30 January 2011

Renovation Update 6

At the moment, everything is at a standstill.

The kitchen is not yet done as Cusm Furniture has more pressing deadlines with their other projects (i.e. cabinets for Metrobank). But we're really happy with what they've delivered thus far, so I guess waiting is a small price to pay for workmanship and affordability.

Rabacon is also waiting. The built-in cabinets and the kitchen need to be finished first before they can install the remaining cornices and baseboards.

And as mentioned in the last post, the built-in cabinets have hit a snag since RMV Hardwoods didn't come up to scratch and we are now searching for another supplier.

Meanwhile, Alecto is waiting for all of them to be done so that they can attach the light fixtures. Since the place is still dusty and some of the lamps are covered with fabric, I've decided that it would not be a good idea to install the lights at this time.

But I am happy to report that Avida has fixed the problems mentioned last October 2010. Though, last week we discovered that the staircase steps cracked when the bookshelves were brought up to the second floor. Enrg. Frolan has been informed of the situation and he has promised to fix it.

It seems fixed but what about the varnish?

23 January 2011

Spot the Difference

It doesn't look like the experiment is going well.

Before they delivered the bookshelf last Tuesday, the supplier approached me to explain why they were a month late and ask if we could add Php 500 to the delivery fee since they used automotive paint for the shelves (duco finish).

I countered that we shouldn't pay more since we didn't ask for the more expensive duco finish and they never consulted us whether we were amenable to the change in plans. (Originally, they were supposed to do the "paint and sand" technique to achieve a smooth finish.)

In my head though I was considering giving the extra Php 500 if I liked the cabinets. But all charitable thoughts flew out the window when I saw what they delivered to the house! Instead, I ended up asking a lot of questions:

1. What is your definition of smooth?
2. Where in the drawing can you find the curved design on the cabinet doors?
3. This is what you give to expats? (As mentioned in a previous post, some of the expatriates at work have ordered from them.)
4. Is this your version of duco finish?
5. What's with all the cracks and gray streaks?
6. Where are the drawer pulls located versus the agreed design?
7. How did you conclude that this was okay for delivery?

Needless to say I sent the entire lot back. The thing is, I know the supplier personally so when they asked for a second chance, I agreed. But I told them that if they cannot make the new version up to snuff, then we will be asking for a refund.

In the meantime, the search for the built-in cabinet supplier continues.

18 January 2011

Coming Soon: Dimmable Energy Saver Lamps

Whoever thought that a light bulb would make me so excited? Well the dimmable compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) just did!

As almost half the house is on dimmers, I was getting a bit worried since only incandescent bulbs can be used and the guy at Wilcon told me that they were being phased out (the bulbs that is).

At first, I didn't believe him - how could that happen when all the decorating books I've recently read have advocated the use of dimmers? Not only for better lighting but also for saving on electricity? But it turns out, he was right and it seems that the Philippines will be the first in Asia to ban incandescent bulbs according to Wikipedia (which cited Fox News as the source).

Panic then had me searching Google for a solution and that's how I discovered dimmable CFLs by Philips. My relief was short lived however when I found out that the lights are not yet available locally and no other brand carried a similar product.

So yesterday I called up Customer Service, and the lady who answered advised that someone will get back to me regarding my query. I was pleasantly surprised at their response rate - they replied that same day with the news that the lamps will be available starting July! Hallelujah!

This is even better since incandescent bulbs only have one color - yellow. CFLs, on the other hand, have other colors like "cool white" which is what I wanted for the entire house as it's not as harsh as daylight or as mellow as warm white. It's a good in-between color.

Here are some of the lamp's features but you can read more about the Philips' dimmable CFL on their website:

- Light levels can be adjusted to suit the scene
- Can be used with most conventional dimmers*
- Offers a wide range of dimming (from 5 to 100%)*
- Fast run up time
- Starts up at minimum dimmer level of 5%
- Compact and attractive design to suit many fittings
- Quality Philips technology delivers up to 80% energy savings over incandescent bulbs
- Light does not flicker*
- No hum*

* Test performed in Philips laboratories based on dimming capability, flickering, humming and ignite at low dimming level with most consumer dimmers.

Update: As of December 2011, this lamp is still not available locally. I sent them another email and they informed me that they plan to introduce it next year but no definite date.

11 January 2011

My Head in the Clouds

I had so much fun thinking of what we hope to do for the house this year that I've decided to take my daydreaming a step further! This post will be about the stores that I would love to shop in once we win the lottery...

But first up, my pick for interior decorator: Celerie Kemble. In some parallel universe, we are able to hire Ms. Kemble to fix up the house. Sigh. I loved her book, To Your Taste, which (to quote from the back cover) "...teaches you how to think like an interior decorator and create rooms that tell your story - with substance and style." Here are a couple of pictures of her work that I like best:

The following establishments have almost everything needed for the house - furniture, tableware, bed & bath items, lamps, home accessories and even wallpaper - so I'll just list them in alphabetical order:

Laura Ashley

You can view their online catalogue here.

Pottery Barn

You can view their online catalogue here.

The great thing about their websites is that they've already hired decorators to help showcase their products so you'll easily get an idea how to arrange things. In fact, they offer their design services so you can hire them for your house (that is if you live in their area).

And with the Pottery Barn, they have a section on decorating where you can try out their room planner and check their gallery of room ideas.

By the way, I am not connected to any of the stores mentioned in this post. It's just that I really love the style they represent so I've decided to feature them as I hope to be able to re-create the same look in our house. But since we can't hire them (they are not in our budget range or in the same continent), I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

06 January 2011

House Resolutions

Happy new year! Yes, it's that time of year again for wish lists... er, resolutions but because they're usually broken, I don't make any. For 2011 though, I've decided to make an exception.

Whenever people ask us when the house will be done or when will we be moving in, I frequently reply, "2012." Some think this is too far away - why that long? Well, as I've mentioned before, it will depend on our cash flow. But if we had our way, we'd be moving in tomorrow! So, here's what we hope to accomplish for this year:

1. Build the carport, fence and gate
2. Finish part two of the kitchen cabinets (technically the other half which is the pantry and laundry area)
3. Install the closets in our room
4. Have the linen closet in the hallway made

At work, these would be our objectives. Once they're are done and if there's any money left over, we can add "stretch targets." (Can you tell it's evaluation time at the office?) Here's what we plan to buy in order of importance:

1. Bed
2. Dining set
3. Sofa
4. Refrigerator
5. Electric fans

At this point, we can already move-in BUT I also want to get the following for the house to feel more like a home:

1. Night tables & lamps
2. Foyer table
3. Televisions for the living room and our bedroom
4. Air conditioner for our room
5. Desk and extra shelves for the study room

In case you're wondering about the garden, we plan to fix that right before moving in. (It will be interesting to see how many we can cross off by the end of this year.)

Hmmm... this list thing is rather addictive - I could go on and on about what I wish to happen. That's the nice thing about dreams - they're free and endless!

It has also just given me an idea for the next post. In the meantime though, here's an image taken from the Laura Ashley website as a clue:

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