The house in Iskandar has a rather impractical design that appeals not at all to the peasant in Petunia. The living room rises out of a rock pool. I suppose it is an errrr... "sexy" design but all I can think of is capillary action under my living room floor. Despite waterproofing, water MUST be slowly seeping under the slab and over time soaking upwards to create floor damp. It won't be very sexy in a few years time when patches of damp and mould start to appear on the floor of the living room.
I interviewed 3 contractors before deciding on Sam. There was a particularly memorable one who gave me an oily feeling. He appeared at my house with a nubile young lady (seems to be his mistress), 2 huge rings on his right hand and looooooong fingernails on both pinkies. He phoned me twice to ask about what the other contractors had quoted, intending to undercut their prices. I was wary. In every renovation, there are changes and additions. A dishonest contractor can charge ridiculously low prices at first and then add this cost and that cost.
Sam came across as competent and honest.
Sam assigned one skilled worker, Ah Choy and an Indian worker. Ah Choy is very serious about his work. He tiles very, very carefully and slowly. It is clear that he takes pride in his work. The work progresses quite slowly but well (since there is no tenant in sight)... I am not in a hurry. I guess I can afford the trade-off between careful (and intelligent) work and speed. I have always prized quality above quantity and speed. Take the time to do a good job so that you don't have to redo.
I do wish Sam would give me a few more skilled workers but well... I guess he has other jobs to parallel task too. Sam can be found HERE.
See that rock pool? It surrounds all 4 sides of the living room.
Sam, the contractor, emptied it for me and laid rebars.
He filled it with concrete (with waterproof admixture mixed in). See how Sam took care to lay out plastic protection for my living room full length glass windows? In myriad ways, Sam has made sure he did not damage other parts of the house.
Concrete setting in the sun.
This area was outside our kitchen. The house came with no laundry space so I decided to create one.
Sam cleared the grass and laid down rebars.
After concreting, I now have a utility patio for the wet kitchen and laundry area. We will have to put out a polycarbonate roof so that clothes won't get wet when it rains. I am okay with an ugly house but an impractical one is very stressful. How can people design houses without a utility area for laundry and wok fry? In fact, I am thinking of getting the kind of stove they have in the zi char places to impart "wok hei" to my stir fries. Hee!
Here is the swimming pool that flows over into the rock pool.
Rebars were laid and concrete poured in.
I am much happier with this concrete and tile floor that I can walk on and use as practical floor space (think tables, chairs, sun lounges) than that rock pool that I cannot step on. Work isn't quite done yet. When the time comes, I will post the final results and also the contact of the polycarbonate roofer (maybe... if I like him).