JAN 2020


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EDITOR’SNOTE So, here we are in the year that, when I was a child, was regarded as the ultimate sci-fi year. 2020! How alien are those numbers going to look when we write cheques? Not that we tend to do much of that anymore – we really are living in times that only a few foresaw. “Moneyless” money would be hard to explain to people even of my grandparents’ time! If you need to reimagine yourself, we have a “new year, new you” theme in this issue, including a huge health and fitness roundup (page 182). There’s another inspirational travel story from the HER Planet Earth crew – this time, they trek through the amazing landscapes of Iceland (page 132). And we also run through some resolutions you could consider to help make the world around you a better place (page 90). All of it might help to get your mind into what you want to change or improve on this year. Whether it’s a shift in your life direction or a new hairdo, change is good! The EL team just did a Christmas workshop where we created our own personal perfume. We had to do a short online personality test before we started, and I was “The Connoisseur”. It’s not how I think of myself, but it did make me ponder: maybe how I think of myself is not what I really am, or not what I could potentially be – in this case, a connoisseur. So, for the first part of the year, I am going to focus on that! What do you feel like doing or being this year? Finally, thank you to those who voted in the Readers’ Choice Awards; we had an amazing response of over 7,300 voters. Results will be out in mid-January – look out for them and the winners of the prizes on expatliving.sg.

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Happy New Year!

Trekking across Iceland’s dramatic landscapes – how cool would that be?

View from the top



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Special Projects MELINDA MURPHY Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers


Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | info@expatliving.sg Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | sales@expatliving.sg Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | subscription@expatliving.sg Production: +65 6812 1787 | production@expatliving.sg Editorial & Media Releases: editorial@expatliving.sg Calendar of Events: calendar@expatliving.sg Events: events@expatliving.sg Websites: expatliving.sg | expatliving.hk

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Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #07-06 Mapex Building, Singapore 577177

Originals (originals.com.sg)




NEWS 16 Calendar Updates: 22 Readers’ Letters 24 EL Forum: HOME & PROPERTY 28 News 32 Home Showcase: 38 One-Stop Shop: The mall with it all 40 Inside Story: Readers’ dining tables 44 Buying Guide: LIFE & FAMILY 56 News 60 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 62 On the Page: Our online antics and our upcoming events Dining tables and accessories 50 Street Talk:

Sustainable style at home 32

What’s on in the coming months

Mindful practice in this designer’s Tanglin home

66 All Things Red:

Cluny Court celebrates CNY

68 Learn the Lingo: A guide to Singlish 70 Getting Schooled:

What it’s like living in Woodlands

OFS collaborates with Joseph Schooling

73 Kids’ Enrichment:

Seven awesome activities around town

78 What’s On:

Guide to the Singapore Open 2020

Recognise these newborns? 60

80 Car Talk:

Eight reasons to lease 82 Coworking Spaces: Four spots to get busy

Inspirational books, podcasts and apps!

85 Legal Lowdown: Men and maintenance in Singapore 88 The Hard Truth: 90 Planet Earth: Resolutions for 2020 92 Helping Hands: Our latest on volunteer opportunities 94 Around Town:

Top picks for dining rooms 44

What happens when an expat dies?

Photos from openings, events and more




Festive foods in town or at home 131


Japanese joints that raise the bar

158 TRAVEL 124 News 126 Travel Journal: A modern way to save memories 128 Destination Focus: Europe insights and reader recommendations 132 Iconic Iceland: The land of fire and ice 138 Aussie Adventure: Touring the remote Northern Territory 144 Road Trips: An expat family explores Malaysia by car

Notes from down under 138

WINE & DINE 106 News 110 Dempsey Dining:

Great places to connect in 2020

112 Ladies’ Nights:

Top promotions for you and your girlfriends

114 Sake to Sushi:

Three unforgettable Japanese restaurants

118 Recipe Corner:

Christmas favourites to add to your repertoire

120 Mindful Shopping:

Where to buy local, sustainable fish




Our very own EL Editor goes for the win! 195

STYLE & BEAUTY 150 Style News 152 Office Ready: Workplace wear we love 156 Beauty News 158 Mane Makeovers: EL team members get a new look! 162 Tried & Tested: Our favourite hair products 164 New Year, New You: Rejuvenation treatments for 2020 HEALTH & FITNESS 172 News 176 Win a Sentosa Wellness Staycation! 178 Heavy Lifting: How to prevent injuries 180 Expert Voice: Kids and sleep apnoea 182 Wellness Guide: Thirty ways to be healthier 195 Fight Night: The day one of us won a Muay Thai fight!

REGULARS 203 Numbers & Websites 204 Horoscopes for January

206 Advertiser List 208 Parting Shot: What is your story?


Frocks and accessories for your Christmas bash! 170

A healthier you in 2020! 182

What to wear to work 152




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2020 SMBC Singapore Open (16-19 JAN)

England’s Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson from Sweden and American Matt Kuchar – gold, silver and bronze medallists respectively at the Rio 2016 Olympics – will be among the big names competing in the US$1 million Singapore Open in January 2020. Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club. smbcsingaporeopen.com HotLotz Interiors and Antiques Auction (30 JAN) The auction will feature furniture, eclectic pieces and stunning home décor. View lots at the saleroom on Thursdays (until 8pm); the bidding closes online at 8pm on 30 January. Register online to see the auction catalogue. hotlotz.com DANCE, THEATRE & CONCERTS Lewis Capaldi (11 JAN) The Scottish singer will be performing his first Singapore show this January. Aside from being well known for his funny take on social media, Lewis has toured with big names such as Sam Smith, Niall Horan and more. Capitol Theatre. Tickets from Apactix. Kebaya Homies (15-19 JAN) This production by The Necessary Stage explores the traditional kebaya garment through some time-travel cabaret. Hear stories and the history of this culturally significant clothing. Esplanade Annexe Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Bon Iver (17 JAN)

Indie folk band Bon Iver will be in town for a new live performance showcasing tracks from their fourth album released last year. The American group was founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Kebaya Homies




As I Lay Dying (18 JAN) Californian heavy metal band As I Lay Dying will make a stop in Singapore as part of its Asian tour. The outfit released its seventh studio album Shaped by Fire in 2019. The Pavilion @ Far East Square. Tickets from Eventbrite. Ludovico Einaudi (28 JAN) Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi will be making his Singapore debut this January. The contemporary classical icon is known for his beautiful film scores, best-selling solo albums and stunning live performances. Esplanade Concert Hall. espalande.com/mosaic

Ludovico Einaudi


IN Exhibition 2019 (UNTIL 10 JAN)

Disturbing Narratives (UNTIL 8 FEB) Featuring over 30 artists from around the world, this exhibition showcases a variety of works, from paintings, drawings and photography to videos, sculptures and installations, all of them exploring emotions of fear, uncertainty and irrationality. The Parkview Museum Light To Night Festival (10-19 JAN) With the theme “Invisible Cities”, this year’s edition of Light To Night will have a great lineup of activities and programmes, including the inaugural TEDxSingapore Salon that examines why art matters. Civic District. lighttonight.sg Justice for All (13-30 JAN) This exhibition by renowned British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare features a monumental sculptural artwork that references Lady Justice, the century-old sculpture that stands on the dome of London’s Criminal

Enjoy the works of students from 16 international schools in Singapore. By displaying their artwork in a professional setting, students are encouraged to continue to pursue their passion for art. Australian High Commission The Lives of Women (UNTIL 19 JAN) This exhibition is the second of a three-part series showcasing facts and figures that reveal the progress – or lack of it! – made by women in education, work, public life and society in Singapore. These facts will be illustrated by referring to some of the 160 women in Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame (SWHF). National Museum of Singapore, The Concourse

Court (“The Old Bailey”). The Arts House (The Old Parliament House)

Disturbing Narratives





Stiff Little Fingers (13 FEB)

Glamorous Giving (20-21 FEB)


The Irish band will be making their way to town, fresh off their recent UK tour. They may have formed as far back as 1977, but audiences can expect a super-charged performance from these punk legends. The Pavilion @ Far East Square. Tickets from Sistic. Waitangi Day (16 FEB) Enjoy all things Kiwi at this annual celebration. Look forward to an afternoon of fun activities and entertainment including face-painting, bouncy castles, arts and crafts and a slip n’ slide. Also, dig into classic NZ eats and drinks like pies, sausages and beers. Australian International School Junior Campus Tony Hadley (16 FEB) Singer-songwriter Tony Hadley will be performing for one night only in February. The ex-lead singer of 80s band Spandau Ballet will be taking fans through the band’s hits such as “I’ll Fly For You”. The Theatre at Mediacorp. Tickets from Sistic.

In support of United Women Singapore (previously the Singapore Committee for UN Women), Glamorous Giving returns with 60 brands showcasing local fashion, furniture, children’s clothing, swimwear, jewellery, accessories, art, food and wine, all at markdown prices. Money raised will go to promoting women’s initiatives in the region. Antica Ballroom and Foyer, Orchard Rendezvous Hotel. facebook.com/Glamorous.Giving Run for Hope 2020 (23 FEB) This annual charity run aims to raise awareness, funds and support for cancer research. Participants can choose to take part in a 3.5km family walk/run, or a 10km run. Marina Barrage. runforhope.sg RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq The World Tour (27 FEB) As part of the Asian leg of the tour, the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be in town for a new production. Among them are Aquaria, Kim Chi and Plastique Tiara. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Apactix. Sixth Form Open Evening (27 FEB) In Tanglin Sixth Form, students can take A Levels or the IB Diploma; besides excelling academically, the school encourages students to find their passions, embrace opportunities and become lifelong learners. During this Open Evening, you can meet with the Head of Sixth Form, guidance counsellors and current Sixth Form students. Tanglin Trust School Yiruma (29 FEB) World-renowned pianist Yiruma returns to Singapore with a brand new concert for one night only this February. The South Korean star will play classics such as “River Flows in You” and “Kiss the Rain”, along with other pieces from his many albums. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Tony Hadley

: www.expatliving.sg

For even more things to do every week, go to our online calendar or sign up for our newsletter




Time For A Cuppa Hello, my favourite magazine! The beginning of the month is always an exciting moment for me, when I check the mailbox and see the latest issue of Expat Living . How glad I am! Then I find a moment to make tea and enjoy the time to read the magazine. I also go to the events that you host, and I always participate in the competitions – because of course I’d like to win something from my beloved magazine! – Olga Kuzmina

BEST LETTER We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. For best letter, Olga will receive a divine candle from To Be Calm. Each month, there’ll

be one of their signature candles to choose from tobecalm.com .

Ed: Thanks for your support; and yes, there’s nothing better than sitting downwith a nice cup of tea and themag!

Prizes Up For Grabs Thank you so much for the great competitions you run. I am always super excited about the prizes on offer and love entering them with crossed fingers! This month, I especially love the To Be Calm and The Whole Kitchen prizes; I hope I’m one of the lucky winners. Thank you for your efforts in sourcing these great prizes for us and Merry Christmas to you all! – Delvene Beaumont

Ed: Just keep entering and we’re sure you’ll get lucky! Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you too.

Lovely Layout What a festive magazine it was last month. I got the copy early in December and finished it in no time. I was immersed in the festivities and enlightened by the topics. I’ve always liked the colours and layout of the magazine; they make me want to read it. Good work to the team! – Myra Teo

December2019 Issue209

Lest We Forget Hi Rebecca, I’ve just seen your editor’s note about war veterans in the December edition and I thought it was lovely. It has given me food for thought, and a New Year’s resolution not to moan so much. Take care. – Liz Ed: Aah, thank you; it’s something that most of us probably have to pull ourselves up on at one time or another!




Delicious Food GreatHair Cool Clothes Gift Ideas Getaways& Peace!

A fabhandbag andaholiday in Japan WIN

MCI (P)031/02/2019


Great ideas for decorating!

Ed: Thank you, Myra! It takes us ages to choose a cover and work

on it, especially the December one as we wanted to make sure it was festive enough!

Email us at info@expatliving.sg




Check out some of the best places to stay and play.

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FEATURED AT SINGAPORE ART WEEK 2020 Our upcoming events! Visit expatliving.sg/ELevents to register.


Come and meet Yinka Shonibare CBE’s multi-coloured batik-clad Lady Justice, while she resides at Singapore’s Old Parliament House. All are welcome; justice is for all. YINKA SHONIBARE CBE: JUSTICE FOR ALL



DATE: 14 January 2020 TIME: 10am – 11.45am PLACE: The Arts House PRICE: $5, including refreshments






DATE: 15 January 2020 TIME: 10am — 11.45am PLACE: Beaute Hub, Suntec City PRICE: $10, including refreshments, free treatment* and goodie bag * Terms and conditions apply


Feng Shui Talk

DATE: 17 January 2020 TIME: 10am — 11.45am PLACE: China Collection PRICE: $15, including refreshments

25 JANUARY2020


44 Buying Guide: Dining

tables and accessories

Grey and Sanders

32 Showcase: How this homeowner demonstrates style and sustainability

38 Smart Shopping: All your furniture needs under one roof

50 Street Talk: Find out what it’s like living in Woodlands





Typical New Year’s resolutions involve hitting the gym, getting healthy and spending less. Why not change things up and add tech resolutions to the mix? Here are some technology-inspired changes you can make in 2020.

#1 Create a robust backup plan

The risk of data loss is very high: your phone may get lost or stolen, your computer hard drive could fail, or ransom-ware could hold your files hostage. Avoid losing your precious data by setting up a robust backup plan. Ensure you have at least two copies of your data, preferably an “onsite” backup and an “offsite” backup (in the Cloud or in a different physical location). #2 Keep your computer clean Giving your computer a physical clean every few months will help to prolong its life. Computers have many little areas where dust can easily accumulate. Dust reduces air flow, which leads to excessive heat and the potential for hardware damage and data loss. Take the time to vacuum the air vents and fans. #3 Bring order to your data Feeling bewildered by the state of your computer filing system (or lack of!)? Take the opportunity to bring some order to your data, especially photos. Start by creating a logical file structure for your documents, ensure you save new files with easy reference names and make a habit of filing them away correctly. Join one of Tekkie Help’s workshops on “Managing & Organising Photos” to learn tips and strategies to organise your digital photos. #4 Unsubscribe to junk emails Do you get hundreds of unwanted emails a week? Declutter your inbox by unsubscribing to email lists that don’t interest you. If you go to unroll.me, it syncs with your email and provides you with a list that you can unsubscribe from with one click. Begin 2020 with a fresh technology mindset! If you need a hand with any or all of these resolutions, speak with locally-based and expat-run IT support company Tekkie Help. Call 8113 8682 or visit tekkiehelp.com and quote “Expat Living” for a 10 percent discount on hourly appointment rates.

The Cinnamon Room has launched a much- awaited online shop! Check out the store’s award-winning rug collection – all designed in-house, plus much more for your home. Shop the style inspiration from the comfort of your lounge and get your purchases delivered straight to the door – locally and internationally. Visit thecinnamonroom.com to start browsing, and enjoy 10 percent off your first online purchase!

Now Open D e c o r a t i n g y o u r home and looking for inspiration? The ginormous new Atelier by Arete showroom is curated by the award- winning Arete Culture Group who bagged

first place in the Interior Designer category in our Readers’ Choice Awards last year! The one-stop-destination features bespoke furniture and home accessories, from upholstered bed frames and allergy-friendly carpets, to artwork and outdoor furniture. There’s an end-to-end interior design service available, too, as well as wallpaper installation and upholstery. 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02. atelierbyarete.com




If you’re looking for a huge collection of sofas, dining tables, beds, rugs and homeware, then pop into the warehouse space that Originals now calls home. The range includes smaller sofa styles for apartments as well as a new outdoor collection. The team are on hand to offer advice, and they like to encourage people to choose timeless, well-made and sustainably sourced furniture that will stand the test of time. Originals is giving away an interior design consultation and a $500 gift certificate. Head to expatliving.sg/competitions for your chance to win this awesome prize! WIN!

Does your home need a little bit of TLC?

Smashing Records for Asian Collectables! We recently set multiple saleroom records with our first auction of Chinese works of art. The pieces were selected from the exceptional collection of Mr Quek Kiok Lee, one of the founders of the South East Asian Ceramics Society, and a collector for over 65 years. We partnered with the leading international online auction platform, the-saleroom.com, to bring this sale to one of our biggest audiences yet. Ten lots in the 250-lot sale were sold for over ten times their high estimate to

Large blue-and- white porcelain “Bajixiang” moon flask Estimate: $3,000 to $5,000 Sold for: $24,000 Doucai-style twin-handled lotus-and-bat vase Estimate: $600 to $1,000 Sold for: $12,600 Small Longquan celadon circular dish Estimate: $300 to $500 Sold for: $6,600

both local and international buyers! This proves there’s a buoyant market for items of exceptional quality with well- documented provenance. Some of the purchased items are pictured here; were you one of the lucky bidders? The second auction from the collection will be published in February. Contact HotLotz to make an appointment to view, or if you have items of quality you’d like to be considered in our next Asian Collectables auction. In the meantime, we’d like to wish all our clients and friends an early Happy Lunar New Year!

MATTHEW ELTON is the founder of HotLotz, which holds curated auctions of hand-picked, eclectic items every week. Visit hotlotz.com for auction catalogues, download the app, or pop in for a visit at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15 Cendex Centre.



GNANI ARTS 19 Tanglin Road, #02-41 Tanglin Shopping Centre Singapore 247909 T: 6735 3550, 9003 2851 gnani_arts@yahoo.com.sg

www. gnaniarts .com





Whether it’s at work or in her own backyard, interior designer PENNY SLOANE has the preservation of the planet in mind. A stone’s throw from the Botanic Gardens, Penny Sloane is contemplating her decidedly brown garden. The recent lack of rain has meant that her once leafy idyll is now teetering on the edge of crispy. And, while she’s well aware that firing up the sprinkler system would restore it to its emerald best, she can’t quite bring herself to do it. As a full-time working mother of two, Penny is used to demands, but her latest ambition is perhaps her most challenging to date. “My biggest mission right now is to save the planet,” she says with a resolve that would rival that of Greta Thunberg. So, for now, the sprinklers stay firmly off.

33 JANUARY2020

Thinking green Penny is the co-founder of Siren Design, an interior design firm that has been delivering cutting-edge interiors to commercial and office spaces in Southeast Asia and her native Australia since 2006. She and her teamhave brought their brand of corporate woke to the likes of Facebook, the PwC Experience Centre, Visa, Google and JustCo, to name a few. But besides working with eco-friendly finishes – think carpets made from recycled fishing nets, rainforest-friendly timber and

changes their mind. “It’s such a waste!” says Penny. “A waste of time and money, but, most shocking of all, a waste of resources that literally go straight into the landfill.” As a result, the company is encouraging its clients to very carefully consider its ideas. “Do they actually need a full fit-out from the get-go? Instead, we canworkwith landlords to provide a cold-shell space instead of a finished-condition space. If we can avoid ripping everything out and starting again, so much the better – for everyone and for the planet.”

offcuts ofmarble–Penny isnowencouraging her clients to make sustainability a key aspect of every project. This means looking at every detail, from the materials they’re using, to how many AC vents they’re putting in – even what products they’re stocking in their pantries – tomake them as environmentally friendly as possible. She’s also getting very strict with the building process, as she estimates that over 90 percent of the jobs that Siren works on require a refit, not because of any structural need but because, ultimately, the client

I’d love to think that my home is ‘liveable luxe’ but the reality is more ‘toddler practical’!




Life in Tanglin When she’s not doing her bit to save the world, Penny can be found back at her Tanglin home, with her favourite dynamic duo, Jade (5) and Hugo (2), and husband Craig. “We chose the house because we love the access to the garden from every room. There’s loads of natural light and lovely high ceilings, and it has a family-friendly layout. It’s also incredibly private and quiet, even though we’re only a stone’s throw from Orchard Road.” The family has been in Singapore for eight years. “It was Craig’s job that brought us here. We both studied at university abroad, but this is our first expat posting. We love it; it’s definitely home for us.” Since moving into this particular property a year ago, Penny has, she admits, had to let go of some of her own design expectations in favour of a space that’s more functional. “I would love to think that my home is ‘liveable luxe’ but the reality is actually more ‘toddler practical’!” she laughs. “I’ve discovered a love of layered patterns and bold and high contrast colours that I never knew I had, but which are great for hiding toddler, dog and general life mess.” That said, some of the little luxuries are still there, including a Barbera Design bronze table, which is Penny’s favourite item in the whole house, and which the family regularly gathers around.

35 JANUARY2020

Penny’s Recommendations WINE & DINE Culina at COMO Dempsey (“everything on the menu is delicious!”) 15 Dempsey Road | 6474 7338 | culina.com.sg Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chophouse (“for a special night out — we sit at the bar and watch the world go past”) 22 Gemmill Lane | 6221 4468 | lukes.com.sg Hua Yu Wee (“for chilli crab and pepper crab; authentic, simple, delicious”) 462 Upper East Coast Road | 6442 9313 The Providore (“the best croissants”) Multiple locations | 6221 7056 | theprovidore.com HOME Tan Boon Liat Building (“lots of great stores to explore for furniture; I especially love the new Fritz Hansen showroom”) | 315 Outram Road Second Charm (“for that found magic piece of furniture, or they can also customise”) Block 21 Kallang Avenue, #05-165 Mapletree Industrial Building JEB & Stylecraft (“two spots for contract pieces”) • 49 Cantonment Road • 3 Lim Teck Kim Road, Unit #01-01 Genting Centre XTRA (“for outdoor furniture”) 6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-48 | xtra.com.sg Edupod (“for outdoor playgrounds for the home”) 998 Toa Payoh North | edupod.com.sg OTHER Kenaris Salon (“Alston for cut, Vanessa for colour”) #04-03 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road

Change in routine Jade has recently started at “big girl school” while Hugo is now taking the school bus to nursery. The impact on the family’s morning routine has been seismic. “I feel like my entire life has changed since we discovered the school bus!” says Penny. “Our mornings have literally been transformed.” Whereas every day used to begin at 6.30amand involve two manic drop-offs before Penny would charge into the office at 9am, the family now has a leisurely breakfast and quality time before everyone goes their separate ways at 8.20am. And, rather than berate herself for not acting as everybody’s transportation service, Penny sees it as another step towards a greener existence, as well as time that is exclusively for her family. “It’s now my favourite part of the day. You don’t get that when you’re desperately trying to get everybody into the car.” Less seamless has been the integration of exercise into her weekly regime. “When I’m really stressed or really busy, it’s the first thing to go,” she grimaces. This is despite having a personal trainer lined up at Chijmes and a Pilates instructor who comes to her house twice a week. “Even then, I manage to let exercise fall by the wayside! I know it should be a priority but the reality is, it just isn’t.” Penny is a firm believer, however, that a healthy body and a healthy mind are crucial to productivity, whether it’s her own or that of her team or clients. Creating “mentally well” spaces is what has earned Siren Design its impressive roster of clients and it remains at the forefront of what they do. That and creating more environmentally-friendly workspaces. “We can all be better humans,” she says. “We’ve just got to know how.” It can be as simple as waiting for the next downpour rather than reaching for the garden hose at home.



Shopping BY MELINDA MURPHY Is one of your resolutions to top up your home with fresh furniture? Then a visit to this mall-with-it-all may be just the thing to get the ball rolling. I’ve gotten to where I just plain dread breakfast. Oh, it’s not the food or the company – I actually love hanging out with my family in the morning. My kids make me giggle. Nope. It’s our dining chairs. They are killing my back. I eat my bowl of oatmeal or yoghurt and leave the dining table like a hobbled centenarian. The chairs we brought with us when we moved here didn’t like the humidity so we bought used chairs from a repatriating expat. Big mistake. They’re awful. My husband isn’t too fond of our dining table either. We bought it off eBay, sight unseen, when we were living in the US. It’s an old Indian door and, while it looks super cool, it’s not practical. The surface is uneven so cutting up a piece of food becomes a whole exercise in plate balance management. What fun it was teaching our toddlers how to properly place their plates so they wouldn’t wiggle throughout the meal. Also, big metal decorations underneath mean that if you put more than one chair on the same side of the table, somebody’s legs are getting squished. No, mealtimes at our house are not for the faint of heart. Guests should turn down dinner invites. Solving the problem I think I’ve found the answer: The Furniture Mall. This place has a mind-boggling 40 stores and 70 brands under one roof. It’s like furniture-shopping nirvana – and, frankly, nothing makes me happier. I don’t know about you, but I hate schlepping from place to place looking for something I need. Furniture

True, The Furniture Mall is not smack dab in the middle of Orchard, but that can be a good thing. Located at 10 Toh Guan Road, it has room for a bunch of stores under one roof. That means shopping here is a super easy adventure. Parking is easy, walking around in the air-conditioned mall is almost as good as a candy store, and I don’t have to troll Singapore driving from store after store. Of course, dining tables and chairs are just a bit of what you’ll find here; beds, desks, tables, outdoor furniture – this place has the works. Like a contemporary look? It’s there. Looking for teak furniture? Check. Maybe country is more your taste. Or Victorian. Check and check. There are even units to organise your closet or your laundry. Hmm… maybe my whole home needs an upgrade.




Monthly Promotions The Furniture Mall has special deals that change from month to month. Some months, you might get free luggage if you buy furniture, orWilmax porcelain-ware such as cups or a teapot. Or you couldwin a trip in the Monthly Lucky Draw, or take home some cold, hard cash. Customers can also redeem free premium gifts on weekday purchases. Bonus! The 25-year-old Furniture Mall is part of the Singapore Furniture Association and it’s really a carefully curated co-op with stores for all tastes and budgets. Because it’s been around for such a long time, you know the vendors are trustworthy. Businesses that aren’t trustworthy don’t stay around, do they? Tips for buying But I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made before. Furniture needs to do more than look good. It needs to be comfortable and practical. So I did some research and there are actually well-studied specifications for table and chair heights to maximise comfort. Here’s what I learned: • A standard dining or kitchen table height should be 76cm. Dining chairs are generally between 40 and 50cm. • The real key is the distance between the chair and table. Here’s the scoop: there should be between 23 and 33cm between the top of the chair and the bottom of the table. Why? Because otherwise your legs don’t have room. Like to cross your legs? go for more distance. If you’re short, you might want a lower table. Really tall? Go for a taller one. Remember, though, you

may have guests sharing that table so don’t go crazy either way. You don’t want a table for a 225cm giant and then have a guest who can’t reach the floor when she sits. • Want arms on your chairs? Make sure they allow you to scoot close enough to the table. • Plan on having lots of guests? See how many chairs you can get around the table comfortably (and that includes having elbow room to properly cut your food). • Don’t fall in love with the look of a table or a set of chairs and look past the limitations. That’s like falling in love with the guy across the room only to find out he makes you uncomfortable. • As for the room placement, make sure there is 90cm between the table’s edge and the wall so people have room to push out their chairs comfortably. If you have a tiny space, don’t buy a giant table. Maybe opt for installing a booth instead. • Think of materials. Chairs should be firm and comfortable. Have kids? Maybe don’t go for white wool; it doesn’t like spaghetti sauce. If you buy leather, make sure you’re a fan of air-con, as leather doesn’t like humidity.

The Furniture Mall is at 10 Toh Guan Road, Level 1, and is open daily from 11.30am to 9pm. 6898 2272 | thefurnituremall.com.sg

39 JANUARY2020


If Tables Could

Dining tables witness many things: loud family dinners, heart-to-heart chats over a cuppa, panic on the night before homework is due, epic Lego projects and more. We spoke to readers about the dining tables they’ve purchased for their homes, and some of the ways they use them.

Deanna Harradine, American-Australian; George (11), Jack (7) and Luke (3), Australian A friend suggested looking at Originals when I told her I was after a good-quality dining table. I’d looked in other shops and hadn’t found anything I loved. It was the best advice I could have gotten! Originals is a unique store, and everything in it is beautifully made. The team were so friendly and helpful, too. As I don’t have an interior design bone in my body, they helped me to choose the perfect table, plus the rest of the furniture in my living room. I needed the table to be long and I didn’t want any heavy or chunky wood or legs. I also wanted it made of light wood. As soon as I saw the table, I loved the look of it. It’s stunning! The smooth light woodwas unlike anything I’ve seen in other shops, and it was the perfect size for our room and our family. We were so pleased that we had to buy the chairs and carpet featured in the showroom too. Almost everything we have is from Originals now – and we aren’t done shopping! The table is mostly used for eating and dinner parties. My eldest son George is a self-taught artist, so he sits and draws at it. I was assured that it’s super durable and doesn’t stain easily so I’m relaxed about him using it as his creative space too.

Besides selling great furniture, Originals has staff who are friendly and knowledgeable. They told us exactly where the pieces weremade, how theyweremade, and the inspiration behind the creation of particular pieces. Plus, our furniture has arrived quickly every time. I’ll be back next

week for a new bed! I can’t recommend Originals enough – it’s a truly a pleasurable shopping experience from start to finish. Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, #05-02/03 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg




Gregory Wald, American We were looking for something that would always remind us of our time in Singapore and the region. This suar- wood slab from Woody Antique House drew our attention because it’s uniquely Jiang Jing, Singaporean I was looking for a six-seat wooden dining table with matching wooden chairs to replace our old dining set. We wanted something longer than 150cm; our old table measured 180cm, and we got used to that length. This set that we bought from Scanteak looked perfect and suited our needs. A colleague of mine had purchased a dining set from the store shortly before I started shopping for our new table, and he gave good feedback on their products, so that’s where we went too. It’s an ATA 165cm dining table with six Stellan dining chairs. We actually purchased a queen-size bed frame and two solid wood bookcases from the store at the same time. I also liked the couches at Scanteak. We didn’t buy one because we already had a sofa, but I’d recommend anyone interested in their pieces to also take a look at the couches. The table is mainly for dining – the size is perfect for our family. Occasionally, I

also use it for work when I have to be with the kids in the living room. It’s very comfortable to use the table as a study desk. We like the simplicity of the design and the fact that it’s made of solid teak, which means it will last.

Scanteak | 60 Sungei Kadut Drive | 6368 2802 | scanteak.com.sg

shaped, yet very durable. We also love that no two tables made of suar wood are alike – they each have highlights of different colours and distinctive wood grain patterns. It was also important to us

to have something from Southeast Asia to complement our Peranakan-style home. We chose to buy from Woody Antique House because we were advised by friends that the quality and variety of their furniture range is the best on the island, and their customer service is excellent. We needed a large dining room table because we like to entertain. Our table is now the centre point for eating and family gatherings, and for Mahjong for my wife Ingrid and her friends. They had similar tables on display, but this particular table top, stored off the showroom, spoke to us immediately. It wasn’t just the table that called to us. The different colour colonial-style chairs also caught our eye; we knew they would work well in our home. We’re so very happy with our items and will undoubtedly purchase additional pieces from Woody Antique House in the future. Woody Antique House 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 | woodyantique.com

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Pramila Nuwantha Ariyaratne, Sri Lankan I was specifically looking for a round table to maximise the space in my square-ish dining area. I also wanted one to reflect the modern European restaurants I love in Singapore. Taylor B carries items that are thoughtfully designed and incorporate multiple materials (wood, different metal finishes and stone), setting it apart from other shops. There’s also a huge catalogue of items – they’re all on display and readily available. It’s far more satisfying to visit a store to see and touch the items you like and have them delivered to your home in a few days. I also found it a far more relaxing experience as the staff know when to step in and help, and when to let you browse. My table top is made of about 24 sectors of fumed oak, seamlessly assembled so the wood grain radiates outwards from the centre. The champagne-coloured metal frame blends in well without being too glaring. I’m very happy with the purchase and I’ve been getting a lot of compliments from visitors about the table and the other Taylor B purchases I’ve made since. I added dining chairs on a follow-up visit, along with a sofa, a coffee table and a side table. Even now, I browse the Taylor B website for things that might catch my eye . Taylor B

43 Keppel Road, Levels 3 & 4 6206 9736 | taylorbdesign.com

Francis Loi, Singaporean I like simple elegance in a piece of furniture, but more importantly it must be functional, utilitarian and fit nicely in our environment (we have tropical modern interiors). My dining area is not big, and while we occasionally host dinner parties for six to ten people, most of the time the table is used just by the two of us. So, we decided on an extendable table. My partner, Philip Ordonez, has worked with Felicia from Gallery 278 in the past, so this is where we turned. He was the one who designed and chose the table. The table is solid wood and round. It seats four when it’s not extended, but when two extra leaves are added, it can seat six to eight comfortably. I particularly like the design of the legs; simple, sleek and elegant. When not extended, the legs form a cross on the floor, but when extended, the legs separate into two “Vs”. Also, for a solid wood table, it’s not heavy and can be moved easily. It’s a hub for eating, dinner parties and occasionally work. No doubt many mass-produced furniture items these days have great visual appeal, but for forging the identity and uniqueness of your home, it’s worthwhile looking for bespoke pieces that can tell stories – it might be the result of a chance find, a long hunt until the right one was found, a friend’s bespoke design, or a designer who understands your aesthetic preferences.

Gallery 278 278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 | gallery278.com



Whether your space is big or small, or you’re newlyweds or feeding a family of six, we’ve got dining solutions for all.






1 Le Toucan Pale Blue wallpaper by 1838 Wallcoverings, $140 per roll, Altfield Interiors 2 Dining room furniture, accessories from Atelier by Arete and Arete Culture, price on request, styling by Arete Culture 3 Vetlanda dining table and Arvika dining armchairs, price on request, Black &Walnut 4 Dani dining table, $4,850, available in other colours and customisable options, Gallery 278 5 Vetlindo dining table and Avesta dining chairs, price on request, Black & Walnut 6 Tito outdoor dining table, $2,369, with Sakura dining chairs, $725 each, WTP






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7 Ox hide rug, easily maintained and cleaned, available in two sizes from $1,750, The Cinnamon Room 8 Food-safe serving trays in enamelled iron, from $95, The Cinnamon Room 9 Cleopatra dining table with marble top and four chairs, $2,599 ($1,990 table only), Lucano at The Furniture Mall 10 Arbor dining table and baguette armchair, price on request, JANUS et Cie 11 Dining table in single- slab Japanese elm, price on request, Grey & Sanders 12 Oak slice extendable dining table, $2,890, Soul & Tables

11 12




13 Extendable ceramic table, $2,199 (with four chairs), B&B Furnishing at The Furniture Mall 14 Fibonacci Fondo table and Amari Vita armchairs, price on request, JANUS et Cie 15 Levuka dining table and armchairs, price on request, Boulevard Outdoor Inspirations 16 Customisable elm and pine lattice panels for any room, price on request, Just Anthony 17 Dining accessories and styling by Arete Culture






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18 Pier dining table, Nomad Outdoor range, $2,250, Originals 19 Avlangdining set, from$1,529, Scanteak 20 Fira dining set, from $2,399, Scanteak 21 Axel dining table, $2,150, available in other colours and customisable options, Gallery 278 22 Teak double dining table, $2,160, Soul & Tables 23 Hive dining table with customisable glass top, $2,990, and Aster dining chairs, $374 each, WTP 24 Antique cabinet, price on request, Emperor’s Attic 25 Enamelled aluminiumserving tray, $120, The Cinnamon Room 26 Bok dining table in oak, $1,880, Soul &Tables








Directory Altfield Interiors #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower 1 Magazine Road 6909 2768 | altfield.com.hk Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | areteculture.com Atelier by Arete 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 6265 4525 | atelierbyarete.com Black and Walnut 43 Keppel Road Level 1 6781 3201 | blackandwalnut.com.sg Boulevard Outdoor Inspirations 43 Keppel Road Level 1 6781 3211 | boulevardoutdoorfurniture.com Emperor's Attic #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9011 0380 | emperorsattic.com Gallery 278 by Esco Leasing 278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 | gallery278.com Grey & Sanders #02-42 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard 8371 1886 | greyandsanders.com JANUS et Cie

11 Beach Road, Suite #01-02 6333 0060 | janusetcie.com Just Anthony

379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | justanthony.com Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, #05-02/03 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg Scanteak 60 Sungei Kadut Drive 6368 2802 | scanteak.com.sg Soul & Tables 315 Outram Road #02-01/03 Tan Boon Liat Building 9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sg The Cinnamon Room 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #02-74 Holland Village 9727 3051 | thecinnamonroom.com


The Furniture Mall 10 Toh Guan Road #01-17 (B&B Furnishing) & #01-07 (Lucano) thefurnituremall.com.sg WTP 3 Kung Chong Road 6235 2760 | wtpstyle.com


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MINA OHUCHI BREGMAN Nationality: Japanese- American Occupation: Volunteer and parent

What’s the name of the street where you live? PinewoodGrove. All of the street names in our neighbourhood are names of trees – pinewood, oakwood, ashwood and so on. Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Near the Singapore American School (SAS).” What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Woodlands. Closest MRT station? Marsiling, on the red North South Line. How long have you lived here? Three years. Why here? Our three kids go to SAS and after four years of taking the bus from Orchard, we decided to move within walking distance of the school.

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Our musically talented neighbours’ home! They are always beautifully playing their instruments. The closest store to your front door is: NTUC FairPrice. Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: Married… with Children .






North East




South West

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: I actually can’t think of anything negative! The unofficial uniform of your street is: SAS uniforms. When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Go to the theatre, Singapore Symphony Orchestra or book club. If you’re missing home, you: Go shopping at Meidi-ya or the African Marketplace. Amandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: Little India, Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, Long Beach, a drink on the top of Marina Bay Sands and so much more. Singapore has more than enough to interest and entertain even our most demanding long-term guests! Worth visiting: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve followed by lunch at Bollywood Veggies.

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Al Malik Eating House – it has great Indian food. We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: Marsiling Market where I can get cheap fruit. There is also a Phoon Huat outlet which sells great cheese, butter and cheap baking supplies. One thing you’d never change is: The 24-hour NTUC FairPrice around the corner. Best five-kilometre trail in your area: Run once around the big field between Woodgrove Avenue and the highway, then continue behind Singapore American School, turn right over the pipeline and head back.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:

A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That we live in Malaysia!

Build a gigantic, multi-level rope- course playground with water features and a climbing wall (for adults too, of course).

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: Thousands of people, kids and adults dressed up and trick-or-treating on Halloween!

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