Our HDB BTO Home Renovation

I finally got down to completing our renovation post and it has been almost a year since we’ve moved in around November 2019. Sorry guys! Well, building a home is fun and all but it takes a lot of hard work to maintain it which is what I’m doing now. I’m almost always cleaning or doing chores now what more with an addition to our family now – our little Princess Baeley. So please pardon me that I took sooo long to update you on our home progress.

To pick up where we left off, you can refer to our HDB BTO Home Plan. Shine and I did 2 phase of renovations because we did not take any renovation loan and built room by room when we have saved enough. Our budget for our whole renovation was 20k and we completed it within 18k in approximately 9 months! Here is a timeline of our home renovations.

  • Jan 2019 – Received our Keys!

  • Mar 2019 – Started with screeding and floors.

  • April 2019 – Renovated Kitchen & Dining.

  • June 2019 – Installed TV Console in Living Room.

  • November 2019 – Moved in.

  • December 2019 – Installed build-in Wardrobe.


Out of our whole renovation, the floors took most of money, time and sanity. It was also the very first thing we started on in our house since it’s the base and costs the most. Since we did not opt-in for OCS (Optional Component Scheme), we had to settle the screeding ourselves! Yes, you heard that right. As of 2015, HDB will not be providing screeding unless you got your home as a Sales-of-Balance Flat. That sucks but anyways, I really wanted the dark wood finish and sure as hell knew HDB wasn’t gonna have that one in the OCS so bye $3k.In case you didn’t know, you need to screed your floor to level it and it costs a lot. We had to screed our floors twice because the workers did a shit job on the first round with a lot of hollow and cracked areas.

How to Check Screeding

  1. Knock every inch of your floor to make sure there is no hollow sounds.
  2. Check for cracks.
  3. Only allow them to put on your floor tiles after the screeding is thoroughly checked.

The workers were surprised that I did a check on the spot and Shine gave them a piece of his mind. Once screeding was properly done, we could finally select our floor. Ideally, we would have loved herringbone floors but they were way out of our budget so I went for my next option which is dark wood. The contractor and Shine kept asking if I was very sure because it isn’t a common or safe choice but I trust my taste and I think it turned out much better than we all expected.
Our living room and our fishing chairs sans sofa.


I wanted a light and breezy colour for our walls. Why a light tone? It makes the space look bigger and it doesn’t retain heat. Shine wanted a darker tone but I stuck to my guts and went for this light airy grey with a blue undertone and thank God I did because our hall tends to get hot in the afternoons. We didn’t do any wainscoting or panels or anything like that. You can find out more on our Home Plan post.


Since we opted out of OCS, our home didn’t come with doors of course. I didn’t want the wood toilet doors that came with the OCS. I wanted our doors to blend in with the rest of the house without it blending in too much with the floor. So I opted for these colours and design.

Decided to go for a wainscoting design for our Room Doors to make up for not having them on the walls.

Opted for plastic doors so they wouldn’t rot or grow mushroom (YUCKS!) from the humidity of our climate. And since there was this aquamarine tiffany-esque colour, I went with this.


Honestly, I feel so blessed because I was expecting a small kitchen layout like most BTOs but ours turn out to be quite spacious. In fact, it was so spacious that I can fit in the breakfast booth concept that I have always wanted. However, I was very cautious because I knew what I had in mind was going to cost a bomb but I took a chance and asked Shine to draw out the design because I knew that our uncle contractor is not going to understand what the hell a breakfast booth is.

Yes, Shine drew these with his Samsung phone and S-Pen and uncle understood exactly what we wanted just by looking at the drawings and started measuring.

For our Breakfast Booth, I went for dark wood tones to match the floor. For our Kitchen Cabinets, I really wanted the country homely vibe of our old kitchen while I was growing up and paired it with a granite counter top. It’s actual granite btw so no cut marks and it’ll last a lifetime.

Our kitchen gets the most attention thanks to the Breakfast Booth! Even our contractor stood there and admired it and kept saying, “Wah, banyak cantek!!!” (wah, very beautiful!!!). Now, the first thing we get asked when anyone sees our kitchen and booth for the first time is how much we paid and the number to our ID and I’ll jokingly say I’ll pass them my number, lol! There were some people who said it looked old fashion which was the look I was going for anyways.

Living Room

We didn’t think of putting a built-in TV console initially but when we realise that the wall with all the plugs is hollow, we knew why everyone had built-in TV consoles. So I got Shine to use his talent once again to draw out the idea I had in my head.

Honestly, it turned out smaller than we wanted and were quite bugged about the space in between the plugs and the console. It took me a while to figure out what to do with that space until I remembered I wanted a bar cart in our home and it fits nicely into that area! I know, I’m brilliant.

Master Bedroom

We stopped renovations for a few months because we needed to save money to build our walk-in wardrobe in our master bedroom. About 2 months after we moved in, we got an ID to build it to avoid the headache, translation and fuss from our literally old contractor. Our wardrobe was done and ready to use in just 3 days.

And with that, our renovation was complete before Christmas 2019. So that black figure you see behind me in the mirror was my already decorated Christmas Tree wrapped in trash bag so dust from the renovation won’t stick on it. In case, you want to see how my Christmas Tree looked that year. Now on to the DIY reno to our home.


Besides the kitchen, the other area in our home that gets guests’ attention is our miniature balcony. I get asked how much we paid for the faux brick walls and to their surprise, I’ll reply that my dad did this. I know, I’m lucky. I always wanted a little garden with a red brick wall at the background and my dad said he can make that happen. I’m blessed to have this little space that gets ample of sun to grow my foliage too. We love it out here although we can only really use it mostly one at a time.

So that’s our Home Renovation journey. As you can see, it’s quite minimal and basic due to budget constrains but we made the best out of what we have to work with. Hopefully after the 5 year mark, we will be able to renovate the bathrooms and replace the hollow walls given that came with our BTO. I hope this was helpful especially for families looking for inspiration at budget-friendly price.

Want to see our fully furnished home? Head over to our Home Catalogue.

Related Post:
HDB BTO Home Plan

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Isabelle is the editor behind Love Bella Vida, a Singapore Lifestyle Blog. Thank you for your continued support. Should you wish to collaborate, feel free to get in touch.

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