Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

Well Hung…

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Kitchen
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Carpenters came in today to finish up the top row of kitchen cabinets, which turned out quite nicely.

Cabinets closed:

Cabinets opened:

They gave us the wrong cabinet fittings though. We asked for an “up-and-over” style hinge, but they provided a straightforward “flip up” type. The difference, as can be seen from the photo of the open cabinets, is that to reach the cabinets doors when they are wide open, one has to be really tall. I.e. I will be only one closing the cabinets in this house…

A hole has been cut into the top of the cabinets to fit the kitchen sink in as well. This is an under-the-counter sink with 90-degree corners. Probably a pain in the butt to clean, but we had to have it. Chalk up yet another win for aesthetics over practical functionality.

The stainless steel splashback (backsplash?) has been glued on. This we’re not too happy with. The metal sheet was cut by hand with a power tool, and the edges are not straight. We’ve requested that this be replaced with a proper machine cut piece.

And finally, this monstrosity. We’ve been having problems with the electrician and his alignment disability, and he didn’t fail to disappoint. Pretty much the only thing consistent about him is that he’ll install something crooked.

We’ve kicked up a fuss and the contractor has brought in another electrician to try and fix this mess. It doesn’t look like much can be done to save this, but we’re still crossing our fingers.


Ok…so we’re being a little melodramatic with the title of the post. There was a lot to be happy about today, with some significant things accomplished. But some of the end results left a lot to be desired, and made us wonder if we were the fussy ones, or if the standard of sub contractors in SG was simply just low.

Moving along with the photos…

Remember the Shera light from this post? It’s been replaced by this outdoor cage light. It looks a little crooked in this photo, but has since been somewhat straightened by the electrician after some nagging.

While we’re still at the entrance, here’s the nice straight wall the masonry guys built up, but the painters ruined with some over-generous last minute plastering. The once flat wall was quite literally bulging with plaster, and had to be hacked up again in order for the light switches to sit flush.

The intercom handset has finally been moved. This was a seemingly simple request (move handset 5 feet to the left) which has dragged out for the longest time. Contractor seeks MCST approval. MCST takes a few weeks, reverts and points us to original installer of intercom. Installer deflects our request to distributor of the intercom, who after some back and forth correspondence with contractor, eventually caves in and comes down. On top of fees to hack and move the point, we’re going to have to pay for “testing” of “systems”…

Having said that, it was worth the hassle. Shifting the intercom handset was the final piece of the puzzle in making that wall clean (we also relocated a light switch and buried the doorbell). At its new position, the intercom handset will be hidden from view behind the fridge.

The kitchen pendant lamps. These are getting quite common, I’ve seen them being used in quite a few of the houses featured in Home & Decor. They’re actually test lamps used by mechanics, and you can get them for as low as $11-$12 at the hardware shops around the Jalan Besar area. The electrician managed to mount the right-most lamp slightly lower than the left one, so that’s another thing which we’ll need to rectify soon.

Behind and to the right of the kitchen pendants is fresh cement. These are the final patches of wall which needed to be “made good”.

The track lighting for the living room. Turned out nicer than we expected, but unfortunately, needs rectification too. Seems our ceiling is not entirely level, so one of the tracks is unable to sit properly without warping. In the photos, you can see how the track nearest the kitchen has a kink near the middle.

Our original concern was that the tracks laid out this way would be too imposing (which is why we chose not to suspend the frame the way we originally intended). Curiously, the black tracks on a white ceiling seems to provide an optical illusion of a higher ceiling, so we’re really glad for that. It feels like looking at the underside of some space craft when you look up at the tracks, if that makes any sense at all.

Close up of the warped track with the kink in the middle. We’re looking at the possibility of hacking slightly under the track to balance things out. Another alternative might be a spacer or something that would let the track hang slightly. Done that way, minor adjustments could be made to make up for the unevenness in the ceiling.

The Problem And The Solution

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Kitchen
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The Problem: Ugly kitchen piping. Three things going on here. 1) White PVC drainage pipe. 2) Copper and stainless steel inlet pipes for the kitchen and bathroom water supply. 3) part of earth grounding cable which MCST does not allow us to move.

Quick flashback to the recent past to see how the previous owners dealt with these pipes. No issue here, because the ceiling was dropped really low. In our case, we’re hitting some roadblocks because we want to retain as much ceiling height as we can.

The Plan: Diagonal box-up. Here’s my rough mock up in MS Paint. Contractor has to deal with these lovely MS Paint “renderings” which I keep sending.

Before the actual box-up is installed, plumber tidies up the water supply pipe so that more of it can be hidden. Dotted red line shows the original location of the pipe.

Box-up installed and plastered over. We were really worried that this would look weird, but I think it turned out ok. A pleasant surprise.

The kitchen ceiling has also been installed. The drop was minimal, probably some five to six inches, so the kitchen area still feels nice and airy.

Another one of my masterpieces. I realized we have to add this to close up the gap under the beam. If not, our wardrobe doors will not be able to close fully.

Ming translates my drawing into reality. Sweet.

Next up, painting finally begins.

Welcome To The War Zone…

Posted: December 20, 2010 in Bathroom, Kitchen
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Today we cross into serious, no turning back territory. The key word here is rubble, and lots of it.

Kitchen floor tiles almost all out. The new cabinets will be suspended, so the existing cabinet base will have to be hacked out too.

The bathroom is now a graveyard of floor and wall tiles. Most people would find this the messiest stage of home renovations, but the old toilet tiles grossed us out so much we’re more than happy to bid them goodbye.

Interestingly, hacking the tiles has introduced a funky chemical smell into the house. Crossing fingers that it will go away with time.

The pile of old laminate planks have been removed, and in its place, the new bathroom tiles. We’re going with a 15 x 60 cm rectangular tile for both the floor and walls. We found this at Soon Bee Huat for under $3, and while not perfect, it’s a good approximation of the original $8 tile we first fell in love with at Rice Fields.

Reno Day 1: Kitchen

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Kitchen

The day we’re waiting for finally arrives. I’m on leave to attend Mr Cheng’s bachelor’s day out party, so I drop in for an early visit before I hit Sentosa.

There’s a definite buzz in the air. Our contractor is busy marking walls out, the electrician is taking his own notes and the demolition men are milling around.

The kitchen is a gut job. First to go out are the cabinets.

We’re also removing the diagonal brown wall on the left to open up the entry way.

Sounds straightforward but the mains distribution box is location on that wall, so we’re going to have to relocate a whole bunch of wires.

All the cabinetry is out by the time I return in the evening.

This is a strange little contraption I’ve not seen elsewhere. Gas heated water for the kitchen faucet. It’s taking up too much counter space, and we’re not going to use piped gas anyways, so it will go.

Not much but it’s a start. We’ll be getting rid of the floor tiles and screeding the flooring to match the living room’s. Doesn’t seem to make that much sense to demarcate such a small kitchen space.