Having Faith in your home..

Having moved to Singapore fairly recently with her husband and two children, FAITH TOWN is intent on making the family feel right at home in their apartment. She tells us what she likes about living in Newton Circus and shares plenty of recommendations and tips.Tell us a little about yourself.My husband and I met in Melbourne, Australia, which is home for me. Paul is a New Zealander who grew up in Singapore so we’ve always harboured a dream to call this place home at some stage with our own kids. Paul started work as Senior Vice President, Resort Operations at Marina Bay Sands in November 2019.Expat life isn’t a new thing for our family of four; we spent eight years in Macau before returning back “home” to Melbourne with our children, Farrah (10) and Fletcher (7). During this time, I studied full-time for two years and became a qualified interior designer. Where did you first live when you came to Singapore and why?Our much-loved dog Chilli the cavoodle played a big part in our relocation to Singapore. We chose to stay at Fraser Suites initially because it’s pet-friendly and also so we could take our time looking for the style of accommodation and location that suited us best.We live in a world of online everything and the navigation tools are endless but I found that getting a traditional paper map helped me understand my surrounds, the suburbs, one-way streets and proximity to everything a bit better. I was able to get my bearings using this “old school” method as a result.What do you love about living in Newton Circus?We ended up choosing Goodwood Residence, close to Newton MRT, Newton Circus and everything we need. It strikes the balance of being a tranquil setting in the day – until the kids arrive home. After school, it turns into a great hangout on the big grassy lawn for all the kids playing tag, ball and so on.I have an understanding of how much the outdoors influences the interior. Goodwood Residence is like an urban oasis in the trees. The lush green setting really does set the tone for living in the tropics.What were the first things you bought when you got here?Aside from stocking the fridge with food and buying sunscreen and mosquito repellent to last an eternity, I went straight to the Tan Boon Liat Building, which is a one-stop multi-layered shop for decking out your home. Expat Living, Honeycombers and Google were my go-to guides for all new discoveries.After that, I went off to Hock Siong & Co, and Junkies Corner to find myself some pre-loved treasures. Faith’s favourite spots• Mott 32 is one of the newest restaurants in the MBS precinct. The super-glam setting makes for a fab date night.• At Newton Circus, we love to play “hawker roulette” with the kids and each go off to one of the many stalls bringing back food to share.• Duxton Hill is so pretty; it’s a great spot to take out-of-towners too!• Little India has a colourful and eclectic vibe that’s so vibrant and fun – not to mention the food and the musicians that come out at night.• Westlake is set underneath an apartment block in Bukit Timah and has been a Town family favourite for decades. We like to describe it as somewhere between a hawker stall and restaurant dining. My mother-in-law still makes their chicken with dried chilli back home in New Zealand.• Din Tai Fung: our go-to for dumpling cravings – and we crave dumplings often!• As for travel spots, we can’t wait to go further afield but we really haven’t had the chance to do so yet. Rawa Island holds many memories for Paul as a child. We plan on going there with his parents and our kids later this year, which will be great. A curated home is all about balance and layering. Many new pieces that are hardwearing – like the sofa and the dining table – I splashed out on and paid for quality. Other decorative pieces and trinkets that I added were depictive of where we are living. My very first purchase was a brass tiffin box from The Past Perfect Collection. It initially sat on my favourite piece, an old side table that my mother-in-law purchased during her time in Singapore in the early 80s – when Paul was only eight years old!Our bookcase is the heartbeat of our home, displaying books, photos, games and trinkets that we either love or have a practical use for each day. I feel that now our little home is set, we can concentrate on exploring all that Singapore has to offer.I’ve worked with residents in Melbourne to spruce up their homes, layering in new objects and furniture to complement who they are, what they love and how they want to live. My own home was published in Home Beautiful magazine in Australia, as well as being the featured property on the mini-series Bad Mothers. I don’t plan to work in Singapore but I’m just making sure we make the most of it!Faith’s tips for newcomers• Be open to meeting new people and making new friends.• Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eastern and Western influences all make up the cultural melting pot that is Singapore. It’s a truly integrated destination, with influences from all over the world! Join an Indian cooking class, learn to play Mahjong, sweat it out at boot camp or start a book club. There is a class, group or event for pretty much anything you’re interested in here.• I believe your home should tell a story of who you are and what you love. Even if you’re here for only a few years, make your house a home; I promise you won’t regret it. • Stock up on sunscreen and mosquito spray – it’s as essential as milk and bread in this place, the land of the never-ending summer!• Living on the equator has its benefits, such as sunshine and swimming all year round. It also requires … erm … maintenance for many women; in short, find yourself a good wax salon if you need it – try Strip at Great World City.• The heat also requires makeup that has high SPF for sun protection as well as the need for it not to melt off your face! I use Channel CC Cream with SPF 50 every day. Other recommendationsHock Siong & Co hocksiong.com.sgDanish Design danishdesignco.com.sgSecond Charm instagram.com/second.charmJunkies Corner 2 Turf Club RoadFraming Angie framingangie.comEmperor’s Attic emperorsattic.comGoodrich Global goodrichglobal.com/singaporeThe Cinnamon Room cinnamonroom.comHouse of AnLi houseofanli.comThe Past Perfect Collection pastperfect.sgBoulevard Outdoor Furniture boulevardoutdoorfurniture.comThis article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

My living room – before and after!

3rd July 2020 by Rebecca Bisset 3 Min ReadSo you’ve found the apartment or house you like, you’ve bought some pieces you love and it should all be good. But what do you do if it’s just not hanging together well? An interior designer or a home stylist can help – even if it’s just to get one or two rooms looking ‘groomed’!We talk to Indonesian expat INTAN about living in Singapore and how she got her apartment at D’Grove Villas looking just the way she wants it – with a little help from Priya Naik at Interior Design Journey.How long have you been in Singapore? In total, we’ve been here for 10 years. This is our second stint and we’ve been back for three and a half years. We love it!How long have you lived in this apartment and why did you choose it?The apartment was the last one we viewed after a manic 18 viewings over a two-day period and we just fell in love with it. It’s an old build, which means it has space, and it’s in a great location.What made you call on an interior designer?I love muted tones; it shows in how I dress and how I decorate. I also love seeing pops of colour, but I’ve never felt brave enough to try them out. So, I figured a chat with an interior designer wouldn’t hurt. I wanted to keep to my own aesthetic choices, but I also needed a push to introduce more colour into our lives. How was it working with the designer? Was anything easier or more difficult than you’d imagined?I definitely didn’t want to be pushed into doing something I wasn’t comfortable with. Priya was great because she listened, didn’t laugh at my predominantly grey/blue home and pushed just enough. It was wonderful working with her.Which rooms did Interior Design Journey work on and what did they do?Just the living room, and we worked with the pieces that were already there. After the first meeting, Priya shared her vision, approximate cost and timeline. Everything was very clear and efficient from the get-go.If you were to recommend Priya to a friend what would you say?She is talented, creative and puts you at ease almost immediately.How do you feel now when you walk in to the house compared to before?It’s always been our home… it just looks better now!A word from the interior designerPriya tells us about the flow of the project, and what her work involved.#1 We first ensured that some of key existing pieces were worked into the makeover in order to keep within the budget.#2 Intan had a few art pieces that she hadn’t displayed as she was a little unsure how to do so in amongst the built-in cabinets and a huge mirrored wall. So, we made the best use of one wall where art could displayed and made that into a focal point of the room. We added in a new carved detail sideboard, lamp and accessories to complete that area or “nook”.#3 We also introduced a new navy sofa as the existing blue sofa didn’t proportionally work in the space or with the other furniture. #4 We had some gorgeous custom cushions made from Jim Thompson and European fabric to add a much-needed pop of colour and some lovely patterns and textures.#5 We added a teal side table next to the existing grey Chesterfield sofa with a fabulous lamp from Taylor B adding another interesting finish to the space.#6 The existing rug was dominating the room so we replaced it with one with a more subtle pattern that also had some colour in it.#7 We added a runner behind the sofa and kitchen counter to soften the area leading to the dining space.#8 Intan requested minimal accessories, so we only added a few new pieces and styled them along with some of her existing things.#9 In the lift lobby, we added a new sideboard with a runner. We also styled Intan’s existing artwork and accessories, adding a couple of new accessories too. I think the space now feels inviting and personalised. Before and AfterProject Favourites & Recommendations Artful HouseJust AnthonyTaylor BLuxe Furnishings Priya Naik, founder of Interior Design JourneyInterior Design Journey9062 7974 | [email protected] more home inspiration? See our home decor section!

Faith is feeling at home!

Having moved to Singapore fairly recently with her husband and two children, interior designer FAITH TOWN is intent on making the family feel right at home in their apartment. She tells us what she likes about living in Newton Circus and shares plenty of recommendations and tips.Tell us a little about yourself.My husband and I met in Melbourne, Australia, which is home for me. Paul is a New Zealander who grew up in Singapore so we’ve always harboured a dream to call this place home at some stage with our own kids. Paul started work as Senior Vice President, Resort Operations at Marina Bay Sands in November 2019.Expat life isn’t a new thing for our family of four; we spent eight years in Macau before returning back “home” to Melbourne with our children, Farrah (10) and Fletcher (7). During this time, I studied full-time for two years and became a qualified interior designer. Where did you first live when you came to Singapore and why?Our much-loved dog Chilli the cavoodle played a big part in our relocation to Singapore. We chose to stay at Fraser Suites initially because it’s pet-friendly and also so we could take our time looking for the style of accommodation and location that suited us best.We live in a world of online everything and the navigation tools are endless but I found that getting a traditional paper map helped me understand my surrounds, the suburbs, one-way streets and proximity to everything a bit better. I was able to get my bearings using this “old school” method as a result.What do you love about living in Newton Circus?We ended up choosing Goodwood Residence, close to Newton MRT, Newton Circus and everything we need. It strikes the balance of being a tranquil setting in the day – until the kids arrive home. After school, it turns into a great hangout on the big grassy lawn for all the kids playing tag, ball and so on.I have an understanding of how much the outdoors influences the interior. Goodwood Residence is like an urban oasis in the trees. The lush green setting really does set the tone for living in the tropics.What were the first things you bought when you got here?Aside from stocking the fridge with food and buying sunscreen and mosquito repellent to last an eternity, I went straight to the Tan Boon Liat Building, which is a one-stop multi-layered shop for decking out your home. Expat Living, Honeycombers and Google were my go-to guides for all new discoveries.After that, I went off to Hock Siong & Co, and Junkies Corner to find myself some pre-loved treasures. Faith’s favourite spots• Mott 32 is one of the newest restaurants in the MBS precinct. The super-glam setting makes for a fab date night.• At Newton Circus, we love to play “hawker roulette” with the kids and each go off to one of the many stalls bringing back food to share.• Duxton Hill is so pretty; it’s a great spot to take out-of-towners too!• Little India has a colourful and eclectic vibe that’s so vibrant and fun – not to mention the food and the musicians that come out at night.• Westlake is set underneath an apartment block in Bukit Timah and has been a Town family favourite for decades. We like to describe it as somewhere between a hawker stall and restaurant dining. My mother-in-law still makes their chicken with dried chilli back home in New Zealand.• Din Tai Fung: our go-to for dumpling cravings – and we crave dumplings often!• As for travel spots, we can’t wait to go further afield but we really haven’t had the chance to do so yet. Rawa Island holds many memories for Paul as a child. We plan on going there with his parents and our kids later this year, which will be great. A curated home is all about balance and layering. Many new pieces that are hardwearing – like the sofa and the dining table – I splashed out on and paid for quality. Other decorative pieces and trinkets that I added were depictive of where we are living. My very first purchase was a brass tiffin box from The Past Perfect Collection. It initially sat on my favourite piece, an old side table that my mother-in-law purchased during her time in Singapore in the early 80s – when Paul was only eight years old!Our bookcase is the heartbeat of our home, displaying books, photos, games and trinkets that we either love or have a practical use for each day. I feel that now our little home is set, we can concentrate on exploring all that Singapore has to offer.I’ve worked with residents in Melbourne to spruce up their homes, layering in new objects and furniture to complement who they are, what they love and how they want to live. My own home was published in Home Beautiful magazine in Australia, as well as being the featured property on the mini-series Bad Mothers. I don’t plan to work in Singapore but I’m just making sure we make the most of it!Faith’s tips for newcomers• Be open to meeting new people and making new friends.• Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eastern and Western influences all make up the cultural melting pot that is Singapore. It’s a truly integrated destination, with influences from all over the world! Join an Indian cooking class, learn to play Mahjong, sweat it out at boot camp or start a book club. There is a class, group or event for pretty much anything you’re interested in here.• I believe your home should tell a story of who you are and what you love. Even if you’re here for only a few years, make your house a home; I promise you won’t regret it. • Stock up on sunscreen and mosquito spray – it’s as essential as milk and bread in this place, the land of the never-ending summer!• Living on the equator has its benefits, such as sunshine and swimming all year round. It also requires … erm … maintenance for many women; in short, find yourself a good wax salon if you need it – try Strip at Great World City.• The heat also requires makeup that has high SPF for sun protection as well as the need for it not to melt off your face! I use Channel CC Cream with SPF 50 every day. Other recommendationsHock Siong & Co hocksiong.com.sgDanish Design danishdesignco.com.sgSecond Charm instagram.com/second.charmJunkies Corner 2 Turf Club RoadFraming Angie framingangie.comEmperor’s Attic emperorsattic.comGoodrich Global goodrichglobal.com/singaporeThe Cinnamon Room cinnamonroom.comHouse of AnLi houseofanli.comThe Past Perfect Collection pastperfect.sgBoulevard Outdoor Furniture boulevardoutdoorfurniture.comThis article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

Original personalised artwork

22nd June 2020 by Expat Living 3 Min ReadYou’ve probably spent quite a bit of time looking at those white walls in your home lately! If you’ve been wondering what would look great on them, these personalised artworks and paintings tick a lot of boxes.LouiseM is a French artist based in Singapore. She creates personalised art that represents you. So, her paintings reflect a timeline of your life – from special moments with kids to family travels – for you to create your own distinctive space at home.Personalised artHow does it work? After finding inspiration in your story through dialogue and listening, LouiseM applies a little of her magic and renders it into a visual idea. This then becomes a painting. And the options are endless for how you use it. You could have a giant wall mural on a canvas in your living room or master bedroom. Or, give a boost to your kitchen with a backsplash or hood panel, or replace your bedhead – even spruce up your old piano. Everything is doable – so go a little crazy and let your imagination run free! We chatted with the artist about her interesting approach. What’s your own artistic style?I don’t have just one style. Each artwork is unique and created according to the client’s request and the aspects they want to give to their interior. My paintings can be very colourful – in a style that I call “bubblegum”. Like in the backsplash (top right) where the illustration shows the favourite brands of everyone in the family. I can also home in on a particular colour, like the blue of the piano design, which is the favourite colour of the client, Annette. In this case, Annette also wanted a testimony from each of her friends in the painting. I also love to work with black and white shades in a more graphic style – especially to draw cities and their unwavering industrial environments.You can find the whole collection on my website and examples of my projects on Instagram too. What are the different steps in your projects?First of all, it’s important to know the final destination of your painting and its purpose. This will help define its size, the material to be used and also the desired design, depending on your interior décor. I work with pictures of your room to create a demo and to ensure it blends naturally into its new home. Then, through conversations, I’ll uncover specific topics you want to underline in your piece of personalised art. If you want the panel to convey a story about your family’s travels in Asia, for example, I’ll ask you questions about this vacation. Then, as a team, we’ll create a meaningful artwork. My main objective is for you to embrace and love the final painting as you find yourself in it. What brought you to Singapore?We decided last July that we would move here for the beginning of the school year. This was a massive upheaval for our family of seven, now scattered all over the world! I used to have fun and enjoy my workshop in Paris, but this change was an opportunity to revamp my creativity.The new adventure has turned into a beautiful and inspiring one, helping to open my mind to different perceptions and discover new landscapes, new balances to draw and reinvent. My first project orders gave me the chance to add in images that are the “essentials” of Singapore. Also, scenes of the island’s tropical jungle inspire me a lot. There is so much you can do with nature designs in a green city like this.8907 7037 | louisem.fr | @louisem_artiste This article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!Read here for more about furniture and home décor in Singapore.

Original personalised artwork & paintings

22nd June 2020 by Expat Living 3 Min ReadYou’ve probably spent quite a bit of time looking at those white walls in your home lately! If you’ve been wondering what would look great on them, these personalised artworks and paintings tick a lot of boxes.LouiseM is a French artist based in Singapore. She creates personalised art that represents you. So, her paintings reflect a timeline of your life – from special moments with kids to family travels – for you to create your own distinctive space at home.Personalised artHow does it work? After finding inspiration in your story through dialogue and listening, LouiseM applies a little of her magic and renders it into a visual idea. This then becomes a painting. And the options are endless for how you use it. You could have a giant wall mural on a canvas in your living room or master bedroom. Or, give a boost to your kitchen with a backsplash or hood panel, or replace your bedhead – even spruce up your old piano. Everything is doable – so go a little crazy and let your imagination run free! We chatted with the artist about her interesting approach. What’s your own artistic style?I don’t have just one style. Each artwork is unique and created according to the client’s request and the aspects they want to give to their interior. My paintings can be very colourful – in a style that I call “bubblegum”. Like in the backsplash (top right) where the illustration shows the favourite brands of everyone in the family. I can also home in on a particular colour, like the blue of the piano design, which is the favourite colour of the client, Annette. In this case, Annette also wanted a testimony from each of her friends in the painting. I also love to work with black and white shades in a more graphic style – especially to draw cities and their unwavering industrial environments.You can find the whole collection on my website and examples of my projects on Instagram too. What are the different steps in your projects?First of all, it’s important to know the final destination of your painting and its purpose. This will help define its size, the material to be used and also the desired design, depending on your interior décor. I work with pictures of your room to create a demo and to ensure it blends naturally into its new home. Then, through conversations, I’ll uncover specific topics you want to underline in your piece of personalised art. If you want the panel to convey a story about your family’s travels in Asia, for example, I’ll ask you questions about this vacation. Then, as a team, we’ll create a meaningful artwork. My main objective is for you to embrace and love the final painting as you find yourself in it. What brought you to Singapore?We decided last July that we would move here for the beginning of the school year. This was a massive upheaval for our family of seven, now scattered all over the world! I used to have fun and enjoy my workshop in Paris, but this change was an opportunity to revamp my creativity.The new adventure has turned into a beautiful and inspiring one, helping to open my mind to different perceptions and discover new landscapes, new balances to draw and reinvent. My first project orders gave me the chance to add in images that are the “essentials” of Singapore. Also, scenes of the island’s tropical jungle inspire me a lot. There is so much you can do with nature designs in a green city like this.8907 7037 | louisem.fr | @louisem_artiste This article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!Read here for more about furniture and home décor in Singapore.

From farmhouse to your house

Not all vintage or antique Chinese furniture was created equal! Only a few pieces are restored to a superior quality. And some reproductions are far better than others. So how do you know if you’re buying a “good” piece of vintage or antique Chinese furniture?Just about every item of vintage Chinese furniture has an amazing history, with many coming from old villages and farmhouses before ending up here in Singapore. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a real piece of history in your home – one with a story all of its own?Of course, the vintage pieces you see in shops didn’t look like that when they were first rescued from old homes in China. These structures were often being torn down to make room for new, modern buildings. Many of the handmade treasures had fallen into disrepair – only when they were rescued by craftsman did they have new life breathed back into them. CHANTAL TRAVERS, owner of Emperor’s Attic, lived in Beijing for many years before moving to Singapore, where she now runs her furniture store at the Tan Boon Liat Building, specialising in antique and vintage Chinese furniture.“When I lived there, everybody had their own place where they would go to buy antique Chinese furniture. ‘Come and see my guy – he’s the best!’ So, that person’s guy would become your guy, and you’d start to find the people you trust. I’ve now been working with the same people for more than a decade. I personally choose every single piece we have in the store and I have it all authenticated. When that shipment arrives, I know exactly what I’m getting.”And that, folks, means you know what you’re getting when you buy it, too. Your furniture will have a story you can share.Reproduction: not a dirty wordBut not everybody needs a backstory. For many, it’s more important to have a piece that is functional and fits into your home. Reproductions can be beautiful, too – just be aware that if you’re buying a reproduction, you’ll want it to be as well made as the old ones.How can you ensure a piece is well made? There are two important factors here: the materials it’s made from, and the techniques used. Wood from Northern China is exposed to a very wide range of temperatures – from around minus 25 to plus 40 degrees Celsius; subsequently, it can survive in any climate. Furniture made from wood from Southern China, on the other hand, tends to only do well in heat and humidity.Also, traditional carpentry techniques help to ensure that wood can move according to different climates and seasons; that means if you relocate to a different climate (as many of us will), your furniture won’t crack or warp. Furniture that is glued and nailed and uses southern wood just won’t stand the test of time. And who wants to buy a piece of furniture you plan to get rid of in a couple of years?Emperor’s Attic does carry reproductions, though you’d be hard-pressed to figure out which one is new versus vintage when you walk through the showroom. But no worries: it’s all clearly marked with a tag for you to see.“Most of our furniture is vintage and antique,” explains Chantal. “So, it’s important that reproductions feel like the real thing and are of the highest quality.”For the record, reproductions aren’t necessarily any cheaper than antiques. The techniques can be too labour-intensive to save costs, which means the price tag ends up being about the same. All to say, you should buy the piece that makes your heart zing! Limited suppliesIn recent times, the Chinese government has made all of the furniture factories move outside the city. These factories already had a tough time attracting young workers. Now? It’s virtually impossible for them to find new blood. The upshot is that the furniture industry – particularly vintage and antique restoration – is a dramatically changing trade.Craftsmen are retiring and few people are training to take their places. Those who do remain ask for a pay rise after every Chinese New Year period, driving prices ever higher. The coronavirus has also made not only sourcing vintage Chinese furniture very difficult, but also shipping it – for now, at least.The antique Chinese furniture itself is getting harder and harder to find, too. There simply isn’t as much stock for the craftsmen to restore. Chantal still has her special suppliers, but many others have folded shop rather than move to the country. Inventory is dropping.All of which means that there are fewer and fewer pieces available to buy. So, if in the back of your head you’re thinking, “I’ll get a beautiful Chinese furniture piece before I repatriate,” you might want to reconsider and buy sooner. The time to buy is now!“It could be as soon as five years before all this antique furniture coming out of China dries up,” says Verity Dibben, Chantal’s right-hand in the store. “We may not have access to this stuff much longer.”Emperor’s Attic#01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road6270 2544 | emperorsattic.comThis article first appeared in the May 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

Kids’ furniture that’s quality, fun and cool

17th June 2020 by Rebecca Bisset 3 Min ReadKids’ furniture really needs to tick a few boxes. We’re talking firstly about the quality and safety of the materials used; we don’t want to have to worry about flaky or toxic paint, or rusty metal, whether it’s in the bedroom or play area. Then there’s longevity and flexibility – two factors that contribute to value for money. It’s best to choose high-quality products that will ‘live’ through a few children, and a good few years! We look at two places that have children’s beds in Singapore, plus other cool furniture and accessories that meet those criteria too.Best Children’s BedsKuhl Home is a destination store for parents looking for good value, high-quality, safe and beautifully crafted kids’ furniture. The store’s brands include Lifetime Kidsrooms and Oliver Furniture, with products designed to adapt to your child’s needs as they grow. Their convertible and modular kids’ bed systems allow for growth and change of use. For example, you can convert a bunk bed into two single beds if they’ve grown out of the bunk bed stage or left the nest! The careful selection of solid materials for the kids’ furniture ensures that the beds are as durable as they are gorgeous in design, even after conversions. The beds are made in Denmark and include a five-year warranty. What’s more, the kids’ furniture at Kuhl Home meets the highest safety requirements, often exceeding the legal standard. The beds are all extensively tested by TÜV, a strict testing authority in Europe for safety and quality. And no harmful chemicals or carcinogens are used in producing the pieces, so you can be assured they’re safe for your little ones.#08-01 Century Warehouse, 100e Pasir Pajang Road6270 8483 | kuhlhome.comGreat Kids’ FurnitureApart from somewhere to sleep, kids’ bedrooms should be their special place to hang out in. Make your home more kid-friendly by having furniture that fits them just right!You can create a fun, practical corner for the younger ones at home with the Fermob kids’ collection at Soul & Tables. Made from durable weather-friendly materials such as aluminium and steel, the collection is ideal for the bedroom, playroom or living room corner – even the garden. There’s a range of vibrant colours available too. Your kids will love having their own special space with stuff just for them. Adada rocking horseA classic piece of kids’ furniture! This one is designed with safety standards in mind, with a light aluminium frame coupled with protective pads to prevent scratches on the floor.Luxembourg kids’ table, chairs, armchairs and benchThis miniature version of the popular Luxembourg collection is designed for ages three to six. It features a comfortable, curved-slat seat, and also a light and easy-to-handle aluminium tubular frame. Tom Pouce folding chairThe miniature version of the versatile Bistro chair, the Tom Pouce folding chair will capture every kid’s attention! It has that nostalgic Parisian flair in its simple and classic design.#02-01 & #02-03 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sgGo here for more furniture ideas

Fab furniture shops at Dempsey Hill

10th June 2020 by Expat Living 3 Min ReadDid all these weeks at home make you realise you want to spruce up things a bit? The furniture shops at Dempsey Hill are the perfect place to find fab home décor pieces. There’s pretty much everything on offer, from statues, artwork, outdoor furniture and even landscape gardening. You’ll find unusual small accents or larger pieces in colonial or modern styles – rugs and lamps too. Check these out these home décor shops online for starters!Bungalow 55This go-to boutique offers a beautifully curated selection of hundreds of homewares sourced from around the globe. Their home décor collection includes lamps, pendant lighting, rugs, chairs, accent pieces, ottomans, consoles and truly stunning decorative accessories. Seriously, if you want to give a fresh face to your place, this should be one of your first stops. You can even opt for more of a décor makeover by booking a complimentary one-hour consultation in the comfort of your own home.Block 8D Dempsey Road | thebungalow55.com Hedger’s Carpet GalleryThe fastest way to change a room? Change the flooring! Rugs are a fantastic way to bring out textures, patterns and colours unique to your personal style, and Hedger’s Carpet Gallery has every kind of style imaginable. Choose from exquisite vintage silk carpets to timeless, classic rugs. Each piece will elevate your space for years to come.13 Dempsey Road | hedgerscarpetgallery.com.sg Marquis Studio / Lifestorey @ DempseyThis special furniture shop at Dempsey Hill is the hub for all things fuss-free and snazzy, for giving your home that distinct designer look. It carries a huge variety of fun, unique and eclectic items from a wide variety of European designers, bringing the best of home furnishings and accessories. Not sure how to put it all together? No worries. The shop offers complete home packages to make redecorating easy.Block 8D Dempsey Road | Lifestorey.com Maywell LifestyleIf being stuck at home all day has made you crave nature, why not bring it inside with handcrafted pieces made of natural wood? Since 1996, Maywell has been creating one-of-a-kind functional furniture as well as restoring older pieces, including antiques. The store’s artisans specialise in carpentry, fabrication, customisation and modification. So, if they don’t have what you want, they can make it for you. Along with beautiful furniture, you’ll also find special artwork and sculptures here that you won’t see anywhere else.13 Dempsey Road | maywell.com.sg PaddifieldDid the Circuit Breaker leave you with a whole new appreciation of the outdoors? Then why not give your alfresco space a fresh face? Paddifield has a wide range of outdoor furniture at Dempsey Hill. There’s also accessories to help you create an intimate gathering space or for the big bash you’ve been dreaming of for months. You can even add a touch of fun with some of the colourful accents on offer.9B Dempsey Road | facebook.com/PaddifieldInternational Woody Antique HouseOne of the oldest furniture shops at Dempsey Hill we love the mix of styles there. Colourful cabinets are an easy way to add personality to your home. Ditch the minimalist white or neutral tones in favour of an eye-catching oriental cabinet – it’ll create a fun focal point in any room. And it’s furniture you’ll keep forever. At Woody’s you’ll find a diverse range of Asian furniture and antiquities, sourced from various parts of Asia including China, Tibet, Mongolia, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.Block 13 Dempsey Road | woodyantique.com dempseyhill.comThis article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

Art Deco Style Black-and-White House in Ridley Park

We meet a family keen to embrace their role as custodians of an historic Singapore home. Charlie Cameron, her husband Jim and their two children Finn and Pippa moved three years ago into a stunning black-and-white house in Ridley Park. The homes in this cluster were where the British officers lived who commanded the men in the barracks that are now Dempsey Hill. When the British handed Singapore back, the government let the British maintain a property in the area on permanent lease. Now, half of Ridley Park is occupied by British consulate staff, the other half is not. Charlie’s home is one of the latter.“I feel like I’m just the next custodian of this beautiful art deco style home,” says Charlie. “For me, it’s a joy to make a home for us to live in. But I also want to respect everything that’s gone before and respect what this house means to Singapore’s heritage. I feel there’s a responsibility for anybody who lives in a black-and-white.” An Art Deco twistThis black-and-white is a bit different to many of the colonial homes built in the area in the 1920s. Most were originally one-storey homes on stilts that have now had the stilts enclosed to make the structure a two-storey building. Charlie’s home, however, was built a few years later – in 1935 – and was a two-storey home from the start. Unlike the colonial style, this one is Art Deco in design. The doorways are squared, not rounded; the roof is flat and there are other Art Deco touches throughout that define the house. It’s a very special home to all who have lived here.“Twice, we’ve had families come by with elderly grandparents from overseas,” explains Charlie. “They just rang the doorbell wanting to see the home because they had lived here as children. Both were children of British officers and were intrigued to see where they grew up. I tried to leave them be to enjoy the trip down memory lane for themselves.”The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home would be very similar to how those families remember it, though there have been some changes made over the years. When the house was first built, there would have been a large portico that wrapped around the front. At some point, one side of the portico was enclosed – it now makes up the very large living area downstairs. There is a second large living area directly above, too. Changes and upkeepCharlie and her family added a covered area outside for a dining table, using the existing covered area as an outdoor living room. Otherwise, they haven’t done much to the home. They were lucky that somebody moved out of the house just six months before they moved in, so the pool was still in place. They did, however, rejig the fans, add air-conditioning and change a lot of the lighting. Unlike some people who live in a black-and-white, they don’t often leave the doors and windows open, nor do they live with the air-con on constantly. They do, however, run it when the air inside the house gets too moist – that’s to protect their beautiful artwork, which gives the home a real personality.“I think the kind of people that suit living in black-and-whites are people who really want to create a home and feel dedicated to creating a home,” Charlie says. “I don’t feel like it’s right to live in a black-and-white with a temporary mindset. You have to feel somewhat committed to Singapore and to the life here, and to creating a family environment. And you have to be prepared to spend money towards the home’s upkeep; you can’t scrimp and save, or else you’re doing a disservice to the building. It’s a form of dedication to live here and make a life here.”Items from the pastCharlie is originally from Melbourne and her husband from London. Prior to living in Singapore, they lived in Hong Kong and were in a modern, landed home in Holland Village before ending up in this piece of Singapore’s history. Much of their furniture has been with them for their journey together – it’s part of Charlie’s design philosophy.“I really feel like if you define your style and stick with it, no matter where you live in the world, then you’ll be fine. Most of our things have also lived in our modern house in Singapore, and they also came from our tiny Hong Kong condo. I feel very clear around my style and just because I now live in a black-and-white, I’m not going to get rid of all my Australian contemporary art. You don’t have to buy colonial things to go in a colonial home – there’s a lovely juxtaposition of living in an old home with modern interiors. And you shouldn’t feel you need to stuff every nook and cranny with items of furniture.” Embracing a new placeIn fact, Charlie is so clear about her style that she started a lifestyle blog called “Lottie Lifestyle”, which includes all sorts of things from interior design to recipes, fashion, walking tours and more. The concept has grown so much now that she’s designing and selling her own furniture and other interior pieces.“My philosophy is that original design matters – and there’s a lot of replication happening now. I also feel like quality matters. I work with producers around the world who are very hands-on and create small batches with real craftsmanship. All their materials must be ethically sourced.”Part of her philosophy is also not to skimp, but rather to buy quality items that will last. That way, you can take them with you from home to home. Charlie also thinks it’s important to put down roots, wherever you are, even if you’re only here for a short stay.“If you create a temporary home, you’ll always be temporary and potentially miss the best opportunity of living away, being an expat and settling in a new place. I do feel that your interiors reflect that. My advice is to put roots down when you arrive and to go about life as an expat wholeheartedly and fully.”Charlie’s recommendationSpecial meal out: Cloudstreet 84 Amoy Street | cloudstreet.com.sg Fresh flowers: Far East Flora 565 Thompson Road | fareastflora.com Orchids: Candy 567 Thompson Road | candy.com.sg Girls’ lunch: COMO Cuisine 18A Dempsey Road | comodempsey.sg Homeware: Shop Lottie Lifestyle lottieisloving.com/shop-now Dinner with kids: La Forketta 9 Dempsey Road | laforketta.com.sg Current favourite cookbook: Community by Hetty McKinnonFavourite online store delivering in Singapore: Finnish Design Shop finnishdesignshop.comThis article first appeared in the May 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

A Black and White House at Seletar Camp

Singapore life is urban, but we think living in a black and white house at Seletar Camp is “almost country life”! We talk to a couple of Australian expats who moved in to one of these gorgeous colonial homes.“Living in a black and white house is a bit like having a boat,” says MATTHEW LOGAN. “It’s a lifestyle. You’ve always got to be fixing things. Something always needs to be looked after and you have to be innovative and a bit creative about how you handle things, too. But it’s all worth it because it’s a way of life you just can’t get in a condo.” Why a black and white house at Seletar?Matthew, his wife Jenni, and their two daughters Bella and Jesse moved to their three-bedroom home in Seletar four years ago from a condo near the Botanic Gardens. They hadn’t really planned to move to a black-and-white, even though their condo lease was up. But seeing was believing!“Friends of ours we knew through our kids’ football club kept telling us about Seletar. So we came up for a dinner party and, within a half an hour, we were walking around with a glass of champagne looking at all the empty places. It was love at first sight.”Seletar Camp was the first British Royal Air Force (RAF) base east of India and it also served as a civilian airport until 1937, when Kallang Airport was opened to the public. Many of the surrounding black-and-whites were a part of that early beginning, a history Matthew is fascinated in.Matthew and Jenni put in a high bid to make sure they got the place they wanted. Even so, the rent is still less than what they were paying for the condo, but the place did take quite a bit of fixing up to make it the way they wanted it. Doing the RefurbsInside, they installed aircons and redid all the bathrooms, and they added a sliding door to one of the downstairs rooms to create a guest room. The bedrooms are quite large, and each has a smaller space within it, which makes the rooms really versatile. The kitchen has a passthrough to the back patio, but it’s small and hasn’t been updated (though one neighbour apparently just redid theirs using IKEA and it looks fabulous). The family’s helper also has a large area.But the real transformation to this black and white house took place outside. They added a pool and a Balinese-style alang alang thatched shelter that covers the entire back area. They loved their neighbours’ so much that they had one built just like it. It’s beautiful and it never leaks, but it will have to be replaced every five years or so as they don’t wear well.They also added a portable bar they bought at Woody’s Antique House in Dempsey, some furniture from neighbourhood garage sales, and pieces they brought with them from Sydney. They now spend a lot of their time at home outside, admiring their lovely, large yard, which has also undergone quite the makeover.“I’ve designed a lot of the garden myself,” says Matthew. “We planted all around the perimeter to make the space more private and we cleared away a lot of the brush and bamboo, too, to keep snakes away. We found this great gardener who really looks out for us. I bought about 50 plants for $10 each, and the jasmine hedges were $2.50 a plant, plus transportation. Everything grows so fast here that it takes no time for the yard to look completely different. That makes gardening here fun!” Stress-free EnvironmentMatthew grew up in a bushland area bordering one of Sydney’s national parks, and Jenni grew up overlooking a Sydney Harbour reserve. They love the openness of the black-and-white houses at Seletar and that kids can have a childhood like theirs, roaming around the neighbourhood, riding skateboards or their bikes without worry. Both Matthew and Jenni work in demanding roles but they feel the stress of work disappear as soon as they drive through the old RAF gates into their neighbourhood.They also love the beautiful birdlife in the area, such as colourful kingfishers and orioles, and even the occasional bird of prey. A few hornbills nest in their front garden trees and divebomb their neighbour’s fishpond (and are remarkably noisy!). And yes, they have seen a couple of snakes in the garden; critters seem to come with black-and-white houses. There are also wild boars in the neighbourhood, but Matthew and Jenni purposefully chose plants that don’t attract boars. And, because the yard is now so open, they can see any snakes that come by, and they haven’t really had any problems. Community VibeOne of the best parts of Seletar living is the community. Years ago, there was a big playgroup in the neighbourhood that has kept going, even though the kids are all grown up. Now, it’s expanded to include pretty much everybody. People take turns hosting Friday night parties which can involve outdoor movie nights, baseball matches or even local kids’ talent shows. They even have a resident band that jams at some of the parties, with Matthew on blues harmonica. The families, including the children and the helpers, all get together for big meals that everyone contributes to, making Seletar feel like a big family home. So, while it might seem far (in Singapore terms) from the “happening” part of the country, it turns out there is a lot to do on the weekends here.In fact, if there’s a downside to Seletar living from Matthew’s point of view, it’s the loud amplified music that’s played some evenings at The Oval, a nearby renovated area filled with restaurants and bars. But that’s only a small trade-off for the country-living feel. “We thought about living on Sentosa when we first got here, but we have beaches back in Australia. The black-and-white life is something uniquely Singaporean and the lifestyle really does suit us. We can’t imagine living anywhere else in Singapore now.” Matthew’s recommendationsFurniture“The myriad of furniture shops in the Tan Boon Liat Building on Outram Road – Emperor’s Attic, Journey East, Singapore Trading Post, The Shophouse and so on. Also, Woody’s Antique House in Dempsey.”Neighbourhood garage sales“These can be a great furnishing source as expats can have an entire house of items to sell when they relocate.” (Matthew and Jenni even did an old-school letter-drop in black-and-white neighbourhoods asking about upcoming sales.)To Be Calm candles“They have beautiful fragrances to reflect Singapore living, so we burn them in nearly every room of our house.” tobecalm.com The Art Faculty“This platform showcases beautiful Singaporean artwork and products by people with autism and related challenges, and provides royalties to the artists for each sale.” theartfaculty.sg GardenersUrban Garden Landscaping, Matthew Quek. 9226 2268This article first appeared in the May 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!