Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Changing the chair fabric

Dining set  consisting of 1 table and 4 chair set was purchased back in 2009.

To cut the long story short, after 3 years of wear and tear, the "leather" started to disintegrate.

We contacted several contractors and found it difficult even to get a quotation. It was only until we found Cheong and Mun on renotalk before they sent someone to take a look and offered a price on the spot.

In the discussion, we found the following facts, posted here for your benefit:
1. The original material was made of PU synthetic leather ( aka polyurethane)
2. Accoding to the saleman, a more durable material would be PVC synthetic leather ( aka polyvinyl chloride) which should last for at least 5 years if it is properly cleaned with water and soft soap. It is also the most water-proof amoungst the 3.
3. The most comfy, but at nearly double the price is cow skin leather. It can last at least 5 years provided it does not get wet and will last even longer if regularly maintained with leather cream and oil.

See the difference here and there

1. With 2 yound children, we expect frequent fluid spillage.
2. Leather cream and maintanence would take a lot of quality time.
3. Probably more worthwhile to choose PVC now and if there is no desire to change the furniture, in 5 years time, to replace with cow leather. This is a time where we optimistically expect lesser "waterfall: incidents after the children are more grown up.

Will post an update when the skin change is done.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

DIY- Home Repair: Cabinet knob

It has been 2 years and 9 months since we bought these cabinest for the kids from a neighbourhood furniture shop, S and C. Unfortunately the knob came loose a while back. Notice the swing door on the right in the photo below. Since the kids were too short to reach for the knob, we procastinated fixing it.

Recently, this issue re-surfaced after my wife reminded me that the kids are now old enough to access the knob. Took out my trusty DIY box and tried to force-screw the know tight. To cut the long story short, the ceramic knob broke.

We called the furniture shop to ask if we can purchase 1 knob. The boss was really helpful and tried to ask the factory for a free knob replacement. Unfortunately, it was not available. Instead, he receommended that we can get it direct from a shop in 5068 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, #01-1465. Cannot remember the name off the top of my head now.

There was a large variety of DIY parts available from taps, window hinges, pvc pipes etc. The first thing that came to my mind was "so this is were the renovation contractors buy their parts". Unfortunately, we were not able to find the exact design. My wife chose a ceramic knob with the closest design and paid S1.50 for it. We had nothing to complain about the price for 1 piece.

The fixing was simple and with a screw driver.

It was only after we replaced the broken knob before we realised for a uniform look, it was probably better to replace the other 4. Driving back to the industrial park a second time was too much of a hassle. But that is a consideration for you. Hope this blog helps!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Glass Door and kitchen-living window

Hi everyone, we wanted to share our feedback on the choice of a full-glass swing door for the kitchen-living room door.

Firstly, the kitchen and dinning area is connected by a door. Initially we were following the concept of a design that has a similar longish layout like ours here. It was using a wood frame-glass panel bi fold door. As the design developed, after we decided to introduce a "window" between the kitchen and living room (so we can keep an eye on the kids in the living room while cooking), the decision for the door naturally followed. see our kitchen-dining area concept below

kitchen-dining area concept with glass door

An elevation view of the "window" and glass door. If you have noticed, we put some decals and clear stickers as a few of our first time visitors did not realise the glass door and bumped into it. Using a sliding door would have compromised into our storage space to the sliding pocket and would block the "window". Another option was to use bi-fold doors but we did not like the rails especially in a heavy cooking oil environment.

The glass is made of a full piece of tempered glass, meaning that it has been strengthened by heat treatment so it is harder to break. In any case it is broken, it will shatter into harmless tiny pieces of glass. We have asked specifically for the edges of the glass door to be chamfered to remove any sharp corners.

window and glass door with decals and stickers

The glass door can open in and outwards. This allowed for some flexibility in usage.

glass door swing outwards

glass door swing inwards
Overall we are quite happy with the choice. Specific points as follows:

Plus points
1. effective keeps out kitchen oil, probably like any other systems
2. fits into our design and the adjacent window
3. in-out swing was useful when serving hot food
4. allows light sharing between the living room and kitchen which gets the evening and morning sun respectively.
5. no rails or sliding pocket

Minus points and what we could have done better
1. However, a word of caution is to train babies and toddlers not to plan in the door swing zone. The glass door edge and floor can form a nasty pinch on the little toes, which has happened twice. Besides reinforcing that this it a NO-PLAY zone, we would probaby looking into attaching a soft rubber for the lower door edge to reduce the pinching effect.

2. The glass door swing mechanism is a PH and is still working fine. It was only after it was installed before we researched that Dorma was the best brand. I would insist on a Dorma if I knew earlier.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Does the Refrigerator need a Plinth?

Do you need to create a plinth for the refrigerator? That was one of the "minor" points my ID was trying to play down and convince me to avoid the plinth. His argument was that without the plinth, it was easier to roll out the fridge to clean up the dust behind.

As the end-user, my concern was to address the case when the kitchen floor gets flooded from the washing machine malfunction, it would damage the fridge's electrical circuits. Read about front load washing machines having this risk here. "But that is a 1:1000 chance of happening", he argued back.  I figured he was trying to find the easy way out, as without the plinth, the tiler will have a much easier time. Click here to read the reasoning. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I won the debate, which I now am glad having doing so. To protect the washing machine from the flood, we have also placed the rubber blocks to raise it above the floor.

Fridge on a plinth, adjacent to stacked drier on Washing machine which is on blocks.
Washing Machine on blocks
After moving for 2 and a half years, the "1:1000" incident happened... the kitchen floor was flooded when the water discharge tube from the washing machine was accidentally pulled out of the house outlet pipe.

The fridge on the plinth and washing machine on blocks were safe from the flooding. The only thing to handle was cleaning up the flood. Snapped some photos while moving the washing machine and drier out to clean up the wet floor. All these effort to prevent permanent damage to the fridge and washing machine.... I'd say it is worth it.

1. Shifted out the drier and washing machine
2.  Create a temporary extension plinth to roll out the fridge (using newspapers and plywood shelf board)
Note the concrete tiled plinth on the left. Fridge has a white wheel and black adjustable leg. 

3. Roll out the fridge to access the kitchen outlet.

 4. Clean up the kitchen outlet
Kitchen water outlet was located under the fridge. All the flood water was discharged through this outlet. Also note the back of the fridge (on the right) has a lot of electrical works, vulnerable to flooding.

In conclusion, while making design decisions for your renovation, do consider some worst case situations, especially if they can cause some form of permanent damage to your assets.

Also see kitchen layout

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitchen Design Concepts and Specifics

My wife and I spent a fair amount of time  deciding the approach to the kitchen design and layout. After weeks of discussion, of which some are less than cordial... here is what we agreed on.

1. Who has the Ultimate Say? My wife, being the primary user will have the ultimate say in the choice of layout for funationality and material/colour choice for outlook. For the new couples working on the renovation for your new home, it can be a lot of tension while making decisions along the way. My personal experience is always good to give and take.

2. Do we believe in FengShui? Yes! From my limited memory, our FS master dictated the Stove direction, refrigator facing direction, and insisting on avoiding clashes between the "hot" and "wet" elements are a few key parts. "Hot" elements are like stove and oven. "Wet" elements are prepresented by toilet door, sink and washing machine. We did some research work to check back. But if you want to take into consideration your GUA number, you may consider engaging a FengShui Master to help you early in the design stage. These FS guidelines will form part of the controlling parameters to guide your decision making.

3. Do we actually cook or bake regularly? Yes and quite a fair bit! Thus, to isolate the stir-fry and deep frying fumes from spreading to the living room, we decided to keep the kitchen "closed" aka non-open concept. From the above,
a. The choice of stove and oven was clearly important.
b. To reduce cleaning, we decided to choose a high performance hood.
c. We chose to introduce a glass door to isolate the kitchen from the living room while cooking. A glass door was chosen so we could keep an eye on our children in the living room.
d. Tabletop space needed to be increase for baking and food processing. These extra tabletop doubles up as a breakfast table.

4. What kind of theme do we want? We both wanted a neutral theme, but it has to look spacious. Thus we adopted a "white kitchen" concept. There are other themes like cottage or 2-tones. Some of our research references are here. Looking at photos helped us visualize and decide what we wanted. Communication with the ID is also easier with photos.

5. What is the Storage plan? After visualising how our movement would be like while cooking or baking, the wall mounted cabinets, tabletop cabinets where added around the stove, ovens, sink and refrigators. For more details, most of our ideas care from here. My wife wanted the following:
a. Sliding shelves for stir-fry sause beside the stove
b. Commonly used staff to be at middle level for ease of access
c. Staff that is seldom used a should be a at a low level, so the user will not need to squat or bend over too often.
d. Staff that is required once in a bluemoon is stored at the highest level. A stool may be required for access.

A glimpse of the completed kitchen layout as follows:

Also see
Glass Door and kitchen-living window
Does the Refrigerator need a Plinth?
Pre-renovation Preparation

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wet Floor Toilet Design

Its been 2 years since our renovation has been completed. If you have been following on our choice of "Improved Toilet Layout", we chose to have a common standing area for the sink and bath zones. Thus our toilet does not have a Dry or Wet floor area.

The floor is always wet. Unfortunately, we have also not picked a floor tile that was sufficiently rough. As the result, the floor is slightly slippery when wet. "The solution was simple", I thought. Just get a floor mat!

My first mat choice was a perforated foam mat, supposedly made in Germany. It seemed to have a lot of friction when I tried it at the hardware shop, which obviously did not have a wet floor. But after the first trial, where I simulated a "slip" under wet conditions, it proved to be still slippery. No Go.

My second attempt was a mat made from hard plastic strips. it worked! Paid about S$40 from Homefix for a standard size.

Why it worked: I supposed the reduced contact area from the black strips allowed water to trickle through. In addition, the reduced contact area created a larger friction force against the black strips and the wet toilet floor. To verify this, a control test was done by pushing the mat on the wet floor with my hands, it slipped. I tried the "slip", that is with my body weight on the mat, which passed with flying colours. You may be interested to know that for the foam mat, the results were the exact opposite. There you go Physic fans!

After the toilet wash, we would stand it up in the corner of the toilet to allow the water to dry off completely to prevent floor staining. From the following photos, you can see the black strips that provides good friction against the wet floor.

Also see Improved Toilet Layout- Costing of Renovation
Also see Improved Toilet Layout- Feedback
Also see Improved Toilet Layout