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Home with the Tans: Part 1

It’s been about nine months since we moved out of our first home and into our rental place, and almost two months since we moved into our new home. The kids have adapted really quickly to this latest (and hopefully last) move, while the adults (okay me) are still taking some time to unpack, organise and make this place feel like home.

We were supposed to move into this home by March 2020, since we moved out of our first home in December 2019. We had an ID and a contractor, and the renovation work started pretty quickly. Unfortunately, everything came to a standstill when COVID-19 caused Singapore to enter the first Circuit Breaker phase. Thankfully, our landlord was a family friend, and graciously allowed us to extend our short-term rental lease a couple of times.

If you follow us on IG, you would have seen photos and videos of our place during the renovation period. There was a LOT of work to be done, because we changed almost everything in the house. We wanted a Scandinavian-Minimalist look, and were glad that Francis, our ID and family friend, understood what we liked, and was able to help us achieve that. I’ll compile the list of people/suppliers we worked with at the end of this post, so if you like what we’ve done with our place, feel free to contact them directly.

The kids love that they have plenty of space to play, both indoors and outdoors. C and I used to play hockey, so C really wanted to have some AstroTurf in our front yard, so that we can play there with our kids. It’s not a very big space, but the kids have been making the most of it, playing all sorts of games there. They head out to play every chance they get, and have even set up an “outdoor restaurant”, complete with Gojek delivery riders.

We just got an inflatable pool, and the kids absolutely love playing in it! Perfect for hot days, and it keeps the kids occupied for ages.

We chose to use sliding glass doors as well as a glass “main door”, so that our home will be brighter and also look more spacious. It’s also a lot easier for us to watch the kids if they are playing outside while we are busy inside! I’m still quite nervous about them playing ball games so near the glass doors, but they’ve been quite good about following instructions so far, and don’t hit the balls towards the glass doors.

One concern we had when we chose to install the glass doors is the lack of privacy. We worked with Rene of Windows & Waltz to decide on the blinds for our place, and we are really happy with how everything looks now. Some people have commented that they look like those industrial roller shutter doors from a distance, but we like that these roller blinds serve our needs.

The blinds are made of different types of fabric, so we use the translucent part (which is like using day curtains) when we want to let a little light in, and adjust the blinds to the black-out setting when necessary. We also raise the blinds completely if the kids are outside, so that we have a better view of them. Basically, they’re like day and night curtains, but without the dust and bulk issues which curtains usually come with. Recently, an insect somehow got stuck in our blinds and died there, but thankfully, Rene told us a while back that we can use an extendable duster to clean the blinds, so we used it to get the dead insect out.

Rene was really helpful, showing us the different options, and keeping us updated about the shipment dates which were delayed due to COVID-19. It was quite stressful initially, as we had to move in before the blinds arrived, but the shipment arrived earlier than expected, and she quickly arranged for them to be installed, so we only had to live without blinds for two days. Phew!

Our living room has a large space between the tv console and the sofa, as we think the kids need plenty of space to play. We’re still looking for a large, plain carpet, but for now, the kids are happy playing on the porcelain tiles.

We wanted the house to be as bright as possible, so we chose to have the open concept for the kitchen, and put glass sliding doors to separate the kitchen from the backyard.

Our contractor custom made our dining table, kitchen countertop and cabinets, so that everything would match. The twins are still using their Yamatoya high chairs, so our table had to be long enough to accommodate their chairs, as well as the six dining chairs that we wanted. We couldn’t find any dining chairs that we liked, so we got them custom made from Blafink in the end.

Francis recommended a few different types of lights for our dining area, but we wanted something really simple, so he got that customised for us, as it had to be long enough for our table.

Francis also recommended concealing the powder room and storeroom, which are both in the dining area, and we think it does look nicer like that. I keep thinking of Harry Potter living under our stairs though! Haha.

I couldn’t decide between having an island or just a small L-shaped counter space in the kitchen, but finally decided on the latter, as I didn’t want the kitchen to feel too cramped. I want to be able to use the L-shaped counter space to bake with the kids, and finally did it! The Learning Tower which I got for N more than five years ago from Mothercare finally came in handy, as the twins can stand there comfortably to “help” with the baking.

We knew from experience that we need a larger fridge and larder for all our food and snacks etc. We chose a two-door fridge, so that we have more freezer space as I usually buy the frozen food once a week. Francis designed a two-door larder with pull-out drawers for us, and we all love it! The kids like going there to look for their own snacks, which isn’t really a good thing for me, since they always claim to be hungry, but at least we have space to keep everything neatly now.

We also got both a Steam Convection Microwave Oven and a traditional oven, so that we have the option of using both ovens when cooking. Now that I’m baking more with the kids, our helper can still cook our regular dishes in one oven, while we use the other oven for baking.

Our washing machine, dryer and drying rack are all in the backyard, and our helper’s room and toilet are there too. We recently added some plants to the backyard, and hopefully, they’ll grow well there, because we don’t have green fingers at all!

That’s about it for the ground floor! I’ll share about the other two levels in the next two posts, together with shopping links for some of the more interesting items that people have been asking me about on IG.

List of Contacts Interior Designer: Francis Leong | Tel: 90688349 Contractor: Gary (Charlton Design) | Tel: 93696699 Blinds: Rene (Windows & Waltz) | Tel: 91000781 | Website Dining Chairs: Blafink

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