Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Report on My New Resale Flat Pte Ltd

By Raine


In March, we made a big decision. TO BUY was the answer and so we did, placing our option to purchase. A few weeks later, we exercised this option and another month later, we visited HDB for our first appointment. Yet another month later on May 29th, we closed the deal at the second appointment. And the fun begun!

Part I – The renovations:

Faster than we expected, it was completed in just slightly more than 1 week. We removed old cupboards, levelled the wall, repainted the entire flat, built new cupboards for the kitchen, changed all electrical points and plugs, and toilet fixtures, built in new air-conditioners and the highlight of it all, installing the beautiful lights we bought at Balestier.

Highlight: Round ones, square ones, fan with lights, hanging chandeliers and dangling bulbs…what a joy it was to have full control over the visibility in the flat.

“Low”light: The lights with fans gave us the most problems. But luckily, as the shop nicely pointed out, the fans’ after-sale-service proved to be good and the repair man knew immediately what was wrong with the fan: “Oh, the fans are just missing a part here.” YES! It was a common problem and the result was a manufacture mal-function where the fans were all missing one part. *Roll eyes and faint*

Part II – $hopping for Furniture:

...Doesn’t come cheap…lesson learnt.

Or perhaps we should say that EK and I had expensive taste, which we sought to fulfil diligently.

We visited The Furniture Mall at beach road - bought quite a bit:
- The full-leather sofa was a quick buy as the price was right.
- EK and I were into our carpets so we had to accessorise the living room.
- The beds were an expensive but worthwhile affair.

We walked IMM – bought only a little bit:
- Stove and chimney hood were bought from 2 separate brands, we weren’t too bothered as we only rarely cook instant mee.
- We bought bathroom mirrors that we thought were cheap, but we found cheaper ones later.

We made several trips to Courts – and finally bought some electricals:
- We searched around for better deals on the washing machine we wanted, but ended up returning to the first place we saw it at because of its exclusivity and the price was right.
- Microwave and standing fans were quick buys that didn’t require loads of decision making skills.

We also went all the way to the International Furniture Centre - and bought the rest of the big furniture:
- The dining table, tv console and coffee table came from the same shop, which had outlets everywhere. But with each outlet we visited, the price got lower and lower (depreciation?) until finally, we bought it at the IFC.
- We also bought a beautiful ottoman and tall mirror to complete our ‘Anna Sui’ corner.
- And we also bought an 8ft long cupboard, meant for the masterbedroom.

And made many trips to IKEA for the little things in life: more carpets, chairs, desk, plates, pots, storage boxes, etc.

Of course, there were purchases made all over Singapore:
- Curtains from Woodlands for the bedrooms and living room – and we thought he was cheap.
- Curtains from Toa Payoh for the ‘Anna Sui’ corner – but in the end, this was cheaper (we only discovered both were from the same company different branch after we made our purchase). Initially, we wanted nicer curtains with more details, but after our exhaustive search (spotlight had the design, but didn’t have sufficient cloth), we settled for solid black.
- TV from Marina Square Gain City Promotion
- We saw far too many fridges and ended up purchasing a similar (newer) model to the very first fridge we laid our eyes on (finally resolved that it could fit into the designated space). And this was ordered over the phone because we already knew who had the cheapest of them all.

Part III – Lessons on Delivery:

But the most important lesson we learnt from the delivery process of our furniture is to ANTICIPATE DELAYS SO BUY IN ADVANCE! We learnt many lessons when it came to our deliveries:

(1) IKEA and COURTS deliver within 3 days of purchase, so these can wait. BUT if you wait too long, they could run out of stock. When we finally returned to Courts to purchase our washing machine, we were told they were out of stock and had to wait 3 weeks for its next shipment. We were lucky that EK’s rental at his old place ended 2 days before the delivery of our washing machine last week, so we only had 2 days of stinky laundry to put up with.

(2) Always anticipate delays. Delays are usually 1-2 hours off the scheduled times, but it could drag on to 2 whole weeks. Read on…

(3) Our beds’ delivery was chaotic. I was only informed it would arrive between 10 – 12noon. I was NOT informed that only the bed frame was arriving at that allocated slot, and it arrived 1 hour late at 1pm. There was no sign of the mattress or free pillows and bolsters, so we rang up the company and guess what? “The mattresses will be delivered between 3-5pm. Why don’t you have your lunch and our delivery persons will call you when they are arriving?” Said the sales lady who answered my call. The mattresses finally came in the evening, but there was no sign of the free pillows or bolsters. This time, EK rang them to complain that he doesn’t have thing to sleep as he assumed it would arrive. They said they would get back to us. We waited till 7pm for them. No word. So we left for dinner and shopping at IKEA. When we returned at 11pm, I found 2 missed calls at 10.20pm that night, and a note slipped through our door saying she came by our place with the pillows but we weren’t around and to ring her back. The next day, she rang back to inform us that they had left the pillows and bolsters with our neighbours (neighbours we didn’t even know)!

(4) Another lesson I learnt is sometimes, it pays to be nice. 1 week before the delivery of our ottoman, the sales staff called to inform me that they had received shipment that was short of stock and the next delivery would be 3 weeks later (for me in the distribution industry, I knew that these were common). I was most pleasant and told him to try his best to deliver as scheduled. So five minutes later, he rang back saying that they will deliver as per scheduled (to another customer’s misfortune – but that wasn’t my business). So sometimes, it pays to be nice.

(5) Never assume and sometimes, big is not often good. When our 8ft by 8ft cupboard arrived, we directed them to the masterbedroom to set it up. “Er, sorry miss, it won’t fit.” The delivery person told us. “What do you mean? There’s sufficient length.” All the delivery person had to do was point to the ceiling. We didn’t have enough height because of a protruding beam that interrupted the long wall. Lesson learnt. We only concentrated on the length of the cupboard, thinking the wall length in our masterbedroom had ample length. We forgot to look up. We had bought a cupboard too tall. So where did the beautiful cupboard go? It couldn’t even fit into EK’s room either. Thankfully, we had a spare bedroom which had sufficient length and height. What would we do without that spare room?! It is a waste to put the beautiful cupboard in a room no one uses, and that’s a lesson we have to put up with.

(6) Are we reaching the end of our problems? Think again. The delivery of the dining table, tv console and coffee table was another nightmare. A day prior to the delivery, the store called to confirm the date and time of the delivery. Plus 10 points. On the day itself, they arrived late. Minus 5 points. The only delivered the dining table. Minus 10 points. They didn’t inform us they were only delivering 1 item and that the other 2 were delayed in shipment. Minus 20 points. When we called them (they met the wrath of EK), they explained most apologetically (plus 5 points) that the shipment was split into 2 and the second shipment was delayed till Thursday, they could only delivery Friday. Friday came, and they delivered the tv console because when they opened the packaging for the coffee table, the glass was broken. Minus 10 points. But they rectified it quickly and within 3 hours, they returned with the new piece of coffee table (with a very tiny tiny scratch but we accepted it). Plus 8 points.

(7) We’d like to think we made a sales person quit. But of course, we didn’t. We were just being customers asking about the delivery of our purchases – the last nightmare – our 42” TV. We purchased our TV at a road show in the Marina Square atrium on 5th July. They didn’t have stock and said it was arriving 17th July. Very well. The sales person booked our delivery on the 18th. 1 week after the purchase, he rang back saying the delivery is delayed and they do not know when it would be arriving – estimated 20-something of July – so he had to cancel the delivery on the 18th and rebook when they have the confirmed dates. 20-something of July came and I was about to ring the sales person when he rang me, saying that there is a delay and will let me know asap. Then, the sales person made a grave mistake of ringing EK instead of me (we gave 2 numbers). He told EK delivery is delayed for another 2 weeks. This means, it will be delivered sometime early August. The reason? The stocks are in, but because of this huge success of the promotion, the delivery persons were fully booked till 2 weeks later. WHAT THE! We bought early July, the stocks are in their warehouse, but they didn’t have the manpower to deliver it? EK wouldn’t have it. If you have a promo, you jolly well get sufficient manpower to deal with the delivery. EK told him he knew it wasn’t the sales person’s fault, so he demanded for his supervisor’s contact. The sales person said he’ll try to solve the problem and get back to us. The next day, he got back to EK, saying delivery is the following Thurs. Then, he rang again and changed to Sunday delivery. This time EK threatened them that if they don’t deliver on Sunday, we would demand for refund. The sales person agreed. We’ve been waiting for almost a month. Especially in the case of technology, prices drop exponentially with time and the longer we wait, the lower prices go. So EK wasn’t worried that we couldn’t find another deal. But I was reluctantly. What if we meet the same problem of stock shortage all over again. I just wanted to get it over and done with. Thankfully, the TV was finally delivered last Sunday.


Part IV - The Vicious Blame Cycle:

Sometime after the beds arrived but before the last of the furniture was delivered, EK moved in. Having moved in, he tested all fixtures…but, we faced a different set of problems that came alongside the delivery delays.

The sinks became our problem. We had a drainage issue, not due to the pipings, but due to the sinks’ built. Water would not completely drain away as the tilt of the sink did not encourage the water to flow back down the drain pipe. We rang the supplier and they sent someone down. This someone blamed my contractor. We called my contractor and they sent someone down. This other someone blamed the supplier. I didn’t care whose fault it was, I just wanted it fixed. So I called my contractor, who blamed it on “China products”, but he was also willing to fix it for us. But we were fighters, so I rang the supplier and they agreed to send someone else down. Someone else arrived and finally agreed it was their sink’s problem.

And so justice was served, and I got my sink done.


It has been a 2 month rollercoaster for both EK and myself, ending last Sunday 2nd August at 6pm. Though it was a painful process, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves for most parts of it. It was a valuable experience which tested our interior design skills, our eye for quality versus price, and also our patience and preservation. With EK’s never give up spirit, his eye for perfection, and his brilliant bargaining and complaining skills, we managed to save mum plenty of $$$ - of which was spent on better quality furniture, and we saved on unnecessary further delays because we fought for what was right.

Would I do it again? Not unless I’m moving again...

Now, you've been too patient in reading through my whole report, so I shall reward you with a tour of the new flat:

Living Before Time:

Living With Furniture:

Our Cozy Corner/ EK's Studio/ Make-up Corner/ Chill-lax Area:
(people have given it too many names)

Too beautiful to eat...

Open concept for those who only cook instant mee...

Our Electrolux:

Master-room, without furniture...

Master-room, without our new 8ft cupboard...

EK's technological hub:

The spare-room...

With our beautiful 8ft cupboard...what a waste!

End of Report

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Warm Fuzzy Feeling

I've got a warm fuzzy feeling...
And it's not from the coffee buzz...Well, partly anyway.

I don't remember why my uni lecturer talked about him...
And I don't even remember who that lecturer was...
But I remember being blown very far away.

Today, his paintings popped into my mind...
I didn't know his name, I didn't even know if he was a he or a she...
But all I knew was his cozy cottages on dreamy streets...
So 'English' I presumed he was.

Off to trusty google, I typed "paintings of cottages english painter"...
Scrolling down the page of images, random cottages appeared.
But only one caught my eye, Thomas Kinkade's his name.
And very American he corrected me.

And as a warm fuzzy feeling filled my heart...
I was whisked off into his wonderfully beautiful world...