Home and Decor (Part 1)–Key Collection and Defects Check

This is the start of a few blog posts I am writing to share about our new place and the renovation journey.

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View of the free form pool – the start of some regular exercise; hopefully?

It had been a really long and tedious process from collection of keys to defects check, renovation and moving. Even though my real job revolves around property, it doesn’t make the process any easier.

In fact, perhaps knowledge brings more options and as such, more headache. Confused smile

Here’s sharing the first part of our learning experience from before key collection to defect checks (what worked and what didn’t) if that help anyone.

1) Write in to expedite key collection

We bought an under construction private condo. As the husband was heading off to be based overseas for 4 months, we needed the keys as soon as possible otherwise I will be left alone with the renovation and moving madness; not to mention two jumping monkeys at home. Not ideal.

Before the project reach the Temporary Occupation Permit (T.O.P) stage, do write in to the developer directly or via your lawyer (if you have an efficient one) to ask for the keys asap. If you have a urgent need to collect the keys, you can try writing in to explain your legitimate reasons. Be persistent here if your case is urgent. But they will still tell you it’s case-by-case basis of course.

If you are in no major rush, then just let nature take its course.

We made the mistake of being (too) patient and waited for the tardy email from our lawyer. In the end, we realised that it might not happen any time soon and thus wrote in to explain the reasons why we needed the keys asap. Thankfully, the developer considered our special circumstances and gave us some priority in our key collection.

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2) Join forums/facebook groups

And the next question might be, when will you know the T.O.P date? In speed-fast Singapore, developers are normally conservative with their official T.O.P dates on paper. For most projects in Singapore, you can expect their T.O.P dates to be 6 to 9 months or even 12 months earlier than the official published date. One of the most effective way to know will be to join any Facebook Groups (most common) or forums which are dedicated to your project or even HDB precincts. If there isn’t one, you can start one and get others to join in. Smile

Unity is power. Facebook Groups are useful avenues for sharing and collecting information too. However, I find it a double-edge sword at times too; some can be offensive with their words; some really nice to share tips and some just lurkers too. Trend carefully just like using the Internet; these people are going to be your neighbours.

3) Defect checks

Hooray! When you reached this stage, it means you got the keys! Do a happy dance, roll some pineapples (some used canned ones!), pop a champagne! Smile

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On the day of key collection: A happiest Xi En at the kids’ flying fox pool

Next up will be the detailed defect checks that we went through. I am thankful that our unit didn’t have major defects. Then again, I think it really depends on how meticulous and “yim jim” (picky) you want to be. My contractor said that he once saw 300 post-it-stickers on a bedroom floor. *gasp*

If you want to be very particular, you might like to engage a proper Defects Check Specialist to assist. From my understanding, they really check everything! They have their tools such as levelling rod and bring along their accumulated experience of worming out all defects. A quick check on Google will render you results of stand-alone defect checks companies to ID and contractors who offer such services too. From my research, prices range from $300 to $500 depending on size of unit.

We did not engage one. Reason –  a) I am somewhat trained to look for defects. Smile  b) On our first check, we didn’t pick up a lot of major defects. c) We are not too bothered with small defects.

Here’s an article from Renotalk.com which might come in useful on what to look out for.

From my own experience, these are my things-to-look-out-for if you plan to D.I.Y the defect checks process:

3 simple steps:

Be Systematic. Thorough. Let Go.

You can list everything you want but pursue the ones that you think you cannot live looking at everyday. Learning to let go of the minute things will render you an easier life. That’s my (husband’s) motto. Smile

Anyway, I digress. Here’s sharing 7 main categories which we looked at during our defects check:

7 main categories:

1) Keys

Check that all keys and access cards are in working order; don’t forget any wardrobe drawer keys or DB box key. Label everything if you have time. I find buying those plastic key rings with labelling tag useful for handling multiple keys.

2) Floors

Given that most developers try to maximise profits these days, sadly, there are cases of bad finishing or rushed work. Spend some time on your all-fours to check for cracks in marble floor, bad joints, scratches on wooden flooring and pay special attention to the joints just outside bathrooms and skirting as these are wet areas.

Check for uneven floors. If you have every time in the world, you can try knocking on each tile to check for hollow tiles.

Thankfully, our floorings turned out almost alright.

There were some scratches on the marble floor in the living/dining room and timber floors in the bedrooms. The defects team readily suggested to sand down the timber and polish them. And to polish the marble floor too. Maybe it became a run-of-the-mill solution for them. I am not complaining. Smile

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Can you see all the masking tapes on the marble floor? It’s kind of a waste of time as the defects team simply acknowledged and polished the entire floor.

*Sanding of timber floor creates tons of dust. Don’t move anything in during this time and tap up the wardrobes to prevent sand dust from entering. Or just be prepared to wipe down everything after they are down; which is what we did.

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Stain marks on the timber bedroom floors.

3) Walls

The most common defect is crack lines. Personally I feel that crack lines are tough to fix; unless you knock down the whole wall and redo it. They can do cosmetic patch-and-paint over, but it is the fundamentals that might be wrong. I understood that you will need a good paint job of proper sealant and a few coats of paint in order to cover crack lines.

Nonetheless, no harm getting the defects team to fix them up and mend any chipped off corners.

*Defect teams tend to be based in the project for over a year. If you need some small amount of paint or the likes, you can look for the workers to “borrow” some. Our painter asked us to “borrow” some outdoor balcony paint to touch up the ceiling after our ceiling fan was installed. In this way, you don’t need to incur cost just to buy a separate paint for a small area.

4) Ceilings

The most important thing I will look for are signs of water seepage. If you notice any water or yellow patches, these are major defects. Otherwise, most ceilings shouldn’t come with too many defects.

5) Windows

As mentioned in the Renotalk article, try opening and closing all windows to their maximum angles. Check for any loose tracks and no visible gaps between windows frame and wall.

Poor joint works are a common complain as well. We are fortunately that our windows and balcony have no major worries.

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No problem with the windows; except maybe it be angled a little more so we can get more of the pool view. Open-mouthed smile

6) Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) fittings

This cover all power points, switches, taps, aircon, sanitary fittings and any appliances provided by the developer.

Common findings are choked pipes due to construction debris, dripping taps, bad joints around the switches, low water pressure and rusty or missing items.

We had low water pressure which was easily resolved by fine tuning the water pressure near the concealed water heater area. And a scratched kitchen hob knob which the defect team promptly found a replacement for me.

*Developer will normally supply electricity and water for a day or 2 after you collect the keys. Thereafter, remember to apply for water and electricity so you can continue more checks if needed.

7) Any other items

Anything affixed to the walls such as kitchen cabinets, built-in wardrobes, shoe cabinets, balcony and etc. Check for warped laminates or badly secured cabinets.

We had a piece of uneven surface on a kitchen shelf which I discovered only when we were cleaning up after the renovation. The defects team did not question anything and replaced a piece of new shelf.

We also found scratches on the common bathroom glass shower door and the kitchen yard window. The former, they polished away the long scratch line and the latter, they replaced the entire piece.

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Bad joint works between ledge and glass.

One last word on defects check – be nice to the defects team. Smile Human relationships are a two way traffic. I found a collaborative relationship more helpful than an angst one. If they cannot solve it at their level, they will ask you to write in to the developer directly. We closed our eyes on some defects because firstly we were running short on time and secondly, we overlooked small issues which didn’t bother us.

Even if you have hired a professional defects check specialist and they might come up with 200 to 300 “defects”; it is up to you if you want to pursue everything or not. For us, we found that we breathe better when we let go of some items and moved on. Smile

We were really grateful that the defect teams finished up with majority of the rectification in 2 weeks and our renovation was completed in 1.5 months. All just in time before the husband left for his long trip! The real headache was the packing of all our accumulated belongings for the last 8 years! It is MADNESS really. How can 5 persons (2 of us with 2 kids and my mum) have so many things! Those who went through packing with young kids will know that this stage is hard work. We ended up throwing, giving away, selling at least half of our belongings as we knew we needed to squeeze into a much smaller place.

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This is just a fraction of all the boxes we packed! In total we have about 100 boxes and more loose items which we ferried in our car. #movingmaddness

All that done, I told myself I am not moving again till the kids are at the stage of ditching their toys…..

Next up, I will be sharing more on the various parts of our small humble place (still work in progress!). Till then, have a good week ahead! Smile

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King Koil Warehouse Sale 2016!!

As we are in the midst of renovating and moving house, we are also shopping for good deals for accessories. And just nicely, King Koil is having their annual WAREHOUSE SALE now!

We were kindly invited to have a preview of their jaw-dropping-price-slashing SALE today. And I am glad we went!

This sale is unlike some sales which say they are having a sale only to mark up their usual prices and give a discount for the impression that they are having a sale. You know what I mean?

King Koil Warehouse Sale is an annual event (takes place on the same day every year so I heard). And die-hard fans will not fail to drop in to snatch buy beddings, linens and etc at heavily discounted prices.

Just how cheap can it get? Let me show you a preview:

The warehouse is located at 13 Sungei Kadut Way; at an industrial area. If you are driving, note that there is no parking in the building but pay-as-you-park car lots are available along the roads.

There are free shuttle buses plying from Yew Tee MRT Station from 9am to 830pm.

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As you walk into the building, you will see miscellaneous household items located on the left:

There are items such a La Gourmet thermal bottles, drying racks and etc.

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On the right, there are some sofa furniture. These are the lower end ones. The higher priced ones are in the aircon building.

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Skip all the above if you are coming for the beddings and linens. Open-mouthed smile Head towards the cashier counters and you will see the beddings and linens.

This is the “war zone”. As it was raining when we reached and it is a working day, the crowd was still thin. But come tomorrow and weekend, I have seen photos of maddening crowd. So wear your light “war gear” and “chiong” through these rows:

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Before that, grab one of these shopping bags. Trust me, they will come in useful. Smile

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How good are the prices? These good:

There are bedding sheets and sets as cheap as $10!

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If you are here for the Marvel Beddings Collection; you will be happy to know that it is Buy 4 Get 1 Free! And prices start from $15 per fitted sheet set:

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One of King Koil best selling products is their Protect-A-Bed (Tencel) Mattress Pad. These are waterproof bed covers/protectors which are especially useful if you are potty-training your young ones or if you have older folks at home who need some help. They are meant to be waterproof and yet “breathable” so it won’t be warm when you sleep on these protectors. Prices are discounted now because they are clearing stocks too. Sizes are limited in supply; so grab these first. Open-mouthed smile

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If you need new pillows and bolsters for the new year, this is a good time to stock up. There are various types to fit everyone’s comfort and wallets.

I am a fan of 100% Down Alternative pillows. They are Micro-gel and made in Korea. I recall the retail price in shops outside is about $70. These are more expensive than your $10 to $20 pillows but they are soooooooo comfortable. If you like hotel-style pillows, I recommend these! You can use them for at least 1 to 2 years? So I guessed, it’s quite worth to pay $0.06 cents per day to sleep on a good pillow. Smile

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Many others on sale; to fit different budgets and preferences:

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On the same section, there are curtains, towels and blankets for sale too. We picked out 2 summer blankets for the boys as they are outgrowing their baby-sized ones.

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If I have a baby or a daughter, I would have bought these really cute ones:

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If you are keen in better quality beddings, head into the aircon lobby and go up to Level 5. You will see OTO massage chairs (which are for sale too) and then a room with Dorma (brand) beddings. This is the little treasure room for 500 to 800 thread counts beddings. If you are like me; who prefers higher thread counts bed sheets, this will be your hunting room. Known as “Tencel” (天丝) material, it is like “heaven silk”. I really like King Koil’s fitted sheets because of one key reason: All their King Sizes can fit 17” mattress! I have a thick 17” King size (King Koil!) Mattress and it is not easy to find 17” depth bed sheets. There were still nice designs when we were there but the sales lady said you got to be fast as this is stock clearance so the prettier designs and sizes run out quick.

Tip: get there early if you can so you can the “first cut” of the stocks for the day!

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And most importantly, the price? It is $100 for Duvet Cover Set regardless of sizes. And $50 for fitted sheets! You definitely CANNOT get this outside! For me, this is a die-die-must-buy deal! For 700 to 800 thread counts at $100, it is so worth it!

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One more good stuff to share in this room. Check out the higher thread count Dorma Child Set Collections here too. There are 550 thread counts Cotton Sateen bed sheets here especially designed with cutesy designs for young children. All the fitted sheets set are priced from $25 each!!

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Their premium made-in Denmark Foss Flakes pillows are available at discounted prices too:

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When you are done here, follow the crowd and walk a little further down the aisle to reach the furniture and mattresses room. I learnt that King Koil actually does a lot of sofa but mostly export them. You can try out the sofa and coffee tables here to see if anything catches your eye.

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If you are here to buy their mattresses, you can find a good range here. Prices are marked down by at least 20% to 30% less than those in major department stores as this is a “warehouse sale”?!

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Lastly, if you still have time to roam around, look out for the external partners which King Koil is working with this year:

Nippon Paint (5th floor)

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OTO (massage chairs) 5th floor)

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Europace (1st floor)

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If you need a drink or small snacks, King Koil has thoughtfully placed some near the cashier on the first floor. Help yourself. Smile

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King Koil’s very sought-after annual sale is open to the public on 2nd to 5th Sept 2016 from 9am to 9pm.

Once again shuttle buses are available 9am to 830pm from Yew Tee MRT. Head down to change all your beddings for the new year! Smile

For updates, do check out King Koil Facebook page.

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Our “loot”!: Smile Smile

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NB: We were invited for the preview sale and gifted with vouchers for the purpose of this invite. But this shopaholic blogger went a little overboard and dug further into her own pocket so she can sleep on “heaven silk”. Enough said, check out the quality and sale for yourself. Smile

The Three Little Pigs By The Little Company

We were in the midst of a hectic schedule of renovating, packing and moving home. But I knew The Three Little Pigs (By The Little Company / SRT ) were showing this season and I just cannot miss it.

Because it is one of the first few bedtime stories that Eizac enjoyed and remembered.

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I thought it is interesting which are the first fairytale stories parents picked to read to their young toddlers.

For me, it is Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs!

Why? Because they are adage-old stories which I can still make sense while I am dozing off!😛

And so, at 3 years old, Eizac had this background understanding that there are 3 little pigs and 1 big bad wolf. And it is a BIG BAD WOLF!

We were kindly invited to a weekday morning show. And there were shores of preschool kids in the theatre. Clearly, parents/teachers approve this form of art. Smile

And it definitely did not disappoint. I think the key reason is because both adults and children are entertained.

It isn’t just a kids’ production though it is meant to cater to toddlers as young as 3 years old. It has injected enough humour to humour the adults too.

And the end result is always to bring across a positive message; in this case, The Three Little Pigs teaches little ones how success can be achieved through hard work and perseverance. And there are “rewards” for reading your books too. Smile

Well, of course and that “evil” (Big Bad Wolf) will never prevail.

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I always enjoyed SRT’s The Little Company’s productions. The Three Little Pigs are part of a trilogy musicals for children written by The Laurence Olivier Award winning writing duo, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The other two musicals which have also been translated into Mandarin plays are The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Read my past review here.

Not sure who the duo are? No worries, someone closer to home, well-known ex-mandarin DJ, Danny Yeo, is actively involved in all of The Little Company’s Mandarin children musical productions. Possibly, that’s where all the “local flavours” came about. Open-mouthed smile

Hopefully, without giving too much away, let me share my version of the synopsis of The Three Little Pigs.

<< The Three Little Pigs are affectionally known as “Cha”, “Siu” and “Bao”.  If any of them looked familiar, you might have seen “Bao” in Three Billy Goats Gruff and “Cha” was in some TV commercials such as Ah Ben Nescafe and WaiFai Starhub. Ah Ha! That’s why.

Sadly, Daddy Pig was gobbled up by the Big Bad Wolf and that left their devoted single-parent Mum who decided that her piglets need to move out because her house is a “real PIG STY”!

After a wefie shot, they departed to build their own pig sty as the “world is prefect for a pig”. Eventually, as we all knew the ending, the brick house stood the huffs puffs of the BIG BAD WOLF. And that piglet who built the brick house is none other than “Bao” who is always reading a book. So it goes to show “it helps to have your snout stuck in a book”. >>

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We cannot forget the “baddie” who made the piglets look even more adorable. The BIG BAD WOLF. Here, he does look a little scary when he first took the stage. Later, he was presented as a misunderstood Big Bad Wolf. With his croons and howls, he did made a few new friends in the crowd! I overheard that the he became some of the children’s favourite character in the play.

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And for the adults, I think we had good laughs at the convenience trade person (watch carefully to see who she is. Smile). The local humour and some Singlish jokes (not too much) made it highly palatable for the local crowd. The catchy music, colourful stage and interactive actors complete the experience. It is a good production which I will highly recommend especially for 3 to 12 years old. Eizac left asking to return for more! Smile

Eizac and Mummy

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With our dates for the morning. Smile

Don’t miss it as this season runs till 16th Sep 2016. Last I checked, the tickets are running out fast!

P.S: one small tip to share. The theatre is not a huge one. So any seats will be a good seat unless of course you must be in the first row. Open-mouthed smile

Details:

Title of Play: The Three Little Pigs

Dates: 4th Aug to 16th Sep 2016

Location: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. 20 Merbau Road (near Robertson Quay)

Booking: SISTIC

Various discounts are available. Do check out SISTIC site for more information and hope you will enjoy the production as much as us! Smile

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N.B: We were kindly invited for a media review. No further compensation were received. All opinions remained writer’s own. All images except those with the normal folks are copyrights of SRT.