A Cozy Home Makeover

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Hey there. I guess if you’re reading this, you’re either #1 our friend, #2 a kaypoh acquaintance or #3 also doing your renovation and found our blog cached on Google, or something. (Because while we were planning for our renovation, boy did we spend a lot of time being #3.)

So here we’re going to talk about our renovation; what we had dreamed of before starting our reno, what the house looked like before, and what our place finally turned out to be. 🙂

Our home is a bit of an oddity in terms of layout as we’re in a really old estate with a unique 3-room layout. Our total square area is 107sqm, which is about the size of a brand new BTO 5-room flat.

Original Floor plan

Floor Plan

Pre-renovation pictures

When we first came to view the flat, we only did so because we were curious that a 3-room HDB could be this big. “Must be the agent list wrongly lah,” we thought to ourselves. It turned out that such a rarity did exist, and we were blessed enough to be the ones to get it. The house is so long, our ID joked that we could literally play bowling from the front door to the kitchen extension. The common bedroom, when we came to view, comfortably housed 3 beds (for two poly aged kids and a domestic helper) and the master bedroom was big enough for a king-sized bed, a 6-door, full-length, L-shaped wardrobe and much, much more. To top everything off, the unit even had a kitchen extension which meant there was no need for a game of tetris every time you wanted to cook or do the laundry. Perrrrfect.

If you want to read more about our testimony of how we got the house, you can read about it here. But otherwise, this post is more about the interior design of our place.

Our Moodboard

Being designers ourselves, we were both obviously picky about plenty everything (Okay maybe I was the fussier one – Liz). This being our first house, of course we were dreaming of many beautiful things we wanted to do with the place. And being creatives and very familiar with creating pitch decks, we had a 14-page moodboard/preference list.

We also had many discussions between the both of us on what kind of layout we wanted, where we wanted to put things, etc. Colin even figured out how to use this free (but ancient) software called Sweet Home 3D so we could better visualize the space by ourselves.

And because our kitchen layout was so odd (with the common toilet sticking out in the middle of nowhere), we also personally went through TONS of options for how best to design the kitchen.

Some of the MANY options we considered for the kitchen layout:

Some of the MANY options we considered for the kitchen layout.

The kitchen layout was the hardest for us to crack. But we finally decided to go with carpentry for only one side of the kitchen, no top cabinets (blocks light), and to purchase an off-the-shelf kitchen island, since carpentry is really expensive and every layout we explored felt too claustrophobic given the limitations of the L-shaped space (aka our toilet oddity).

3D renders

After taking into consideration many limitations (both practical and financial), we finally agreed on some semblance of the layout we wanted. We did some material and color section with our ID and he went ahead to create some 3D renders of the proposed design. Our ID’s 3D-renderer got most of the colors wrong. The half-wall paint color we wanted for the living area was supposed to be more of a dark, navy blue. And the kitchen cabinets were supposed to be a very dark grey (almost black).

Some of the decisions we made:

  • We moved the sink out of the tiny tiny  master bedroom toilet so I could have ample counter space (because girls can never have enough counter space).
  • We decided to convert the second bedroom into a studio, and built another full-length cupboard in this room because we didn’t have a store room. Which also makes the room versatile enough if we ever need to house another human in it anytime in the near distant future.
  • Knocked down the walls for the second bedroom and kitchen to open up the space. Because of how long our house is, there is very little natural sunlight in most parts of the house, so we needed to compensate for that.
  • We decided to get vinyl for the bedrooms and living room as it was not cost-effective for us to hack the old flooring and re-tile everything.

Renovation Phase

We tracked our renovation process in our Facebook album, so you can check that out for more photos.

Our Home (Now)

Soooo proudly presenting to you, #acozyhome. 🙂 I love our place, truly, and most of the decisions we made with our furniture and fixture choices. Will write a separate post about the furniture/fixtures we bought for those of you who are interested in that.

Post-Mortem (Yays and Nays)

The best decisions we made, and also some of the not so great.

The good ones:

  • Building the wardrobe in the second bedroom: because that’s really our storeroom now!
  • Forgoing additional carpentry in the kitchen and just getting a stand-alone kitchen island: Save money, island has wheels and can be moved around when we need more space, also, very pretty. 😀
  • Knocking down the walls: House looks and feels much bigger!
  • Moving the sink out of the master bedroom toilet and building a counter: Much space! So freedom! I can do my make-up, blow my hair, and husband can brush his teeth, style his hair, without us having to fight for the same sink and mirror.
  • Black granite counter top for kitchen: Hides stains and dirt. Illusion of cleanliness lasts longer. 😛

The not-so good ones:

  • Having those pretty black and white tiles for the toilet: VERY HARD TO CLEAN AH.
  • Painting the half-wall: Although I love it and it is pretty, for some reason the blue paint comes off very easily. So if you lean on it, it ends up leaving a white patchy stain on the wall. And the parts of the wall at Noodle height (Noodle, for the unacquainted, is the short corgi member of our household) are scratched because Noodle enjoys sleeping with his paws on the wall.
  • Painting the laundry area wall/ceiling white: Every time I hang a bamboo pole I contribute one scratch to either the wall or the ceiling. T_T
  • Allowing our ID to subway tile the whole wall in the kitchen instead of just above the carpentry: COST US AN EXTRA $2k THAT OUR ID DIDN’T REALLY PRE-EMPT US ABOUT!!!!! When he suggested it, we thought it was going to cost a few hundred dollars more at most. Sigh. One of those things we were too trusting about and didn’t clarify properly.

Next post will be on where we got our various fixtures/furniture from!

Related posts:

Our ID hunt
A Cozy Home Testimony
Furnishing #acozyhome: Taobao, JB, and everything else in between (coming soon!)

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