We an­swer your ren­o­va­tion and dec­o­rat­ing ques­tions with help from in­dus­try ex­perts. E-mail ques­tions to maghome­

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - EXPERTS SAY -

I of­ten for­get to switch off my wa­ter heater af­ter hav­ing a bath. Can I place the switch in­side the bath­room in­stead of out­side, so it’s more con­ve­nient for me?

For safety rea­sons, HDB and PUB reg­u­la­tions do not al­low switches to be placed in­side bath­rooms, ex­plains Ray­mod Kua, the de­sign direc­tor of The De­sign Prac­tice.

“This re­stric­tion also ex­tends to elec­tric sock­ets – even sock­ets with splash-proof cov­ers or iso­la­tors,” he adds.

Ray­mond sug­gests pur­chas­ing a wa­ter heater with a me­chan­i­cal timer switch. This al­lows you to pre­set the du­ra­tion that the wa­ter heater is switched on, which means you can en­joy a warm shower with­out wor­ry­ing about turn­ing the heater off later.

I want to con­ceal my fridge so that my kitchen has a seam­less look. Will this af­fect the fridge from op­er­at­ing prop­erly?

There are two ways to con­ceal a fridge: Us­ing an in­te­grated or built-in de­sign, or hid­ing it in­side an open­ing that’s closed off with cab­i­net doors.

In the first, the cab­i­net door is mounted to the fridge door so that both open in uni­son. Some brands like Smeg of­fer both slid­ing hinge ver­sions and fixed hinge ver­sions (these can take more weight and al­low the door to be opened to a wider an­gle).

The sec­ond op­tion is a mat­ter of hid­ing the fridge (in a side-by-side or top-and-bot­tom de­sign) in­side a large cab­i­net. Ker­how Wong, the founder of ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice Solid, says: “The kind of clear­ance re­quired around the fridge is highly de­pen­dant on the tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the fridge model. A key point to note is the clear­ance for the door to be open in or­der for in­ter­nal draw­ers to be taken out for wash­ing. Ven­ti­la­tion holes are strongly rec­om­mended to al­low the hot air to es­cape; even proper in­te­grated mod­els have them.”

Tim­ber cab­i­net doors should be at a max­i­mum of 2.4m in height, as the tim­ber may warp over time. “How­ever, larger doors can still be achiev­able with proper de­tails,” he adds.

How should I care for my solid wood fur­ni­ture?

Keep­ing your wood pieces dust-free not only keeps them look­ing good, but also pre­vents the build-up of dust, which can scratch the sur­face. Feather dusters and rags just shift the dust around rather than col­lect them, so use a mi­crofi­bre cloth in­stead.

Din­ing and cof­fee table­tops re­ceive the most wear and tear and should be cleaned more of­ten than shelves and cab­i­nets. Re­move light soil­ing with a di­luted so­lu­tion of dish­wash­ing soap. If you have an oily or sticky build-up, try a half-and-half so­lu­tion of white vine­gar and wa­ter.

Reg­u­lar pol­ish­ing also pro­tects, as well as high­lights the tim­ber grain. Most com­mer­cial fur­ni­ture sprays and pol­ishes con­tain sil­i­cone, which is not rec­om­mended as it forms a cloudy or sticky layer over the sur­face over time. Check with the store you pur­chased your fur­ni­ture from about what kind of wax, oil or pol­ish to use. When pol­ish­ing, work in the di­rec­tion of the grain. Lastly, some tim­ber (like wal­nut) are prone to light­en­ing in di­rect sun­light, so min­imise ex­po­sure through win­dow treat­ments or breath­able cov­er­ings.

I’d love to use dark tiles in my bath­room in my next ren­o­va­tion, but I don’t get a lot of light in there. What kind of light­ing should I plan for?

Black and char­coal grey bath­room tiles bring a se­duc­tive so­phis­ti­ca­tion to bath­rooms big or small, but only with the right light­ing. JQ Ong of The As­so­ci­a­tion ad­vises us­ing warm-toned LED spot­lights in spe­cific func­tional ar­eas, “such as one spot over the sink, one over the WC, and an­other one over the shower”.

The van­ity counter needs spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion as this is where you com­plete tasks that need close at­ten­tion, like shav­ing and makeup ap­pli­ca­tion. Light­ing the mir­ror and not the face is a com­mon mis­take. “Con­sider do­ing your makeup out­side the bath­room where there is good nat­u­ral light in­stead. Or, in­stall two day­light-white tone LED dif­fused lights on each side of the mir­ror to flood your face with light. This leaves no part of the face in shadow,” he says.

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