Our Reno Journey: Problems Encountered

Table Of Contents

  1. Our Renovation Journey
  2. Introduction
  3. Selecting a Contractor
  4. The Mood Board
  5. List of Works Done
  6. Problems Encountered
  7. Hacking and Plastering
  8. Tiling
  9. Taobao Loots
  10. Kitchen Appliances
  11. Issues Encountered Part 1
  12. Issues Encountered Part 2
  13. Brick Walls
  14. Electrical Works
  15. The Finished Look + Final Review and Contacts



Even though our flat seems simple and straightforward, we encountered quite a few problematic areas pre-renovation. The bathroom, especially, was a huge, huge one! It took Bear and I (and sometimes contractor M) a few weeks of heated discussions to solve some of these problems.


1) Craftstone brick walls

Our number one requirement. I’ve always been attracted to that aged, decrepit look, and I feel that natural textures like brick and concrete are a good way to bring out that sense of rawness.

Problem: Cost of laying the bricks.

Solution: Initially, I planned to settle for a very small area (maybe 6-7ft) to save cost. But contractor M was able to offer us a good price. PLUS, we’re buying our bricks from Taobao, so that helps a lot. One box of bricks, covering 1 sqm, costs about $14 on Taobao. Over here in Singapore, it costs at least $90. In spite of the risk of cracked tiles from Taobao etc., I think the savings are huge and worthwhile in the end.

2) Black aluminium frame sliding door

Our base theme is still an industrial look, and that would be incomplete without black aluminium frames. I found this image on Qanvast (by a smashing interior design/architect team called 0932), and it was love at first sight, and I was determined to incorporate it into our interior deco.

Problem: Cost of building a sliding door of this size, as well as concerns that the door might be too heavy, because our kitchen entrance is almost 8ft wide (after hacking the right entrance wall).

Solution: Again, contractor M saved the day with his affordable price. We also decided to extend the entrance wall on the other side to reduce the width of the door, so that it won’t be too heavy.

3) Lack of drainage points

Because our kitchen isn’t very long, we’ll be placing our fridge, washer and dryer in a row, on the left side of the kitchen to free up tabletop space. We’ll also be shifting the wash basin into the toilet (currently, it’s located outside). And lastly, we’re going to have a shower area, and a dry area in the bathroom.


The washer requires a drainage point for water to be drained, but the only drainage point in the kitchen is located on the opposite side. The washbasin requires yet another drainage point. And lastly, the existing bathroom floor trap is located outside of the shower area, and not in the shower area itself. With so many drainage points needed, there would potentially be plenty of messy pipes running all over the place. It was a nightmare!

Solution: Contractor M suggested we hack up the entire kitchen and bathroom floor, and rework everything from scratch. This will enable us to create 3 additional drainage points that will be neatly concealed under the floor. No exposed piping. Big sigh of relief, phew!

4) Combining the 2 bathrooms into 1

We wanted a combined bathroom that has WC + dry area + shower area + sink, more for convenience than anything else. But one thing stood in our way – the dividing wall.

Problem: A few IDs warned us that it might not be approved.

Solution: Really, nothing but an approval from HDB which was approved eventually. Pure elation and joy!


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