Japandi HDB Resale Reno – Weeks 12 & 13

Japandi HDB Resale Reno – Weeks 12 & 13

Whoa just a few more days before renovation is officially over and my apartment gets officially returned to me! Let’s revisit what’s happened these last few weeks! First, I want to talk about..


Yes, really because it is interesting! Hear me out.

When I started on this renovation, I made the decision to retain only 2 items in this apartment (everything else got hacked away..$$$), and they are 2 bedroom doors. Why? Because they looked like they are still in good condition and they fit into the Japandi look that I am going for.

The problem came about when I wanted to lock the door of a bedroom because I needed to store some delivered items (recall that the renovation was supposed to have ended 2 weeks ago). As it turns out:

  • I did not receive any keys to the bedroom doors! When I called the previous owner of the apartment, seems that he had the doors changed when he moved in a decade ago. But when he finally tried to use the keys given by his contractor several years later, those keys did not work!
  • I thought that changing the door knob and locks to the bedroom doors was a trivial matter. But the layout of these are so odd that after going to several places in search of a drop-in replacement, only a single shop had one and that cost over $200 for each door!

So after mulling over it, I decided to do away with these final 2 items that I had planned to keep from the previous owner…

A door in its natural glory

I went with a solid core bedroom door as opposed to a hollow core one. It is slightly more expensive than the latter, but is also feels heftier and blocks out sound much much better. Most importantly, uninvited guests won’t be able to do this!

My unit is not at Camp Crystal Lake..but better be safe than sorry!

This is what happens when you use hollow core doors: absolutely no protection from the uninvited!

Dark beauty

What my solid core door looks like immediately after staining and lacquering. Hopefully it gets brighter over the next few days?

Main door has also finally been changed to a fire-rated laminated door but..

How do you keep this door closed? You can’t

Notice a problem? No locks nor handles! ID thought that since I would be installing a digital lock, it would be better not to install manual locks in case the drilled holes don’t quite match. Very thoughtful, but actually I am planning to use a digital lock that requires the standard manual locks and knobs to be installed first.

Issue rectified the very next day, but I did not sleep well that night worrying about the main door that could not be closed.

Bathroom doors were also installed. These are of the Slide-and-Swing type, and often referred to by the name of the company that first produced such doors here i.e. PD Doors.

The Slide before the Swing


I must say that once the carpentry team came in, they worked like clockwork installing the woodworks and laminates piece by piece – even over a Saturday, and as late as 6pm!

Remember the awkward store room constricting the entrance that was hacked away as soon as I was able to? Here is a picture of the foundations of storage cabinets built at that spot.

Note: The doors pictured here are the old ones

Storage cabinets ready! It has about as much usable storage space as the store room that it replaced, but leaves a much more spacious and airy entrance to the apartment

The master bedroom got an L-shaped wardrobe with a look that is lighter than the walnut of the bedframe, but nonetheless fits tonally with the colour scheme of the bathroom door, flooring and fan too. The L shape does pose an unanticipated issue however…which I will share in the near future

View of my kitchen’s island peninsula and kitchen cabinets being pieced together. Yes, I have been corrected: it is a peninsula and not an island, since you can only get past it via one route.

The almost-completed look. Still waiting for the solid surface tabletop to be fabricated and installed on the kitchen cabinets.

I did a double take on the countertop of the peninsula and realised what was wrong: the grains were installed vertically rather than horizontally!

View of the same tabletop from the side. Yes these grains are meant to be installed horizontally.

But I can accept it because (1) I did not specify how the laminates were to be installed (2) I can understand why the installers did it this way: so that there is no visual “clash” with the vertical grains on the kitchen cabinets. So vertical grains on countertop + vertical grains on kitchen cabinet = better flow. All is good

One tip: The edges of laminated carpentry will almost always be black because the base of laminate sheets are usually black. You only won’t see this on cabinet doors and the like because these will have ABS trimmings.

Black edges stick out like a sore thumb when you use light coloured laminates on your carpentry…especially white! Thankfully there is a solution to this: carpentry paint.  Here’s what the results are like…

The wooden floating shelves and wooden frame by my peninsula looking amazing because..no more black edges!

Not the best photo because it was taken at night, but the white laminates no longer have a visible black edge! Amazing!

Kitchen cabinet looking great now that…there are no more black edges!

So the tip here is..if not done automatically for you, ask for carpentry paint to be applied to the edges of your light-coloured laminated carpentry!

Since we are at the kitchen cabinet, I wanted to share the height of my top-floor ceiling..

Me feeling short for once

I am considered quite tall and have never had difficulties reaching for the top shelves. But it looks like I have to start relying on a step stool from now on.

Settees in the study room

Settees in the living room

Also installed storage settees for the study room and living room. The settee seat/cover at the living room is only a single piece unlike the one at the study room; the latter’s is longer and would have been harder to lift if it were a single piece too.

I could have simply gone for more by-the-window storage cabinets, but going with settees instead means I can also have more seats for guests or (most of the time) for myself to laze on. Fewer chairs/stools contribute to a more airy and spacious feeling apartment!


The apartment was last painted several weeks ago, so some additional areas need paintwork desperately.

Remember how the shallow niche below these windows were boxed up? The box up now looks like it is a seamless part of the wall thanks to quality paint work.

Wires bursting through the nook!

Similarly for the boxed up corner of my living room. All ready to hold my TV, soundbar and host of devices!

Whew that was a long update. My next update will probably be post-renovation, showing what it looks like with (almost) all my furniture in place.

Mysterious crates containing…???

In place as in out of the boxes and actually placed where they ought to be


Till then!