Hi everyone! This is a very special week for me. I’ve just launched a preview of my online shop here (where I have curated home products), and to top it, my dear friend Jillian finally had the time to write about her epic renovation story! 😀

So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce my guest writer for this week – Jillian. Jillian is my friend from school, also known as supermum extraordinaire, being a full-time lawyer AND mother of 2.  Jillian did an epic overhaul of her 45 year old family home and ever since I stepped foot in her new home, I have been really looking forward to share her renovation experience here, as I’m sure we have a lot to learn from her.

For this blog post, Jillian will mainly be writing about her kitchen renovation, as it was one of the most major transformation. Enjoy!

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Background

Maybe the title is a little misleading (but I’m sure I caught your attention there!). My parents acquired this double storey corner terrace house in SS2 back in the early 1990s after we moved back from Singapore. The land title dates back to 1971, and I am not certain when the housing development in SS2 came up, but it roughly gives you an idea how old the area is, and the houses that are built upon it.

I was hard pressed to find original photographs of the house when we first moved into this house (those were the days of film camera!), but by the time we moved in the 1990s, it was probably slightly renovated. Here is a photo of my adjacent neighbour’s house, which is quite representative of how the original developments were like.

Before Renovation How the House Looks Like

Front facade of my neighbour’s house which is what the original looked like

Circa 1995 my parents did a major overhaul of the house, so it has undergone one round of ‘modernisation’ (which I shall refer to as the “1995 Renovations”). In 1995 Renovations, my parents:-

(i) Upstairs: extended upstairs front portion (where the balcony used to be) to widen the upstairs bedrooms to look like this:-

After first round renovation how the house looks like

Front façade after 1995 Renovations

(ii) Upstairs: they remodelled upstairs from 3 bedrooms (2 bath) to 4 bedrooms (2 bath)

(iii) Downstairs: The backyard area used to be an open air area for clothes-washing, my parents had enclosed and grilled this area (but still open air) to become a washing cum wet kitchen area (as shown later).

(iv) Downstairs: they remodelled the entire lower level area to an ‘open-concept’ kitchen, with a L-shaped study room.-shaped study room.

Kitchen before home makeover

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen before home renovation

 

 

 

 

Our renovation story

Fast forward to 2014, two years after I got married and had my first child, my parents decided to move into a new property, and for sentimental reasons we were a little hesitant to sell away the house to strangers, having lived in it for about 25 years!

My husband and I bought over the house and decided to make further improvements to it.

Despite the 1995 Renovations, taking on the remodelling in 2014 was no small feat. This was a complete overhaul of the house (as it was almost 10 years old since the last renovations) as we had planned on living in this house for the long run. The basic changes we had to do included replacing the entire roof (including putting in a new steel beams), all electrical wiring and all the plumbing. Some of the structural, design changes made were as follows:-

(i) Upstairs: We changed the bay windows and levelled the front portion,     putting in French windows and a ‘metal feature’.

(ii) Upstairs: We changed the bedrooms back to 3 bedrooms but now with 3 baths

(iii) Downstairs: the open air backyard area is totally transformed into a fully functional wet-kitchen

(iv) Entire lower-level area is retained as ‘open-concept’ but now as a ‘dry kitchen’ with island.

(v) The L-shaped study room turned into a square play room for the kids, and a smaller ‘maids room’.

Planning stage

As this was a huge project and took a total of about 12 months to complete, I had a couple of handy tools and tips used throughout. We did not engage an interior designer, so everything was thought out in our heads and put down on paper, then communicated to the contractors!

Sweet home 3D

This amazing software allowed me to do a virtual remodelling of the house even prior to the renovations. Website: http://www.sweethome3d.com/. This software helped a lot in illustrating and demonstrating to the contractors’ what we had in mind.

The software takes some getting used to, but overall it is pretty user friendly.

DIY floor plan mock up using SweetHome 3D for home makeover

Floor plan mock up of the downstairs using SweetHome 3D

Samsung Galaxy Note sketch tool

It was also incredibly helpful to have my then Samsung Galaxy Note 2 , where I sketched and illustrated my ideas or instructions by rough drawings using the stylus pen and sent them to the contractors by Whatsapp (usually in the middle of the night!)

before-after

Good old fashioned sketching

Some things are still best done via pen and paper. Like these down-light/lighting/fan plans.

Sketch of power points and power sockets for home makeover

Sketch of downstairs are done by hand, black indicated the fans, red were the lighting points

Sketch with carpenter

Sketches done by my carpenter. My notes to him in red

As mentioned above, the renovations were major and took a whole year. If I were to write about the whole process- I could write a book (!) but I have decided to focus on the part of the home which underwent major transformation. Stay tuned for Part 2.

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I’m just in awe of the detailed planning and sketching that Jillian did, down to the 3D sketches she made. I thought only professional IDs are able to use that kind of software! Wait till you see how her sketches become reality in Part 2!

ps. Do check out my online shop, we have curated the best lights, wall decor and furniture in town for you.