12 December 2013

Zara Home

Here's something that can't be found in either Manila or Singapore.

Prices are on their website: http://www.zarahome.com

25 October 2013

Renovation Update 13

Earl is not too happy (again) with Maricel of Rabacon.

When we came home two months ago, the garage floor and all other pending items should have been completed so that we can already have the house rented. That didn't happen so I booked yet another ticket to Manila for October. That trip ended yesterday and the house still isn't done.

In July last year, before we moved to Singapore, we paid the down payment for the installation of a narrow roof to cover the backdoor and the outside sink (you can read the details here). The purpose of the roof is so that people can still work despite the downpour and the rain won't be coming into the house through the back door. Guess what? Maricel forgot about it. She was only reminded of it when we reviewed all the contracts a couple of days ago.

The garage floor that Maricel promised would be completed before October 20 still isn't finished:

Earl is so upset he insisted on talking to Maricel last night (though he's not yet at boiling point). He told her that we pay on time and never even ask for a discount with all the quotes she's given us, but we're clearly not a priority to her. I told Earl that I am partly to blame since I've been quite lenient as I like her and Í can't seem to get mad when I'm with her (it helps that she's nice).

05 October 2013

Renting Out: Part 2

As of this week, the construction of the garage floor has started. The goal is for it to be finished by the time I get back to Manila in a few weeks. The contractors will also finish all pending items and the house should be ready for renting.

If no one rents it by Christmas this year, Earl and I will be looking forward to camping out in our house!

24 June 2013

Sale! Ethan Allen Bedroom

Ethan Allen Bedroom Sale!

Luxe Looks for LESS!
Now through July 31, 2013

Save 20% on stock, 25% on custom orders of BEDS, MATTRESSES, NIGHT TABLES, CHESTS, AND DRESSERS.

Visit their Online Catalogue at www.ethanallen.com.ph to view available stocks!

*For inquiries, call 634.8587 or email ethanallen@focusglobalinc.com

Copyright © 2013 Focus Global Inc., All rights reserved.

Focus Global Inc.
Pioneer cor. Reliance Sts., Mandaluyong City
Mandaluyong 1550

20 June 2013

Renting Out: Part 1

Before we moved into our current apartment, we were told that the unit will be professionally cleaned. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and it took a week for me to clean and disinfect everything. So we were thinking that if ever we did get a tenant, and provided there's enough budget, we'd have the house cleaned.

I only know of two companies that provide this service in Manila. The first is Dirty Business which I got from a local décor magazine. They had an issue on suppliers that the top interior designers go to and Dirty Business was mentioned by one of them. According to the article, the company "Focuses on post-construction cleaning as its core offering. This could mean full detail cleaning of new or newly-renovated houses."

The second was found in an advertisement in Real Living Philippines (I think). Merry Maids is an international franchise based in the United States.

Dirty Business

Scope of work:
• Dust and dirt extraction of all rooms,
• Sanitizing and cleaning of all cabinets and shelves,
• Cleaning of laundry, pantry and utility areas and maid’s room,
• Cleaning of doors, sliding doors, stairs, windows, and walls,
• Sanitizing and disinfecting of toilets and bathrooms,
• Cleaning of all indoor glass fixtures,
• Sanitizing and disinfecting of kitchen and dirty kitchen,
• Polishing of all stainless steel fixtures,
• Cleaning of all lighting fixtures, and
• Cleaning and disinfecting of all interior floors.

Contract price: Php 8,400 (Php 100 per sq.m.)

Price includes cost of wages, supplies, supervision and use of equipment.

Terms of payment: By cash or check made payable to DIRTY BUSINESS, INC. 50% down payment upon acceptance of offer, which serves as reservation for requested cleaning date. Balance to be paid upon turnover of house.

Merry Maids

Scope of work:
• Wiping/dusting
• Vacuuming
• Rest room Cleaning
• Glass Cleaning
• Wet Mopping
• Sanitizing

Contract price: Php 8,900

Price includes the equipment, tools, supplies, and chemicals needed to complete the work.

Manpower: Four (4) Merry Maids

Term of payment: Immediately after completion. Please make check payable to JOLLY MAIDS INC.VIII. VAT Inclusive.

In case anyone has tried out either cleaning company, we would love to hear from you.

13 June 2013

The Decision

In a previous post, we were thinking about selling or renting the house (or just keeping things as is). After much consideration, we've decided to have it rented.

Here are the reasons why:

1. We are currently paying for three properties - the rent for our current apartment, the house in Avida, and my mother-in-law's house. The last house is in Alabang Hills Village and while we split the expenses with Earl's two other siblings, the three storey abode is not cheap to maintain.

2. We'd like to have a baby and if our recent intrauterine insemination (IUI) doesn't work, our doctor here has advised that our only option is vitro fertilisation (IVF) the cost of which will be around SGD 14,000 (Php 453,600 at 32.4 exchange rate). We've asked around and found that this procedure has a better success rate in Singapore or Taiwan and costs roughly the same as in Manila. It's cheaper in Taiwan but will require a five week stay which we cannot do due to Earl's job.

3. It occurred to us that we might be able to find someone who'll love our house as much as we do and treat it like their own.

4. We don't know when we'll be going home.

I recently asked a chat group I belong to about tips on renting - both as a tenant as a landlord. And based on their replies, it's safe to conclude that the more furnished the house, the easier it will be to have it rented out. But since we don't have the budget to buy appliances, our target market will have to be those who already have their own furniture.

Here's our to-do list:

1. Have the contractor finish up at the house. They were supposed to resume once we came back permanently (originally less than a year from now).

2. Check how much cementing the garage area will cost.

3. Inquire about having the yard fixed.

4. Have Mapecon return to do pest control.

5. Inquire with Merry Maids about their rates. My plan is to have the house cleaned professionally right before the renter moves in.

6. Contact a lawyer for help in drafting the lease contract.

Ah, this list really makes me want to move-in! But then again, I've been wanting that since we paid the reservation fee. Sigh.

23 May 2013

Elements: Main Bedroom 1


The one thing I love collecting. Not only will they add color to a room, they also keep things in order. But I'm rather particular about the kind of material used - no matter how pretty, if it's not easy to clean, then I will not buy it.

My most recent acquisition is the Modello Storage Box S from Francfranc with black and white stripes. I got two at SGD 25 each and I think they give the bookcase a bit of balance.

The yellow box is from Daiso which only costs SGD 2. I'm not usually into warm colors, but this was rather cheerful.

The other boxes are temporary until I find something more interesting.


This SGD 85 clock that I bought from Thinkers Novelty was originally meant for the guest room, but somehow it didn't quite go with the blue walls. I transferred it to the main bedroom instead and it looks better suited against a white background.

18 April 2013

Elements: Guest Room 2

As mentioned before, I've decided to decorate minimally. But there are a few things I think every room should have. Aside from the table lamps (which was the topic of a previous post), we've installed the following:

Hook Rack

During my parents' last visit, they didn't have a place to put clothes they wanted to use again (e.g. jackets). So I bought this and hung it at the back of the door using 3M Picture Hanging Strips to prevent the door from getting damaged.

I got this Tjusig Hanger from IKEA for only SGD 12.90.


This took longer to decide on than the other clock and periodical visits to a store in Centrepoint called The Bear Knows. What finally made up my mind is the fact we have guests arriving next week. Also, since I kept going back to the store to look at their clocks, I thought it best to get it over and done with lest the sales agent think I'm stalking him.

This set us back by SGD 149.

Magazine File

This Pluggis Magazine File came in a set of two (the other one is being used for assorted documents) and houses the only form of entertainment for our guests since this room does not have a TV.

The cost for this was SGD 19.90.

10 April 2013

Elements: Entryway 1

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was having a problem on whether to decorate considering we're not staying in Singapore for very long. I've decided to compromise - decorate we will but at a very minimal scale.

And we start off with a clock. Specifically, a Newgate 50's 'Electric' Clock.

The wall beside the front door which overlooks the dining area was empty save for the black IKEA shoe rack. At first, I thought a painting or print would look nice, but then again that's a rather expensive option not to mention the hassle of shipping it to our next destination.

So a clock would be more practical methinks.

I first saw this clock brand at a shop called The Good Things. I sent them an email about the one we were interested in, but it was out of stock. Sammy though was kind enough to ask if there were others we might like from the Newgate website and I sent him three options.

It took over five months before he advised that one of them was in their sister store, The Wright Gift, but I think it was well worth the wait.

Takashimaya also sells Newgate clocks, though I find them a bit more expensive. We bought this one for SGD 183.

11 March 2013

Sell or Rent?

That is the question.

Earl's boss recently told him that one, he is not allowed to resign and two, he won't be going home anytime soon. Basically, it means that after about two years in Singapore, he will be assigned to yet another country (currently unknown) and most likely another one after that.

So what to do about the house? The first thing people ask us when they learn we bought a house, is whether we are renting it out. Many have advised us to do so, but I could not stand the thought of someone else getting to live there first especially after everything. Also, I'm of the opinion that it will be hard to find someone who will care for the house as much as we do.

My Mom keeps telling us to sell. This idea depresses us both as almost every detail in the house was given a lot of thought and consideration - we haven't even used any of the light fixtures I so carefully selected.

Though Earl did say that if there was a really good offer, he'd sell it. Maybe we should take a vote?

14 February 2013

Sale! Ethan Allen Accents & Lighting

For more information, please contact:

Paula Grace M. Monzon
Interior Design Consultant, Ethan Allen
6348587 loc. 252


11 February 2013

Elements: Guest Room 1

At the back of where we live is a road which I like to refer to as "Light Street" because it's lined on both sides with numerous shops all selling light fixtures. And in my search to find the perfect pair of table lamps for the guest room, I decided to walk the entire length of Jalan Besar to check them out.

Now, despite the huffing and puffing (I am completely out of shape) and the glare of the hot afternoon sun, I came up decidedly empty handed. It seemed like most of the stores were all selling the same thing and oddly enough, there weren't too many options.

I also visited as many decor stores as I could find, but it was only in IKEA that I found what I was looking for.

For me, it was the perfect fit for a narrow room with a rather large window.

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