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Alleviating your spouse’s concerns using SketchUp
Anyone with the time and a thirst for tinkering should try using SketchUp to design their HDB apartments. It helps in translating ideas into a visual representation. It also helps put one’s spouse at ease even before committing to a particular interior designer or contractor.
Cutting to the chase: GIF animations
Walls that were hacked, as well as walls that were re-erected.
Unintended but pleasant surprise stemming from the inflexibility of our small 3 room bto flat: Our huge double leaf wooden door right in the center of our flat.
Wifey and I were certain about the blue living room walls but were undecided about our bedroom wall colours.
Simple tips that go the extra mile
6 years wait for our BTO flat
After waiting for 6 years, we were finally notified to collect the keys to our 3 room bto flat.
While most of our peers had already purchased a theme and package from interior designers before collecting their keys, we waited till we were able to have a feel of the space within our 3 room bto.
Our living room
Credit goes to Ming Sing Construction
Good review of our reliable CASE TRUST ACCREDITED contractor
Self designing our home
My parents had renovated their home 6 years back and it was then that I learnt about the nature of the interior design industry. After having reviewed countless portfolios for inspiration, I designed my own bedroom using the very first generation of Samsung Galaxy Note:
My white TV will be mounted on the feature wall on the left. My bed (center) and sofa (right) were to be on the raised platform with LED lights along the side.
The eventual 3D mock up drawn by my ID then:
Reminder: the previous two images are from my experience 6 years ago. I had designed my own room in my parents’ flat.
This time round I was determined to draw the model of my own 3 room flat by myself even though I could have passed it to our contractor Ming Sing Construction to do it. Instead of reviewing our project manager’s portfolio for ideas, Wifey and I decided to design our home from scratch.
While Wifey was extremely worried that she could not visualise even while standing in our house itself, she left it to me to play around with SketchUp.
Therefore, it was a great arrangement that on one hand I could play around with a software new to me, on the other hand, I could allay Wifey’s concerns.
Physically taking measurements
Initially, I got down to drawing up the flat layout of our using the layout documents provided by HDB. However, the measurements on paper doesn’t tally, and the lines I drew do not connect to each other for some while overshooting for others.
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Ceiling pipe of new bto LEAKING! Oh no!
Compare the floor plan provided us by HDB:
With my 2D layout:
Wall hacking and shifting
From the 2D layout above, I raised the walls in my 3D model. We can see a corridor from the living room leading into the kitchen on the right and the guest room on the left. Walking straight ahead leads to the master bedroom.
Wifey and I knew that we wanted an open concept for our already tiny 3 room hdb flat and decisions were made to knock down every hackable wall:
Placement of doors for bedroom and kitchen
The initial idea was to hack the wall between the living room and guest bedroom. However, our stack was built such that that wall is a main beam that cannot be touched. As much as it was disappointing, Wifey and I can’t will it away. The only course of action was to hack away the bedroom walls and corridor walls, leaving behind a diagonal opening into the now enlarged bedroom:
An idea struck me. Wifey and I would build a door that is slanted relative to the rest of the house. Furthermore, it is situated right in the center of our apartment. A floor-to-ceiling double leaf bedroom door would be the perfect centerpiece of our home:
Our double leaf bedroom door.
We had initially planned for an arch door instead of a four-cornered one. This is because the top corners of a rectangle door will be blocked by the beams (photo immediately above). An arch door would have been entirely visible.
However, we settled for a rectangle door as one with an arch costs an additional $900.00. The additional amount was not justified by the potential returns in terms of design mileage. The wow factor could be wholly fulfilled by the height of the door alone. The arch was a peripheral nice to have.
Designer interior design vs regular interior design
I had thought up an alternative layout in case the angled bedroom door layout is not approved. All rooms would be adjacent at right angles to each other.
This GIF compares our designer house sporting the centerpiece angled bedroom door, with an otherwise normal layout if the original plan had not been approved. Frankly, if Wifey and I had interior designers opposite us at the table, none of them would have made a recommendation as this. Us on the receiving end would consider this too outlandish even if they had.
Blue living room walls
A dark coloured wall runs contrary to popular conventional white walls as white walls are perceived to make spaces look bigger, and they do. However, when dark colour walls are used properly, the attention shifts from the risk of diminutising the space to one of excitement.
With a carpet to be hung on the wall, we settled for a navy blue wall.
Bedroom wall colour
After deciding on a navy blue living room walls, we have to decide on the wall colours for the remaining room, which is our supersize bedroom comprising the two original bedrooms of our 3 room bto and the corridor that is now non-existent.
These are our options:
- same navy blue walls in both rooms
- our bedroom sports a different dark colour
- we paint our bedroom a light colour
The animation below illustrates that while we were certain of the dark blue living room, we were undecided for our bedroom walls. It is apparent however, as mentioned above, that rooms with light colour walls look bigger than rooms with dark colour walls.
We opted for a light colour bedroom wall. Green would set a narrow range of moods but light colour is akin to a blank white sheet of paper where all types of activities can occur. As surprising as it sounds, the light bedroom serves as a function to the navy blue living room in the sense that it offers us a respite from the sombre mood. The light wall colour in and of itself does not have intrinsic qualities such as in a Scandinavian or minimalist interior design.
Cornice, high skirting boards and wainscoting
I had wanted a neo-european house complete with cornice, high skirting boards and wainscoting.
It was expensive plus our house is too small.
One can easily google hdb flats that opted for Greek and Roman columns. However, to fit those into a tiny flat would be missing the point. Columns are about grandiose, not just the style.
So we could only work towards impressionistic translation.
Instead of high skirting boards, we used the full width of our floor tile which would result in a high tile skirting.
The construction proper
Ready to start work we prayed as our renovation will commence during the 7th month.
To be continued in page 2…
Next in page 2:
Wall hacking and tiling
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