MAY 2014

The Referral Guide for SINGAPORE

May 2014

BONES & JOINTS Keeping them Strong LOOKING GOOD Cool Resort Wear Fixing BAD HAIR





BLACK &WHITES Historical


Most of us will have been absorbed lately by media coverage of two recent events: the search for a missing plane and the murder trial of an Olympic athlete. Editor’s Letter


NEWS Keeping you up to date with the latest news and promotions around town, plus heaps of online-only content. Tip: For fabulous EL travel deals, go to EVENTS CALENDAR You'll never miss a concert, play, sale or exhibition again. Plus, upload your own events for free by hitting “Post an Event” on the homepage (top right). WHERE TO BUY A COPY Head to for a list of retail outlets where you can buy the latest copy of Expat Living. Better still, subscribe at expatliving/shop. HOW TO SELL YOUR OLD STUFF Looking to sell off items online or in the magazine? Post all the details and photos by hitting “Post a Notice” on the homepage (middle left).

They’re both reminders of how fragile life is. I am writing this while on a plane winging my way across the sea back to Singapore as you do, as an expat, without batting an eyelid. Well, unless you’re like my niece who has a real terror of flying (and lifts). I expect the worst when driving on open roads in strange countries but flying has never bothered me. Now, though, even while I still know it’s a one-in-a-million chance that something might go wrong, every time the plane shudders I fear the worst; my seatbelt is tight and I am wishing there was a large sedative or a hip-flask of bourbon in my

handbag. My thoughts flicker from, “Is my will that I typed up on a piece of paper sufficient?” to “Will my life insurance get the girls through college if something happens to me?” Not meaning to be depressing here, but for me the recent news has been a reality check. Now on to a brighter subject, May is always our “black-and-whites” issue and we bring you a couple of beautifully decorated classics to distract you. I’m biased about these homes because I live in a semi-detached one “in the country”, but I think they need the attention and support of all who live in Singapore. Their architecture is timeless, and they have lots of practical features to keep out the sun and the rain. We hope you enjoy the articles. For more on black-and-white houses you can go to For now, I’m going to have a cup of tea and hope the turbulence calms down soon!


TIME: 10am to 11.30am Registration from 9.30am THEME: iPhoneology – be a photographic genius with your iPhone VENUE: Littleones Photography 7 Joo Chiat Place Singapore 427742 COST: $10, includes refreshments and goodie bag. Online booking essential

PS: After my cup of tea I watched The Book Thief . If you haven’t seen it, do – it’s the perfect summary to my initial theme of life being fragile, and it’s beautifully done.


NEXT MONTH’S MAGAZINE Outdoor Furniture • Preschools • Weddings • Spas




Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Front Cover: Van Heerden family’s Alexandra Park home, photographed by Ken Tan (

Expat Living Publications Pte. Ltd. has taken every reasonable care to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of the information contained in this publication, but accepts no responsibility for the content of advertisements published, and no liability for mistake, misprint, omission, typographical error, loss or damage suffered as a result of relying wholly or in part on the content of advertising or editorial published herein. Expat Living Publications reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or advertorial for any reason. All artwork designed by Expat Living Publications or any part of this publication may not be reproduced in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by means - graphical, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording, taping, etc, without prior permission in writing from the Publishers. Expat Livingmagazine has been certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations for a total average net circulation of 18,048 per monthly issue. The audited circulation figures will be posted on CONTACT US General Enquiries +65 6259 0058 | Advertising Sales +65 6478 7151 | Subscription +65 6478 7153 | Production +65 6478 7169 | Editorial & Media Releases Calendar of Events Events Expat Living Hong Kong | Websites | I Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 40 Jalan Pemimpin, #02-07 Tat Ann Building, Singapore 577185





NEWS 26 What’s New in Town 30 Dates for Your Diary 38 Forum: Readers’ letters 40 Social Pages: Photos from recent events

PROPERTY 99 Hot Property:

154 Short-term Insurance 157 At Home With: Personal finance guru Andrea Kennedy 162 Global Business: Setting up an overseas company 164 Ethical Investing

What’s on the market?

105 Street Talk:

The lowdown on living in Bishan

111 Happy Customers: Relocation services recommended LIFE & FAMILY 124 News 132 Noticeboard: Births, weddings and more 137 Neighbourhoods: Secrets of Sime Road 146 School Report: IIS celebrates five years 148 Education: Room to Read’s Shelly Dee 151 Expat Profile: Horticulturist Chad Davis

HOME 46 News

Black-and-Whites Special: 50 Swiss Cottage Estate 65 Alexandra Park 76 Styling Tips


79 Centrespread:

Sideboards, consoles and more






WINE & DINE 206 News 212 Taste Test: 216 Flavour Forager: Lotus root 218 Australian Food:

ARTS & LEISURE 177 Expat Profile: Friendships forged through photography 180 Singapore Writers Group 182 Events: Best of British 2014 184 On the Screen: The latest from TV and film 186 On the Wall: Art exhibitions, galleries and events 190 On the Page: Recent book releases 192 On the Stage: Live music, theatre and dance 194 Show Preview: Tap Dogs 196 Social Pages: Photos from recent events

New restaurants, reviewed

Our bonza Down Under roundup 232 The Great Recipe Swap 234 Indian Focus: The Bazaar TRAVEL 240 News 245 Cruising in Alaska 253 Thailand – Splurge in Koh Samui 260 Thailand – Save in Koh Lanta 267 Spanish Wine Trails






Established in 1971, Mohan’s is one of Singapore’s oldest and most reputable tailors. Our made to measure suits and dresses can be ready for you in as few as 8 hours. Our clients include diplomats and CEOs, and our quality workmanship makes us popular with locals and expatriates alike. We also have offices in Britain, Germany, Scandanavia, and Florida, USA. We accept all major credit cards. Listed as one of the top 150 companies and awarded “The Best of Singapore in Service Excellence 2007” by Singapore Tourism Board. A CUT THE REST above

PRICES FROM: $30 $45 $45 $55 Shirts Pants Blouses Skirts Dresses Suits $140 $180

14 Scotts Road, #02-73 Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213 Fax: +65 6733 2535 | Email: Please call +65 6732 4936 or +65 6732 3892 for free transport to Mohan’s



FASHION 276 News 280 Business Profile: The Showroom 283 Centrespread: Resort Wear 290 Expat Profile:

307 Get Gorgeous Hair – Now! 314 Hair Loss: Facts and advice 313 Aesthetic Treatments: Smoothing and sculpting HEALTH & FITNESS 319 News 322 Running Commentary: Our regular column all about running 326 Cosmetic Dentistry 328 The Forgotten Cancer 331 Expert Opinions: Problems with bones and joints

337 New Web Portals: Find medical and beauty specialists online

REGULARS 350 Numbers & Websites 351 Subscribe Now 352 Horoscopes:

George Blue’s Rebecca Walters 292 French Flair at Rosalie Pompon HAIR & BEAUTY 300 News 304 Tried & Tested: Moroccanoil at Visage

Shelley von Strunckel’s forecasts for May

354 Advertiser Lis 356 Parting Shot: Jill of all trades

SUBSCRIBE NOW! See page 351

For the latest updates, find us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter @ExpatLivingSg




New choices and things to do, buy and try UPFRONT Fl ipside Fun JADE ELEGANCE Valued since prehistoric

times, beautiful jade remains perennially popular. Arizma has a range of designer jade jewellery, from stunning classic pieces to work-friendly styles. Make a statement by

Head to the Esplanad with the kids at the end of this month for 10 days of quirky puppetry, comedy, music and unexpected surprises. In addition to free events, check out ticketed shows like Swamp Juice from Canada, a gurgling adventure about life in a swamp, told through shadow puppetry. Meanwhile, adults can catch a gritty and honest cabaret about the many faces and facets of women in Nu Men: The Wild Woman Sings . 30 May to 8 June. Esplanade Theatres. 6828 8377 |

commissioning your own piece from selected loose jade stones which can be customised to match your individual style. Quote Expat Living to receive a 20-percent discount off all jade jewellery during May. Arizma, #01-31 Parkway Parade, 80 Marine Parade Road. 6440 4791 |

2CELLOS Who knew the cello could be sexy? This duelling duo has turned its classical music skills to pop and rock, rising to fame with a version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal . Its YouTube video of AC/ DC’s classic Highway To Hell has had over 12 million hits. Hailing from Slovenia and

Croatia, the two have played cello since they were kids. Singapore is the only Southeast Asian city on their world tour. 22 May. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic

BATAM PROPERTY EXCURSION Join Expat Realtor on a “Beautiful Batam Bash” and discover how you can own a tropical villa just a 40-minute boat ride from Singapore. The day starts with a 10am ferry ride from the Tanah Merah terminal, followed by coffee and cake at Montigo Resorts Nongsa, a transfer for villa viewing and lunch at Tempat Beruang & Gembira, with views to Indah Puri Golf Course, and the return trip to Singapore. Cost: $70 per person (including ferry tickets, transport on Batam, morning tea and lunch). For more information, contact Deborah at 9171 3392.





Mother’s Day has been celebrated across the world for centuries, with each country following its own traditions. In Singapore, it’s marked on 11 May, so we’ve pulled together a gift guide to help you out with present ideas. Keep it simple with breakfast in bed (mind the crumbs), or opt for high tea at a fancy five-star hotel. For forgetful Show the L v


dads, easy last-minute options include picking up a bottle of bubbly, or buying book, movie or department store vouchers so mums can choose their own gifts.










1. Jade tassel long pendant, Shanghai Tang, $300 2. Water snake long zipped wallet, Shanghai Tang, $460 3. Ginger flower bone china candle with lid, Shanghai Tang, $160 4. VisaPure facial brush, Philips, $269 5. Waterproof Walkman Sports MP3 player 4GB, Sony, $129 6. Rings, Caroline Herrera, $230 7. Matryoshka bag, Caroline Herrera, $1070 8. Belt, Caroline Herrera, $200 9. Embroidered Mommy’s Pillow and case gift set, Ploh, US$238 10. Petit Tsarina teapot, TWG, $280 11. Love Me tea in keepsake tin, TWG, $58 12. PasarBella ingredient boxes with recipes, $85, for dads to order then go home and cook.






Cesar Millan

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (1-25 MAY) Pack your picnic blanket and a bottle of wine and sprawl out on the grass to watch live Shakespeare. This is an experience not to be missed – The Merchant of Venice on an outdoor stage. Tickets available from Sistic. CESAR MILLAN LIVE (2 MAY) The dog whisperer himself arrives in Singapore for one night only, with live demonstrations, advice on how to read your dog’s body language, tips to shape your dog’s behaviour and more. 8pm. The Star Theatre. Tickets available from Sistic.

The multi-million dollar musical has made its way to Marina Bay Sands direct from a sold-out tour in Australia. Here’s your chance to groove and sing along to this all-time family favourite. Marina Bay Sands Theatre. Tickets available from Sistic. THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (1-18 MAY) Presented by Pangdemonium, this performance features a shy and reclusive girl named LV who spends her time perfecting astonishing impersonations of divas like Shirley Bassey and Edith Piaf. Her boozy mother and sleazy talent scout begin grooming her for her big debut, but all LV wants is a little love. Drama Centre Theatre. Tickets available from Sistic.


EXHIBITION: ANTIQUE MAPS (8 MAY-1 JUNE) Your chance to view the world through the maps of the historical explorers and browse a curated collection of 40 fine antique maps depicting the British Empire. #02-01D Sime Darby Centre. For more information, visit ON STAGE: YES, PRIME MINISTER (8-18 MAY) Based on the original TV series, Yes, Prime Minister, which screened on the BBC between 1980 and 1990, this play tells a humorous story of politics, scandal and the sneaky techniques of modern politicians. The original writers of the BAFTA-winning TV series, Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, are the writers of this stage version. Tickets available now from Sistic. ART FOR CHARITY GALA (9 MAY) Join the UN Women Singapore committee and H.E. Anthony Phillipson, British High Commissioner, at the Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel for the Asia premiere of Yes, Prime Minister , presented by The British Theatre Playhouse. 6.30pm cocktails, 7.30pm show and 10pm dinner. Email info@ or call 9029 8726 for tickets.

Don’t miss John Cleese’s first ever stand-up comedy show in Asia, well ahead of his long- awaited, sold-out Monty Python reunion tour at the London O2 Arena. 8pm. University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS. Tickets available from Sistic.

Yes, Prime Minister





Tanglin Trust Senior School Open Morning

PasarBella is offering special ingredient boxes for Mother’s Day so you can cook up a storm for her (or at least try). Choose from meatballs with pasta, seafood risotto and Thai green chicken curry. All ingredients are sourced from the market. Available to order online at Learn more about Tanglin Trust’s Senior School, given an “Outstanding” rating in a recent British Schools Overseas inspection that is recognised by Ofsted. Inspectors commended the school’s strong pastoral focus and the students’ enthusiasm for learning, in addition to high standards of achievement. Register online now at Visit this open house hosted by Bowerbird Home, and shop from a range of supporting brands, including Agnes Verrier Interior Design, MAH Collection, Lemongrass & Aubergine, Baraca, Darsala and Otto 8. 10am to 10pm, 10 Draycott Park, #17-08 Draycott 8. TANGLIN OPEN MORNING (15 MAY) INTERIOR DESIGN OPEN HOUSE (15 MAY)

REAL FOOD WEEKEND AT PASARBELLA (16-18 MAY) Held in conjunction with Food Revolution Day organised by the Jamie Oliver Foundation, this weekend at PasarBella features free recipes, shopping lists and live cooking demonstrations by vendors. Join a market tour to learn about the traders and their produce. The Grandstand at Bukit Timah, 200 Turf Club Road.

COLD STORAGE KIDS’ RUN 2014 (18 MAY) Young ones can look forward to a fun run at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. With the new venue, the race capacity of this year’s run will be increased to 6,000. A new category – All Dressed Up Family Fun – will also be introduced this year, so parents and their children can dress up in the costumes of their life heroes for the run. To register, visit

AFFORDABLE ART FAIR (23-25 MAY) Whether you’re a seasoned collector, an art novice or something in between, you’ll enjoy browsing this year’s Affordable Art Fair. Expect a diverse range of art styles and media including painting, sculpture and photography, priced between $100 and $10,000. Entry is free for children under 16. F1 Pit Building. For TAHITIAN LEGEND DANCE SHOW (24 AND 25 MAY) Experience a vibrant Tahitian Dance Show featuring more than 25 different choreographies, 30 female, male and child dancers and over 20 handcrafted costumes. 100 High Street, The Treasury. 7pm to 9pm on 24 May, 2pm to 4pm on 25 May. more information, visit

Cold Storage Kids’ Run




Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs

edamame and orange ginger dressing, plus grilled quinoa and sweet-potato cakes with spicy tomato salsa. The Green Café. Call 9763 1483 to register. PARENTS’ FORUM @ NATIONAL LIBRARY (30 MAY – 4 JUNE) Organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore, this festival offers parents, teachers and related

DEIN PERRY’S TAP DOGS (27 MAY-1 JUNE) Award-winning global dance sensation Tap Dogs presents an 80-minute performance that combines the strength and power of workmen with the precision and talent of tap dancers. Not to be missed. Tickets available from ticketing.

DETOX COOKING CLASS (29 MAY) If you want to learn healthy recipes that will cleanse your system and make you feel good from the inside out, then this could be the class for you. Create delicious meals using ingredients that are low in fat and high in antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. On the menu: Green goddess soup, Japanese noodles with tofu,

professionals the opportunity to get support, information and advice on nurturing early learning and bilingualism at home. Storyteller Roger Jenkins and author Emily Lim will be among the list of speakers. For children accompanying their parents, separate activities will be available. Call 6848 8290 to reserve your tickets, or go online at to register.

EL COFFEE MORNING: IPHONEOLOGY – TAKING GREAT IPHONE PHOTOS (29 MAY) Learn how to be a photography genius with your phone with iPhoneology. We use our smartphones for many functions – phone, email, alarm – and, increasingly, to take pictures. Smartphone cameras allow us to instantaneously share images through social media. Join EL at this fabulous coffee morning where Kate from Littleones Photography will show us how to transform average smartphone images into special photos to share with friends and family. Pick up hints, tricks and tips to get the best out of your iPhone photos. 10am to 11.30am. Littleones Photography Studio, 7 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427 742. $10 tickets include a goodie bag and refreshments. Online bookings essential.

EL Coffee Morning, iPhoneology




CALENDAR P lan Ahead JUNE 2014


EXHIBITION: BRITISH ART (7-28 JUNE ) This exhibition will showcase new works by six British artists – Morgan Howell, Nikki Douthwaite, Horace Panter, Paul Oz, Colin Brown and Tim Wakefield – all exclusively showing in Asia at Icon Gallery Singapore. Their work covers a range of media from paper sculpture to mixed-media collage work, oil and acrylic portraits, and even confetti art. In keeping with the theme of the gallery, the artworks will celebrate music, sport and cultural icons. Icon Gallery, 476 River Valley Road. Having already performed dozens of sell-out gigs across America, Europe and Australia, Taylor is now bringing her Red Tour to Southeast Asia in response to huge demand from fans. The Red Tour features two stages, elaborate costumes, dancers and heaps of sets. Taylor will play the electric guitar, banjo, piano and acoustic guitar as she belts out songs including “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “22”, “Love Story” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Visit for tickets. ELLIE GOULDING IN CONCERT (13 JUNE) Ellie Goulding arrives in Singapore for a one-night-only concert following her global tour. She spent the majority of last year playing sold-out shows worldwide, and supporting Bruno Mars across the US. The Star Theatre. Tickets available at Sistic. TAYLOR SWIFT LIVE (12 JUNE)

CAMP ASIA SUMMER CAMPS (12 JUNE) Whether you’re looking for a multi- activity or specialist camp, Camp Asia has lots of choices for children aged three to 11 years. In addition to its popular specialist camps such as Super Chef, Sports Stars, Tech Savvy and Mini Mandarin, new camps on the block include Math Mania, Mad World of Science, Passion for Art and English 101. For more information and to book your child’s spot, visit YOUNGER NEXT YEAR 2014 (20 JUNE, JAKARTA, GRAND HYATT) (27 JUNE, BALI, PAN PACIFIC NIRWANA HOTEL) This one-day summit offers a rare opportunity to hear from experts in the areas of wellness, fitness and anti-ageing. Guest speakers include bestselling authors, professors, doctors and celebrities, with talks covering everything from weight- loss success stories to the latest advances in medicine and therapy. Visit for more information and to book tickets. With two highly skilled guitarists in the line-up, this show is set to be one of the biggest guitar events of the year. Both Sungha Jung and Akihiro Tanaka perform a virtuosic type of guitar music known amongst enthusiasts as finger style, where the guitarist uses the guitar like a piano, performing the melody, bass, accompaniment and percussion all on a single instrument. Kallang Theatre. Tickets available from Sistic. SUNGHA JUNG LIVE (28 JUNE)

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice expect lovely pieces such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Edelweiss” from the guest performers, the SLO Children’s Choir. 6pm, Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singapore Lyric Opera’s Opera in the Park celebrates its 7th year. Featuring classics such as Puccini’s Tosca , Bizet’s Carmen and more, this year’s performance will be conducted by Joshua Tan Kangming. You can also Get ready to sail the high seas as The British Club welcomes you on board the Royal Yacht Britannia for its black tie event of the year. Dress to impress for the Captain’s five- course dinner and wine pairing, the final event in the Club’s nine- day Best of British extravaganza. The top auction prize is business class tickets to London and a four- night stay at The Dorchester hotel, worth $25,000. 7pm, Pan Pacific Hotel. Early bird tickets, $250, till 15 May. For more information and bookings, call 6467 4311 or email activities@britishclub. THE BRITISH CLUB (14 JUNE)

Grand Finale at The British Club



LETTERS BEST LETTER We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. For liking and following up on our restaurant reviews, Alix Burrell wins a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut.

Readers’ thoughts and comments about EL

Bucket List: Having a Ball My partner and I have done our best to make the most of Singapore during our stint here: international and local theatre productions, Champagne brunches, weekend beach getaways and trips to SiemReap, Sri Lanka and other fantastic destinations. A lot of this was based on Expat Living travel recommendations, thank you! But as we have less than a year left of our three- year contract here, I realise that there’s one thing I still desperately want to do: go to a super-fancy black tie ball. They’re pricey, though, so which one would you recommend? Ed: The annual black-tie balls organised by the various national and business associations are worth the occasional splashing out for – especially as the proceeds go to charity. Key ones to look out for on the calendar are the George Washington Ball in February, organised by the American Association, the British Association Ball, the ANZA Ball in May, and the ANZ Aotearoa Ball in August, along with annual balls of the Canadian Association, the Africa Society, the St Andrew’s Society and others. Our tip? Plan to go with a couple of friends for maximum fun! Alison Whitley

We’re a hit!

I want to say thank you to Monica Pitrelli and the team for your coverage of new restaurants in Singapore. There are so many restaurants to choose from, so picking ones to review must be difficult and is clearly not random. I now tear out the Taste Test pages and keep them at work so that when I have to entertain clients for dinner, I can pick something new that I’m certain will keep everybody happy. In fact, some of the featured restaurants are now my new firm favourites.

Let us be your Guide!

Proud mum Ali Gorman sent us this sweet picture of little Eva Isabel Gorman (20 months). She’s fully engrossed in her EL Kids’ Guide – checking out the latest fashion for tots, we guess. And speaking of guides, our fabulous Travel Guide was hot off the press

Alix Burrell

Ed: Good call, Alix – the selection is anything but random! We do our best to choose new restaurants that are most likely to appeal to our readers.

BEST letter

during April, and our incredibly useful new City Guide is due out in June. All guides are delivered direct to our subscribers’ mailboxes.

Email us at




SCENEAROUNDTOWN Recent events, openings & parties

Next Level Party Health and fitness consultancy, Level, held a grand opening party with a night of drinks in its stylishly refurbished studio on Telok Ayer Road.

Modern Meets Antique The Past Perfect Collection’s Sime Darby Centre showroom was the ideal venue for Dutch expat artist Ineke van de Water’s stunning exhibition titled Modern Meets Antique. Wine Connection filled the glasses, and Luke and Ineke’s son Noel served the canapés with a big smile. Top row from left: Jacky Dyjk, Rudi van Denzel, and Arjen Blom from Wine Connection; Sylvie and Willemijn Stevens, Luke Hollman, Ineke and Noel; Linnie, Isabelle and Pippa Mackenzie Bottom row from left: Hosts Marie-Hélène and Pieter van Houten; Michelle Cabasug, Ineke, and Laurentien Kok




EL Coffee Morning Expa t L i v i ng reade r s enjoyed another fantastic Coffee Morning, this time hosted by Domicil Homes at its lovely Tanglin Showroom. Consilium Law gave us a rundown on the dos and don’ts in Singapore, plus some great tips on the legalities of starting up a business, all accompanied by delicious cakes and canapés.

Grab a Guinness S t P a t r i c k ’ s D a y celebrations in Singapore saw more than 2,000 people take part in the annual parade, and plenty more quench their thirst with a pint or two of the black stuff.

Business Breakfast Lord Digby Jones, former UK Government Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, visited The British Club for a private business leaders’ breakfast and networking e v e n t , i n wh i c h h e discussed world business issues, the global market and the challenges of competing to win.




Paper + White, Outdoor room


Hot shops and what to buy right now WHAT’S NEW

Interior Designs It’s a busy time down at E&A Interiors ’ design studio in River Valley. Not only has it just opened its doors, but it’s also offering EL readers the chance to take up a free place on its Introductory Workshop in Design on 23 and 24 May (just mention this story when booking). E&A Interiors’ services include re-upholstery, curtains and other soft furnishings, and full project management, using the 30-plus fabric and wallpaper brands it brings into Singapore from the US and Europe. 46 Kim Yam Road, #04-24.


TWICE AS NICE Ethnicraft Online Singapore ’s showroom has doubled in size, giving more room for showcasing its furniture. Highlights include a bedroom range featuring four styles available in a variety of mattress sizes, and a sofa range in seven different designs and six possible colours. To make an appointment to view the full range of contemporary teak furniture, call 9272 1545; you can also view it online at

If you’re in the market for some stylish new furniture and hankering after a holiday on the side, get down to luxury furniture brand In Situ at 238 River Valley Road. To celebrate its first anniversary in Singapore, it’s giving away a seven-night stay at Fort Cochin luxury

boutique hotel Le Colonial to those who purchase a living room, dining room or bedroom set. Go to and for more information.

MAKING MOVES Make Room has relocated to Outram furniture haven, the Tan Boon

INTERNET INSPIRATION Nook and Cranny Living takes the hassle out of shopping around for the perfect piece of furniture. Its website, , offers a full range of furniture and furnishings, and even features concept rooms to help you create your ideal home. Its warehouse is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. To find out more, email

Liat Building. Owned and run by Dutch expat Barbara Fritschy, who also offers interior design services, the store has just launched its online shop, at The new retail space is at 315 Outram Road, #10-01 .




BRIGHT BEDDING There’s no place for beige in this new collection of kids’ bedding from Patersonrose, now available at children’s furnishings store Piccolo House. The Lou Lou bedding range is full of bright colours and bold patterns. What’s more, Piccolo House will give you a free pillowcase when you buy a Patersonrose quilt cover, and purchasers of a Patersonrose comforter will receive a free pillow sham (until 15 May). Go to for more details.


Just Giving It’s not often people give you something for nothing, but Just Anthony is doing just that, by giving readers the chance to win a $250 voucher, valid until 31 May 2015. Established in the 1970s, Just Anthony has grown to be one of the leading Chinese furniture retailers in Singapore, and supplies a wide range of furniture and accessories, from custom-made to antique. No minimum spend is required, but the voucher cannot be combined with other vouchers or promotions. For your chance to win, go to competitions.

LUXURY BATHWARE You’re now a step closer to having your own spa sanctuary at home, as bathware retailer Apaiser opens its first Singapore store. Supplier to hotels such as Parkroyal on Pickering and the Pan Pacific, Apaiser produces hand-sanded and hand-finished stone composite bathware using reclaimed, sustainable ingredients, so it ticks your eco-warrior box too. 23 Mosque Street.



HOME ECLECTIC CHARM By Amy Greenburg; photography by Karen Lucas




Nestled in a quiet cluster of heritage homes behind Dunearn Road, British expat REBECCA BYRNE’s Swiss Cottage Estate black- and-white perfectly captures everything she and her family love – animals, travel and some good old-fashioned fun. She invited me in for a tour of her home and a little playtime with her pups.




A s I approach the Byrne family’s sprawling black-and- white home, I’m greeted by a cheerful gaggle of dogs ranging in size, colour and breed. Rebecca introduces me to her lovable, motley crew – Shadow, Blue, Louie, Conker, Raleigh and Sally – as we make our way toward the house that she shares with her husband, Simon, and their three children, Tyler (15), Cerys (12) and Aidan (9). From the driveway, I can already see that the Byrne home has all the traditional features of a colonial-era black-and-white – bamboo chick blinds, tall archways and a long driveway that ends under a porte-cochère – but has been personalised with unique flair. It starts with a vast collection of treasures leading from the front door – flanked by red and yellow umbrellas – to the colour-soaked verandah. An antique Indian door, a vintage Chinese temple sign, a stone Buddha statue and an inlaid mother-of-pearl mirror are among the many gems that line the outside corridor. Rebecca, a writer, describes her style as “eclectic-contemporary with Indian influences”, which makes sense considering her background: she grew up in Dubai, Bahrain and Pakistan, and later split time between her parents in India and boarding school in Surrey, England. It’s clear that her décor

choices are a strong reflection of her life experiences and travels. “I was an expat kid myself, so a lot of my inspiration comes from where I’ve lived,” she says, pointing to colourful, handmade Indian elephants as we pass through the foyer. As we enter the “telly” room – followed by our furry entourage – the sofa’s UK flag-print throw pillows immediately catch my eye, as do two zebra print ottomans juxtaposed by antique Chinese furnishings. “This house was like an empty shell when we moved in – painted all white with no one else’s design. I had the opportunity to be as colourful as I wanted, and create my own imprint on the house,” Rebecca says. Simon’s influence can be seen throughout the house as well, particularly in the “snooker room”, once a dining room but now accommodating his billiards table, alongwith a library of books arranged to perfection. “Having moved around all my life, I don’t unpack right away,” Rebecca laughs as she gestures to the books. “My husband, on the other hand, had everything unpacked and organised within two weeks of moving in.” Fourth time’s a charm As we take tea on the airy verandah, Louie, a spunky dachshund, rests comfortably on Rebecca’s lap while

the other pups play on the floor beside us. Rebecca tells me this is where her family spends most of their time. And why wouldn’t they? The verandah is spacious and welcoming, and equipped with plenty of patio furniture, a ping- pong table and trampoline. It’s perfect for barbecues, pool parties and other opportunities to entertain and relax. “The house was designed for this climate, so we rarely have to use our air-con, and we live outside most of the time anyway, which we love.” Seeing how comfortably at home she and her dogs are, you’d never know that the Byrne family only moved in this past December. In fact, they have lived in three black-and-white homes in the past four years, after moving here from London in 2010. Rebecca and Simon did a one-year stint in Singapore back in 1997, when they lived in a Medway Park black- and-white, before spending 13 years in London. When they eventually returned to Singapore with their children, they lived in a privately owned black-and- white located in Chatsworth Park and, later, in a bungalow on Mount Rosie. However, it’s this home, their fourth black-and-white, that has instantly become their favourite. Rebecca says the location, between Bukit Timah and Newton, is perfect, since her family




“We eat dinner out here every single night. And not just because Simon converted our actual dining room into a snooker room, but because we love being outdoors!”




spends time between Turf City for Tyler and Aidan’s football leagues, and Cerys’s swim club in Ang Mo Kio. Although the facilities in old black-and-whites tend to break down more easily, Rebecca believes the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and that it’s worth swapping modern luxuries (centralised air-con and newer pipes, for example) for heaps of space, sizeable gardens and that special, old- fashioned charm. “Once you’ve lived in a black-and-white, you will always want to live in one,” Rebecca confides. “The house is largely un-modernised, but the space works really well for family life. With children and dogs, we wanted a place with a good- sized garden and a home where we aren’t always worried about scratching marble floors or ruining expensive fittings.” Puppy love As we continue our tour of the six-bedroom house, the pitter- patter of paws can be heard throughout. “It’s a good thing the wooden floors are old and scratched because we have so many paws walking on them,” Rebecca laughs. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Ded i c a t ed dog - l ove r s , Rebecca and Simon began fostering dogs back in London and adopted Shadow before moving back to Singapore. Once here, they rescued Blue and Louie, and are currently fostering Conker, Raleigh and Sally until they find permanent homes. In the past couple of years, Rebecca has become involved with Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD), a charity organisation and humane society focused on achieving better welfare for dogs through rescue, rehabilitation




“I don’t do formal. Everything’s got to be comfortable.”


Rebecca also points out that puppy training and dog walking are great ways to keep fit and meet likeminded people. She enjoys taking all her pups on long daily walks – trips to Bukit Brown Cemetery are her favourite – and to dog parks and outdoor eateries where she can meet fellow dog-lovers for coffee or lunch.

to give toward nurturing and training a puppy,” she says. “Many of us have experience of living with dogs as pets, in the UK or US, for example, where dogs are an integral part of family life.” She adds, “Many expats also live in landed properties and condos, and can adopt those puppies that aren’t HDB-approved.”

and education outreach. She hopes to help stray dogs find lasting and loving homes, and believes that the expat community can provide the very homes that these dogs so desperately need. “For many reasons, expats are perfect candidates for fostering and adopting dogs. Many are not working for the first time in their lives, and have the time

“I love antique Chinese furniture, so

we’ve got quite a bit, particularly from China Collection.”

“We love anything with animals.”


A set of regal-looking, gold and red brocade chairs are among Rebecca’s favourite pieces of furniture. “They look like our thrones!”

“The house has lots of fun nooks and crannies, which is great for when I’m trying to hide from the children!”

“Simon brought back the rug and pillow covers when he went trekking in Nepal.”





REBECCA’S Recommendations

How You Can Help SOSD Donations and funding support Contributions are used to fund medical expenses, food and shelter facilities. Fostering and adopting Opening your home to a dog in need, whether it’s for the short or the long term, can help save innocent lives. Even if you can’t commit to adopting, fostering can create extra space in the crowded kennel for other rescue dogs. Volunteering Extra hands are always needed at the kennel and adoption drives. Opportunities to help with the website are always open, too. Sponsoring a dog This new programme lets dog-lovers “adopt” dogs living at SOSD until the pups find permanent homes. Sponsors can visit on a weekly basis and take the dogs on walks. Visit

Furniture and Homeware China Collection 6235 1905

Tanjong Pagar Rail Station, 30 Keppel Road

Bishan Park Dog Run Bishan Park 2, along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 Casa Verde Singapore Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre, 1 Cluny Road 6467 7326 Kith Café Sentosa Cove Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way #01-08

The Shophouse 6323 7190 Galanga Living 6475 2633 Expat Auctions 6278 0511

Pup-friendly picks Bukit Brown Cemetery Gate entrance at Lorong Halwa, off Kheam Hock Road The Green Corridor Entrances at Old Bukit Timah Railway Station, 1 Blackmore Drive and

6734 9007

Coastes 50 Siloso Beach Walk,

#01-05/06 6274 9668




Life can’t get much better for the Van Heerden family, who are relishing their home in leafy Alexandra Park. An Eye for Detail By Katie Roberts; photography by Ken Tan and Michael Gronow

Christine explains how she actually landed one of these highly sought-after homes. “Tobie was not fussed. He insisted we look into all housing options, which we did. But I was determined. I knew a friend of a friend living in a black- and-white in this area, so I paid her a visit. This house happened to be standing empty when we drove past, so I followed it up with the management agency.” Christine explains it had already been put up for tender twice but had not reached the asking price, so it had remained vacant for over 12months. “We paid the price without hesitation and, for good or bad, it was ours,” she said. That’s when the hard work began. “All the windows and some external

S outh Africans Christine and Tobie Van Heerden, their three- year-old daughter Ariella and two wire fox terriers live in one of Alexandra Park’s black-and-white 1930s bungalows. It’s a dream come true for Christine who, since her first visit to the island 15 years ago, has coveted the prospect of living in one of these spacious, historical homes. It’s a far cry, too, from the views of Table Mountain which both Christine and Tobie grew up with in Cape Town; and a change of pace from their previous residence in the New Territories in Hong

Kong. Christine says their 12 months in Hong Kong was “far too short”, but she wasn’t disappointed when Tobie was asked to relocate to Singapore and open a new office for his employer, an asset management company. In that one short year, Christine got a handle on shopping in China, and established a network of drivers, suppliers and shipping agents in Shenzen and Zhuhai. Indeed, these trusty sources have helped her furnish her new home, which they moved into in July 2012. Settled into a comfortable, white sofa with a cup of rooibos tea in hand,




Christine recommends getting two quotes for pool installation, as she says the prices can vary wildly. An installation package typically includes decking, pool and attap thatching. The original servants’ quarters on the right-hand side of the property is used for laundry, storage and accommodation.

The family dines outdoors most nights under the covered portico at the front of the house.




Gronow Photography

close to HortPark, Mount Faber and Kent Ridge, and it’s only seven minutes to the office for Tobie.” It’s also not too far from the Singapore Polo Club, where Christine rides several times a week; Ariella can start riding when she is five. “The area is quiet, and there are a number of South African families who live here. It’s a lovely community – we walk to one another’s houses in the evening, and have a glass of wine while the children play.”

doors and vents were shuttered, and essentially open to animals and the elements, so I had glass panels installed. There were no showers and the bathrooms were woeful, so I updated them also. We had to get permission, but the changes enhance the value of the property, albeit at our expense. We also put in air-conditioning and a pool.” Ch r i s t i ne used a con t rac to r, recommended by a friend, who made the whole project reasonably straightforward, and all the work was done before the family moved in. Knowing the style and scale of home she was moving into, Christine made two trips to China to purchase the numerous light fittings, lamps and other accessories that enhance the large home. “I decided to source everything personally; it’s such good value for money and there is a great variety in China. I understand why furniture is expensive in Singapore, with high rents and duties, but aside from a bargain, I also love the hunt,” she says. While the lifestyle is clearly fabulous, and the dogs especially love the large garden, on the day of my visit Christine is dealing with the negatives of living in an old home. A thunderstorm last night played havoc with the electricity and

knocked out their third Wi-Fi router, the electric gate and television. She also bemoans the occasional bat, snake and lizard, but says it’s better than Mount Pleasant where residents have monkeys to deal with too. “There are lots of stories about some of the black-and-whites around here being haunted, apparently from WWII, but we haven’t noticed anything strange in this house,” she says. “We’re very happy living here. I like the location of Alexandra Park, being

This quirky pig is the work of Belgian designer Moooi. Christine says she had a pet pig as a child and could not go past this piece of art, which also doubles as a useful side table.




Above: The dining table, chairs and dresser were purchased in South Africa and Christine says the accessories, ornaments and pictures on the dresser are a mish- mash collection from all over the world. Below: “The black candle is from a range called Lilou et Loic; they are simply divine, so I am planning to start importing them this year from London”





Clockwise from left: The light fittings in the downstairs living room fill the large ceiling void and play on the colonial feel of the home, as well as accentuating the casual furnishings. The large house has two staircases; this one built at a time when servants were commonplace is for family use, at the formal entrance to the home. “We often have a crowd of people over to watch rugby games in the upstairs living room. But it’s a difficult room to furnish, as the height of the windows and the lack of wall space make furniture placement challenging. This is where we hang out at night – from 6pm to 8pm is the best time in this house, when a cool breeze drifts in through the open windows.” Intending them as light fittings, Christine purchased these fishing baskets in Bali but now enjoys them as decoration. They’re an unusual, eye-catching feature that adds texture to the largely white room. A striking bird-of-paradise floral arrangement next to Chinese ginger jars adds a tropical feel and a splash of colour to the room.


Above: “I am passionate about art, particularly young emerging South African artists. In Cape Town I worked in sales and marketing for a hedge fund, but I did some art consulting on the side. The painting in the master bedroom was done by a close friend and famous South African artist, Louis Jansen van Vuuren, and is called Hunter’s Daughter. I bought it when I was pregnant with Ariella and hung it in her nursery in our house in Cape Town. Although I was reluctant to bring my nicer pieces here, this is where I live, so I want them hung here; it would be sad to leave them in storage. The humidity is hard on art, so I have to run the air-conditioners more.” Opposite page : Daughter’s bedroom: “Ariella’s bedroom is simply furnished in neutral fabrics. I have recently started my own small business called Black and White Interiors. I’ll focus on sourcing furniture and accessories, including lighting, mainly for interior designers, as well as taking on smaller projects for interiors and art consulting.”













The narrow, steep servants’ stairs at the back of the house lead to a landing that feeds into bedrooms. The house is a labyrinth of rooms surrounded by enclosed verandahs.



For more information on renting black-and-whites, visit and click on Homes.









Recommendations Singapore Polo Club (“for horse-riding”)

How to rent a black-and-white

It’s actually a straightforward process, and yes, there are some $25,000 stunners, but for those with a smaller budget there are bargains as low as $3,000. To get started, check what properties are currently available on the State Property Information Online site, noting the bid closing date.

Upper Thomson Road

Gillman Barracks (“for a range of art galleries”)

Forty Hands (“for the best coffee in town”) 78 Yong Siak Street, #01-12 Tiong Bahru 6225 8545 | Flourish Bake Shop (“for excellent cupcakes – and they deliver”) The Barbie Girls (“for grass-fed meat and organic fish”) Black and White Interiors (“for sourcing furniture and accessories and small interior design projects”)

Go along to an open house. If you are interested, download and complete the tender form with your bid, and submit a deposit. After closing date, all bids are considered. The applicants’ financial health and track record are taken into consideration, while some may be called for an interview. The winning bidder is notified and results are posted online. Tenants are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property according to government guidelines.



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