Category Archives: Advice

Interior Design DIY Electrical Work Process

This is part of the Interior Design DIY series of Wet Work, more post on other areas of work will be coming soon. If you haven’t read my previous starting post of Interior Design DIY Hacking Work Process I suggest that you go through it. Before you begin, try to go through HDB important information page.

Detail

Please note what I wrote here only apply to Singapore renovation project. Another country may not be the same because of different property and contractor services.

Common list of works

  1. Hacking Work
  2. Wet Work
  3. Electrical Work
  4. Plumbing Work
  5. Ceiling Work
  6. Painting Work
  7. Carpentry Work
  8. Door & Window Work

Assuming this is a resale HDB flat, here is how you can plan to complete the project.

Common list of electrical work to consider

Kitchen:

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Oven
  3. Induction Cooker
  4. Cooker Hood
  5. Washing Machine

Livingroom:

  1. Entertainment Corner
  2. Sofa Side
  3. Sideboard

Bedroom:

  1. Bed Side
  2. Dresser
  3. Study Desk

Once you have all your requirements listed and start the daily routine simulation with your family members to find out any other power point location is required. This step is important to be organized.

Common mistake

The common mistake made here is where one family member decided on the power point location to find out later that other members have their specific needs which will be too late.

Some examples

Kitchen requirement

The Kitchen location since most power point is located at the cabinet side, the person who is using the Kitchen might need a side table adjacent to the other side of the wall for preparation area. It will be a good practice to have a power point install there if required to use some tools like the Food Processor.

Entertainment requirement

In this area, I must say it has grown from a simple power point for TV back in the days to a now, data-driven multimedia box. For an audio lover, the requirement is even more extensive. One would ask why pay so much attention to this area? The answer is simple. Cable. Ever been in such a situation where you find the noodling spaghetti cable to be unsightly? A properly planning in power point location is the way to manage the cables and proper configure your power consumption.

Bedroom requirement

Its all about the habit of getting into the bed or starting out on a new day journey to conquer the world. Decide where you want to iron your cloth. Some people like to do it by the window where they can enjoy the view and take in natural light or pull out the ironing board from the wardrobe to be tuck away without a trace after use. Do you read before sleep? Need charging station on both sides of the bedside table? Surely you need a dresser to get ready for that party. I would strongly recommend installing power point on both sides of the bed. I know most people practice using the ceiling light source in the bedroom, if you try out some of those beautiful table lamps, you are in for a treat.

Things to look out

You might want to set the height of the power point measurement from the floor up to your personal requirement. Many misunderstanding starts here where the standard truly is not a standard for everybody.

If you want to use designer dimmer or switch, do buy it before the Electrical Work start. Switch design is also part of interior design, an element that is either work with the rest of the house or fight against it. Find out what are the options you can get locally or order from overseas. Do take note of dimmer and LED lights. Buy them from the same shop and test it beforehand. It is a sensitive combination that does not always work with each other. Consult your electrician first before purchasing your desire light switch.

Do take note of dimmer and LED lights. Buy them from the same shop and test it beforehand. It is a sensitive combination that does not always work with each other.

Some of the popular choices here

  1. Legrand
  2. Schneider Electric
  3. Avant
  4. MK

Why pay more?

The common question about why buy switches that cost so much more than what the regular DIY shop has to offer, is that, in my personal view switches are like the desktop mouse you use, how they feel in your hand reflect how you feel interact with the computer. Good switches are gentle to the hears and soft to the touch. I’ll not go any further, I’m beginning to sound like a switch salesman. After visiting the showroom you will get the idea.

Interior Design lighting

The importance of a good light source design for interior use is what many people don’t understand or they think is not important. I had seen people spend more on furniture and renovation works around the whole house and they just casually choose some lighting to have it flood the space.

I afraid the subject of lighting is a lot to cover here, however, I’ll list out some lighting products for you to consider before you decide on how many power point you need on your ceiling.

Light fitting for your DIY electrical work

  1. Recessed light – Hidden flat look, commonly used in the workspace like Study or Kitchen, some designs allow you to fit in other kinds of light reflector to direct light source that generates ambience. To have control over there the light cast.
  2. Surface mount light – If you do not have a drop down false ceiling, Surface Mount is what you will install to have the light hidden away from direct eye contact.
  3. Track light – This kind of light fitting commonly used in casting light onto wall hang artwork. After laying down the track on the ceiling, it gives the user the freedom to adjust to any angle desired.
  4. Wall mount light – This can be commonly seen above the bedside table. It does have a kind of elegance look. Most of them do cast indirect light that reflects off the wall, creating a kind of cosy ambience.
  5. Pendant light – It is a kind of decor light, easily the sexiest light you can find and some designer lighting can burn a big hole in your bank account. Consider it to be one of the design element for your interior. Commonly use at Dining or Living-room area.

Common Mistakes

If you engage an electrician, to ensure you and the contractor fully understood your intent design, a Reflected Ceiling Floorplan is required before the discussion of work. That goes without saying a concept of ceiling design must established before electrical work start. By doing so, the electrician can understand where to install the power point.

The use of switches

At this stage, you must relate how you want to control the lights and electrical equipment in your house. For example, when you enter the Foyer, you want to turn on the light there or together with the whole Living Room lights, by the time you reach the sofa, you want to comfortably switch off the Foyer light right beside where you sit (2 ways switch).

Another commonly seen lighting control is the installation of floodlighting and ambience lighting coexist in the same place and can be turned on alternately.

Watch out workmanship

Ensure to inform the electrician to run tubes for the electrical wires above the ceiling. If they refuse, find another contractor who will do it. This is the part where a lot of electricians will shortcut the installation to save time. It is important to have a safe installation and not spiderweb the wires across each other.

Conclusion

Electrical Work can be complicated, but if you must do it yourself in planning, spend a little time to get it right in the first place can save you a lot of regrettable situation later on.

Interior Design DIY Wet Work Process

This is part of the Interior Design DIY series of Wet Work, more post on other areas of work will be coming soon. If you haven’t read my previous post of Hacking Work I suggest that you go through it. Before you begin, try to go through HDB important information page.

Detail

Please note what I wrote here only apply to Singapore renovation project. Another country may not be the same because of different property and contractor services.

Common list of works

  1. Hacking Work
  2. Wet Work
  3. Electrical Work
  4. Plumbing Work
  5. Ceiling Work
  6. Painting Work
  7. Carpentry Work
  8. Door & Window Work

The reward for interior design DIY

Many time when you let ID firm handle laying tiles in your interior, you are limited to a few companies where they are obliged to use them. If you are to do it yourself by engaging outside contractor, you are open to a lot of supplier in Singapore market. And if you are not going for the fancy tiles, you can also save big with plain tiles design with wet work contractor directly.

After hacking

This is the next stage will concern homeowner after hacking done to the house. You can start to schedule the wet work contactor after hacking. Their job is to come put a layer of cement and sand on to the damaged wall, not to perfection, but to even up the surface to receive new tiles later. This should take one day, naturally, the next day should start laying of tiles.

The details

Do go through the detail with the contractor. Where should be the shower curb? For shower screen, do note down the detail and design and relate the dimension to the contractor of where the glass will be sitting on the curb. They will create the niche for the glass to side in perfectly when it arrived. See if you need kitchen cabinet base for the cabinet design and base for washing machine and fridge.

In my personal opinion, you are better off not to erect base for the fridge and washing machine. You are free to change any size of fridge and easy cleaning of whats under it. With a base, you will have a hard time moving it up and down.

Things to check

The common problem with laying tiles after hacking is that some contractor uses less sand material on the back of the tiles which will result in the tiles to drop off the wall after a few years. These can be check by a gentle knock on the surface after lay will reveal hollow sound compare to other rock-solid backing tiles.

Uneven surface

This is where a lot of people feel like it’s not up to their standard when come to laying of tiles.  If you choose to lay homogeneous tiles, you can never find the perfect even surface. Instead, look for sharp edges of tiles protruding out of the floor that might hurt your foot when not careful. If you are using marble, after laying of the tiles, you will need to contact the marble polisher contractor to complete the work.

Conclusion on interior design DIY wet work

To round it off, wet work for HDB is easy, it’s not like condo’s wet work with a lot of concealing water pipe, outlet pipe and overflow pipe outlet, complete with storage water heater require to complete before the laying of tiles. Find a good contractor and you will be on the right path. If you don’t have contractor, when you go purchase the tiles, ask those tiles supplier for contacts.

 

Interior Design DIY Hacking Process

This is part of the Interior Design DIY series of Hacking Work, more post on other areas of work will be coming soon. Before you begin, try to go through HDB important information page.

Detail

Please note what I wrote here only apply to Singapore renovation project. Another country may not be the same because of different property and contractor services.

My experience

In my practice, I had come across many home owner’s who had tried to renovation their home without having to engage a designer or coordinator. The interior design DIY experience can be unpleasant if owners have no prior knowledge of coordination work, also to consider other reasons to DIY is where rupture of relationship between owner and designer due to price disagreement or distrust in workmanship forces some homeowners to move away from designer and search for contractors to fulfil their vision.

What goes wrong

In my experience, on a few occasion, I arrived at a circumstance where painting the house is either too early or late. I hope in writing this post can help some owner to make sound decisions when they are on this path. Renovation can be painless if you know how to manage.

The reward

Designing your own home can be very rewarding when you are confident in knowing how all the pieces fall into place like how you imagine it to be. However, if you are going through some complicated design concept, I would strongly recommend you consult an interior designer before you hit the road.

Common list of works

  1. Hacking Work
  2. Wet Work
  3. Electrical Work
  4. Plumbing Work
  5. Ceiling Work
  6. Painting Work
  7. Carpentry Work
  8. Door & Window Work

Assuming this is a resale HDB flat, here is how you can plan to complete the project.

1. Hacking Work

To begin, when you receive the key to the house, naturally you will like to remove things you don’t want from the previous owner. The common hacking wet areas like the Bathroom, Kitchen and Livingroom floor tiles. If it is an old house, check the condition of electrical wiring, if it is in a mess from the previous iteration of works; look for installation that was not installed with proper PVC tube or wiring casing, consider removing all of it through the hacking. The contractor often uses the shortcut to simplify the installation, any of iteration work most likely result in the messy wiring.

After a long time some cable might disintegrate. A good practice is to change it all before procee to the next step.

Documentation

It is important that what you want is explicitly communicate across to the contractor. Example like the schematic drawing that illustrates the area of the wall you want to hack. Which is required by submission to HDB.

Note:

A side note to dismantle the things you don’t want in the house, try to label the things that you want with tape and marker. This is the area where communication often breaks down.

How long it takes

This kind of work will take 1 to 3 days to complete. Before commencement of work, you need a hacking permit. If you are hacking walls down, some drawings will be required for submission and approval takes a few days, I strongly suggest you engage a design firm to work on this area, it is rather complicated to carry out on your own.

Interior Design DIY Hacking Process conclusion

I must caution you that these I wrote with objective to help to grasp the concept of the process. Still if you fall out of this prilimilary assement, an indepth consultion is require before you begin on your own. You can contact me if you have questions.

Contact

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