Home & Property Guide 2017




Editor’s Note


Whether you’re new to Singapore or well into your expat stint, choosing where to call home is such an exciting experience.


espite the effort of packing everything up and moving, there’s something so refreshing about settling down somewhere new. Indeed, it’s one of the joys of being an expat; it symbolises a fresh start, or a new beginning (and sometimes just when you need it most!) One of the wonderful things about this little island, too, is discovering the different areas and the type of property you like best. Whether you prefer the convenience of an apartment close to the centre of town, or

a breezy property on one of the coasts, each place has its unique quirks and charm. Our neighbourhood guide and property advice give insights into the options available to you now, whether you’re a tenant on the move again or are looking to get on the property ladder. If you’re about to move, you’ll also be wondering what to bring with you, and figuring out what items you might need to buy. We’ve all moved many times within Singapore, so we can relate! There’s also the detail to think about – finding the style of furniture, accessories and materials that suit your tastes can take some trial and error. Learning what pieces work best for your family now and in the future will also be at the forefront of your mind; things are always going to change – that’s a certainty. What we’ve come to learn over the years, however, is that style and functionality really can go hand in hand, as plenty of the following pages will show you. If all else fails, there are talented interior designers on hand to do the work! Living in a cosmopolitan Southeast Asian city, there’s so much inspiration at hand, especially the juxtaposition between new and old. We can get funky with our home styling, like including antique Oriental pieces against a modern Western backdrop. There are so many beautiful options for your home décor choices here, and we’ve curated some of our favourites in the pages that follow. For more gorgeous home features, subscribe to our monthly magazine and visit us online at expatliving.sg.


Enjoy and be inspired!



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COVER: Gallery 278 (gallery278.com)





Home & Décor 15 Transformation Time: Fast and fuss-free interior decorating and more 16 Vietnamese Art: Five characteristics of this distinct genre 18 Artfully Done: Tips about how to use furniture to reflect your style 21 Comfy Classics: Colourful, quality cushions to make an impact in any room 23 Popular Choices: Antique product picks, from medicine cabinets to rain drums 25 Affordable Contemporary: Spicing up homes with a stylish, eclectic feel 26 Unique Approach: Creative, tailor-made solutions, from single items to full renovations 28 Perfect Picks: Furniture you can buy online or try first in a showroom 31 Sweet Dreams:

44 Happy Art, Happy Kids: Meet the creator of personalised art for the home 47 Furniture Finds:

51 Timeless & Classic: Why antique colonial furniture has such enduring appeal 53 Transforming a Space: The appeal of 100 percent handmade rugs 54 New & Noteworthy: The convenience of shopping in store or online 56 Pieces to Lease: Advice on renting rather than buying furniture 59 Diversity in Design: Furniture collections in recycled elm and teak wood

Why choosing a natural latex mattress is the right option Handpicked for Home: Insights into sourcing beautiful antiques to sell A new business owner discusses her quality paints and workshops Style Gallery: A one-stop shop for custom-built furniture and leasing options Style Forecast: What are some of the design trends to look out for in 2017?


Eco-friendly wooden pieces in a range of different décor themes

34 Brushing Up on Decorating:

48 Global Designs:

A long-established furniture store continues to evolve




Everything You Need: From lounges to bedrooms, here’s what you need to make your home work for you

41 Making a Difference: Designing spaces that are stylish, practical and restful 43 Bigger & Bolder Behind the scenes of a Singapore retail stalwart

Property & Services 82 Buy or Rent: Four questions to consider 94 Stress Removers:

Originals ,#02-03 SimeDarbyCentre, 896DunearnRoad, 64719918, originals.com.sg

What are some of the key services to look for in a relocation company?

Living Rooms Oftencalledtheheartofthehome,thisspace is where friends and family congregate to sit, talk,eat (yes,wealldo it!), readorwatch television.Suchanimportantroomoftenneeds some inspiration; here are just a few ideas.

MountainTeak ,#07-02TanBoonLiatBuilding, 315OutramRoad,6224 7176,mountainteak.com

86 Overseas Property: Make that dream of a snowy

European mountain retreat a reality

87 Business Profile:

An expat launches a new real estate service

89 Serviced Residence:

ArtBlueStudio , 23YongSiakStreet,97525458, artbluestudio.com

ArtBlueStudio , 23YongSiakStreet,97525458, artbluestudio.com

We preview a stylish new property in the Orchard area

AreteCulture ,63 HillviewAvenue, #09-08LamSoon Building,96403829, aretecuture.com

90 Finding a Home: How to do it the easy way 92 Reader Recommendation:

Why an expat couple chose their moving company




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10 Interior Design Journey



ome &Décor No matter how long you’re going to be in a particular home, make sure you enjoy your surroundings — it affects all other areas of your life. So domake the effort: even if it’s just on a few key pieces of furniture, it doesn’tmatter—as long as you love it!


H Fix It

With eight rooms to transform, the residents of this black-and-white called on the help of Arete Culture to work with their existing furniture and bring in a new lease of life to their home. CAROLINE CHIN-GEYLER explains how they did it. Transformation Time

The brief The homeowners wanted to imbue the space with life and light using their existing furniture, consisting of mostly darker, older pieces. The main challenge was the space; the owners had moved from a larger property and, after spending over a decade in Singapore, had a large collection of art and travel keepsakes. They favoured classic, clean lines and an unfussy look. The only condition they had for decorating was that we incorporated books in every room to satisfy their love of reading. The makeover To offset the existing furniture collection, we kept the colour palette light and neutral, using sand and taupe neutrals with pops of yellow, soft mint and blue, to echo and highlight the home’s surroundings. This palette also allows the collection of artwork and collectibles from Europe and Asia to shine. We layered the home with different textures to add warmth and kept the colour palette in the entire home consistent. We selected feature wall colours, coordinated the refurbishment of existing furniture pieces, brought in necessary functional storage ideas, sourced and selected major furniture pieces, and determined how the entire look, from furniture and art to textiles and layout, would come together.

Central and outdoor living showrooms: #06-01 and #06-04 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | areteculture.com


Much like the country itself, Vietnam’s art has been moulded by war, colonisation and globalisation. It’s a genre that has gradually been gaining a foothold on the world stage, and for good reason. Husband and wife team JACQUES RENAUD and PHUONG NGUYEN are the owners of ArtBlue Studio , a gallery specialising in both well-known and up-and- coming Vietnamese artists. Here they share some fascinating insights into what makes this art so appealing. Characteristics of Vietnamese Art



H Profile

BrushingUpYour DecoratingSkills

We ask SOFIA CZANIK of Flower Girl about her new business and the furniture painting workshops she runs.

Flower Girl is at 83 Joo Chiat Place, #01-02 Everitt Edge. Visit the website, flowergirl.com.sg, or Facebook page for workshop dates and details. What’s next? Lots of exciting things! We’ve already introduced new workshops, including gilding, stenciling and decoupage, using Annie Sloan products. There will be piece-specific workshops too – for example, painting terracotta pots, trays or wooden crates. Participants get to take away a completed piece that can be used, displayed or gifted straight away. two to four hours. Our introductory workshops are light and fun, yet equip aspiring painters with the basic techniques to get them started. More elaborate techniques may require longer workshops – but they’re still fun! It’s incredible to watch people discover how easy it is to transform existing furniture into something they love. There are chalk paints, and then there is Annie Sloan. It was created in the UK 26 years ago to fill a gap in the market for good-quality decorative paint. She (Annie Sloan) called it “chalk paint” because of its velvety, ultra-matt finish. It’s a water-based, odourless paint that’s easy and fun to work with, and it’s low in VOCs (the stuff that causes fumes), which make it safe to use indoors and for children’s furniture. Flower Girl is the only Annie Sloan stockist in Singapore and it stocks the complete range. What makes Annie Sloan Chalk Paint different to other paint?

Q Tell us a little about yourself and your expat trail. A I’mPortuguese but grewup in South Africa. Since 2005, we have lived in China, Europe and here. This is the second time we’ve lived in Singapore andwe love it somuch! I’mawife andmother to two small kids. What made you decide to take over Flower Girl? The previous owners started the business as a florist in Dempsey Hill a few years ago. Then, in 2014, they decided to bring Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to Singapore as they saw a growing demand for high- quality but easy-to-use decorative paint. Although I kept the name of the business, I concentrate mainly on the Annie Sloan paint now. I’ve been interested in painted furniture and paint techniques since I was a teenager. When I heard that the owners of Flower Girl were selling the business, I jumped at the chance and have been the owner since May 2016. I’m really fortunate to be doing something that I love every day! You also run workshops; tell us about those. The workshops are for everyone – from apprehensive first-timers, through to seasoned experts – and they’re a great way to kick-start your creativity and get you thinking about all your pieces of furniture that could do with a makeover. They can take anywhere from



H Insights

FELICIA KOH from Gallery 278 answers our five questions. StyleGallery

Soft furnishings by Villa Nova,

available at Gallery 278

#1 How would you describe the store in ten words or less? Bespoke, organic, customisation, eco-inspired design, and warmth, as well as leasing, home-styling and art! #2 Can you tell us more about your leasing services? Why add to the hassle of moving and setting up home by buying furniture when you then have to move again, and store, sell or discard furniture? Cost-effective, convenient and hassle-free furniture rental is the smart and flexible alternative for times of transition. Leasing is great solution for corporate commuters; you can personalise your space by choosing your furniture by room or individual piece. #3 What can a customer expect when they visit the store? We can customise most designs, and advise clients to consider a “lesser” wood model to fit into their desired budget. Applying clever design detailing can make these pieces look interesting and great. Our designers love to play with designs and find solutions to fit our clients’ style and price points.

#4 What interior design services do you offer? These include designing and planning a space, customising built-ins, and printing fabric for upholstered panels and couches. #5 Have you seen requirements change from clients over time? Yes, they’re nowmore aware of sustainability benefits, and eco-inspired designs are widely accepted even though the price point can be higher. Well-built, solid wood furniture is incredibly durable and designed to last for generations. Clients can also track our wood sources through the Trees4Trees organisation; all our products give back – a tree for a tree.

278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 gallery278.com



H Feature



We asked Indigo Living ’s CEO JOHN McCLENNAN to talk us through what to expect from the store in 2017, and which design trends will be on point. Set up over 30 years ago, Indigo Living offers interior design and furniture services to its clients, and more recently – in 2010 – added the Indigo Kids collection to its portfolio. Its extensive array of accessories and furniture can be viewed online, and each season sees a range of new ideas and trends cultivated by the in-house creative teams. According to John, the tropical look is making a resurgence this year, but in a more funky and retro way. “In terms of design trends, I’m excited about the use of texture and natural materials this season, from linens and plush velvets to polished marbles and antique brass paired with horn and petrified stone; it creates a sophisticated, layered look that can be amped up or toned down to fit in any home. Indigo Living has a wide range of beautiful and exclusive products in this trend to help all our customers to ‘live beautifully’.”

SHOP ONLINE Surf the website indigo-living.com and you’ll find prettymuch anything you could ever want or need for your home, from new collections to upholstered pieces, dining and drinkware, art and home accessories. There’s also a section with great gift ideas for him, for her and for a variety of special occasions – handy when you need that extra inspiration!




H Expert Voice

British expat PRIYA NAIK, founder of Interior Design Journey , aims to create spaces that are not only stylish and practical, but also tranquil and restful. Here she leads us through just one of the many projects the company has undertaken in Singapore: a Leedon Residence apartment. Making aDifference

Our Leedon Residence clients moved from Tokyo to Singapore with existing furniture that had followed them on their travels for years. We assisted with space planning (trying to use as much existing furniture as possible in their new home), followed by adding touches of Asia and splashes of colour to the home through artworks, soft furnishings and accessories. The living space feels very relaxing with the use of greens and blues. The throw pillows were bought in to add interest to the space and the furniture, and we gave the existing ottoman a new lease of life with an Asian- inspired print. A rug was used to soften the stark marble flooring. Our client’s accessories were styled by us around the TV cabinet; we added a lime green orchid and green tassel to pull the look together. Other spaces transformed during this project were the private lift lobby, dining room, balcony, home office and master bedroom – go to our website to see more pictures.


Priya says there are three primary ways that Interior Design Journey can make a difference: 1. Space planning: “Organising and arranging furniture is essential to creating functional and harmonious spaces.” 2. Sourcing: “We can assist to source complimentary furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, artwork and accessories.” 3. Styling: “We will help you pull your spaces

together by styling existing and/or new pieces.”

To find out more, or to make an appointment, email info@interiordesignjourney. com or call 9062 7974. interiordesignjourney.com


H Business


House of AnLi first moved into Tanglin Mall in May 2015, but Anne-Jean always had her eye on a bigger unit. “The idea of merging our upholstery products and our in-store collections, and being able to showcase everything we have to offer under the same roof, was very tempting, so after 18 months we decided to make the move.” With three times the space, and lovely large bay windows that let natural light in, the showroom can house evenmore of its collection, including larger pieces of furniture, bedding and latexmattresses. The linen area has increased in size, giving customers a more relaxed space in which to view the range. Then there’s the bistro at the back of the shop, with views over the Myanmar Embassy. Anne-Jean has handed over some of her family recipes for the chef to cook, and customers will be able to relax and enjoy some gourmet European food before or after their shopping. The showroom is still home to House of AnLi’s staple brands, including its artisanal French Laguiole cutlery and fine Belgian linen, as well as its new collection of tableware from Portugal. To experience the new and improved showroom, head to #03-17 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road . Things have come a long way since Belgian ANNE-JEAN LIÉTAER set up House of AnLi in 1999. She’s moved on from designing and creating handbags and retailing home décor out of her black-and-white house to taking up a sizeable showroom, including bistro in Tanglin Mall. We find out what’s in store for 2017.

The chic new bistro, serving gourmet dishes

6235 3851 | houseofanli


H Feature

Spreading simple joy through colours is themantra of Milc by Mishell , which provides bespoke, personalised art for the modern home. Here we take a look behind the scenes of the business. HappyArt for HappyKids

Happiness is a big theme in MISHELL LEONG’s artwork, and it’s something she knows all about. She made the transition from a corporate day job to professional artist in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. Her fun and vibrant paintings bring life and love to any room, and one of her greatest passions is kids’ art. So how do you go about adding her special brand of happiness to your child’s room? Mishell outlines the key considerations. #1 Time frame “I have a range of print designs that can be personalised and ready to ship between one to three weeks (in Singapore). For original commissions, I typically have a waitlist of about a year. Frombeginning to end, a commission can take three to six months, depending on the size and complexity of the piece.” #2 Personal elements “For personalised prints, I include your child’s name, their country’s flag and other small details depending on the design. For commissions, I love weaving stories into my paintings. I need to know about the child’s characteristics and preferences, but it’s also lovely to know the parents’ back story so I can include them as well.”

#3 Other important details “It’s useful for me to know the colour scheme of the room where the print or painting will hang, any must- or must-not-haves, and other quirky details you’d like to include. I always try my best to customise my art as much as possible. “Personalised art is a gift of happiness. The look of pure joy in a child’s face when they recognise their name and other little details is priceless.”

8139 2199 | milcbymishell.com



H Product Spotlight



“ T h e P r a n a collection speaks u n d e r s t a t e d elegance with the pairing of live- edge solid oak slabs highlighted with traditional butterfly joints and cast iron legs. Available in a range of wood finishes. ” Prana Bed Frame by Square Roots

Mountain Teak specialises in wooden furniture for the home, with an eco-friendly focus. Here, the team showcases a few essential pieces in different décor themes, including items from their newest collections.


“ T h e Wi s h b o n e collection takes its name from the shape of its recycled cast-iron legs. Large slabs of oak boules are joined together to make an impressive table top, with a variety of finishes available tohighlight the sap and heartwood. ”

“ With clean-cut curves and well-designed proportions, the Twist Collection by Karpenter blends Scandinavian mid-century influences and Japanese minimalist designs – sleek and warm, with a hint of modernity. ”

Wishbone Light Dining Table by Square Roots, 100 percent solid French oak (PEFC-certified)

Vintage Leather Sofa by Karpenter, with vegetable-

Twist Bed Frame, available in 100 percent solid reclaimed teak (FSC-certified), Europeanwhite oak andAmerican black walnut

“ Producing luxury sofa collections since 1955, Wendelbo is a family-run company that specialises in the design and production of contemporary upholstery, available in over 25 countries around the world. ”

tanned leather.

Also in store… A private collection of Mountain Teak, the White Lofty storage series features neutral tones, well-defined clean lines and natural European white oak paired with brushed stainless steel, emphasising simplicity and practicality. “ Inspired by classic Scandinavian designs of the 1950s and 60s, the Vintage Collection by Karpenter features clean lines and gentle angles. It’s available in 100 percent solid reclaimed teak (FSC-certified), American black walnut and European white oak. ”

HOLD Sofa by Wendelbo with natural oak legs

For more information, call 6224 7176, visit the showroom at #07-02 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road, or take a look at the online product catalogues at mountainteak.com.


Global Designs

In operation for over 20 years, Originals is one of the most established furniture stores in Singapore, and yet it continues to evolve. We find out more about its own-brand range of furniture, Nomad. T he story started in 1995 when Australian owner Geri Murphy first came to Singapore and wanted to create a new business venture where the key focus was on quality products, and offering great service. Geri was driven to travel the world and find the most original products she could. After two decades, and full of inspiration and with the right resources to hand, Originals’ own-brand furniture range, Nomad, was born. There are four furniture collections under the brand, combining unique raw materials and pieces found on travels, and mixing handcrafting and technical skills with beauty and design.

Nomad Java “It’s all about the warmth and richness of teak wood,” says Geri. “We spend a lot of time working with the wood, handcrafting the finish to highlight the grains, the natural knots and the characteristics that make every piece unique. The Nomad Java design is simple, functional and timeless.”



H Insights

#1 It’s vibrant and full of life Vietnamese art is an incredible mix of colours, textures and techniques that stem from centuries of global influence and the convergence of people and civilisations. This has resulted in dynamic works, realised in various media including oils, acrylics, calligraphy, silk painting and ornate lacquer work. #2 A true East-meets-West style Although its origins lie in Chinese tradition, exposure to the Hindu aesthetic of the Champa and Khmer kingdoms, and the strong European influence that came with the French colonists all had a major impact. The establishment of the Indochina College of Fine Art in Hanoi in the early 20th century probably led to themost radical transformation, as it brought Vietnamese artists into direct contact with those of France and Europe. #3 It makes an Impression Along with new artistic perspectives and an energetic exchange of ideas, one of the most significant artistic imports brought by the French colonists was Impressionism. There was something about the movement that struck a chord and it became a major artistic trend, but with a distinctively Vietnamese approach. Its influence on Vietnamese art is still clearly visible today.

#4Thetriumphof lifeoverhardship After the French left, the mid-to-late 20th century was characterised by war and hard times. Even under these difficult circumstances, Vietnamese artists remained dynamic, welcoming new influences from America and socialist Eastern Europe. When considered alongside its peculiar history, Vietnamese art’s continued use of vibrant colours and innovative techniques, and its continued sense of joy in daily life, renders it a real triumph of life and happiness over hardship. #5 Unique techniques One of the most interesting and unusual media used in Vietnamese art is lacquer. Often called “inverted paintings”, lacquer art is made by building up layers of different coloured lacquers. These are then delicately sanded down, creating detail by removing paint rather than adding it. It’s a labour-intensive process – one piece can take several months to complete. The end result, often featuring fragments of duck eggshell, gold and silver leaf or mother of pearl, is stunning. Although other Asian countries have long histories of using lacquer for decorative purposes, Vietnamese artists combined Western art concepts with age-old techniques to elevate it to a truly standalone art form.

ArtBlue Studio is at 23 Yong Siak Street | 9752 5458, 9730 5299 | artbluestudio.com


Looking to create a gorgeous home but not sure where to start? Here, PADMAJA RAJAGOPALAN, founder of Artful House , passes on a few handy tips about how to use some of the latest pieces of furniture and furnishings in her store, to help push your style in the right direction. Artfully Done

The collections at Artful House are eclectic to say the least; they range from recycled wood pieces stained in striking colours, to one-of-a- kind vintage products with tons of character, a n d c o n t e mp o r a r y pieces designed around a range of eye-catching patinas. Then there’s the bespoke upholstery on offer, reflecting Asian and Oriental influences. Find out how you can use some of these pieces to create that wow factor.

Layer in different design styles “Mixing different styles makes the overall look vibrant and interesting; for example, here is a contemporary take on a wingback chair, paired with a cabinet made from antique window shutters.”



H Expert Voice

Upholstery sets you apart “Upholstery can be another way to add colour, and to make a striking statement with truly interesting fabrics and chair designs. At Artful House, tomake our chairs truly special, we focus on Asian-inspired fabrics such as ikats and chinoiseries.”

Include conversation pieces in your home “There’s nothing like the element of surprise to take one’s breath away. Have you ever imagined your hallway mirror could be fashioned from an antique window frame, or your console could be constructed from an erstwhile doorway arch? This is just one example of a mirror constructed from a window arch, to give you some ideas.”

Embrace the newneutrals “At Artful House, we think the ‘new neutrals’ are a decorator’s secret weapon. No longer restricted to black, beige and white, we love the colour palette that ranges froman inviting grey to sandstone taupes, blush pink and pale blues. These pleasing hues add personality subtly, without overpowering. Here is a vintage doorframe bookcase in a grey hue – magnificent yet easy to visualise in different settings.”

Choose accent pieces to add colour and personality “Colour schemes can have a big impact. If you’re not sure whether you’re doing too much or too little with your wall colour, accent pieces could be your solution to introduce furniture-sized portions of colour and instantly transform a place. This option is particularly popular among renters.”

#08-04 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 8112 6127 | artful-house.com facebook.com/artfulhousesingapore


Raaka Gold Collection

H Focus

We asked the team from Singapore-based 1001cushions.com , retailer of designer cushions online, about the many great qualities of this humble yet versatile product for the home. Comfy Classics for your covers. Every cushion comes in its own branded drawstring bag, making it handy for gift-giving and ensuring it travels well and reaches you in pristine condition. What are your tips for choosing the best cushions for a home?

1001cushions.com currently delivers to Singapore, Australia and the US, with free express delivery available on every minimum order of two cushions. To keep our cushions looking their best, we recommend professional dry-cleaning, and hand-steaming rather than ironing. All our cushions come with a care label inside the cushion cover. There are no special guidelines for choosing cushions. We encourage you to make a statement with our cushions – express yourself! You could start your cushion collection cautiously, with just one or two – or take the plunge and curate your own “dream team” of cushions. Abandon any out-dated notions of matching this with that – it’s too limiting. These days, mixing things up means making it your own. What’s the best way to look after cushions?

Q What kindsof things cancushions be used for in the house? A Anything and everything! This small home accessory can make a big visual impact and create that luxe look for under a hundred dollars. It can make over a space, liven up a dull corner and set the look and feel of an entire room. It can even pull together all the loose threads of an eclectic décor, focusing the eye and defining the theme. And, of course, you can use it to rest your head and support your feet. Give us an idea of the styles and designs available at 1001 Cushions. We have beautiful, quality pieces sourced from all over the world, including designs that draw on the rich cultures of East and West, from oriental brocades to classic stripes and chintzy florals. Materials span every textile and texture imaginable,

from delicate yet durable silk, cotton and wool blends to shimmering metallics and sequins that can outshine a disco ball. Selected limited-edition designs at 1001cushions.com feature original artwork from accomplished artists, reproduced using advanced printing technology on premium fabrics. Themed collections include the luxurious Raaka gold collection, inspired by ancient India, and the thought-provoking Sachi collection, adorned with witty quips and wise quotes. The Tara collection emanates a Zen vibe with its nature-inspired designs, while the rustic Dakota collection triggers a sense of adventure. There’s a cushion for every room, mood and personality. What are your cushions filled with? All our products are filled with quality, hypo-allergenic polyester, sparing you the bother of finding the right cushion insert


H Recommendations

Popular Choices

Window shutters

These are late 19th- century window s h u t t e r s f r om Zhejiang Province, made from nanmu (Chinese laurel w o o d ) . Wh e n people tear down o l d h ome s i n China, they will often remove the decorative elements and sell them to antique collectors. We restore each pair of window s hu t t e r s u s i ng traditional Chinese w o o d w o r k i n g techniques and joinery. Shutters such as these make a great alternative to a piece of artwork.

Antiques prove perennially popular, albeit some more so than others; here are just four top picks from ChinaCollection ’sDOUGLOCKETT .

Chinese medicine cabinet

This is an example o f a l a t e 19 t h - century medicine c a b i n e t f r o m Shanxi Province. E a c h d r awe r i s sectioned into four c o m p a r t m e n t s , with paper labels listing the contents. These cabinets were commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine shops, but may also have been used in the homes of wealthier Chinese families.

Barber stool This is an example of a stool that was used by Chinese barbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Chinese barber was a travelling street profession, and this stool was designed to be highly portable. It contains several drawers in the base for his tools. The hole

Bronze rain drums These originate from Vietnam and Myanmar, and were used as both musical instruments and cult objects. The rain drums sold at China Collection are reproduction pieces, made using the

in the top of the stool is a coin slot, which is where the customer placed payment at the end of the haircut.

traditional lost-wax casting method. This method allows us to reproduce an exact copy of the original drums.

China Collection is at 20 Malcolm Road. 6235 1905 | chinacollection.com.sg


H Profile

Affordable Contemporary

I love the name of your business; where did the inspiration come from for it? It just came to me instinctively. I’m of Sri Lankan origin, and cinnamon is a spice I grew up with – for me, it conjures feelings of comfort, warmth and deliciousness. And I wanted to use the word “room” as I see myself styling and decorating rooms that are forever evolving with my new designs. When we moved back to Singapore from London (I was born here but lived abroad for 20 years), I noticed a lack of choice of affordable yet unique home décor items; in particular, there were very few mid-priced items, so I decided that while sourcing things for my own home, I would start finding manufacturers to produce my designs so that I could offer the market something unique and contemporary at an affordable price point. I love designing, travelling and shopping, so sourcing trips are especially good fun as I get to fulfil my three great passions. And I love helping people design their spaces, consulting with them to bring out their personalities in their homes. Many of my clients are expats who are renting, so they don’t feel inclined to spend too much; I enjoy revamping their spaces by re-accessorising to give a fresh new feel – making a place feel like home but without breaking the bank. Fromvibrantly colourful to subdued and elegant or chic and contemporary, I love creating the look they’re after together with them. VISHA NELSON of The Cinnamon Room loves spicing up homes and giving them a styl ish, eclectic feel. BY REBECCA BISSET What do you enjoy most about having your own business?

What recent trends have you noticed in home décor? It’s always changing, and that’s why I’m inclined to go for a timeless classic style – in particular, a contemporary style that can be translated from a tropical home here to homes abroad when clients move back. I feel that my black andwhitemonochrome and other geometric designs can work anywhere in the world. We’re extending our geometric designs to small accent pieces of furniture such as a new range of side tables, paper products and serving trays. We’ll also be extending our range of hide rugs to include home accessories made of hide, such as coasters, placemats and stools. We’re very excited about our new designs launching in 2017, so watch this space! What do you have in store that’s new and exciting?

Above: The patchwork hide rugs are ethically sourced from hides sourced from South America and India from working farm animals. They’re super practical, soft underfoot and easy to clean. They can be natural and neutral, have a glint of silver, or be dyed to order.

#02-74 Jalan Merah Saga, Block 43, The Worklofts@Chipbee, Holland Village. 9727 3051 | thecinnamonroom.com


H Business

REBECCA BISSET runs her eye over the creative, tailor-made solutions for the home offered by E & A Interiors , from choosing a single, striking item to carrying out a full renovation. NoCookie Cutter

It’s very easy to see lovely things and buy them. It’s so not easy to make them all look nice together. Whether we’re starting from scratch with a renovation or just adding to existing pieces, we can all end up with a few expensive duds and a bit of a mishmash result. Or, we end up getting it looking vaguely nice and then do something stupid like move house! Although it may seem like a bit of a luxury to hire a consultant – in many spheres – they do usually end up saving you time and money. Floor planning and space planning are a real skill, especially when it comes to using existing furniture and accessories in a totally different sized and shaped space. For Elizabeth Acland, Chlöe Elkerton and the team of designers and architects at E & A Interiors, this is their area (excuse the pun) of expertise. They can also assess whether it’s a specific size of an art piece (which they can also source), a useful in a sterile rental apartment) or a made- to-order rug (they have some gorgeous ones – Moroccan, bamboo silk and so on) that can define a living space. Careful positioning of lamps and lights can change a whole room, and E & A Interiors has exclusive access to the range of Vaughan lamps and lights. Custom-made in solid brass, paint colour for a feature wall that will accent your sofa (very

designer mirrors are also in their selection ( example at left ). Remember, if you buy well, you can take the items with you wherever you are in the world. A fabulously comfy armchair that you love in a fabric of your choice can be something you have forever. Blinds are another home staple that canmake a huge difference, especially to a rented home or apartment. I have always bought or made curtains and blinds for my rentals here. E & A’s fabrics – gorgeous imports from Australia, America and Europe

– aren’t available anywhere else in Singapore. Elizabeth says, “We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach; every aspect of our work is tailor-made, from finding suppliers to understanding how people live, to being able to give them what they want.” They charge a call-out fee, which is refundable if you go ahead with the makeover; or for a big renovation there’s a concept fee instead. Start by popping in to their place at The Herencia to have a look at the samples; it will get those creative juices going!

#04-24 The Herencia, 46 Kim Yam Road. 6702 4850 | eandainteriors.com



Naomi coffee table. A signature design that never grows old. Named after its designer, Naomi Pas, it comes in recycled teak or sustainably harvested oak.

Perfect Picks LIVING ROOM

E thnicraft Online made its first foray into the Singapore market in 2012, as the online branch of international furniture brand Ethnicraft. Since then, it has expanded into Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, with collections that encompass functional, beautiful and eco-friendly solid wood furnishing. You can pick between its contemporary teak or oak collection, the playful Universo Positivo series or vintage-inspired Mr. Marius collection; either way, you’ll be guaranteed a one-of-a-kind piece – plus, you’ll get a lifetime warranty and complimentary maintenance. Here are just a handful of furniture ideas embodying Ethnicraft Online’s style and ethos that would be ideal for three of the most important rooms in a home. Ethnicraft Online offers the best of both worlds when it comes to shopping; there’s the convenience of buying online from the comfort of your own home, plus the security of being able to try before you buy in either one of its two showrooms. Here are just some ideas on how to kit out the key rooms in your home with some of the company’s popular furniture picks.

N101 sofa. As comfy as it is stylish, this piece is retro-inspired with a buttoned cushion, rounded legs and generous seat space. It’s available as a one-, two- or three-seater.

Blackbird television cupboard. This piece is from the latest

Blackbird collection; made of

black stained oak framing lighter oak, the design is a play of contrasts, perfect for the modern homeowner.



H Product Picks

Nordic II bedroom suite. The Nordic II combines elegant lines with the purity of solid wood. Mix it with timeless accessories and bed linen in natural colours to enhance the relaxing effect or go bold for a graphic statement. Available in teak or oak. BEDROOM


Find the Ethnicraft Online showrooms at • 72 Eunos Avenue 7, #05-05, Singapore Handicrafts Building • 315 Outram Road #02-01 Tan Boon Liat Building or visit ethnicraft-online.com.sg. Straight extendable dining table. Straight but never boring, this is the latest extendable model, boasting a hidden extension panel that is practical for parties, for when friends and family visit, and as a party trick! It comes in three sizes for different needs. Pair it with the straight bench for a perfect set.


H Expert Voice

Sweet Dreams

We asked THIJS VEYFEYKEN from European Bedding why choosing a natural latex mattress is the right option.

MATTRESS CARE Latex mattresses are among the most durable types of mattresses, and don’t need a lot of time and effort put into their care. It’s advised to rotate your mattress every year to increase its lifespan. Also, avoid exposing the mattress to direct sunlight, and let it breath from the underside when you can.

Q Why should I choose natural latex over a memory foam or spring mattress? A An all-natural latex mattress will not contain harsh chemicals and is naturally resistant to dust mites and mould. Spring mattresses can sag faster, and those who are concerned about electromagnetic radiation should stay away from innerspring products, as the metal of the coils is said to be able to act as an antenna and amplify ambient electromagnetic radiation. A mattress made of memory foam can trap heat; it also takes more energy to roll over on them, and they often aren’t so durable. It’s essentially a hi-tech polyurethane (PU) foam– a material made from a range of chemicals, and the use of petroleum-based substances is amain cause of off-gassing in foams. The big concern is around the sleeper inhaling these chemicals.

Where does latex come from, and should I choose the organic or non-organic version? A natural latex mattress is made out of the sap of the rubber tree. The milky liquid sap is processed into blocks of springy comfortable foam, so a latex mattress is therefore a natural product. Organic latex is natural latex grown organically, without pesticides. This isn’t a situation where an option of organic or non-organic is “better” or “worse”; the performance of a 100 percent natural latex mattress is indistinguishable from that of an organic latex mattress. It really comes down to a personal preference and what sorts of features you value most highly.

For an appointment, call 9654 3228 or make one online at europeanbedding.sg.


H Insights

CHANTAL TRAVERS, owner of FairPrice Antique , tells us how she finds her striking pieces, and what’s new for 2017. Handpicked Home for the

I make a trip to Beijing every three months to hand-pick every piece that’s in store. We work with a group of small trusted suppliers, one of which we’ve been working with for 17 years. Our suppliers find and restore pieces from all over northern China and we are continuously working with them to consult on colours and finish. With our décor pieces, we work with suppliers at the source, or as close as possible, which helps maintain good pricing, ensure quality and also give us access to the best available selection. When choosing pieces I go with my gut reaction, and I generally only choose pieces I love. Then I have to look at it from a practical point of view – size and utility are important in Singapore, as are colour, finish and age. Origin is important as we only like to source items made of wood from northern China. The temperatures there are extremely hot and extremely cold, and as such the wood survives well. The workmanship of pieces in that part of China is also much better as the workshops are smaller and there is still a real sense of traditional craftsmanship. We’re introducing a new range of Chinese furniture: Shou Collections. The pieces are handcrafted and finished by artisans from northern China using traditional furniture-making methods – but in modern colours and finishes. They will essentially be the antique pieces of the future. We’ll also be continuing to support artists, including Louise Hill and Sandra Macheroux, to bring affordable Singapore- and Asia-inspired art to our customers.

#01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 6270 2544 | fairpriceantique.com



H Product News

Nomad India “ANomad India piece comes fromour search through literally thousands of different styles, different ages and different conditions of original, old domestic cabinets and architectural elements from buildings and houses throughout Rajasthan andNorthern India. They’re selected individually, revised for today, and then repaired and remodelled by hand.”

Nomad Home “ T h i s f e a t u r e s t h e upholstered furniture lines and accessories that add the colours and textures to make a space sociable, liveable, soft and colourful. It combines modern, clean designs with comfort and style, making it often edgy and interesting. It makes you want to unwind, relax and enjoy your own space.”

Nomad Village “Over 20 years we’ve gathered a unique store of original, traditional, old teak furniture pieces and collected building materials from all over Java. We work on them with a small team of carpenters in a town in East Java, and we reshape them to function in today’s world. Nomad Village is individual, a piece of history, functional and timeless.” Nomad Tribe “It’s impossible to ignore the visual traditions of the African continent when we move across the globe. The primitive and tribal designs that are uniquely African speak to our minimalist leanings towards strength and simplicity. The pieces we find combine with our Original ranges as they are, in their original condition, or we add another dimension to them by reworking them with the colours that we love today.”

#02-03 Sime Darby Centre, 896 Dunearn Road | 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg


H Insights

The Past Perfect Collection #02-01D Sime Darby Centre 896 Dunearn Road 6737 3078 | pastperfect.sg We ask PIETER VAN HOUTEN from The Past Perfect Collection where his love for antique colonial furniture stems from, and why he feels these pieces have enduring appeal. PHOTOGRAPHY KEN TAN Timeless&Classic Hidden Treasures The furniture at The Past Perfect Collection is personally selected by Pieter and Marie-Helénè, who work in close cooperation with professional suppliers across India. Some items may need some restoration, which is carried out in India by a team of expert craftsmen. Once selected, a piece typically undergoes a restoration process of stripping, repairing and sanding, before the highly skilled French polishing technique is applied. The piece is then finished off with a protective layer of beeswax. When did your passion for antiques really take hold? During our five-year posting to India, from 2002 to 2007, my wife Marie-Helénè and I “discovered” antique colonial furniture and started collecting it for our home in Mumbai. We set up a store in Singapore in 2007, and what began as a hobby turned into an exciting new career. Antique colonial furniture is not the easiest to find, so it’s incredibly rewarding when we locate a piece we’ve been looking for. Why do you feel antiques have such long-lasting appeal? Antique furniture is usually very well made, and it also tells a story; it’s fascinating how a piece can serve as a reminder of the extravagances – and the hardships – of another era. Antiques retain their value remarkably well. Most, in fact, represent a good investment. That’s because antiques appreciate over the years, and in today’s atmosphere of conservation and sustainability, the antique is an essential factor in preservation and recycling. If you buy quality and beauty, that object will always be in demand, and it will be a great long-term investment that you can admire and enjoy in the meantime!


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