Archive for category Decorations
Warning: This is a long post
” Ms Chan, please wear nicer when we meet up this Sunday” that’s what my contractor told me on the phone. Yes, we have agreed to award the work to this contractor and I call him Mr. Tan. Its a long process when it comes to selecting which contractor we should go for and what we fear most is irresponsible contractor that may run away with our money with incomplete work and or contractor that cut corners & poor workmanship. Once we signed the agreement with the contractor the Fear Factor episode starts. I can tell you my palm just sweat and my fingers tremble when I signed the agreement.
Mr. Tan just laugh when I told him “I scare you lari”.
Even though he assure us he is credible and I got his contact from the Lowyat Forum, we will still be cautious and worry until the day when- he deliver our renovated house the way we wanted it to be.
I am hopeful that everything will go smoothly as planned.
How and why we select Mr Tan all sums up to our own criterias but the major ones was Reasonable price. Although some people advise that we shouldn’t look too much into price however we thought even if we pay higher price, contractor can still deliver crappy work if they wanted higher margin. So it is a risk we are willing to take. Before continue further, I’ll share what I learn in the process of negotiation and selection.
First of all, waste time!
Waste all the time you have and not rush into anything. Due to we are already staying in our own home we have no rush into moving therefore we took a while longer to select the contractor and we prolonged the selection process. If you rush into anything probably you risk making hasty decision and you don’t want that because it comes with hefty price tag! It may not happen to everyone but its better to give time to yourself and think through what you really want and what outcome you are seeking for.
Read Read Read -Forum
Before I start calling contractors, I comb through as much topics and questions posted in Forum Lowyat on Renovation topic. I didn’t look into anything in particular but I read and understand what other home owner have to say, their experience on products, dealing with contractors, with authorities, developer, vendor –just anything.
Ask Friends, Homeowners
Don’t be shy to ask your friend questions, especially friends who have done renovation before as they have so much to share too. Ask anything and don’t be afraid to keep asking, that’s what friends are for right? to help each other. I am lucky as Hubby have an engineer friend and he help us draw the house plan and advise us on so many things, plumbing, electrical, wet works he is practically our building consultant.
Ask the Contractor
Other than Forum, and asking friends, ask the contractors! They are the one who do the work and they have to make sure you understand how things are done the right way. Don’t just listen to one contractor, keep asking the same questions to different contractor, the more you ask the better you become.
Narrow your search
Get quotations as many as you can, get referrals from friends or even in forum. Talk to the contractors, the more you ask and talk to them the more ideas they can share with you. Then wait for their quotations, some take days, some take weeks and some didn’t even bother to do so.
Don’t fret if some of the contractors did not responded, probably they foresee the margin is low and are too preoccupied with jobs on hand. Narrow down contractors, by comparing quotes and you may find that some can charge higher than others by 50% or more.
For me due to my frickle-mindedness and ever changing scope, it takes the contractor a couple more trips to check the site I think about 4-5 times at least if not more and sending the revised quotations. Those who are willing to come and check the site again and again are contractors who are willing to take the job, narrow that down.
Call anytime of the day – Investigate
Call the contractor at different time of the day; try to listen to the background noise or even the contractor voice. This is because every contractor will tell you they are good at their job and responsible and have jobs waiting for them. To find out if its true, call them at 9am, 10am, 3pm and you can guess if they just woke up from sleep or you may hear background sound of on-going renovation work carried out, or he is not at home, or not at shopping centre.
Also, look for contractor who always return your call, or even reply to your sms and answer all your question even if you call them 10 times a day and test them by asking same question if they will answer you the differently. Just act dumb. I think as a women, the contractor talk to women nicer and show more patience than talking to male customers.
Choosing your Contractors
How do you know if the quotes you get are reasonable? Read and research from the forum, discuss it with other homeowners, compare the quotes ~ and you’ll come out with the figure. You will likely be able to gage whether your contractor is overcharging you or his price is reasonable.
Negotiation, Selection and Finalise
Ask for progress photos of every work done, pouring cement, beams, brickworks -everything in the process. You can’t be at the site everyday to manage the work and you need a proof of the works done. If the contractor can’t accommodate or get offended to this request, then perhaps you need reconsider whether you should proceed to awarding the job to him.
Get the drawing, the layout of where the new pipes and plumbing is laid. This is very important as you may not know when you are going to hack somewhere in the house to repair burst pipe or whatever. So with the drawing and photos, your plumber knows exactly where to hack and not blindly hacking everywhere.
This applies to wiring work as well. Get the drawings!
Negotiate with the contractor payment terms you are comfortable with but remember to distribute the risk. For example, I am comfortable to give 10% down payment before the job starts because I knew that the first payment are used for drawings by architect, submissions etc followed by 15% during start work for buying materials and the rest of the payment based on completion of work.
Most of the time contractors are not willing if you are holding their payment after delivery of work, however in order to make sure everything works, please negotiate between 5-10% as security including a prolonged period for warranty. Some gives 1 month but try to get between 2-3 months or even more before final payment. Protect yourself !
Project Manager and Risk Management
A lot of homeowners suggest that we should not let the contractor to do wet works, electrical, plaster ceiling etc everything packaged. I believe that is true however how many of us are free to coordinate all these when we are working? It takes a lot of effort and time to manage it and for us we appoint the contractor to be our project manager. Negotiate with them that you will appoint your own electrician, pay the electrician on your own ~ however the contractor has to manage the electrician work. If things go wrong it is the contractor responsibility. The blame game goes to the contractor and he will have to answer to you. Same goes to Auto gate, alarm, plaster ceiling and etc. If the contractor is not willing as it is a risk to them, be prepared to give them minimal fees say MYR100 and they will want to earn that extra bucks from you.
Habit of Follow Up
Another reason why I chosed Mr. Tan is he does follow up and he goes the extra miles. Before I decide to award and finalise the scope and I am still changing minds but I did tell him I want front extension on the 1st floor, he took pictures view the site and ask the architect/draugthman to check with the MBPJ the next day if what I want can be done following the allowable building regulations. He even send me a 3D drawing as well. Thats impressive. He also continuously sms and do follow up, as he explained that if we are not interested at least he can have a ‘close the file’. Something like that and it proofs that he is really interested. We thought perhaps Mr. Tan has not job on hand, thats where we do some investigation and we choose to have faith and not have ill thoughts of a man who done nothing to us.
Finalise Scope of Work
At last, finalise your scope. Don’t make too much major changes to it after negotiation because it is likely the contractor will charge you high price for that. Walk through the site again and repeat what both of you and the contractor understand from the scope of work, material used get as detail as possible. Get all questions answered.
Ask for Discount
Tell them your comfortable price! Be frank with them. Its good to start from 15-20% discount and try to reach the middle ground where both you and the contractor comfortable with the price. You don’t want the contractor to loose money or give you low priority to the work, however the price you pay to them should be reasonable and the contractor can earn some too from his hard work. Contractors need to survive too.
Work as a Team
Communicate, and be open and respectful. Show respect to your contractor and trust them in their professionalism so your objective is achieve. Build a long term relationship, and let the contractor know that as well. Who knows you may upgrade to another home in near future, buying more properties and probably renovating the current home in several more phases? So talk to the contractor and be friendly, make friends and they will not let you take the hard path in renovating your dream homes.
[This post is what I learned and may not work for others, I hope it helps you in your contractor selection process and I may revise from time to time if theres a need ]
I buy things that I did not plan to buy and here I bought this Bodum chambord bouilloire because its over 50% discount and the colour so pretty!!
When I got home, I showed the thermos jug to Hubby and he ask me why I bought it. Quickly make out an excuse for my spending.
“For the NEW House of course?!!” So nice to see!!
When we travel to Sydney or Japan or London, we can use this to keep hot coffee in the car!!
I am really – really – really Hinting here, that I want a holiday but I know my fate. No holiday – not so soon
To what extend am I going to do to the 9dao? The first house we bought together as a Husband and Wife but the husband literally has not much say yet. .. not at the moment, probably not so soon or ever!!
It appeared that from simple make over turn out to be a major renovation with extension and more extension.
Eager to look a 3D sketch by the designer?
This is not quite close to what I had in mind. Have to show more designs I found from the magazines and internet so that the designer understand my language. Its best to show the picture than just talking you know and missing out on the design detail makes me wonder if he did ever listen to me or not
First of all, the staircase the last 2 steps on the ground floor is not how I wanted it and the handle is wood colour. Really?? Really? It looks old fa-a-s-h-i-o-n lah. The staircase handrail must be spray painted white and I’ll insist on that.
This is how I wanted the staircase to look like.
Meanwhile, I doesnt like glass table, rectangular table is fine but I have not decided to get round or rectangular table. I think probably get round table, more harmonious. The ceiling lights look ugly btw. no no no. The renovation has not even started and here I am started with the ramblings hahahha
Also I emailed to Unity Kitchen, highly recommended by Forum Lowyat for service and quality, therefore I sent them a sketch of my floor plan and describe what I want and here’s the 3D design they come up with. Pretty amazing! Still I must say I need them to come over to take measurement and talk to them when the house almost ready. Right now its good to know price and design so I can do a proper budget.
The island looks not quite right, and the small wash basin I’ll have another design later to show it to them how I want it.
I have not really decided yet, where to put the oven and will be also asking UK to design a wine shelf for me.
I like the concept like this, white with a mix of wood colour. What do you think?
And I love love love free standing kitchen shelf like Anna Olson’s kitchen. I wish I can have a wood top Island, however seems everybody asking me not to! Since I am not going to put the wash basin at the Island probably I should still consider woodtop?
Its either wood top or granite/ marble or quartz stone, that hubby and I have to agree on the natural stone when we visit the stone warehouse in near future, if we can find something that we fall in love with. Every piece of natural stone is different so can’t say much now.
That’s all for now and finally, we have decided to award the project this month to the contractor that never stop follow up on quotations and has been very patient with me as I call him quite often to ask many many questions. Best of all, his price is really reasonable to begin with and I manage to squeeze some discount out of him too. YeyTweet
I need a break. I really do. A spa treatment would be really nice!!
Over the past weekends like I said, I’ve been talking to contractors and going to the our new house – lets call it my 9Dao for now. This is not the first house I bought, but its the first one we have major renovation to do. I’ll give my house a new name once we have renovated it to our likings.
Last weekend we did the same thing, going to our 9Dao several times and this time we getting some input from Hubby’s friend, one of them is an ID guy and another one a civil engineer who has renovated 2 house of his own and learnt a great deal from the renovation experiences. The more we talk to people the more ideas we got and now they even asking us whether we ever thought or utilising the high ceiling of the airwell space and make it like a Loft.
Hubby wasn’t so interested in the idea, but having a space like that will add value to the home we bought. Our 9Dao will be able to fetch higher asking price compare to our neighbours if one day we decide to sell it and move to bigger homes.
How long do you intend to stay in the house you bought? 5 years or 10 years? Right now I am just looking at 5 – 10 years if that’s possible.
Is that too short?
But I’ll like to stick to my little thoughts here, to DREAM BIG!!
Its never easy to have a dream house when you have unlimited ideas but working on very limited budget. To decide on a house to buy is never easy, but renovating a house is even harder. It involves a lot of cash and one wrong decision can set us back thousands of Ringgit which we cannot afford to make.
What we want in our mind does not mean what the contractor understand. I’ve been so stressed out lately that I felt like my blood pressure has shoot up. Talking to the contractor for the 2nd time today to change the renovation layout after cracking my heads for many nights. When the contractor telling me my bathroom cannot be bigger than what I wanted, I was about to faint. No.. I have not engaged him yet, he is a very detailed contractor and I am not complaining. It hurts when there are so many limitations due to the house main structure.
There are still many things to consider, especially renovation based on feng shui principles. I can’t say I am a feng shui narcissist but I do pay 800MYR and booked the Feng Shui master 2 months in advance . What I need from the master was to guide us on what directions we should avoid and which direction Hubby and I should sleep or where to place the stove, the door etc.
That’s my intention. Really!!
However everything has changed since the consultation. I believe its for the better and the layout of the house will be improved tremendously. It means - giving me more ideas to work on especially when there’s a chance we will be extending the Master bedroom to be even larger than its already are. A study room, or a powder room, or even larger closet???? I can’t think straight now.
I need a scrap book to put the ideas down and do my space planning. My minds gone wild!
P/S: Should I put a mini fridge under the staircase? How about custom made wine shelf?Tweet
I love chopping block like this. Have been searching for one for quite a long time, didn’t get those sold at Ikea as the price is really expensive and the quality is just not as good as I would have preferred.
Saw this at ‘I forgot the Kitchen shop name’ and its sold for RM75!! Its expensive but compare to the one sold at Ikea RM95 this one was way better. Didn’t hesitate to buy this at all and went home happily.
So happy with the purchase and pass the bill to hubby, implied “you want your wife to cook? buy her nice chopping block”
Today’s and up until this moment when I am writing this, I am the Current Highest Bidder for the Signature Kitchen that worth RM28000, a complete modern kitchen, with Kitchen Island and Marble top and inclusive of all appliances. I did not put a photo of the Kitchen here of course, I dont want any of you out-bid me eventhough its for Charity!!
I went to Perfect Livin on Thursday and the first thing I did was to register for the lucky draw. Aiyoh not lucky enough cannot get the 50 inch Panasonic Plasma TV!! @$#%#& . Nevermind lah, I still got 4 pcs of small Tupperware doorgift as consolation, for the first 500 visitors.
Spend 3-4 hours alone at Hall 1 & 2 each and found a good deal for a Bosch Oven. I so Kiasu I quickly put a deposit for it. Never thought I’ll find any Bosch appliances at such a good bargain or I simply choose to believe what the Bosch principal said
Was so hungry, we went to the Hall of Elegance to chill out. Its already late noon, so we had dessert and hot coffee.
Today (Sat) we went to the exhibition again to lock a few more deals. We never look at soft furnishing yet as those will be the least of our interest not until the renovation is completed. Again, we went to the Hall of Elegance to chill out throught-out the day, we were there again from 10AM till 8.30PM same on Thursday. Really crazy, like we work there like dat but we enjoy it nevertheless with good company and beer on draught! (P/S: Thank you Thank you)
One of the most important thing to renovate the house was to replace the flooring. We compare prices & quality from
- Lumbermart they have this promotion for Walnut Wood Flooring @ RM7.90/sf without installation (hmmph!!!)
- Innovar Laminated Wood Flooring Basiq with the price of RM5.50/sf incl installation
- Floor Depot with quite a variety of selection for 50% off without installation. The lowest price it can go is RM8 less 50% and installation @ RM1.90.
- Havana Flooring, never heard of them but they offer price like RM3.90/sf Laminated Flooring including installation.
We decided on RV Woods instead, they specialises in 100% Timber Flooring and we put a deposit for the cheapest material of Merbau Wood’s @ RM7.50 including installation but most likely we will upgrade if we didn’t burst our reno budget. *Pray Hard*
RV Woods let us take back the wood sample, so does Feruni Ceramics I got plenty of the small cut out square ceramic which I will use it as coaster wahahahha. I also learn alot on Aluminium Doors, there’s 2 reputable brand : Reliance & Hong Lee but more prefer to Hong Lee, I really learn alot from the exhibition and Hong Lee’s workmanship and material are better compare to Reliance. Good to know!! Price is higher too!! Ah well.. still have to stick to the budget, I wonder how much the home renovation going to cost us, kinda worried too
That’s all for now, did any of you went to Perfect Livin this weekend?
Oh also, if you have any good contractor to recommend me, that would be great!!
Hi everyone, its Friday!
Oh my my my it seems so fast time has passed .. it is the end of the weekday in the 1st quarter of the year. Time to bid farewell to March and Hello April.
I can’t wait for April really.. there will be so many things going on, getting the keys of my ‘new’ home, start paying for the house installment and embark in the new money spending project of home renovations and decorations. Its exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
Ever since we concluded on our house purchase, I have great interest in looking for house designs website and also magazines to give me inspiration on how to decorate and renovate my ‘new’ home.
Here I found a few beautiful home ideas that I like. What’s your style in home decorating? I think I am leaning on styles like rustic chic hehehe
Absolutely love the chalk wall. Good for leaving ‘love notes’ to my hubby
There’s a split level between dining and living hall, I’m cracking my head on how to renovate it
Love the white furnitures! Everything white!
Simplistic also can lah.
I think there’s plenty of space at my kitchen, but I prefer cozy kitchen and not too many cabinets. Hanging wall cabinets is a No -No for my house. I’m aiming for Kitchen like this.
I’d be keeping most of my dry food stuff etc in room downstair which will be converted to be a pantry and laundry room *fingers crossed*
I want Kitchen Island too!!!
Absolutely love louvre doors! Will it cost a bomb?
Dog is part of the decoration too.
How can anyone say no to dog???!!!!!
Wish me luck and joyful renovation journey okay!
I foresee that I’ll blog on this topic for months hahahaha probably longer than my NZ post.