and night curtains. Ling said the night curtains’ material was the original choice months ago, but was changed at a discussion with the curtains contractor at a later point. I think this color looks fine though but the wife disagrees violently! :)

As it turned out, the job was not completed. We’d discovered that the roller blinds in the short side of the yard balcony would mean that the grill windows – that swing in – can no longer be opened. We’re laying this on the invisible grills fellow, as we did tell him that there’d be roller blinds at that spot. In any case, the grills contractor will be coming by soon to reverse the swing direction of those windows, and the roller blinds at the yard can go in thereafter.

Our main renovation project at the Minton has concluded, with just a few more items to touch-up and fix. At this point, I thought it’d be useful for me to share about timelines, the different phases of our home renovation, task dependencies and the like. This might not be indicative of renovation projects in general, but it’s from our Minton project point of view and our working with our designer. Firstly, the key dates are:

Renovation start date: 28 Feb 2014

Main Renovation end date: 10 April 2014

Total calendar days: 42 days (30 days if deducting Saturdays and Sundays) / 6 weeks

I’ve excluded touch-up work and minor fixes from this period, as we’re likely gonna find additional numerous things as time passes. Most IDs we spoke to in our preliminary discussion and exploration phase last year suggested that our scope of work would require between 4-6 weeks of work, so that our own eventual home project took 6 weeks is within the suggested period. Interestingly, when we first met and spoke to our appointed designer last September, he’d confidently said that our project would take 4 weeks, and it was only later in January this year upon further discussions and planning when that period was extended to 6 weeks. And even with that, things got just a mite rushed towards the end.

We didn’t eventually take on all our items in our intended renovation, but based on what I’ve learned, here’s my list of how long each activity would take and its dependencies.


Keep in mind too that several activities can run concurrently; e.g. ceiling work could run simultaneously alongside tiling work. The time taken for each activity will also depend on the scope of work involved; e.g. a project involving less carpentry than ours will almost certainly wrap sooner too.


1. Invisible grills should ideally be done after (not before) the washing if it involves chemicals.