Sunday, August 07, 2016

Renovation Part 4 - Moving In & My Review of RenoGuyz



Five months have passed since part 3 of the house renovation and now that i have stayed in the flat (and hosted quite a few gatherings) for a few months, i think it's about time for me to give an update coupled with the review of the contractor, RenoGuyz at the end!

Things should have been easier after the renovation but you are so wrong; the homeowner gets really busy after the renovation when the furniture comes in and you are on high gear for the move to make the place your home!

In my case, i got most of my furniture from taobao.com; while a courier company helped with the import and transport to my house, i had to assemble myself. Honestly, i was looking forward to the satisfaction of seeing the finished products i put together. I think it's a man thing.

There were a few big ticket items i got from taobao.com; an expandable dining table, a sofa bed, a television console and a study table.

Most were neatly packed by the manufacturers as i had contacted them individually to add in additional brackets / protection as the product(s) was for export to Singapore. There was the rare exception as the above shows.

If you enjoy assembling IKEA products with their given bolts and nuts, then buying from taobao might be for you. However, instructions are mainly in Chinese and even then, they are not as comprehensive as IKEA and that could be frustrating!

Take for example the TV console; there were two big blocks with a manual on how to fix them together and then, twenty over smaller pieces of wood with literally no information on how to put them together. I figured them out only after close to two hours!

TV Console - i found a similar set about 30 centimeters shorter in length in Singapore and it cost about S$700; i got this for less than S$400. Note the hole where a drawer should be; the face had fallen off. Key takeover - redress would be difficult as you couldn't get the manufacturer to come to Singapore just to fix it.

Expandable Dining Table - my most satisfactory big ticket item; don't be too quick to discount it as this can stretch till 2 meters and it has been most helpful whenever friends visit my house!

Study Table - I almost pulled out my hair assembling this as the quality was quite bad, instructions were unclear and i totally hated the colour as it was purplish white and i have asked for bright white.

Sofa Bed - this was the easiest as it came fully assembled except for the steel legs. If you prefer to have this convenience, look out for the Chinese characters ""整装". The one which requires assembling will indicated "组装".

Living near my parents means that the move to the new place doesn't require any professional movers! Having numerous pieces of luggage at home would benefit you as that's how i transport most of the items; from clothes, piggy banks, bottles of vodka to even my computer! Multiple trips are required though.

As of Chinese customs, a simple ritual is required to cleanse the new house before moving in and there's no one better than my superstitious mom to conduct it.

The one action that most Chinese would recall - roll the pineapple into the house so that the household can prosper! Sadly, my unit number had yet to strike the lottery.

Mom continuing with her ritual while her son stood stupidly at one corner, not knowing what else he can help with besides taking photographs of the mom. My only duty was to check the Chinese almanac beforehand to ensure that the day was favourable for house moving.

Don't ask me what has become of the pineapple - i believe my dad had slaughtered it to indulge on its sourish, sweet flesh since i don't have an altar in my new house.

Items bought and brought for the ritual - mine was really simplified as i noted there were others involving feng shui master, certain products that had to face the main door etc.

Cleaning continued after the ritual as the newly renovated house continued to be rather dusty and i absolutely couldn't stand the stinging smell of laminate glue used for carpentry! Thank god i had already purchased the Haier Robot Floor Cleaner!

I admit i salivate a lot when i sleep and it can be embarrassing whenever i sun my bolster outside the house. Hence, it's a need to get this waterproof bolster cover!

Two factors would determine if the house is ready; one, you can sleep in the house and secondly, you start to cook! I love my built in oven even though it was of a lower range.

First attempt of making something from scratch was a disaster though; the healthiest muffin (as claimed) was terrible-tasting and i was left with eleven pieces. Such a waste! 

The washing machine area - as the block i lived in is more than 30 years old, the rubbish chute is located inside the flat. I enjoy the convenience of throwing rubbish even when i am half naked even though some friends dislike it due to a higher chance of encountering the roaches. 

My quaint little black and white themed kitchen - it wasn't as big as the one in my parents' place and i regretted not extending the island space as i already found the area to be quite cramped when i do my cooking. Friends living in new flats / condominiums were however super envious as the space was just right for them! 

Living room - it's only been a few months but i am already thinking of new ideas for the house; a new set of blinds that should be much better looking than the curtains i currently have and maybe a new built in cabinet for the two dozen vodka bottles that are still in my parents' place! 

Well, to be continued i guess! 

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Review of RenoGuyz
Since i embarked on the blogging for my flat renovation, i have received comments and numerous emails asking me for the review of my contractor and i thought it's appropriate to come out with this piece a few months after moving in as after-completion service is still as important. 

Although i originally liaised with the boss, Nicholas, the main coordinator i worked with was actually Brayden. Now, Nic is famous in the renotalk forum for being a straight talker and that's something i value. Brayden is more diplomatic yet he wouldn't hesitate to give his two points when he feels that something is wrong; however, he can be a bit blur. 

Unlike horror stories told to me by friends who had gone through house renovations, mine was relatively mild and even when there were issues, they were quickly resolved. My major grouch was with doors; toilet doors and master bedroom door were of wrong colours compared to the catalogues! Fault was on their subcontractors (door manufacturers etc) and i can only say thank god the colours are still acceptable.

The door problem continued with my main gate which totally riled me up as the colour, brownish red, was totally unacceptable. My concept had always been black and white; hence, why would i choose a rusty looking red colour!? Eventually, they got the subcontractor to replace the gate even though i wasn't informed that it was to be re-sprayed, which means my house would be without a gate for a night and by that time, i had already moved in. 

Both Nic and Brayden were apologetic over the incidents and i can see they were trying their best to address the issues rather than coming out with dozens of excuses to save their asses. I don't expect perfection and from friends' reviews so far on their renovation journey, there's bound to be a few frustrating incidents. 

I held back my last payment as there were a few unresolved items involving paintwork and gaps in between tiles as i am also worried RenoGuyz would ignore me once i make full payment! Actually my fear is unfounded as they continue to entertain my questions, even today! 

Cost of Renovation: S$36,000 
(includes plumbing work and electrical). 

It never fails to solicit quotations from various sources and for discussion on your upcoming renovation, you may call Nicholas at 9690-7887 or Brayden at 8668-0899.

4 comments:

  1. Congrats on the completion of the renovation !!! The kitchen looks really good leh. Just to check, the renovation cost you stated don't include any of the furniture / kitchen cabinet? & this is a 3-rm unit right? What happened to the other room (common room) ?

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    Replies
    1. thanks, Philip! i thought it can be bigger with more cabinets!

      The renovation actually includes the kitchen cabinets as they are part of the carpentry; do keep in mind i didn't do anything to the toilets, except changing their door.

      Yes, it is a 3 room unit and the other common room was actually removed to make the living room bigger; literally a L-shaped living room. Its location would be where i placed the TV, the sofa bed and the TV console.

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    2. Ahhh, thanks for the explanation Cavin. If you don't mind me asking, would the cost be much lower if you din hack down the wall to merge the common room with the hall (or in any case, is it costly to hack down walls) ?

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    3. no worries and sorry for the late reply! it would be lower by about S$3000. Killer in my opinion is really on carpentry and tiling.

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