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Daily

Digital locks from Zansan

Omg finally installing our digital gate lock.

But holy shit.

This

Is

So

Loud

I feel really bad for my neighbours who are at home in the day. Really hope none of them have babies.

It’s been a painful process but I’m so glad it’s just freaking over now and we managed to get this digital lock installed!

Got the locks from Darius from Zansan, who was kind and helped answer all my questions when we were deciding on how to fix the panel on our gate.

We got the Schlage-S510 for both the gate and the door after looking at so many others.

Schlage is apparently the leading lock brand in USA, but the lock itself is made in Korea.

My only requirement was that it had fingerprint access because I don’t want to have to hide while typing in a number code every single time I went home.

The Schlage 510 for the gate and door had:

✅Fingerprint access

✅RFID (card) access

✅Pin codes

And it was a bonus that their access card unlocks both gate and door at the same time and it’s voice guided so it’s easy to set up. Also, it looks pretty sleek in black and is short and slim unlike some others I had seen (Samsung).

It’s now $999 on Lazada but we managed to get it at COMEX at a promotional price of $899 🥰

Daily

Building a home is most important

Today, I’m standing on the side of tiles. Tiles, soundproofed windows, and everything I initially wanted anyway.

Going through the #dayrehome blogs, I’m realizing that when they didn’t get what they initially wanted, most of them regretted it and where possible, got their ID or contractor back to fix it. That’s possible with a cabinet or any carpentry.. but not in my case. Not with flooring.

Have also seen that as much as vinyl has improved these days, there are still inadvertent problems.

I don’t want to regret anything.

I’m okay with vinyl for the study or the bedroom or storeroom. But the living room, kitchen and entrance will have to be tiled for sure then. Where the flooring has to tahan more movements.

We managed to get 70k in government grants (40k first time buyer, 30k proximity grant). If our total works and furniture cost us $100k.. our total would still be significantly less than most of my peers in the long run.

$420k. Still less than the Kallang/Whampoa/Dakota BTO route. (Of course, with less years remaining, without the waiting time and a different sized unit so can’t really compare this way.)

Perhaps it’s not fair to compare. But that was why we decided on a 3 room in the first place. Our main objective when looking for a unit was its location. It had to be convenient and not ulu like Jurong, Yishun or Punggol. I’ve lived in Aljunied all my life and I love the convenience it affords me.

We looked at a unit in this block in the first place because of its locale. Even though that unit was damn cui, and noisy. It would’ve been possible to turn it into a home through a complete overhaul

We didn’t go through with that transaction in the end because the agent was an asshole (long story), but it was a blessing in disguise because then I prayed for a corner unit in the same block, and one was listed a while later. With recess area!

We jumped on it. So here we are.

I think we were less forgiving on this unit because it was less cui. But hacking the tiles and plastering the walls and all that cost the same whether super cui or less cui. Hahaha. I think we didn’t consider that.

Got to remember our initial objective and mission for this house. The house is most important.

We didn’t bother with planning a wedding, not even an ROM lunch. Nada. Zilch. We wanted a home. That’s why we’re even considering getting hitched in the first place.

I’m not a romantic. I don’t need to celebrate our love with a party. It’s just not my priority RIGHT NOW anyway.

Texted our potential ID that we’re going to loosen up our budget and we’re meeting her tonight. We are however, going to outsource some of the works and we hope they will still work with us on this.

✅Soundproof windows in balcony and study (outsourced)

✅Hack all the tiles (except toilet where we will overlay)

❓ Potentially keep 1-2 of the common bath walls but just re-grout if possible since we’re not using it that much anyway and it’s a simple grey?

✅ Tile entrance, living, kitchen floors

❓Potentially vinyl study, storeroom, and bedroom

I don’t foresee us walking or standing a lot in the bedroom or study since those spaces are very specific “sitting or lying down spaces” but let’s see! My wardrobe is there so technically there’s some movement involved.

❓In her quote I saw that there weren’t any top kitchen cabinets and I wonder if this is a good idea. Our kitchen isn’t big and I don’t know if I’d need more storage for our equipment.

It’s a lot clearer and easier now that we’ve decided to go ahead with building a home that we love and that will last without a second renovation job/without regrets. Just not to an unreasonable extent.

❓Quartz or Kompacplus?

❓Not sure if having the pantry so close to oven is a good thing. Won’t the heat kill my food items? But I don’t see anywhere else that will work in the layout. Let’s see if we can move either the oven/washing machine or the pantry.

If someone’s reading this I’m sorry.

Gotta keep these notes somewhere when I talk to the ID and it might as well be here.

Daily

Today, while getting myself some homemade barley from the fridge: Why am I moving out again? 😧

Met cchew for lunch! She’s back for a few days and brought my lululemon loot with her from down under. (AUD is so freakin cheap right now!)

We had lunch at London Duck by Fei Siong because she hardly gets duck in Brisbane and I was impressed! Would definitely return if I feel like spending $12+ on duck noodles.

She bought me a lululemon backpack, a monogrammed pouch and 4 boxes of raspberries for my birthday 😭🥰

Told her about my reno woes and asked where she got her waste baskets. Lol.

I’m serious. I was in love with her bin when I visited her home but I didn’t manage to find it.

Until now. She bought hers from Japan’s rakuten for $30 each, and shipped it to oz. I found a similar one on Lazada!!

Look! Can we just take a moment to appreciate how simple it is?

Works with any plastic or paper bag with a handle

And you can even put two bags!

I’m sold. This is the one I’m getting for our living room, bedroom and study!

Heh. Now if only I can decide on the type of flooring..

Cchew told me that if the difference between tiles and vinyl was less than $10k, that I should just go with tiles.

Sounds good. Mama Chew always knows best. Hopefully the quote with tiles will be less than $10k then. 🤞🏼

Omg. I was reading Dayre on the train and I missed my MacPherson stop. Twice. TWICE!!

From Kent Ridge to MacPherson. I missed MacPherson. I dropped at Tai Seng. I took the opposite train, and I freakin missed it again and was at Bartley. What!

C: Chu not concentrating is it?

V: I am! I’m concentrating on reading other people’s reno blog!

Daily

Windows

If I’d known that these windows would’ve been so expensive to replace.. I’d probably have used it to negotiate the price of this unit. Along with the load of tile work that needs to be done. 😔

We’d need FULL LENGTH SOUNDPROOF WINDOW! 💸💸💸💸

Thing is, the place was full of furniture then and the noise from the main road was really not that loud. Still.. if we’re going to be replacing the windows, we might as well get ones that are soundproof so that we won’t have to ever replace them ever again.

We’re getting quotes for soundproofing windows. The man who came down today was a lot more straightforward than the one yesterday, who spoke so much and told us so many grandfather stories that C and I were just squirming from how much he talked.

We’re not very outgoing people. But our level of politeness stopped us from telling the guy to please stop talking and just help us get our quote because it was GODDAMN hot in the house (no electricity yet).

Dead. Why this uncle talk so much?!

C texted me to tell me that we needed to go but I didn’t know how to get the guy to stop while he was mid-story. So neither of us did a thing.

Today, this other guy got to work immediately measuring our windows and asking us questions. Thing is, the one yesterday mentioned that it was possible to have blinds within the windows and that made me 😳😍. I mean can you imagine? That means that we needn’t worry about dusty blinds!!!

That sounds amazing. But how exactly am I going to afford that?

We asked the man about this today and he said that this was from China and they didn’t have this.

This makes me sad. I’m perfectly fine with China made windows, (what product isn’t from China nowadays anyway), but I preferred working with this man. He seems a lot less tedious. He also gave us the quote immediately after measuring the windows!

A staggering $9660 for all the windows (including the ones in the toilet), the ones in the study and the balcony soundproofed.

We also got our quote from one of our IDs today. My brother’s godsister.

Initially thought the project would be too small for her, since she usually works on big projects like condo developments and overseas work in Bkk and Indonesia, but she seemed open to working together.

She’d done my parents’ home, and after living in it for 10+ years, we have no complaints. I’d also enjoyed that process and her input. That said.. my parents reno cost a total of $100k including appliances.

So I warned her that our budget wasn’t quite the same. She in turn warned us that we were looking at a realistic budget of 75-90k including tiles, lights, loose furniture, bathroom fittings, windows, blinds, appliances.

She turned out to be right.

She even helped flesh out the layout I was keen on with more accurate dimensions.

But we’ve been in discussions for a month now and I haven’t seen her once. All of our discussions have been through WhatsApp or calls because she’s so busy.

It’s not that I need to see her face to face since lots of the things we spoke about can definitely be done over text.

At our site viewing, she was busy but sent her contractor, her 2 assistants and a team of aircon specialists down. It was an army of people, which was a little reassuring, but would’ve been more so if we’d actually seen her since then.

Still… she’s my first choice. I think it’s just that I’m a creature of habit and I already trust her work.

C isn’t so convinced.

Gah didn’t manage to leave for boxing again. I should really make sure to stop doing overtime out of my own volition.

I teach Pilates and when I’m teaching 1-on-1s, it’s so hard to stop when I know the student needs so much more work.

Second time this has happened so far. I shall go boxing tomorrow morning😩

Typing this out as I sit on the reformer, can’t get myself to work out alone. I miss my Pilates workout buddies!

Perlin from FloorXpert came by after the window uncle left, and something we learnt is that we can get contractors to cover up the grout to even the tiles out!!! No one at the showroom mentioned this at all! This makes all the difference, it means we won’t have to hack the tiles away for sure.

That said.. the ID has her own vinyl contact and I’m not sure how her contractors will install the vinyl or how well they’d work with subcontractors..

In fact, I wonder if we’d offend her somehow.

But her supplier (La Flor)’s vinyl planks are from Korea.

I’ve heard that vinyl planks contain toxic materials but the ones in Europe (Like FloorXpert’s) are not as bad. I was pretty sold on FloorXpert.

We’ll have to pop by La Flor’s showroom and give it a chance.

Daily

Foundation of a home

2.05am

I have a 7.30am class tomorrow but I’m still awake. God forbid I wake up late tmr.

I’ve been looking at gorgeous homes and decor on Instagram and Pinterest for so long – but who knew that this part of the process, looking for an ID and trying to make my budget work, would actually be such a royal pain?

Things I didn’t take seriously when buying an old resale HDB:

#1 Their choice of tiles

Whether their tiles are the ones i like or if they are even in good condition – because flooring works are insanely expensive and I should’ve used their old floor and wall tiles as a bargaining chip.

Wall tiles!! Why did they have to tile their kitchen walls?! I now have to pay for hacking them!

I remember walking around the unit with the idea that I would just remove everything they’ve done and I’d start from scratch. A blank canvas. Easy.

What was I thinking?

Perhaps that hacking meant just bringing a sledgehammer and some drills and going to town with them. Apparently not.

Removing a single thing like a cornice (I now know what a cornice is) costs money. Hacking tiles in the kitchen cost money. Hacking tiles in the toilet costs money. Hacking tiles in the living room costs money.

Why couldn’t the previous owners (though very, very nice people) have chosen broken marble or something more neutral than the patterned brick orange Italian tiles that cover the entire house?!

#2 Old units and their windows

I thought I’d just replace their very old windows. $7,000. Ka-ching!! That’s a shitload of money. And it’ll be even higher because I want soundproof windows at the foyer and the study, both are facing the main road, and directly facing a traffic light. $10,000? Possibly.

So I’m left with decisions as to whether I should refrain from hacking the floor and to overlay vinyl planks where I can (Bedroom, study, storeroom?) and to overlay tiles on top of the existing tiles in the kitchen and bath.

I’m not even sure if that’s possible. What if the bottom tiles are hollow or what if they pop?

And I don’t know if the existing tiles are level and even enough to vinyl over without feeling lumpy. Ughhh.

And do I forget about soundproofing? Or do I keep the old windows?

But these are the foundations of the house. Making changes to these later on would incur even more costs and a much larger mess and headache once everything else is done and once we’ve moved in.

The problem is that tiles are forever and my parents clearly want me to tile. Vinyl, though much improved what with advancements in technology, is still less durable and less hardy (dents under heavy furniture, scratches).

Any hope of keeping reno costs down, dashed!!

2.47am I’d better get some sleep.

2.56am Just spent the last few minutes trying to figure Dayre out and got sucked in reading some posts. Is this why nobody blogs on Livejournal, Tumblr or WordPress anymore? I’m amazed at the community, and how big it seems to be. I’d still keep cmf.org but this seems like an easy way to write throwaway thoughts and things. I guess it works more like a journaling of events than a diary but could work either way. Let’s see.

K, really going to sleep now.

6.50am

I managed with less than 5 hours of sleep. C slept earlier than I did and he’s still in bed doing what babies do best. 😒

This morning, Vinyl wins. By afternoon, I’m sure Tiles will find a way to catch up.

The Case For Vinyl:

Most cost and time efficient

Softer underfoot, not as hard to step on as tiles

No ugly grouting issues to maintain

Some faux wood designs provide texture and depth

Newer technologies, might actually last for 25 years

Against Vinyl:

Warmer underfoot

Not sure if our tiles are level and flat enough for good installation

Dents under heavy furniture

Not proven to last yet and changing flooring in the future would incur more costs and headaches

Overlaying means less height

Decided to get Clif with me to visit a Vinyl showroom. Felt like we had to see if we could be convinced by the material. FloorXpert was just a 5 min drive away!!

We were impressed by the look and the textures of the Belgium LURF planks. They even looked better than some pixelated faux wood tiles I’d seen.

FloorXpert seemed to deal with IDs and contractors a lot more than homeowners directly, and we were quoted $8.30/psf for the higher end vinyls that were from Belgium.

(Update 01/10/2019: $8.30/psf is a damn overpriced quote. We did not pay that amount in the end because my ID had a contact within FloorXpert.)

Because we’re concerned that the existing tiles are uneven and not leveled, we asked the salesperson what the process was. She mentioned a cement screeding on top of the tiles will help, and that the Belgium ones came with a better underlay than the Korean ones.

There was an area in the ground that felt uneven and we asked her about this. She told us it was because it was a showroom and they didn’t cement screed it. ?! Shouldn’t it being a showroom be a reason to install it well??

I’d have thought that making sure your product didn’t show any issues would be key to convincing customers about installing it.

Especially if they’re not traditional options like tiles, marble, laminate or parquet.

But sure.

I called my mother down to visit (she was 8 mins away). If anyone needed convincing, it was her. She is, after all the one offering us a sizable renovation loan.

She was super apprehensive. Asking questions on their product warranty (25 years for the Pulse range, lifetime workmanship warranty), how long their company had been in the market (since 2010), how long the manufacturers had been operating (since 1990).. her takeaway was that the company hadn’t been around long enough to receive complaints about its lifespan.

Fair enough. Though for its price point.. I can choose to replace the vinyl in the 10 years and it’d still be cheaper than tiling.

She was still leaning towards tiles.

C seemed a little exasperated that she didn’t understand that we didn’t want to go over budget if we can’t afford it.

Decided that it would be best to try and get a quote for tiles to see how much of a price difference it was and if it was “worth it” or not.

We made a stop at a tile showroom that her friend works at. (We’d be able to get a decent discount on materials from here) There were some gorgeous porcelain tiles that looked like marble.

But porcelain cracks. And I had to remind her more than once that the price seen here is only for the material cost and doesn’t include hacking and tiling labour costs..

Still would be good to find out how much this costs. Let’s see then.

At least now I’m good with either. Vinyl doesn’t seem so bad after all. Just depends on the final number.

Look! This was a staggering $6.3/sqft, and this slab basically costs $113.40.

We thought labour costs for this would be better since it was just one large piece but apparently not because it would take 3 people to install! Haha you learn something new everyday.