Good interior design and renovation need not be expensive
1) Spread your electrical points throughout the countertop, AND HIDE THEM!
This sounds so basic, but we failed to instruct our electrician to spread out electrical socket points through the lengths of our countertop, so we now ended up having all of them congregating at one wall.
We had to squeeze a few appliances into a tight space, and for the rest that couldn’t fit in, we had to store them away when not in use which is a hassle. What’s worse, is that we failed to take into account that the sockets are a stark white against a black backsplash. DUH!?! What on earth was I thinking?! To make it up, since I couldn’t change the placement at this point, I turned that wall into a photo collage, trying to hide the sockets as best as I can.
There’s really a lot to learn about outlet placement, I wished I had read this article before I started my kitchen renovation. Some utilized the Eubiq system which may work too if countertop real estate is severely limited, but I received feedback from my contractor that such pop-up receptacles wear off faster over time, and the connection comes off loose within a year or two.
2) Build the pipe lower into the ground
The lower the pipe, the less splash there will be on your floor when waste water goes down. Our pipe is just a mere 2 cm away from the floor, not only does splashes occur regularly but we couldn’t insert an anti-cockroache hatch so pray, hoping, that we never would need that. Having done some research later on, I realized that my plumbers should have built the drainage pipes at least 75 mm down from ground level. See National Environment Agency sanity recommendation here. (Even though this document is for commercial buildings, such as restaurants and food courts, it’s always a good-to-know guideline.)
3) Have an equal number of deep and shallow drawers
I was obsessed with not having wasted corner or inner spaces where hands couldn’t reach in, so wanted my contractor to do deep drawers where I can pull out. This works perfectly where I do have deep drawers now to put all my plates and access all of them at once. However, what would have been better is if I can split up the horizontal space to include a smaller, shallow drawer within the deep drawer, so I can maximize precious real estate.
4) It takes time
We had completed renovating the bedrooms and bathrooms pretty quickly but the all imposing and important room – the kitchen – only had walls and floors for a looooong time since we moved in. No sinks. No cabinets. No taps. Only one electricity socket was working which we used for the washing machine (cos there’s no laundrymat where we lived). We lived out of a kitchen kart piled with disposable cups and utensils for a while and eat out most of the time. Breakfast cereal is about all we can serve during this long wait. So we learnt, it takes time for cement to dry, for tiles to be put up, pipes to be laid, it takes even more time to build cabinets and countertops. Allow at least a month for basic kitchen carpentry, and if you need any hacking and retiling to be done, add another two months to your timeline.
5) Shop for your electronic appliances early on
The delay in completing the kitchen renovation was partly our own fault – we failed to nail down dimensions for cabinets and cemented curbs as we didn’t know the actual size of the appliances that will be used in the kitchen. So now we know, early in the kitchen renovation cycle, have a shortlist of brands, model number and dimensions for each of the big appliances that will be used in the kitchen, but do not buy the first thing you see. With kitchen spaces getting very small in modern day apartments, some big items like the refrigerator, may not fit into tiny kitchens. Discuss with your contractor on space allocation before plunging your $$$$ into appliances. Here’s the order of items we purchased:
You may need to consider others like dryer, coffee machine, microwave if you are intending to build them into cabinets as well. I liked the idea of building in a gadget charging station and display rack for the iPad/recipe book too.
So what about you? What is your renovation story?