29 December 2011

A New Road

It's called the Daang Hari-SLEx link.

Currently, the shortest way to get to the house is via a thoroughfare called Daang Hari (loosely translated means "way of the king"). This road is also the fastest way to reach the South Luzon Express Way (SLEx) which is used by almost everyone to get to the various business districts. So you can imagine just how congested it gets during rush hour especially when a three-lane road merges into a one-lane bottleneck.

A friend, who lives in one of the many villages along Daang Hari, once told me that the normal 15 minute travel time from her house to Alabang triples to 45 minutes in the morning. It's then another hour from Alabang to Makati where Earl's office is located. Given that scenario, it will take him around two hours just to get to work.

But there is now hope in the horizon! First, workers are now widening the road thus the bottleneck will soon be a thing of the past. Second, is that there will be a more direct route to the SLEx hopefully by late 2012.

Here's the news article with the details:

Ayala bags 1st PPP road project

22 December 2011

Supplier Ratings: Cusm Furniture Shop 4

Area: Bedroom Closets
Price Tag: Php 19,800
Rating: 1/10 (10 being the highest). Details can be found here.

15 December 2011

Supplier Ratings: Cusm Furniture Shop 3

Area: Bookshelves & Linen Closet
Price Tag: Php 20,790
Rating: 1/10 (10 being the highest). Details can be found here.


Next up: pictures of the Bedroom Closets

08 December 2011

Supplier Ratings: Cusm Furniture Shop 2

Area: Laundry & Pantry Cabinets
Price Tag: Php 35,410
Rating: 1/10 (10 being the highest). Details can be found here.


Next up: pictures of the Bookshelves & Linen Closet

01 December 2011

Supplier Ratings: Cusm Furniture Shop 1

Area: Modular Kitchen Cabinets
Price Tag: Php 95,320
Rating: 1/10 (10 being the highest)

2017 Update: It turns out that most of the cabinets are made of MDF, so I've changed their rating to 1.

I can really see myself pottering happily in this kitchen! Quite frankly, all the cabinets turned out better than we expected - including the bedroom closets and the study room bookshelves. They look and feel just like the ones I've seen in model units and all those who have examined the cabinets up close have declared that they are well made.

Why only 5? Patience is a virtue you will need in abundance when dealing with them. They can do very good work but you must watch them like a hawk and constantly inspect what they're doing to come up with results you'll be happy with.

Case in point, the staff assigned to the house kept reporting that the work was "done" but everytime I went to check, I found the opposite to be true.

The cabinets, closets and bookshelves had the following issues:
- Some door hinges were floating in air (meaning the hinge was not resting on solid wood but in an air pocket which they filled up with epoxy to fix the problem).
- There were a few chips, cracks and bubbles in the laminate.
- The drawers were initially made of modified fibreboards (MDF) which we specifically said we did not want as it's prone to mold.
- Unfinished surfaces (no paint) either above or under the cabinet doors.
- A couple of drawers had paint on the top half but none on the bottom.

- Some areas were only partially covered with laminate (like the shelf below where one-fifth was covered while the rest was left bare).

- A few shelves are at least half an inch above the shelf supports (it's too big for the space).

Update: I initially gave them a rating of 8 but because they recently advised us to look for another contractor to fix the pending repair items, I lowered it down to 7. Apparently, they're too busy with their other clients.

But then I started thinking, we've paid Cusm Furniture Shop a total of Php 171,320 and now we're going to shell out even more money for Rabacon to fix things. That to me seemed unfair, thus their final grade is 5. There were also other issues regarding customer service that I will no longer delve into as I'm trying to make this a happy blog.


Next up: pictures of the Laundry & Pantry Cabinets

24 November 2011

Up Next...

1.) Cusm Furniture Shop's Supplier Ratings. They ended their work at the house last November 16, but before I post the details, I will clean the house first so that the cabinets will look somewhat presentable in the pictures (hahaha!).

Please note that since they did many different cabinets in the house, I will break things down per area to avoid confusion. But the ratings and the comments are basically the same as the issues encountered in one section were the same as the other sections. (Not surprising though considering they were all done by one supplier.)

2.) Another installment of "Excerpts from the Experts." This time from Libby Langdon.

Needless to say, this post is about buying myself more time - just the thought of cleaning all those cabinets makes me want to stay in bed the entire day...

20 October 2011

Book of the Month

I promised myself that I would not buy anymore decorating books, but this one had so many good reviews on Amazon that I could not resist! Yup, promises are REALLY made to be broken...

My aunt will be bringing it with her when she comes to Manila next month. I can't wait!

24 September 2011


Ain't it pretty? I'm not too fond of MS Word clip art but I must say this was not only cute but also apt.

A few months ago, I mentioned that we received "a bit of news that has sent us in a tailspin..." I also said that we would not mention what it was until it was confirmed. Well, it's taking much longer than we thought and we can't move into the house until they make up their minds.

I'm not making any sense am I? Let me start from the beginning.

Earl's office informed him that they might be sending him abroad and the secondment could take as short as a year or as long as four years. The wonderful thing about this is that he gets to bring me along! So at the moment, here are our options:

1. Germany
2. Singapore
3. Cavite

He could be sent to either the head office (Germany) or the regional office (Singapore) or we get to stay home (Cavite). This is the reason why we cannot buy furniture or decorate the house. Can you imagine a mattress just gathering dust for the next four years? It's a good thing we found out about this before we had the range-hood installed! So until we know for certain, the range will not be leaving its box.

If I must be honest, I prefer the first option over the other two. I've been to Europe before but never to Germany. I've also lived in a couple of other countries so I know how exciting a new environment can be.

Singapore, I've been to many times so I know more or less what to expect. The good thing about them is that everything is in English and most of the brands are familiar. Thus, grocery shopping will not be a problem. Also, the place is a short plane ride away from Manila - checking on the house will be a breeze. The only downside I can think of is that Singapore is not bordered by France, Switzerland and Austria.

But if we end up not going anywhere, it would still be a good thing as we can finally start moving in. I'm not too worried about the house since there's barely anything in it - nothing to rob and easy to clean.

24 August 2011

Supplier Ratings: Electrical Contractor

Supplier: Alecto General Technology Corporation
Price Tag: Php 118,000
Rating: 9/10 (10 being the highest)

The lights are still working and nothing has exploded (yet) so dare I say it? I LOVED working with them! Note that they were not perfect but before I get ahead of myself, "they" refers to Tsino and Irwin who worked on the house and Eman their supervisor.

We gave them a key to the place and they just let themselves in because I was advised by the people from my office that I didn't need to look in on them as Alecto knows what they're doing.

So from what I did see, they were neat and they had pride in the work they did. They also got along well with the workers from Rabacon.

More importantly, they were all so easy to talk to. In Filipino there's an expression that goes "magaan dalhin" when describing someone - literally it means "light to carry." They did over and beyond the call of duty. Extra outlets? Not a problem. Change the location of the sockets again? Sure. Extra cost? None!

Now we can confidently plug in anything without fear or multiple extension cords.

In case you're wondering why we needed an electrician, you can read it here and here.

So far no major ones and only a couple of very minor issues.

Since Alecto chipped at the walls and floors to embed and reroute wires, cement was needed to cover them all up again. This was included in the contract so technically we already paid for the restoration materials. But they used the cement provided by Rabacon instead. We didn't mind too much as they did not charge for all the extra work we asked them to do.

They also forgot to install one dimmer switch which Tsino rectified last week. Though in the greater scheme of things, this was not a problem.

10 August 2011

6-Month Certificate Program in Interior Decoration

I was on Deal Grocer when I came across this offer:

Whether you’re an occasional hobbyist, an aspiring interior stylist or simply waiting to discover your inner designer, School of Fashion and the Arts’ 6-Month Certificate Program in Interior Decoration is tailor-made just for you!

Exclusively for Deal Grocer members, learn lessons on the fundamentals of interior decoration and build a fine foundation for a bright design future for only Php 42,500. (Php 85,000 Original Price)!

Founded by industry mover and trendsetting interior designer Ivy Almario in collaboration with the School of Fashion and the Arts, the SoFA School of Interior Design boasts of the most distinguished and highly established teachers in the industry.

Acquaint yourself with the elements of good design by immersing in the course’s harmony of classes encompassing the following: Theory of Design, Graphics Drafting, Materials & Resources 1, Color Theory, Perspective Drawing, Lighting Design, Color Rendering and Interior Design 1A.

This program will run for 6 months (2 semesters):

▪ First Semester: September 26, 2011 to December 17, 2011
▪ Second Semester: January 16, 2012 to April 28, 2012

The schedule of the classes are as follows:

▪ Mondays 9AM-4PM
▪ Wednesdays 11AM-6PM

The two-semester program consists of a total of 8 subjects (3 units each for a total of 24 units). This will be broken down into 13 sessions (4 subjects) per semester.

Pursue your design passion! Enroll in SoFA’s Certificate Program in Interior Decoration at 50% OFF exclusive for Deal Grocer members!

Terms of this Deal:
▪ Valid from September 26, 2011 to April 28, 2012 (6 months or 2 semesters)
▪ Valid for 13 sessions (4 subjects) per semester
▪ One (1) coupon is good for one (1) person
▪ Not valid for cash back
▪ Not valid with other promos and discounts

Company Info
School of Fashion and the Arts
55 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City
(02) 892-8807 local 103-104
(0917) 501-8136


You'll have to sign up to see the all the details and purchase the voucher but I've copied most of the pertinent information here.

Please note that only 15 vouchers were offered and as of this writing, there are only eight (8) left. So if you're interested, you will need to buy it within the next three (3) days.

14 July 2011

Wood Furniture Tips

Quality Checks

When shopping for wood furniture you'll find varying levels of quality and pricing. Use this checklist to judge what you're getting for your money.


▪ Veneers and laminates should be securely joined to the base material.
▪ Joints bearing weight should be reinforced with corner blocks.
▪ Back panels should be screwed into the frame.
▪ Long shelves should have center supports.


▪ Drawers should fit well, glide easily, and have stops.
▪ Drawer bottoms should be held by grooves, not staples or nails.
▪ Drawer interiors should be smooth and sealed.
▪ Drawer corners should have dovetail joints.


▪ Cabinet doors should open and close smoothly.
▪ Hinges and other hardware should be strong and secure.


▪ All finishes should feel smooth unless they are intentionally distressed or crackled.

Page 101 from The Smart Approach to Small-Space Living
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