29 July 2010

Window Shopping: Kitchen Cabinets

We went around home depot stores, malls and an expo just grabbing fliers and brochures from companies we saw offering kitchen cabinets.

Then we emailed what I call a "Kitchen Kit". It contained the floor plan, drawings, notes, etc. This was to ensure that the suppliers would all be on the same page when it came to the quotation and we could compare fairly.

With the exception of SieMatic and Rian Commercial, here are the drawings where all the quotes are based. These were done by Viro Casa:

Viro Casa Drawing A

Viro Casa Drawing B

And here are the rates offered by the suppliers mentioned in the first kitchen post:

- Cabinet Specialist Inc.

Office: 9 Illinois St., Northeast Greenhills, San Juan City
Showroom: Automatic Supercentre, Old Rustans Bldg. Araneta Center, Quezon City
Factory: Purok 2, Calaboso Road, Bgy. Sto. Tomas, Binan, Laguna
Telephone Numbers: 725 8778, 726 7733
Email: specialist.cabinet@yahoo.com

Carcass: 1/4" thick marine plywood with white high pressure laminate (HPL).
Doors: Varnished solid agathis (Indonesian almasiga) wood. Varnished solid agathis wood frame with 1/4" frosted glass on panel.
Countertop: 12mm thick synthetic solid surface material with 32mm nosing and 70mm splashboard.

Price: Php 172,941

Note: We saw their showroom while passing through the Automatic Supercentre in Araneta Center. And while I thought they were located too far away from the house, it turns out their factory was closer than we thought. This taught us that it doesn't hurt to just ask as you'll never know what you'll find.

- Canadian Kitchen

Office: 1 Carlo J Caparas St., Bgy. Ugong, Pasig City
Showroom: Make Room branches
Telephone Numbers: 671 4495, 671 9142
Email: marquez_ariane@yahoo.com

Carcass: 18mm white HPL interiors on marine plywood; exposed sides to color match door.
Doors: Shaker door design in tangile wood frame with tangile veneer center in lacquer white finish.
Countertop: Not included.

Price: Php 252,288

Note: They sent a picture of a kitchen they've already done and I must say I really liked it. But unfortunately, they are not within budget.

- Cusm Furniture Shop

Office & Factory: Blk.15, Lot 2, Real St., Villa Eusebia Subdivision, Pulang Lupa, Las Pinas City
Telephone Numbers: 828 5156, 828 5153, 0922 815 6206
Email: cusmfurniture@yahoo.com.ph

Carcass: 18 mm thick marine plywood and plyboard with white laminate, PVC edgebond and 6 mm thick plywood backing.
Doors: 18 mm thick solid mahogany in varnish or duco painted finish.Frosted 3 mm thick glass on overhead cabinet.
Countertop: China granite or solid surface.

Price: Php 88,220

Note: The owners are related to Earl but it took some time before we were able to contact them. And while it was no surprise we signed up with them, fortunately for us, they also offered the lowest quote (I think they gave us a discount).

- Kicco Kitchen

Office & Factory: Felix Ave. corner Karangalan Drive, Cainta, Rizal
Showroom: Festival Supermall Alabang - Maquiling Builders Depot (Lipa & Los BaƱos) - MC Home Depot Ortigas - Parammata Bldg., San Fernando City, La Union - Villa Rosario Subdivision, Tiaong, Quezon
Telephone Numbers: 645 5252, 645 5283, 645 6508
Email: kiccokitchens@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.kiccokitchenphil.com

Carcass: 16mm thick white melamine-faced chipboard (MFC); adjustable shelves are provided with peg support.
Doors: Solid framed doors w/ veneer panels, shaker design, duco finish.
Countertop: Natural granite countertop - jet black.

Price: Php 150,000

Note: They had good reviews on the chat group I belong to and we would have seriously considered them had Cusm Furniture Shop not pushed through.

- KusinArt Kitchen System

Office: 143 Kamias Road, Quezon City
Telephone Number: 0915 660 3186
Email: kusinart_designers@yahoo.com
Website: http://kusinart.multiply.com

Carcass: 18mm marine plywood laminated with white non-postformable HPL with 0.4mm colored PVC edgeband. 18mm white versaboard for sink cabinet unit only.
Doors: 20mm Solid tanguile wood framed in clear lacquer finish recessed panel (shaker style).
Countertop: 18/36mm Natural granite with eased edge nosing and 100mm splashboard (Euro).

Price: Php 250,000 (VAT exclusive)

Note: They did the kitchens for the Oakwood Premier guest rooms in Ortigas.

- Modular Plus

Office: 30 Gen. Malvar St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City
Showroom: 19 San Joaquin Norte, Agoo, La Union
Telephone Numbers: 367 7150, 364 4755, 0917 564 2162
Email: jacqua_23@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.latimco.com

Carcass: 16mm thick moisture resistant melamime board
Doors: 18mm thick solid maple wood-shaker design (matt finish).  Overhead cabinet: 18 mm solid maple wood-shaker design (with glass).
Countertop: Synthetic granite (solid surface) – with 20 varieties of colors and designs.

Price: Php 217,980

Note: We saw their booth at the 2010 Worlbex.

- Viro Casa

Office: 6th Floor Exchange Corner Building, V.A. Rufino St., Makati City
Showroom: Level 3, Greenbelt 5 Mall, Ayala Center, Makati City
Telephone Number: 757 0743
Email: info@virocasa.com, b.visperas@vroque.com
Website: http://www.virocasa.com

Carcass: Triple-layer, high-density quality particleboard coated with melamine on both sides, 16mm thick, emission class E1. This five-layer composition guarantees freedom from warping and ensures clean resistant surfaces. Standard delivery is white inside with all exposed sides finished to match the door front finish.
Doors: Solid oak with veneer center panel in white stain.
Countertop: Samsung by Staron.

Price: Php 678,940

Note: It took them a very long time to send us a quote. But when they did send it, I was surprised to learn that, considering they're only a local company, they were at the same price point (if not more) than SieMatic.

The following quotations were obtained in 2009 and were based on different designs:

Rian Commercial Drawing

- Rian Commercial

Office: B66 Roga Compound, Tumana, Concepcion 1, Marikina City
Showroom: Balintawak Home Depot, Manila Bay Home Depot, MC Home Depot, Ortigas Home Depot, Pampanga Home Depot
Telephone Numbers: 948 5254, 948 1623
Email: riancom2marikina@yahoo.com.ph
Website: http://riancommercial.com

Carcass: HP laminated marine plywood.
Doors: MD fiberboard door.
Countertop: Natural granite stone.

Price: Php 180,000

Note: I saw their showroom and the display looked okay.

SieMatic Drawing

- SieMatic

Office & Showroom: Pioneer corner Reliance Sts., Mandaluyong
Telephone Number: 634 8587 local 263
Email: customerservice@focusglobalinc.com, dottie.coronel@focusglobalinc.com
Website: http://www.focusglobalinc.com, http://www.siematic.com

Carcass: Triple layer furniture board; K laminate.
Doors: Walnut wood laminate.
Countertop: Not included.

Price: € 6791

Note: They definitely had better customer service than Viro Casa... Maybe if we win the lottery.

22 July 2010

Short Circuit

As mentioned in the previous post, Electrical Shortage, the house cannot the support the electrical appliances we plan to install. Here's what Avida provided as copied from the panel board schedule located in the building plan:

Here's the computation made by Alecto General Technology Corporation based on what we actually need:

And here's the series of emails triggered by this discrepancy:

From: Nicole
Date: 2010/7/12
To: AVIDA Frolan, AVIDA Ellen

Hi Frolan & Ellen,

Please refer to the email below. According to people from Alecto, the house cannot accommodate the appliances we are planning to plug in:

1.) Water heater for the shower only (x2) - 3kW to 8kW (see website)
2.) Fridge - Whirlpool 21.8 cubic feet - 24 A / 615 W
3.) Washing machine - Whirlpool 10.5 K load - 5 A / 60 HZ
4.) Clothes dryer - Whirlpool 6 K load - 10 A
5.) ACU - split type 2HP - ground floor
6.) ACU - window type 0.75 HP - masters bedroom and the second largest bedroom

They also advised that if we are planning to add more electrical devices in the future (i.e. electrical pump), this will no longer be possible.

We would also like to know why there is only one electrical outlet in each bedroom and why is it located beside the door? Did the planners of Avida not account for what people use in their homes? ACU, night lamps, computers, printers, scanners, TVs, DVD players, etc?


From: AVIDA Ellen T.
Date: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM
To: Nicole

Hi Ms. Nicole,

Thanks for the advice. With regard to your concerns, the Technical team would like to confirm that indeed the electrical design and load schedules presented in our plans are the standard offering of Avida and in accordance with the Electrical Code. Any upgrade or increase on load requirements outside our specifications shall be on the account of the buyer since electrical design/load schedules are patterned after our standard specs.

Further, the location of our electrical outlets, are based on the suggested floor plans designed by the team (as per brochure inserts).

Also, as verified on site, the rectification of your unit is currently on-going. Will keep you posted until punch lists are fully addressed. Kindly refer to the below update.


From: Nicole
Date: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 6:40 PM
To: AVIDA Ellen, AVIDA Ruth

Hi Ellen,

Then we have a problem. Had we known that we would not have bought the house but your sales agent assured us that the appliances we planned to install are all possible. Take note that these are just the usual appliances that one buys for a house.

Also, why is the electrical load provided for the ref only 500W? According to Alecto, that's only good for a personal ref.

What kind of house only provides for a personal ref and basically nothing else?

What kind of house only has one electrical outlet per room and it's located by the door of all places? What do you do with the night lamp? Position it by the door?

This is NOT a quality home. Quality does not mean you have to spend extra just so that you can install a fridge. This is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS!!!!!

Also, what brochure inserts? Are they the ones given out to potential customers? Because trust me, it's not indicated there.

If we were to base it on your model unit, each room would have an outlet for the aircon.

Avida is very deceiving. It sells based on lies - A LOT of them.

I called up our sales agent Mich last night and told him to NEVER tell the customers that they can plug in basic appliances. I've also told him that he should also tell them that the waiting time for a house is over a year and that it will be subject to A LOT of repairs once done.

By the way, turnover means that it's ready for move-in. It's mid July and the house is still being repaired. So basically the house is not ready and is now 11 months LATE and counting.


From: AVIDA Ellen
Date: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM
To: Nicole
Cc: AVIDA Christine

Hi Ms. Nicole,

You may introduce changes, improvements and/or upgrade in your unit but that is through the account of the buyer since your requirements are not within our specifications.

We have delivered a Patrice Standard unit to you as per commitment and disclosed specifications in our plans.

We’ve provided the options (such as Basic, Standard and Premium units) to cater to our buyers need.

Also, model units (both with I.D & non-I.D) were showcased on site to provide buyers better appreciation/ idea of the actual unit they purchase.

Pardon us if the specs on the Standard unit you purchased don’t meet your requirements, but it is our standard deliverable and is in conformance with the house building plan we have provided to our buyers.


From: Nicole
Date: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 9:45 PM
To: "AVIDA Ellen, AVIDA Ruth

Yes but we were NEVER informed of what the actual electrical capacity was. We were just told it's ALL possible.


You guys would not even give any of the plans in advance when we asked for it. You gave it after we paid for the house.

Your commitment is whatever your sales agents tell us is possible - especially since the specs given to us don't include anything about the electrical.

So I would suggest that you stop telling us that we knew in advance what came with the house because all we know is what the sales agent told us.

And as to delivering "a Patrice Standard unit to you as per commitment and disclosed specifications in our plans" - are misaligned walls and floors part of your specifications?


"Pardon us if the specs on the Standard unit you purchased don’t meet your requirements"


Oh, and the non-ID model unit - it had no walls. THERE WAS NEVER A NON-ID STANDARD MODEL UNIT FOR PATRICE. Don't you guys know that?



I just received the quotation from Alecto on how much it would cost to add extra load and the outlets and their fee will be around Php 160,000. Now that is a little too rich for our blood but the facilities manager at work advised that of all the big name electrical engineering companies he has dealt with, only Alecto has not failed. So by my estimate, other not so well known companies will at least charge Php 100,000.

*Update: Alecto sent another quotation the following day. This time the total cost is Php 121,000. While the new price is better, it's still over Php 100,000.

Earl and I have a bit of money saved up but we were planning to use that for the contractor, the kitchen and if there's anything left over, maybe furniture. We were not planning to spend it on something that should have been provided for to begin with.

I also spoke with Ellen earlier today - despite the emails, I like to think that we're starting to get along. But I pointed out to her that before she sends out an email template, she should try to put herself in our shoes. We've just paid a lot of money for a dud.

I know of others who bought much larger houses at less than what we paid - with complete electrical load and sockets. Can someone remind me again why we decided to go with Avida? I'm starting to forget.

Ellen wants to set up a meeting with us and Noel (her boss). I asked her what good will that do? She said that Noel can make decisions regarding our house. If that's the case, why can't he make a decision now? But I agreed provided that the meeting will be on a Saturday and we can meet at the house.

This entire situation is extremely depressing and I don't think Avida understands the gravity of what their actions have done (starting from the sales agent) and what it is causing us - both mentally and financially.

21 July 2010

Electrical Shortage


It all started with the need for additional electrical outlets.

Second Level Power and Auxiliary Layout

The circles above mark the location of the electrical outlets on the second floor. Notice that the two other bedrooms have just one outlet which is located beside the door.

But before anything else, let me start from the beginning.

When we were talking to our sales agent, we asked him if the appliances we were planning to install (i.e. washing machine, dryer, water heaters for the two showers, side by side fridge, etc.) would be possible with the electrical load of the house. He said yes.

Now that the house has been turned over to us, we've discovered that there is only one electrical outlet in the other two bedrooms. Where do we plug the night lamps, computer, printer, air conditioner, etc? Are we supposed to stretch the cords across the room to where the door is?

But as it turns out, that's the least of our problems.

Initially, we inquired with Alecto General Technology Corporation (an electrical engineering company recommend by the facilities manager at work) how much it would cost to install additional outlets.

They asked for a copy of the Avida electrical plan, pictures of the panel board and a detailed list of the appliances we're planning to install:

1.) Water heater for the shower only (x2) - 3kW to 8kW (Alpha-LH-1000E)
2.) Fridge - Whirlpool 21.8 cubic feet - 24 A / 615 W
3.) Washing machine - Whirlpool 10.5 K load - 5 A / 60 HZ
4.) Clothes dryer - Whirlpool 6 K load - 10 A
5.) ACU - split type 2HP - ground floor
6.) ACU - window type 0.75 HP - masters bedroom and the second largest bedroom

After studying the Avida electrical plan, Alecto advised that the load of the house is only 60.6 amps (line current at 100% Demand Factor), while what we need for the electrical devices mentioned above is 95.34 amps (line current at 80% Demand Factor).

They also said that the electrical load for the fridge provided by Avida is 543W which is essentially good for just a PERSONAL REFRIGERATOR. The fridge we plan to install needs 5520W.

Basically, the house is SHORT by 34.74 amps. And if we plan to install a water pump with an electrical booster (or anything else for that matter) in the future, it will no longer be possible.

Avida's response to all this is that they can only provide what's in the plan and anything outside of that will be for us to install. They also told me that the neighbors have installed all sorts of things including electrical fences and there doesn't seem to be a problem.

To this Alecto explained that house fires are caused not by faulty wiring, but due to misuse of the owner. They explained that not all outlets are created equal (meaning you just can't plug in anything you like). And based on the breakdown given by Avida for the outlets, what Alecto is saying is true as each outlet has a specific capacity.

Just last week, Ellen from Avida was assuring me (yet again) that we will get a quality house. What kind of quality are they talking about if, to install basic appliances, we need to shell out a ton of money (minimum Php 80,000 according to Alecto) just so that we can actually plug in those devices and ensure we won't have an electrical shortage?

I have come to the conclusion that if you wish to purchase from Avida, just buy the lot and build the house yourselves. Because the house that Avida provides is not the kind where once finished, you can move in already. You will need to add and spend for many things just so that you can live in it.

17 July 2010

Kitchen Cabinets: Cusm Furniture Shop

I am my mother's daughter.

Almost a decade ago, when I first moved in to the apartment that I shared with friends, I took a particularly keen interest in setting up our kitchen. And while I was thinking of what else we needed for the place, I had mentioned to my friend Ivonne that I was going to buy a kitchen timer. She laughed so hard and asked why I would need one! That's when I realized that I had become my mom.

My mom is a really good cook and while I do not cook as often, I've always loved preparing food and inviting people over. In fact, long before we even bought the house, I was already planning for all the dinner parties Earl and I were going to have!

So it was no surprise that I wanted a kitchen I could spend the whole day in and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. Now the problem is that dreams don't often jive with reality. And as much as I wanted kitchen cabinets by SieMatic, I was not willing to spend that much on just one area of the house.

Thus the search for the cheaper option. In our quest for kitchen cabinet makers, we asked for a quote from the following vendors:

- Cabinet Specialist Inc.
- Canadian Kitchen
- Kicco Kitchen
- KusinArt Kitchen System
- Modular Plus
- Rian Commercial
- SieMatic (for the local distributor, click here)
- Viro Casa

In the end, we decided on Cusm Furniture Shop. They gave the lowest quote but I think they gave a discount as the owners also happen to be related to Earl. We cannot personally vouch for their work as we've never had a kitchen done before. But then again, we can't vouch for any of the other kitchen cabinet suppliers.

Below are pictures of kitchens they've already done and based on this, I am optimistic.

Recent Project in General Trias

Avida Model Unit

10 July 2010

DIY Inspiration: Young House Love

I love what this couple did to their house and the best part is, they did it themselves!

Sherry and John's blog "Young House Love" details how they transformed each room of their first home on their own.

Admittedly, the local scene is not as conducive to do-it-yourself (DIY) than in the United States. And oddly enough, considering our economy, it seems that the Philippines is more of a "hire someone to do it for you" type of culture. Probably because labor is cheap?

But what they've done gives me hope that it is possible to have a nicely decorated house without hiring an interior designer. Here's a sample of their home make-over:



For more before and after pictures, check our their House Tour.

04 July 2010

Supplier Hunting

And now for the fun part! Though it sometimes feels overwhelming as I want to cover everything at once and there's never enough time.

Finishing Contractor - we already have one company in mind but we will ask for a few more quotes before making a decision.

Kitchen Cabinet Maker - this is our top priority as I love cooking. I've been asking around since last year and after nine proposals, we've decided on Cusm Furniture. This is the supplier that gave the lowest quote but I think they also gave a substantial discount considering the owners are related to Earl. (You can read more details regarding the kitchen here and here.)

Architect - we were hoping to get help from a relative but he's busy with other projects outside of Manila thus the search for someone else.

Furniture Maker - unless we can find something off a store floor that's reasonable and fits our small space, we're anticipating that most of our furniture will be custom made. Our plan is to get from different suppliers - as opposed to just one which might be cheaper and faster in the long run. It will be like an experiment to know which one we like most. That way, if we need more furniture in the future, we'll know who to go to. Also, this will lessen the regret and disappointment in case there's a problem.

Here's where I wish we had a bigger budget - our shopping list:

1. Floor tiles
2. Bathroom tiles
3. Paint
4. Laminated wood flooring
5. Lights and dimmers
6. Cornices
7. Baseboards
8. Extra door locks and deadbolts
9. Window screens

Now if there are still funds leftover, I would like to include the following:

1. Bathroom sinks - to replace the ones provided by Avida as I want to change them to something more aesthetically pleasing
2. Door knobs - same reason as the bathroom sinks
3. Window casings
4. Head and side casings for the doors

Notice that appliances are not on on the list. This is because we will buy them right before moving in. Actual move in will depend on the state of our finances (hahaha!).

By the way, if anyone has suggestions on anything regarding the house, please leave us a note as we would love to hear you!
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