Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hafari for tiles

Tiles go on the floor, tiles go on walls. Tiles serve different purposes and come in various textures and a multitude of colours. Tile shopping is a big headache 'cos if we didn't know what we wanted, we wouldn't know what we wanted. The options are just too much for novices like us to handle.

Not to say that we wouldn't have got it right eventually, we're not completely aesthetically impaired after all, but the selection process would have taken a lot longer if we didn't have Linewerkz to help narrow our choices down for us.

William brought us to Hafari on Balestier to buy tiles for our kitchen, bathrooms and a small foyer area for the entrance of our unit. I didn't get the name of the first sales rep who attended to us but she was all bright-eyed and eager to show us around. What impressed me about her was her ability to switch from Mandarin to perfect English with a little hint of an unplaceable accent, but quite plainly not Singlish. But while she was cool and professional, she passed us on to her colleague, Thomas, whom William knew personally.

Animated with his explanations, in possession of excellent product knowledge, willing to take a chance with his recommendations, Thomas was easy to talk to and we could trust his taste in the matching of tiles to our design. As June said, it was a relief to get service from someone who had the passion for his trade and someone who firmly believed in the worth of his product. Someone who can make the consumer happy that the purchase was money well spent.

A scruffy sendoff

One more leaving the fold. Mel's got a year's study leave to read her M.A. in the UK. We'll just have to enjoy the peace and quiet until she returns next fall, even more littlemisssmartypants than ever.

Scruffy Murphy's was a great choice for our little party. We booked ourselves into the private lounge and just kept ordering food indiscriminately off the menu -- except for veggies, Jo-jo and Derek, who were slightly more particular.

Food's good. Mostly an Irish pub menu featuring finger foods including yow! spicy wings. Let's see, we also ordered things like the portobello mushroom salad, eggplant lasagna, and I remember downing more shepherd's pie than I intended -- that good. Various orders of burgers filled in the gaps for people who had gaps left to fill.

We were very happy that Lucy and TSL joined in the festivities, 'cos usually they leave the rioting to us. This evening we welcomed them into the mob, and hope it won't be just a one-time thing.

Bye, Mel! Have a great trip, and don't forget to come back!

In other news, we now officially hold the keys to our new place. No time to waste, the renovations begin Monday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life follows the Sims

It's like playing the "Sims", except it's for real. The design for our new house is in, and tonight our friendly electrician dropped by to discuss how we wanted to locate our lighting points, cable TV and telephone access, power outlets and switches.

Instead of pointing and clicking with a mouse, we were verbally trashing out our options, making and taking suggestions and advice, and otherwise negotiating our way around what will work to our satisfaction and to the Linewerkz concept.

William was also on hand to assess what needed to be hacked and dismantled from the existing premises. The false ceiling, false beam and the kitchen setup will have to go to make way for the redesign. The existing display cabinets that limit our already small floor space will have to go too. What were the previous owners thinking when they talked to their designer back then? Destroy! Destroy!

We're expecting a mad weekend as we go shopping for wall tiles, laminate flooring (to lay over the expensive but egregiously coloured granite floor tiles, which are an utter waste to hack but at the same time impossible to live with), lighting fixtures, and anything else that will get everything ready for work to commence this coming Monday. The process of destructive creation is about begin!

Our immediate neighbours next door are a bunch of FTs housed there by their employer. They happily cannibalized the old fridge the previous owner of our unit left behind for them. Hmm... not really sure why I brought that up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Xmac is [out]

How is it that evenings like this one have become so scarce? I'm taking an enforced break from responsibility, decisions, frenzied activity and controlled panic -- elements of which in different combinations have coloured my so-called off-duty hours of late. If it isn't office deadlines, it's been housing, finance, legal headaches that have been slowly eroding my stamina and enthusiasm, turning me into the walking zombie I am today.

Just so happens I found a window of opportunity to sit in front of the TV and laugh hysterically at the weirdness that passes for "America's Got Talent" or shed tears of joy when an actual talent gets discovered. Never know what emotions will get dragged up to the surface next on that programme; just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Else I'm camping out on Face, or contemplating the fate of my creatures on "Spore", or updating this blog with the latest self-indulgent drivel.

And for one night this week, maybe even practice what I've been preaching and hit the sack early for a change.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And the award goes to...

Time to announce the winner of the "Who wants to design a house for Xmac" contest: After much debate, handwringing and sleepless nights, we decided to award the contract to Linewerkz.

Designer and part-owner, William Tan, won us over as he was able to give us the confidence that our project was in good hands. He impressed us with his ability to deliver on his promises during our initial meetings, and was prompt and precise every time. We felt assured that he would take personal responsibility for the entire project from design stage to the coordination and overseeing of the various phases of the project until the official handover. His willingness to work with our other sub-cons and ensure that what they install conforms to the theme and image he has drawn up for us is definitely a plus-point. But other than that, he proved to be passionate about his projects and takes pride in both his work as well as the company he represents. He gives us the assurance that six weeks from the start of works, we'll be able to move in happily.

As far as the concept and design goes, it's all the straight-line geometrics that both June and I like. Steel and glass balanced off with the warmth of wood; bright, open and airy spaces; a high-tech, modern look overall. Sweet. We found William to be flexible and accommodating in the way he customized the details to our suggestions, but he was firm about the integrity of the design that really is his baby.

And at this point, I add a note of gratitude to May, whose interest-free personal loan is paying for our home reno.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New house: 'Before'

New House
Today I converted almost all my liquidity into a fixed asset, which the slideshow above depicts. The shots are no great feats of artistry, merely an archive of the 'before' of the big renovation project. I believe we've decided which designer to go with based on the strength of his vision. And if all goes well, the 'after' shots will show an amazing transformation. Or at least there'll be a more spacious look and a more unified theme holding the entire concept together.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interior conflict

Oops. We may have started a price war between two interior designers, both of whom are in the running for a contract to renovate our new digs. We like the concepts both have presented so far: lots of clean, geometric lines; very urban in the use of glass, wood and steel for a fresh, classy city-dweller look.

Both are competing with each other to deliver a quotation we can accept without everyone going bankrupt. Considering how little we can actually afford, we can see that both guys are working really hard to secure our patronage.

It's going to be tough making a decision between the two. One has matched our price requiements already, while the other will let us see his new proposal tomorrow. Ultimately, we have to remember that it's just business and nothing personal, but we'll soon have to make a decision to let one go. That's just how it has to be.