Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How We Renovated Our Home

Finally, the stress of renovating, packing, moving and unpacking is about over. There is still some stuff to put away and picture frames to put up. The garden is also still work in progress. We had to really clear the garden from neglected plants, old pot stands, broken pots and other unwanted "stuff" left by the building contractors because there were so many mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are still around but less. My poor kids were bitten left, right and center.

Well, here are some before and after photos.



We made the gate bigger so it would be easier for the 2nd car to park in the porch. Added an awning to keep out the sun. Changed the porch tiles. Changed the roof tiles too.

We took out the wall tiles. Painted the walls yellow. Gave away the old cupboards and table. Put in a kitchen cabinet.

I didn't take a before photo for this part of the kitchen. Anyway, we put in cabinet doors underneath the counter top. Before, the cubicles were all open. Had to change the counter-top for the right side too because we changed the sink. That's why the right side is black and the left side is the old orange tiles.

When my mother renovated the house many, many years ago, she made this laundry room. The washing machine was here and she put bars near the ceiling so she could hang the clothes indoors.

I turned the laundry room into a wet kitchen. I put the washing machine outside. We cemented an area at the back and put an awning. So laundry is now outside.

My mom told me the workers were quite fascinated with this magnetic knife rack I bought from IKEA.


We made the window smaller because that area was always hot in the afternoon. We changed the window pane to black color. Keeps the hot sun out and also gives us some privacy. We also changed the front door. It used to be a big, glass sliding door. Now we don't need curtains. And I don't need to bother washing any. Muaahahaha.
The floor went through some grinding so it nice and shiny now. We also changed the wall colors from blue to yellow. That really brightens up the house a bit.
The only thing we didn't take into consideration was the natural lighting in the house. Eliminating the big glass door and minimizing the window has made the inside of the house quite dark. DH was so focused on keeping the house cool and keeping the sun out, he didn't give much thought that we actually need some light to come in :) So, our electricity bill may be up a little because we have to turn on the lights during the daytime.


We put in floor tiles. Changed the window panes to dark color. Painted the walls a peachy color. It is not easy to select wall colors. The color may look nice on a chart but you don't really know how it is going to turn out. When I was choosing what colors to use, the painter and my mom kept suggesting that I use "bright" colors. Well, in the end the room looks quite ok BUT I think the kids would prefer a different color.
As you can see, no curtains here either. I don't know, should I put in some curtains?



Major changes here. Changed the wall and floor tiles. Changed the toilet too. Took out the bathtub. Installed a shower door and made that place a shower area. Cleared out all the clutter my mom had in the bathroom.

Guess where most of my trophies ended up? Yeah, literally with the fish. There are 2 reasons for that: 1) Many of the trophies were damaged through wear and tear over the years. 2) We want to keep the inside of the house clutter free (as much as possible).
I thought I had to throw them away but DH had a better idea on how to recycle them.
So, if you want to see my golf achievements, we'll need to go see the fish.
p.s.: The ones where I took first place are NOT with the fish. I'm not that crazy.

The rabbits have a new home too. When my mom said she asked the contractor to build a rabbit hut, I didn't imagine it would be this big. Some people have suggested I put naughty children there too. Hehehehe.

Well, that's a peek to the renovation done on my house. Here are some lessons learned:
  • Even after getting a quotation from the contractor, be ready to spend more. Maybe even much more, especially if it is an old house. Renovating a new house is probably not as troublesome.
  • Get your house treated for termites regularly.
  • I got better service at an obscure tile shop than I did at a big name, widely advertised shop. The big shop had a lot of variety no doubt but that made it more confusing for me. I didn't know which were floor tiles or wall tiles and for which part of the house they were for. The lady boss at the obscure shop helped me make my choices. She would say, "let's start with the kitchen wall" and then show me my choices. After that she would guide me to choose the floor tiles to match the wall. I got the task done fairly quickly and organized.
  • Don't just think about making the house beautiful. It has got to be functional, practical and energy saving too. For example, DH chose white color for the exterior walls so it would reflect heat and keep the house cool.
  • Drainage is very important. Make sure the drains are not clogged with debris from the renovation.
  • Bathroom accessories are very expensive.
  • Make sure you keep track of how much you are paying the contractor. Ask for a receipt after each payment or just jot it down on paper and have them sign it.


  1. Wow..amazing make-over,bravo! :)

  2. Have the kids decorate for the Holiday's using Expo markers. Have them draw on the windows and mirrors in your home to decorate! It keeps them occupied and you don't have to decorate that much! Get free shipping on their site as well.

  3. Wow! Just in time for the Christmas celebration. Do you have hause warming on Chritmas? It looked totally new now.

  4. wow wow ...this is very very nice and great transformation...

  5. I really enjoyed this informative blog post. I would expect same in next post.


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