Actually, how neat are we? The truth behind our kitchen cabinets.

Inside a home’s kitchen cabinets, drawers, and inside a fridge – it’s usually where mess and clutter starts to accumulate. We have moved into our new home for 11 months now. Would you be curious to see how neat(or not) we’ve kept our stuff in our kitchen?


Above: our all-white cupboards. 


Here is what’s behind those white cupboard doors! Some kitchen items, plates, bowls, and cups. And honestly, we don’t even use them all enough. 


Here’s what’s behind the other door – our disposables, sauces and spices. 


And here is what’s under our sink! It smells fresh as we dehumidify the area around once a week. Also, there’re some moth balls in there to keep the bugs away. 


Our four levels of drawers, from the bottom to the top! Do you spot some toys in there? They are our little “spark-joy” items. 🙂


Here’s our corner cabinet that’s next to our fridge. This stores the bulkier items such as our mixer, rice cooker, kettle, pots, pans and some pantry items. 


Last but not least, the contents inside our fridge. 

We think we are doing pretty okay in terms of neatness, heh. 

How about you? 

We hope this has inspired you at least a little. 🙂

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If you love design, don’t be afraid to “fight” for it for your home!

First things first, your happiness in your marriage / respect, love and patience for your spouse comes before all of this. Please discuss decisions with your significant other first, before making them. Your home space belongs to the BOTH of you. 🙂

Okay, so it’s a blessing that the both of us had the same idea in mind before designing our home: our Japanese-themed home (made practical for humid Singapore). 

We also had the privilege of living with our parents, while we waited for our BTO. This enabled us to learn about our living habits, about each other, and how we could make our very own home work for us (and not the other way around; but that’s for another post!). 

The wife loves white. White, white, white. With hues of brown. And the husband doesn’t mind. 🙂 

White and brown: it’s everywhere!

It is really amazing when most sights (working towards “all sights”) in your home, makes you smile, because it fits what your eye loves to view. How many of you get us? Raise your hands! 

A beautiful design does not have to be expensive (we get some of our stuff from Daiso). Also, don’t be afraid to think out of the box and make it your own. Most importantly, keep things minimal, practical and designed to what YOU love. 

Minimalism can save your marriage. 

How so? We aren’t being dramatic when we say so. 


1. We cannot stress how important an easy-to-clean house is to a healthy marriage. 

This is definitely not the only important factor into building a healthy marriage, but it’s definitely an ingredient in the entire recipe called love. 

In our hectic Singapore work culture, a married couple would be tired by the time they’ve reached home. This includes us. 

When you’re home, you don’t want to be seeing clumps of hair, dust, mess lying around. It adds unwanted stress to the individual and that’s the last thing you’d want. A home should be a sanctuary where you also don’t want to spend too much time cleaning (or fighting about why things are left dirty; and who should be cleaning/helping out more). 

We are thankful for a relatively empty floor, which enables Sarah (our iRobot) to clean away on a daily basis. Viola! 



2. Lesser belongings gives us a birds’-eye-view of whatever we own, and releases us to purchase new items without guilt. 

Up till today, even with lesser belongings than before, we still feel that we could do with less. This frees our mind and our hearts to truly be aware of what we really love, which results in us knowing what new stuff we can possibly purchase (but we are still super choosy in shopping). 

Our clothes are also cycled more often from the closet, to the wash, and back into the closet. This keeps stuff fresher = in general this leads to a happier and fresher home too. 



3. We get to do what we truly love!

Be it to paint, calligraph, watch movies, surf YouTube, read, doodle, bake, etc… we get to do this more often because there’s hardly any “weekend” housework to do, other than the occasional laundry, toilet-wash or changing the fish tank water. 


Try it, you won’t regret it. 🙂

We Are Grout-chy

One thing about us is that we are quite particular about cleanliness. So we did our best to renovate and build our home to be easy to maintain and clean.

As with every first-time (and probably second, third-time) home owners, we found some things that we could have done better or changed when renovating our home. One of those things is our Genkan area right at our door.

Our current situation is that we used relatively small tiles for the Genkan area, resulting in wide grout lines between tiles. So after about 7 months of moving in, with this being where we enter and exit our home, dirt naturally builds up in the grout lines.

By total coincidence, we discovered a product line specific for grout cleaning and protection – sold by Grout Shield Singapore. We bought a couple bottles of their Grout Shield and Deep Cleaner and gave it a shot on our Genkan.

[Note: This is NOT a paid post – we are just sharing what we found that might help other home owners out]

Grout is usually a porous surface, hence it traps dirt and other materials which get on to it. Grout Shield essentially forms a layer on top of your existing grout and seals the pores, making it easier to clean off future stains as they don’t get deep into the pores.

It’s not a cheap solution, but it does save you quite a lot more potential headaches in cleaning or maintaining your grout areas in the long run. This one application should last 3-5 years.

Here we did the vertical grout lines first and you can see the difference between that and the horizontal lines which we cleaned but still couldn’t get everything out. (Recommendation is to do this before you move in or just after renovation for best effect. )


Application of the Grout Shield is pretty easy. You can do it yourself (and save some $$$) or you could get the company to do it for you. It’s a good work out too (seriously, our arms and thighs are aching from scrubbing, standing, squatting and cleaning) 😛

Here’s a quick overview of how we did it (after cleaning it with the Deep Cleaner solution):

So far the application on our grout at the Genkan area has reaped good results. We will also be using this on our bathroom shower area tiles as well.

Hope this helps some of you guys – wished we discovered this before we moved in!

See the difference between the section we haven’t worked on and what we did? 

Do you need a home-inspection / defect-checking company for your BTO?

After that exciting process of getting the keys to your BTO and immediately heading to your new home before sunsets (okay maybe that’s just us) to have a peek, checking out the view, opening and closing doors, etc…adulthood sets in as we needed to decide if we should hire a home-inspection / defect-checking company, or not.

Here’s a little brief for new (or soon-to-be…congrats!) BTO-owners. 

Timeline:

  1. Collect keys.
  2. Do defect-checking (by yourselves or by hiring a company).
  3. Report the defects (or anything suspected to be one) to your HDB’s contractor – who would have a temporary office set up at the void-deck area.
  4. Defects are rectified (may require multiple checks) and your ID/contractor can come in to start their work. 
  5. Renovations are done and time to clean up! 
  6. Move in. 😍

Firstly just let me state that a defect-checking company in Singapore for a 4-room BTO costs around $500 and onwards, depending on the package that you decide to go for. 

It is expensive and this money could go towards your brand new oven or even pay for a part of your dining set. BUT, there may be scenarios where it is wise to hire one.

Personally for us, we did not engage in one but for some people, it could be absolutely necessary to do so.

Here are several reasons that should lead you to HIRE a home-inspection / defect-checking company:

  • The floors feel uneven and there are many holes in the grout area. 
  • The walls look unfinished and the paint job isn’t done well.
  • The ceiling has holes and isn’t patched up properly.
  • The doors and windows creek and do not close properly.
  • The electricity power points do not all work.
  • The carpentry is substantially bad in quality (you need not focus too much on this if you are planning to overhaul/hack these parts of your home during your renovations).
  • You notice numerous sub-par work/materials such as rusting, leakages, mold build-up and ponding (when your “flooded” bathroom or kitchen water does not flow naturally into the provided drainage).
  • You are extremely particular and have no time/energy to do your own defect-checking. 
  • You would rather part with money, in exchange for a peace of mind.
  • You have noticed many defect-complaints online, regarding your HDB property.

Here are several clues to show that you NEED NOT HIRE a home-inspection / defect-checking company:

  • There are only about 1-3% of minor defects in your HDB-provided flooring.
  • The paint is generally well done and quite even (it is likely you would get your ID to do another coat of anti-mold/washable paint – please do consider this).
  • The ceiling does not need much rectification work.
  • The doors and windows close properly and have minimal creeking sounds.
  • All your electricity points are working.
  • The carpentry is of average-good quality (sad fact: we should not expect a 100% job well done for most contractors in Singapore).
  • There is hardly any ponding occurring when you flood your kitchen and bathroom floors.
  • You would rather take personal responsibility in checking every nook and cranny yourself. 
  • You have a tight budget and would rather spend the money on other parts of the house.
  • You don’t hear of many huge complaints online, or from your neighbors regarding your HDB property.
  • You have a general sense of peace about inspecting your house yourself. 

Ultimately, go with your gut feel and if you’ve purchased the home with your significant other, be sure to come to an agreement with him or her. It is important to collaborate and have a stress-less process, no matter what your final decision might be. 🙂 Relationships are more important than insisting on having your way. 

For those of you who are going to do the defect checking yourselves, we will be doing a post soon on how-to tips and a summarized checklist that we’ve put together (after researching all over the Internet)! 

Hope this helps and let us know what you think. ✌🏻

    Our Japanese-themed home: An interview with our interior designer.

    Would you like a little peek into our Japanese-themed home?

    Would you like to virtually meet our interior designer (ID)?

    This video below marries both of the above. 🙂

    You can say it’s a little ‘collaboration’ between our ID Raemond and us. On his side, he’d styled our home and taken some photos of the interiors (once that’s up on his company’s Facebook page, we’ll let you know). And on our side, we did a little video interview with him – since many of you have been asking about who our ID was.

    We hope you enjoy this video:

    And here’s a photo we took of him. 😛

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    Home renovation details you may have overlooked.

    The home renovation process can be a daunting one but it can be fun too! As long as you’re patient and focused. 

    In order to make it less stressful for you our friends and readers, we want to share some additional tips that we’ve gathered from our own journey and from the online community. 

    You can see more tips from our previous post here


    Oh wow, our home looked like this just months ago! – This is what you could be saying just months from now too! 

    Home renovation details you may have overlooked (& could rectify):

    • For BTO HDB flats, do ensure that your defects are all rectified, before getting your ID or contractor in. 

    This will save you a lot of possible issues in the renovation process, especially if an ID refuses to solve certain “HDB” issues such as water ponding at the toilets – which technically isn’t wrong. Also, a stingy HDB contractor may not want to rectify further problems, which he or she can say is caused by your ID’s workers. If you have the time to finish your defect checking process, before getting your ID to start the renovation, we’d strongly recommend you to do so.

    • Electrical sockets, cable and telephone points – picture how you would go about day to day and where you might need your sockets and the likes of it. 

    Thankfully for us, we had added enough additional sockets and at the right places too. Phew. Just note that usually HDB sockets are nicely depressed into the walls (no it’s not emo) and when you add additional new sockets, these may stick out a bit more. 

    Here’s our hygrometer sitting on an additional (less depressed) electrical socket. Our dehumidifier is working hard to get it down to this humidity by the way. 🙂 

    • Get your appliances and furniture delivered closer to the end of your renovations. 

    Especially for a BTO flat, where it’s common to see many contractors and workers walking in and out of units that have their doors wide open, it is so easy for people to simply walk in, claim to be someone and just disappear with your expensive items. We had a police notice at our lifts, telling us to beware. Do try to work out a schedule (a good ID will help you with this) for when delivery should happen.

    • To hack or not to hack?

    If you’re newly married, think carefully if you’d really need to hack down one room to enlarge the living area. Or, if you’d need to combine two rooms into one to build a full size walk in wardrobe. Or, if it’s practical to have an open concept kitchen, should you do a lot of stir fry or deep frying for your meals. 

    I’ve had friends telling me that they’ve regretted hacking that wall, because now that their family has grown, they do not have enough rooms to accommodate everyone (and hence they have to find a new home). 

    For some friends who aren’t expecting to have kids so soon, had them accidentally too (which can be a surprise blessing), and suddenly – boom! There needs to be a baby room. 

    • If your ID is a creative (meaning that he or she really designs) and is someone you can mostly trust, do not micromanage him or her.

    As “creatives” ourselves, we fully understand how it is like when other creatives put their foot down on their ideas, because of good reason. Of course, there needs to be a fine balance of give and take between the client and the ID. This is where you are the best judge of this; if you can be comfortable enough to leave it to your ID, and bring things up when it makes it uncomfortable. 

    Trust, integrity, a sense of peace, apologizing when needed, being honest, being open…these are important qualities when hiring your ID. 🙂

    So now, there’s no reason for you to overlook these details when renovating your home! ✌🏻