What, No Store Room?

The 4R HDB resale flat I bought was built in 1982, when the public housing program under the auspices of the Housing and Development Board ("HDB") was still in its infancy. In those days HDB focused on building public flats quickly and cheaply to house the population -- so balcony, attached toilet in the master bedroom, store room, etc were considered non-essential luxuries and were therefore not provided for in flats built in that period.

I can do without the balcony or attached toilet (though nice to have), but I cannot do without a storeroom !

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The storeroom is where I keep my cleaning equipment (vacuum cleaner, brooms, dust-pans, even pails & mops as I don't want my bathroom to look cluttered), ladder, extra stools, etc.

Posed with a design challenge, with time quickly running out, I had to decide where and how to have my store room.


My first logical and obvious location for the store was the space between the 2 bedrooms towards the back of the flat. I could carve out a space by demolishing the wall between the bedrooms, then erect walls to create a store space between the two bedrooms.

However, I soon had to abandon that idea because each bedroom then would have to give up some space, squashing the tiny space in each bedroom even further. That won't do!

Finally, after considering several other configurations, I settled on creating a store room of modest proportion in the kitchen.

The picture below shows the kitchen with the flat's previous owner in the background, while HDB was processing my application to purchase the flat.

The proposed store room would be created in the corner where the fridge stood, simply by extending the front wall of the living room one meter into the kitchen area, and erecting a partition wall so as to create a small enclosure measuring 1m by 1.5 m.

The picture below shows the corner after the old kitchen wall tiles were hacked preparatory to creating the store enclosure. Did you know that HDB's approval is required for creating new walls in the flat, such as the ones for the store room?

The next picture shows the store room taking shape, with the enclosure created out of cement blocks. Owing to space constraint, the store room would be a walk-in enclosure without a door. Nifty idea, isn't it?

And finally, Viola!! the picture below shows the final store room enclosure, nicely tiled and ready for use:



Initially the tiler assigned to the kitchen work was reluctant to tile the enclosure's internal walls. He urged me to use paint instead. I brought the issue up with James, my interior designer, and he proved his worth by directing the tiler to tile the enclosure room fully.

I was impressed !

LATER: Completed storeroom with kitchen cabinets!

Most tilers have only one objective when they take on your job, and that is to do quality work in as short a time as possible. Without an effective ID to lead them, they would take shortcuts that are always not in the flat owner's best interests. This is where it is vital to have a good ID, one who can command the respect and trust of the tilers, so that they will do his bidding without resentment or unhappiness.

The rapport that James had with the tilers was again demonstrated in another incident:

When the tiler erected the partition wall for the enclosure, he forgot (or was not instructed) to make an allowance for the opening of the fridge door, so that while the fridge door could be opened to 90%, it could not be fully opened to 180% (in order to remove shelves while cleaning the fridge interior) due to obstruction from the store enclosure wall.

I was stunned. What to do? Re-do the partition wall to reduce the width by 5 cm? And take more time? It was already the last 10 days of January, not many days before the tilers would stop work and return home to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families in Malaysia.

OK, rather than shortening the store enclosure wall by 5 cm and taking more time, I decided to relocate the fridge to the other end of the kitchen cabinet. Problem solved !

James then asked the tiler to re-align the cement slab for the kitchen cabinet and fridge. And the tiler complied without any apparent resentment.

Although I blamed James for failing to direct the tiler before work commenced on the width of the enclosure wall, I was gratified he quickly took responsibility for the mistake and rectified the situation to my satisfaction. Still, some time was lost.


In sum, I was delighted with the newly created store room, especially the neat tiling work, and my appreciation of James grew. yamseng.gif.

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Hi, thanks for your comments. While I will strive to answer all your queries please be patient as I am overwhelmed at work.

Thanks for your understanding,

GreenCoal

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