Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Neighborhood

(Above) Driveway into our estate

Me and Gayle are always appreciative of our good fortune in getting a home in this part of the East which is a nice little estate at Bedok South Avenue 3. When people think of HDB flats in the East, they will tend to think of mostly either Marine Parade or Mcnair rd, near Old Airport road area. In fact these were the two places that we were also looking at until we managed to chanced upon this area. We like this part of Bedok South because of two factors - private , quiet area and accessibility to central locations in the east and amenities. We like the fact that our estate is near the main road,yet not too near to traffic. Thus there is no need to have to drive through a number of lanes before coming out of the estate. 1 minute and we are on the Upper East Coast Road heading for the ECP to town, East Coast, Siglap or Marine Parade. We like the fact that our estate is ringed by a low lying private estate of semi detached and terrace houses(below) thus giving a very private and quiet feel to the area.
As we drop by Siglap area often to shop at Cold Storage and NTUC, makan at the cafes and restaurants there and borrow our weekly dose of video ezy or do our finance stuff at the UOB and ATM branches there, we were glad that our current home is just 5 minutes drive away. Being near to our parents - one in Marine Parade and one at Upper East Coast Rd also is a bonus. There are a number of bus services serving our estate so one is not at the mercy of one miserable feeder service. However, we are also fifteen minutes leisurely walk from Tanah Merah MRT station.

Being foodies,we enjoy besides being 5 minutes drive away from famous eateries such as the Siglap area or Simpang Bedok/Bedok bend hawker centre, Bedok South Hawker centre is 5 minutes drive away. We can drive futher to Marine Parade to shop and eat at Parkway Parade within 10 to 15 minutes.
For closer convenience, there is a 24 hr coffee shop just a block away from us with a row of convenience stores such as a clinic, pet shop, pet clinic, 7 - 11, laundrymat, hairstylist. There are also two coffee shops located opposite our place across the road. There is even a SAM machine and a POSB ATM two blocks away to pay bills and withdraw money. (Above)Temasek Primary school in background

Those who have kids will find our location convenient as it is near two good schools - Temasek Primary School and Temasek Secondary School(above), the former 5 minutes walk and the latter 10 minutes walk.
Although our estate is 22 years old, a mid-life upgrade has renewed the place such that it doens't look it's age. We noticed that there is also a lot of greenery and landscape work(above) done to beautify the area around. If you stay on the higher floors in certain blocks, you can even have a view of the sea (below).With the upgrading of the lifts(below) all lifts stop on every floor with each block served by 3 lifts, a boon to both old and young alike. For security, the lifts are wired with CCTV cameras thus enhancing the security of the estate.

An important convenient addition is the building of sheltered walkways(above) all the way from the bustop to our block or from the coffee shop to our block. A sheltered driveway(below) has also been added to allow for dry unloading and alighting during wet weather.

(Above)New modern playgrounds dot the estate
(Above) Exercise path for elderly

There are playgrounds and exercise stations for the young and elderly which help provide further menities to the place. There is also a big piece of empty land(below) designated by Singapore Land Authority as a public recreational area and many residents play their ball games and do their jogging there. All in all, it's really a wonderful place to stay in. But getting a unit here isnt't easy. We spent two months looking for our unit and even then, there was 3 days of public viewing for it, an indication of the demand for flats in our area. We managed to secure a good price at that time which was last June 2007 at 288k at 25kCOV. Last we heard, a similar unit was sold early this year for 360k.
There are a mix of 4 to 5 room highrise blocks and low rise massionette flats which provide a wide range of housing choices for couples. Ours is a corner 4 room Type A flat which is about 102sq m or 1118 sq feet. So if you like a place somewhere near East Coast, close to ECP and MRT, near amenities, yet private, then you may wish to consider Siglap East estate .

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Unique Fan

Black and silver colour and design
We purchased a unique IONA fan this week. There are two sets of fan blades, one on top of each other with the top fan able to be adjusted from left to right and the bottom fan able to be adjusted up or down. Thus, this fan allows two persons sitting at different locations to be cooled by the same fan.
The unique design and colour of the fan fits in with the modern contemporary look. Both sets of fans come with a 3 speed selector(Above). The fan is light and portable with a top mounted carrying handle ( Below ).
We bought it from Caltex petrol station at Frankel Avenue at $78.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Installation of window privacy solar film

Reflective properties good for privacy

We went down to Balestier Rd and got a window film lamination shop to do our room windows with reflective privacy plus UV shield film. All in all, for 7 panels of windows for all our 3 bedrooms ( master , walk in and common rm ) , we paid $220 including installation. Quite good work too. The shop also sells PD folding doors for toilets and rooms.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pasta Buongustaio

Yummy Pasta !
This weekend, Gayle decided to do some home cooking for us both. As the chef, she chose to cook a favorite dish of ours - Maiale Pasta frutti del mare mai - simply translated :- ) - pasta cooked in white wine with seafood and pork. We went to Sheng Shiong to get prawns at Bedok as the prawns there are fresh and cheap. We got minced pork from Cold Storage. We took the opportunity to spend time together cooking, me cleaning and peeling the prawns and she slicing, dicing and cooking. It's really nice to be able to spend quality time to do things together and well, cooking is really very fruitful cos you are together in the entire process and get to savour the rewards together.
Spending Quality time - having a nice meal together!

Ingredients : Fusilli pasta for two / chopped garlic / sliced chilli / sliced green capsicum/ fresh

button mushrooms / prawns(200g) / minced pork(200g) / white wine / broth

from boiled prawn heads and chicken stock / sesame oil / coriander leaves /

ground pepper / olive oil
The budding Chef!

Adding Olive oil to the pasta

Cooking in progress !

Prawn head broth in white wine simmering. It is useful to buy cooking pans with spouts on either end for efficient pouring of gravy or broth without spilling

The chef tasting the broth!
Pasta cooked and waiting for garnishing

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ceramic Glass Hob

There have been questions on whether glass hobs are fragile and heat resistant. Actually, if you were to go for quality glass hobs, there should not be any worries. Glass hobs however should be tempered and so if there is damage, even a tiny crack or splinter, heat will cause it to shatter so care must be taken not to damage the glass during transportation and installation.

However Glass hobs are increasingly getting popular due to their easy cleaning and aesthetically pleasing design in today's modern contemporary kitchens. We were attracted to Rinnai because their glass hobs feature 2 innovations

Ceran glass panel top :
Manufactured in cooperation with a leading German glass manufacturer - SCHOTT , the glass ceramics panels can withstand great levels of shock and pressure,allowing for durability for heavy cooking usage. You can go to the following site to witness this :
Seal of quality ceramics glass on Rinnai RB-2CG

Thickness of glass ceramics

Inner-Flame Burner :

Rinnai Corp., Nagoya, Japan, has turned burner design completely around with its inner-flame burner. Instead of shooting flames outward from the burner perimeter, as with a conventional burner, Rinnai’s inner-flame burner is ported so that flames shoot inward toward the center.

The purpose of the unusual design is to create a coherent, unified flame that rises under the center of a pan, then flows outward, bathing the entire bottom of the pan in flame. This approach heats the pan with greater uniformity and improves the efficiency of heat transfer from the flame to pan, which is good for even frying without getting burned food.
In addition to aiming the ports inward, two other design factors assist in shaping the flame. One is that the burner sits slightly below the surface of the cooktop, helping the individual flames to coalesce toward the center as they rise through a hole in the cooktop surface.

Secondly, and more importantly, the burner ports are angled slightly on the horizontal plane. The effect of the flames shooting out an angle is to create a fiery vortex. The swirling flame is meant to accomplish two things. One, it assists in driving the flame outward across the bottom of the pan, helping to evenly bathe the pan bottom with flame. Two, the vortex creates a pressure drop that assists in drawing air in for combustion allowing for a strong consistent flame.

There are 2 types for all Rinnai models as in other hobs, LPG gas or piped gas. Do specify which one you are using at time of purchase. Piped gas are more common in new and upgraded HDB estates. The hob is easy to use, with just some practice needed to turn on the flame, by holding on the switch till flame is fully shot out. The inner burner really is effective as cooking is quite immediate as you see the food or soup being heated up very fast. We got a good price of $1400 at that time(Nov 2007) for a package purchase of a Rinnai RB-2CG(LPG) hob and RH-988C Glass hood from Mega Discount Store at Katong Mall. We chose a 2 burner hob because a 3 burner hob would be a tight squeeze for practical cooking given the size of saucepan and pots and usually, it is practical and safe to handle 2 burners at any one time. For the RH-988C, we like the flat and squarish modern design which fits in the modern contemporary look. Air flow is more than adequate given that in real life, we do not cook at restaurant level of cooking. Importantly, there are built-in downlights to aid in cooking.
RB - 2 CG Cooker Hob
RH - 988 C Cooker Hood

Installation to your kitchen cabinet is done by your contractor while connection to gas inlet is by either the LPG supplier or the SP gas man.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

WELL by Metier Atelier - contemporary kettle, new age water jug

In our quest for a consistent contemporary look in our house, we are always on the lookout for interesting takes on everyday items. Thus we were at Isetan Scotts where they have a very nice and wide ranging household section, when we spied a very modern looking water kettle. We have been looking for a nice water jug and it was love at first sight! As it has a see through glass lid, we thought why not use it as a water jug ? More so, it would be able to take boiled hot water as most of the water jugs we seen are either plasticky ( which isn't very healthy since heat has a effect on plastic) or have a heat endurance limit( eg, glass jugs have a max heat rating of 60degrees C to 80degrees C , beyond that which it may shatter ).

We were intrigued by it's clean lines, steel chromed finish and avant garde handle and of course , having the practicality of a see through glass lid to check the water level. It's abit of splurge at $97 so guess we will be drinking lots of water to make it worth it's weight :- P . But you do get quality for that price - high quality 18/10 stainless steel, tempered glass lid , easy grip heat resistant silicone handle and large spout for drip-free pouring.

For those keen, there is a line of household items of which this is one of them , under the brand - Metier Atelier. Model is WELL 2 litres stainless steel kettle.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A gift from my dear hubby

My darling hubby bought me a Gucci handbag today. So sweet of him!! We saw this small canvas Boston bag in a magazine few weeks ago and both of us thought it's really nice and unique. It has a younger and hip feel to it and really appealed to me. I've always liked sporty bags and was quite surprised to see that Gucci has this very youthful range this season. It also happens to be in one of my favourite colours, green! Heehee...For those who are interested, it's also available in orange. The size is also just nice for me, for the stuff I normally carry in my bag. So my dar dar brought me to Gucci at paragon to buy the bag.

The interior (a small compartment useful for small items like keys)

The guy who served us was really nice and polite, greeting us when we walked past him earlier, and giving me tips on how to maintain the bag. My first time buying Gucci, and it was a good experience. :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Master Bedroom - The inner sanctuary

Pre- Renovation : Post - Renovation :

Post - Renovation :

If the home is a sanctuary , then the Master Bedroom is the heart of it. After a bustling day at work and especially during the restful weekends, Gayle and me just want to shut out the world and enjoy a quiet relaxing time in our cozy and comfortable master bedroom. To create that cozy look, we added a number of items to our MB.

We asked our ID to build a pulmet for discreet mounting of the day and night curtains to give the room a cozy feel. We spent a bit on curtains in the master bedroom.We install suede night curtains to totally block out the light and make it dark and cozy ( good for privacy and watching movies ). The suede gives the room a lush and luxurious look. We also installed Thai silk black coloured day curtains to provide privacy, cut out glare during daytime, yet have enough light coming through to do some reading. Another pulmet was created at the MB's entrance after the walkway from the study area and main room entrance. Another double sided suede black curtain was installed to close up the MB entrance(below) to keep the aircon air in and provide further privacy to the MB.As the walls of the MB were painted dolphin grey, we decided to create a feature wall using a cheaper alternative of wallpapering. A customised feature wall would also take up space as our bedframe was large. We went to a few places and found something we liked at Goodrich ( located at 8 Changi South Lane ). We chose a dark grey with red motifs patterend wallpaper - MyWall Glamour Allover MG43051, priced at $120 per roll (above). With installation by Goodrich, it costs us $610 using 3 rolls of the wallpaper. While one can choose to ask the contractor to install for you free, we decided to spend more and have peace of mind as wallpaper is something that has to be fitted by expert hands. At the end, we were very pleased with the time , commitment and care shown by the Goodrich installer who took nearly a whole day just to do up wallpaper for our one feature wall. Even the areas around the trunking, switches were cut to precision and covered completely. See pictures below.

For the flooring, we continued with the dark oak laminated flooring(below) used in the common bedroom and the walk-in cum study room. For 470sq ft of laminated flooring in all the rooms, we paid about $2300.

To furnish the room, we lowered our cost by mounting a IKEA LACK wall shelf costing only $29 instead of spending $600 on a customised tv console. Also the use of the IKEA shelf which is compact preserved the walking space between the wall and the bedframe . However to hold up the weight of the home theatre system and the SCV setup box, we asked our ID to use three heavy duty mounting screw to enable the shelf to take the weight.To add that luxurious touch to the MB, we installed a Egyptian crystal pendant lighting which is really beautiful at night when it casts the halogen lighting through it's crystals onto the walls.The pendant light(above) cost us $450 after discount, sourced from i-Lite at Jalan Besar. We added two bedside lamps from Lightcraft at Jalan Sultan ( $98 each ), which are in line with the contemporary designer look. Many of our family and friends mistook the bedside lamps(seen below) to be some Bose hi-fi speakers.To create individual storage space, we managed after a long search to source two TENZO bedside dual drawer units (below), with glossy laminated black finish from OM. They look good and provide space to keep personal items with a large desktop space for the lamp. We splurged on these bedside tables costing us close to $700 in total for both.

Of course, being couch potatoes, we mounted a Samsung HD LCD TV ( model: LA32 R81 BX ) shown above. To get the correct TV viewing height, we made sure that our bedframe arrived before the TV so that we could assess the correct height. We sourced the TV from Mega Discount Store at Katong for $1529 which included a free DVD player. We traded in the DVD player and top up $100 to purchase a more stylish looking Samsung DVD Home Theatre 5.1 system ( Model HT-XQ100 ) seen below.

(Above)Adjustable ,reclining backrest of our suede bedframe
Oh yes, the bedframe is the central item in the MB. We bought the bedframe as part of a package from Furniture Club at The Furniture Mall as we liked the modern feel of the frame, encased in grey suede and with adjustable reclining suede backrest, suitable for supporting one's back during TV watching or just reading. The cost of the bedframe was $1500 after discount. We sourced for a Slumberland Royal Prestige anti-allergen, anti - dust mite contoured mattress with silk pillow-top bedding( Queen sized - 1600 pps ) for $1657 from The Bedding Saloon at 68 Sungei Kadut Loop #01-00. They have a wide range of mattresses for all budgets which is far cheaper than those on sale at Robinson or Takashimaya. Importantly, you can lie down and try the mattresses without feeling awkward or pressured into buying.What we like is the cool feeling of the mattress and the different zones of support.
All in all, while our MB is simple and has modern lines, it is cozy and warm at the same time, creating that inner sanctuary within our lovely home.