Our Renovation Journey: Issues Encountered Part 1

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



Quite a lot has happened over the last few weeks, and given how busy I am right now, it seems almost impossible to catch up on everything! However, since this has been the most problematic area of our house, so I wanted to go into more detail on this. I also hope that other 3-roomers who have the same layout, and are facing the same problem as I am, might be able to find something to take home from this post. So here goes nothing.

Our bathroom was initially a split one, with the WC on one side, and shower on the other side.


See floorplan above for a clearer picture.

Our first priority was to hack down the middle wall and combine both the toilets. However, the problems we faced seemed to pile on one after another.

  • The middle wall could not be hacked entirely because of the two pipes running down the middle. That meant there is a 1 ft deep wall protruding out from the center.
  • One of the corners in the allocated shower area is curved, so we can only have our rainshower on one side of the wall. This has restricted the spots where our sink could be located.
  • We want to have a sink inside the bathroom (previously the sink was located outside, like all old 3 room flat designs), and also a decently sized vanity table. But because of the lack of space, there can only be one spot for the sink.

Before starting, we had already set in place my non-negotiables – things that we (or rather mostly I, Owl. Haha) would not be willing to do without or compromise. These are:

  • A ‘combined’ bathroom with sink, shower and WC
  • A vanity table with storage space
  • A separate dry and wet area
  • A rainshower
  • Comfortable walking and standing space

Because of all these restrictions, the entire space is quite severely constricted. We spent (and are still spending) long, tiring hours planning and replanning. At one point, we even visited an interior designer friend of mine for (free :D) help. Being the awesome person and even awesomer ID that she is (I would have totally engaged her if I could afford it), she explored other options with us.

  • Shifting our vanity and sink into the bedroom, which we eventually decided not to do, because we just felt uncomfortable with having a wet area inside the bedroom. We would also have to expand the bedroom so that the sink can be fit in, which would cost more money.
  • Getting a semi-recessed sink to free up more space. But because I’ve never fancied semi-recessed sinks, I very quickly rejected this option. Same goes for sink without a vanity table. which is a non-negotiable.
  • Leaving the sink in the kitchen. Probably the most practical. After all, the sink was originally designed to be in the kitchen, and not the bathroom. But this would mean that our (master) bathroom would be without a sink. This was also very unsettling because we would have to make our way to the kitchen every morning to wash up, which would be too much of a hassle for us.
  • Shifting the sink to the front of the WC. But then the WC would be just…1-2 steps behind us *SCREAMS* Bear didn’t seem to find this a problem (and I can’t for the life of me, fathom why!), but it was totally a no-go for me. I don’t want to accidentally slip, fall backwards, and into the toilet bowl, HORKAY???
  • Shifting the sink to the left side of the pipes, under window 1. But this would mean that the rainshower would have to be in line with it, which isn’t possible because there of window 1 being there. We could plaster and straighten the rounded corner, but that would place the rainshower diagonally, and there’s no space for that either.
  • Shifting the sink right to the far top-left corner. A very very close viable option. But that would make it inaccessible and a long walk from the WC / bedroom. Imagine using the loo, then walking all the way to the end to wash your hands. Every single time (ok, to be honest, at home, I don’t wash my hands EVERY single time lah…but still…). Again, a hassle, so no.


Finally, after many days of discussion, the above is the bathroom layout that we settled on.

It’s as close to scale as possible (except for the vanity table, which is actually much smaller than this). Initially done in sketchup, it looked fine. But it was only after stepping into the bathroom did we realize how cramped everything would be.

Number one thing we decided to compromise on was the vanity table size. Any wider, and there would be no way to enter the shower area from the dry area. We whittled it down to a very small 2.5ft wide by 1.5ft deep one. 1.5ft (or appx 45cm) is as deep as we can go while still allowing walking space between the vanity and the middle wall. It’s a really tight squeeze, but that’s really the best that we can do. We also had to do without a sliding glass shower door, in order to have a wider entrance to the shower.

Even though it seems like a very simple solution, it took us a really long time to come to this conclusion. Being new to renovation, we didn’t want to miss out on a single option that we could explore. Of course there might have been something even better, but I’m willing to bet it would cost a whole lot more, and we aren’t willing to do so. And while it isn’t perfect, I’m proud to say that we had put in a huge ton of effort brainstorming and problem solving, when we could have haphazardly left it to our contractor, or compromise on our non-negotiables :)

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