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 – without 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 provided 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

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!

Communications

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 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! :)

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.

timelines

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.

Edits:

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

Day 40 of our renovation @ Minton, and more finishing touches to various things in our home. We are appreciative of our designer who has been quite amendable to our requests for numerous little additional features and complements to our home.

For instance, take a look at the legs of the living room sofa we bought from Taylor B:

Dark brown legs!

Dark brown legs!

But our complementing 1.5 seater sofa from Ikea on the other hand looks like this:

Light brown legs!

Light brown legs!

Trust the wife again with her eagle-like eyes to immediately notice that the colors don’t match! So we asked our designer if his carpenter could help us lacquer these four legs to a dark brown shade – and he readily helped us out! Here’s what it looks like now:

It's not in men's nature to notice these things - really.

It’s not in men’s nature to notice these things – really.

And more pictures of small item work that was done today:

We were thrilled that our designer was able to fabricate wall-hung shelves similar to designs that Ling had found earlier. These won't be books though but little decorative items in the children's room.

We were thrilled that our designer was able to fabricate wall-hung shelves similar to designs that Ling had found earlier. These might not be books though but little decorative items hung on this shelf in the children’s room.

The enclosed shelving in the large cabinets in our +1/study room could use support beams to prevent the shelf planks from sagging - so we asked for them and our designer also obliged.

The enclosed shelving in the large cabinets in our +1/study room could use support beams to prevent the shelf planks from sagging – so we asked for them and our designer also obliged. We’ve also asked for similar support beams for the wall hung cabinets in the workroom too.

This was a very pleasant surprise. More often than not, custom-built bed frame mattress bases are just left as unlaminated white - but our designer used the same high quality laminates for the bedframe for the mattress base too. Not quite necessary since once the mattress is put on top it, you'd never see that base again - but we really appreciate the thoughtfulness.

This was a very pleasant surprise. More often than not, custom-built bed frame mattress bases are just left as unlaminated white – but our designer used the same high quality laminates he used for the bedframe for the mattress base too. Not quite necessary since once the mattress is put on top it, you’d never see that base again – but we really appreciate the thoughtfulness.

The dishwasher cabinet. Pretty simple design and to house the Bosch half-height dishwasher we just placed an order for over the weekend. The water inlet and drainage outlet were originally part of the kitchen layout, but we drew an additional power point on the side of the cabinet for the appliance.

The dishwasher cabinet. Pretty simple design and to house the Bosch half-height dishwasher we just placed an order for over the weekend. The water inlet and drainage outlet were originally part of the kitchen layout, but we drew an additional power point on the side of the cabinet for the appliance.

The quartz surface on top of the dishwasher cabinet. We noted a month ago that our designer suggested not choosing an exact match for this surface against the rest of the kitchen countertop, since there will be a height difference between this cabinet and the existing countertop.

The quartz surface on top of the dishwasher cabinet. We noted a month ago that our designer suggested not choosing an exact match for this surface against the rest of the kitchen countertop, since there will be a height difference between this cabinet and the existing countertop.

The last painting work should begin in the next few days, so another post to come soon.:)

We received our project handover date for our Minton apartment last week – which meant that the numerous other activities that had been kept in view could move quickly too. These included picking up several more small items and fixtures for various parts of the house – these will be installed by our designer’s workers in a single swoop – scheduling our own cleaners to clean up the place before moving in, appointing our clothesline system contractor to fix up two pulley-based systems in the yard, and making orders for large household appliances and fixing up a delivery date for them. And our boxes for our moving arrived midweek too – all 90 of them – and packing and disposing all our current furniture and items in our current home has take up pretty much all our free time in the last few days.

The large household appliances – TV, laundry machine, washer, refrigerator etc. – at our current home were mostly purchased 8 years ago at a electrical appliance store situated in the heartland. The notion then was that these stores offer appliances at price-points that were routinely cheaper than normal stores. Interestingly, this time round, we found pretty good deals for appliances at Parisilk, an appliance store with several outlets in heartland areas, and settled on a Sony KDL50W704A 50″ LED Smart TV, the Bosch half-height dishwasher that we’d constructed a kitchen cabinet for, and an Electrolux EWF10932 9kg washer that we’re hoping very hard will be able to fit past the yard toilet door frame. The rest of the household appliances – the 8 year old fridge and similarly-aged dryer, and a 2 year old 46″ Panasonic Plasma TV – will be following us to the new home.

The carpenter was also finishing up his carpentry work today on Day 39 after taking a break over the weekend. We met him with our designer late this evening to go through some final details before he wraps work the next day (or so). Our assigned carpenter is a one man (and his wife) team and his workshop isn’t far from The Minton, and all the furniture in our home was handmade by him. While inspecting the various furniture items we’ve got in our home just now, he shared a story: that the children’s bedframe was super complex for him to fabricate and he thought very hard how to implement our designer’s plans, and he was very proud of how he fabricated it. But when his wife saw what he did for this children’s bedframe the other week, she asked him “How come you do this owner’s house so nice, but you do our own house like sh*t?!”

Too funny for words.:)

Just a couple of pictures this time.

Our glass writing board. Our designer found a contact point to do a small one for us. This will be our space for us to scribble "Menu for the day", and "Household Chores Roster".:)

Our glass writing board. Our designer found a contact point to do a small one for us. This will be our space for us to scribble “Menu for the day”, and “Household Chores Roster”.:)

Our conversion of the Dry Kitchen open shelves into enclosed ones like these. Learned from our neighbor's design!

Our conversion of the Dry Kitchen open shelves into enclosed ones like these. Learned from our neighbor’s design!

We were quire surprised to see this. Our designer got the carpenter to laminate the insides of the TV console in our Master bedroom too. Normally, the internals are left unlaminated.

We were quire surprised to see this. Our designer got the carpenter to laminate the insides of the TV console in our Master bedroom too. Normally, the internals are left unlaminated.

 

Day 6 of carpentry installation and Day 35. We were just hearing from another neighbor staying in a block beside us who’s renovation project is now into its 11th week already, with long lull periods where nothing has been happening. From what I understand, his unit’s project scope is just slightly larger than ours, but if I were in shoes, I’d be a little disconcerted that the renovation is taking so long to complete. On our own project; we saw that both the electrician and carpenter had been working to fix up the remaining light fixtures, and also fix the issues we mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry.

Pictures as always.

Our two ÅRSTID wall-lights from Ikea have been installed into the headboard in our bedframe. The warm light from these two lamps work well against the wood textured laminate we chose for the headboard.

Our two ÅRSTID wall-lights from Ikea have been installed into the headboard in our bedframe. The warm light from these two lamps work well against the wood textured laminate we chose for the headboard.

Four drawers built into the bedframe base.

Four drawers built into the bedframe base.

The right LED downlight above our Living Hall's feature wall has been relocated by a few inches too, resolving an issue mentioned from yesterday.

The right LED downlight above our Living Hall’s feature wall has been relocated by a few inches too, resolving an issue mentioned from yesterday.

The fan in our +1/study is pretty noisy. A closer inspection revealed that the fan had not been installed entirely level against the ceiling, and in fact was inclined by a few degrees - possibly enough just to cause the fan's motor to wobble at high-speeds. Our designer will be getting the electrician to look into this again.

The fan in our +1/study is pretty noisy. A closer inspection revealed that the fan had not been installed entirely level against the ceiling, and in fact is inclined by a few degrees – possibly enough just to cause the fan’s motor to wobble at high-speeds. Our designer will be getting the electrician to look into this again.

We blogged that we'd be converting the dry kitchen counter top into additional shelving; work on this item - one of the last few items remaining - has started too.

We blogged that we’d be converting the dry kitchen counter top into additional shelving; work on this item – one of the last few items remaining – has started too.

Our designer informed us too of a tentative project conclusion and handover date too, and it’s in a week’s time. The carpentry should finish tomorrow, after which the first several days of next week will be touch-up work, followed by a final coat of painting on Wednesday, debris clearing on Thursday, and general cleaning and washing on Friday. Hooray!

Day 5 visit of carpentry work and Day 34 of our overall renovation project @ Minton. We were glad to see that several of the carpentry issues we identified in the last few days had been rectified or in the midst of it. On the other hand, we spotted two more – one of which was our oversight but thankfully just a very minor thing, but the other was something our designer had missed out on, but he recognized and immediately said he’d rectify it. This again perhaps underscores the point I observed in my last post; how important it is to be all hands on deck to observe and check as frequently as possible when carpentry installation begins.

Just a couple of pictures this time.

Rectified! Seems that our carpenter dismantled the wall-hung cabinet and shelf, swapped them around, the re-mounted them back.

Rectified! Seems that our carpenter dismantled the wall-hung cabinet and shelf, swapped them around, then re-mounted them back.

blog-2014-minton-P1040752-renovation-day34

The base of our master bedroom frame has been installed, alongside the four drawers (they’re still missing the laminate surfaces though).

New issue we discovered today. This is the TV feature wall in our Master Bedroom, and we needed 20cm depth for both our TV and mounting bracket.  A small part of it is our fault too as we'd sent so many emails on measurements over the last 2 months that it's easy for someone to get confused. Still, our designer recognized it as his bad, and said he'd re-do the backing for us.

New issue we discovered today. This is the TV feature wall in our Master Bedroom, and we needed 20cm depth for both our TV and mounting bracket. A small part of it is our fault too as we’d sent so many emails on measurements over the last 2 months that it’s easy for someone to get confused. Still, our designer recognized it as his bad, and said he’d re-do the backing for us and give us sufficient depth to ensure the TV does not protrude out later.

Yep, it's big enough to put a 100" LED TV, but no I got no money for one! Hannah asked why was our Living Hall TV feature wall so large, and proceeded to make a face while posing for a picture.:)

Yep, it’s big enough to put a 100″ LED TV, but no I got no money for one! Hannah asked why was our Living Hall TV feature wall so large, and proceeded to make a face while posing for a picture.:)

This was from yesterday; that the two structural components in our shoe cabinet weren't elevated equally - we were thrilled to see that they are now.

This was from yesterday; that the two structural components in our shoe cabinet weren’t elevated equally – we were thrilled to see that they are now.

Our dishwasher cabinet in progress. The height for the dishwasher shelf is 46cm, just enough for our 45cm dishwasher itself. Wished we'd asked for just a bit more clearance, but that's our bad. The glass board you see there is for our dry kitchen - our writing board for all manner of stuff.:)

Our dishwasher cabinet in progress. The height for the dishwasher shelf is 46cm, just enough for our 45cm dishwasher itself. Wished we’d asked for just a bit more clearance, but that’s our bad. The glass board you see there is for our dry kitchen – our writing board for all manner of stuff.:)

Additional shelving in the kitchen for Ling, but she realized that she shouldn't have asked for this since she just recently bought a dish drainer she wanted installed there.

Additional shelving in the kitchen for Ling, but she realized that she shouldn’t have asked for this since she just recently bought a dish drainer she wanted installed there.

Looks quite on schedule. Another update to come tomorrow.:)

Looking at the carpentry work done so far at our Minton home, we now really understand why so many homeowners complain about carpentry in their own home renovation projects. If anything can go potentially go wrong in renovation, it’s here. We never had to deal with such degrees of woodwork in our current home. Every piece of furniture at our Rivervale home was bought off-the-shelf. So, it’s an interesting experiment for us for sure. I guess if we had a bigger home, we wouldn’t need to do so much customization. Guess carpentry is almost a necessity to provide a functional home that’s still minimally pleasing to look at visually.

Given how important this renovation aspect is, we’ve been making time every day this week to by to check on things. Which we did again in the late afternoon today – Day 4 of our carpentry installation. On the plus side, the woodwork is coming along very quickly. If nothing else, the carpenter assigned to us is very fast for what we’re guessing is still a one-man-show. But we noticed a few more issues – but fortunately, our designer was in the compound, and as he knew we were checking on the state of progress, came up to observe with us.

Our partially completed TV Feature Wall in the Living Hall. It’s a pretty simplistic design, but offering pretty good storage options near the surface’s base.

Cables drawn out and to be connected into power sockets that will be built into the drawer end.

Lots and lots of light switches everywhere, with the Living Hall’s fan regulator too.

The study tables in the workroom. Following through with yesterday’s post, Ling has asked our designer to get the carpenter to rectify his goof, or maybe April Fool’s joke. Not sure how he’s gonna do that, but as our designer said, it was the carpenter’s mistake and it’s his job to fix it now.

The just-installed 48″ fan in our Master Bedroom, and it seems capable of generating very good air movement, though not quite to the extreme cyclone we’re getting with the 50″ fan in the children’s room!

Our King-sized bedframe as seen from the opposite angle. We’re quite pleased with this too so far.

Our massive wall shelves in the +1/study room. This one is coming along very nicely, though the Crestar fan was giving out a lot of noise when turned up to the highest speeds. Our designer will be getting his electrician to check on this, and hopefully it’s not because we’ve got a cranky fan. The wind circulation generated by this little 30″ fan is also somewhat weak, but guess it’s to do with how little space the fan has to move air around.

A closer look at the shelves. We asked for double plywood shelves here, which our designer provided as part of his design, on account that these are going to hold very heavy stacks and piles of thick books. We’ve had very bad experiences with Ikea shelves, so hope these custom-built ones will fare better.

We appreciated too that our designer got our carpenter to bring out the light switch and fan regulator and flush it against the cabinet shelf’s wall. Looks very neat!

These Ikea lamps worked very nicely too. They just barely clear my head when I stand underneath them, but it won’t be an issue since the two lamps will be directly on top of the dining table.

Now we had another issue with our nearly completed shoe cabinet. This isn’t evident from the picture, but the haversack pigeon holes and the main shoe cabinet aren’t really flushed with each other. There’s a small but still obvious 1 cm elevation difference between the two structural components. We’re not certain why the carpenter did not align the two components, but guess it might be because the haversack component was mounted first, and it was only then that the carpenter realized he should had provided a bit more clearance for the LED downlight just in front of it. In any case, Ling was not pleased with the misalignment, and asked our designer to get the carpenter to rectify it.

Not sure how the carpenter is going to re-align the two structural stacks (the main shoe shelfs, and the haversack shelf).

And one more issue. It’s also not evident from this picture, but now that the TV feature wall has been mounted, we realized that the two downlights on top of it aren’t equi-distance. I didn’t spot this in our afternoon’s check, but trust the wife with her eagle-eyes to notice it quickly! In the picture below, the left downlight is closer to the feature wall’s vertical edge than the right downlight. Our designer himself had to stare at it for a minute before he realized what Ling was pointing out. But yes, our designer will be getting his electrician to correct it too.

Drew guidelines in this picture to show what Ling saw.

Drew guidelines in this picture to show what Ling saw.

All these said; things are still about ballpark alright and progressing along at least with no holdups. We’ve heard a lot of horror stories of renovation project’s carpentry going haywire, so we’re thankful that at least the errors made so far are still minor (well, aside from the incorrect cabinet and wall-hung shelving placement in our workroom!), even if they’ll require some ingenuity to rectify. More updates to come soon.:)