March 2017


MAR 2017


AMaldives holidayworth $12,000 Win!



Crossing Iran’s Fiercest Desert

Hanging in Hawaii

ENTREPRENEURS share their stories


Pull-out Guide:

Style ideas for your bedroom

Recommend Preschools


Some people are meant to be in front of the camera. I am firmly in the belief that I was born to be behind it! As a photographer, videographer and interviewer in my past life I remained hidden, so this month’s shoot pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, it was lovely meeting the other two ladies, and the whole “hair and makeup” thing is cool – I could live with that kind of pampering on a regular basis. My hair stayed in one place and my eyebrows were even – bloody marvellous! It was great in the UK at Christmas being able to wear a hat and not have to worry about hair. It’s one of the reasons I love fancy dress – you can stick a wig or a funny hat on and all your problems disappear! For that reason, I will be following the theme for Expat Living ’s upcoming 15-year anniversary party. For our 10th anniversary we went “retro”, but for this one we are going to open it up to Singapore over the ages. “Singapore Sling” is the theme, so you can come as a British Army officer, one of the Dim Sum Dollies, or perhaps a 60s hippie. We’re finalising the event soon, so keep an eye online for details and start looking for your dancing shoes and fun gear! I loved the story about trekking the deserts of Iran this issue. Have you written your travel

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

to-do list for the next year or two yet? I fancy Chile or Colombia. In the meantime, enjoy the adventures in this issue from your couch!



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET



Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | Production: +65 6812 1787 | Editorial & Media Releases: Calendar of Events: Events: Websites: | I Printed by Ho Printing Singapore Pte Ltd ( Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 18 Howard Road, #08-10 Novelty Bizcentre, Singapore 369585

COVER: WOAM Iran Trek Photo by Sandra Lim




NEWS 18 News Headlines 20 Calendar: What’s on around town 28 Readers’ Letters 30 EL Forum:

What we’re up to online, plus our upcoming events


HOME & PROPERTY 38 News 40 Home Showcase:


How personal style has influenced this Arcadia condo

53 Business Profile:

ARTS & LEISURE 92 On the Screen:

A chat with Dylan Vo about getting the right frame for your pictures

57 Home Showcase:

Cinema and TV highlights for the month

Tour this East Coast house, full of art and mementos

94 On the Page:

66 Showroom Focus:

Recent book releases and reader reviews

Discover this huge furniture showroom

96 On the Wall:

69 Clever Interiors:

What’s on in Singapore’s art scene

Handy space-saving beds 71 Reader Recommendations: Favourite picks for bedroom furniture 77 Buyers’ Guide: Everything you need to fancy up your boudoir 84 Street Talk: Life on Telok Blangah Road

98 On the Stage:

The latest in live music, dance and theatre

77 Fabulous furniture

100 In the Spotlight:

The star of Wild Rice’s La Cage Aux Folles

ideas for the bedroom

102 Social Scene:

Photos from events and happenings around town




LIFE & FAMILY 108 News 114 Noticeboard: New births and more 116 Jump Around: Trampoline park fun 121 Cause for Applause: The American Association of Singapore turns 100! 122 Blast from the Past: Five culturally rich places to recharge and refresh 125 Finding Like Minds: Discover more about the Business Women’s Network SCHOOL SPECIAL 131 Education Update: The latest school news 133 International Learning: Moving from Kenya to Singapore for school 134 Curriculum Pathways: Which should you choose, IB or A-Levels? 136 Voice of a Boarder: What it’s like to live at your school 139 Principal Interview: 10 minutes with the Head of Dulwich College WINE & DINE 148 News 154 Bar Tab: New nightspots to check out now 156 Meaty Eats: Restaurants and recipes to satisfy every carnivore’s appetite!

156 A feast of

recipes, resto picks and more for meat-lovers

182 Tips for visiting the stunning Hawaiian island of Kauai

TRAVEL 180 News 182 On Island Time: Exploring beautiful Kauai in Hawaii 186 Trekking the Desert:

170 Shake it Up:

Women On A Mission and their charity hike in Iran

Yummy cocktail recipes for at- home entertaining

172 Recipe Corner:

190 Staycation in Style:

Delicious dishes to try this month

174 Making Drinks:

We check out the new- look InterContinental

A chat with co-founders of a new Singapore distillery





A trio of empowered women with different backgrounds and passions

193 Doing Their Thing: Stories, tips and advice from three female entrepreneurs FASHION 202 News 205 Personal Style: Readers show us their favourite jewellery designs 208 Dressing the Bump:

Maternity fashion tips from real mums and style experts

BEAUTY 214 News 216 Tried & Tested:

Our reader panel test-drives a new moisturiser 217 Soothing the Aches: A massage that’s just right for sport-aholics 218 Get Glowing: Top products for dewy, luminous skin 220 Best Face Forward: Salon facials for a healthy complexion HEALTH & FITNESS 228 News 232 Health Matters: A discussion on babies 234 Fertility 101: Expert advice on pregnancy and childbirth 244 Feeling Zen: Three yoga poses to try now 247 Cardio Talk: Know these five symptoms of heart attacks

REGULARS 251 Numbers & Websites 252 Horoscopes for March

254 Advertiser List 256 Parting Shot:

The coach and the condo

220 We review some of Singapore’s best facial treatments




Light ItUp! Pictured here is one of 20 light art installations that will miraculously appear along the Marina Bay waterfront as part of the annual i Light festival running from 3 to 26 March. The works have been created by artists fromSingapore and abroad, and designed with energy-saving lighting or environmentally friendly materials. 7.30pm to 11pm daily.

Fast & Furious Don’t forget to grab tickets for the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens next month. The organisers are hoping to see fans in colourful costumes, so it’s time to start thinking about yours: geisha, gladiator or galah, the sky’s the limit! As well as offering plenty of friendly off-field action, the Rugby 7s is a showcase of 16 world class teams, playing 45 matches over two days as they vie for top spot in the global tournament. A spectator sport for all the family! Singapore National Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive. 11am to 9pm, 15 and 16 April. Family packages: two adults and two children from $320.

All That Jazz The Singapore International Jazz Festival (also known as Sing Jazz), returns for a fourth edition from 31 March to 2 April, bringing over 10 international artists to the stages at Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza and Sands Expo &Convention Centre. Jazz- lovers can enjoy a three-day line-up that includes Al McKay’s Earth, Wind and Fire Experience, Corinne Bailey Rae, Basement Jaxx, Hitman David Foster and Friends, Incognito, Nik West, the Raul Midón Trio, Rudimental, and Youssou Ndour and Le Super Etoile de Dakar, among others. Stick around and party into the wee hours at The Late Show, with live performances, DJ sets and impromptu all-star jam sessions. For more details and ticketing information, visit .




SHOPPING & FAIRS Premium Wine Tasting with Bacco (8 MAR) At this tasting, you’ll have the chance to sample premium wines before splurging on a bottle. More than 300 wines will be showcased, including a rare white grape from Friuli and an ancient blend from Sicily. #02-09 The Herencia, 46 Kim Yam Road, Robertson Quay. Singapore and Beyond 2017 (10-11 MAR) Get your shopping fix as Boutique Fairs returns with its annual spring edition. Featuring over 150 independent designers and loads of the latest brands, the fashion-focused fair will have you mingling with the creators of your favourite local lines. F1 Pit Building. The Fair (30-31 MAR) There’s no better way of spending a fun day than with a serious dose of shopping at The Fair. Check out the huge variety of products from across the region, including jewellery, fashion, accessories, skin care, children’s wear, toys and home décor. Pan Pacific Orchard, 10 Claymore Road.

Singapore and Beyond 2017


HSBC Women’s Champions 2017 (2-5 MAR)

Witness some of the world’s best women golfers as they compete for one of the most prestigious titles on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. Enjoy musical acts from Singapore and beyond as the tournament comes to a close. Sentosa Golf Club. Race The Dead (18 MAR) After missing a year, Race The Dead returns with a whole new survival challenge. Experience a genuine adrenaline rush as you try to escape the mass of zombies and manoeuvre through their traps as night falls. Siloso Beach. MetaSprint Series

Duathlon (19 MAR) Run, bike and then run again during this duathlon, to be held in March. Enjoy views of the Singapore city skyline as you sweat it out with friends and family in one of several race categories. F1 Village, Republic Boulevard.





Singapore International Jazz Festival 2017 (31 MAR – 1 APR) Returning for its 4th year, the festival will feature extraordinary music from multiple Grammy Award- winners including Corinne Bailey Rae, funk bassist and vocalist Nik West, and David Foster. Party in style at the Late Show, which caters to the late-night crowd. Event Plaza, Sands Expo and Convention Centre Hall F. Tickets from Sistic.

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth (8-11 MAR)

Catch this delightful comedic drama about the power of community and friendship. The show increases awareness of leukaemia as well as garners donations for underprivileged sufferers. SOTA Studio Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Those Who Can’t, Teach – The Necessary Stage (9-19 MAR) First staged in 1990, this Singaporean theatre classic by Alvin Tan and Haresh Sharma is set in a secondary school, and looks at the daily lives of teachers and students between bell times. Drama Centre Theatre, National Library Building. Tickets from Sistic. Coppélia by Singapore Dance Theatre (16-19 MAR) Coppélia tells the light-hearted story of the mysterious Dr Coppélius who owns a beautiful life-sized mechanical doll, Coppélia. Be enchanted and blown away by this whimsical three-act ballet. Esplanade Theatres by the Bay. Tickets from Sistic. ITSY – The Musical (24 MAR – 2 APR) Be transported to a dazzling world of glorious colours, stunning effects and enchanting music, with this powerful and moving story about the bond between a grandparent and his grandchild. Victoria Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.


St Joseph’s Institution International School Open House (4 MAR) Come to SJI International’s open house day and learn more about how the International Baccalaureate curriculum encourages both academic and personal development. Go on guided tours and take part in experiential activities. Limited spaces available and pre-registration required for entry. St Joseph’s Institution International, 490 Thomson Road. Marlborough College Malaysia Admissions Event (8 MAR) Find out more about school life at Marlborough College Malaysia, with an opportunity to hear from teachers and enjoy a tour of the grounds, including the boarding house. Marlborough College Malaysia, Jalan Marlborough, Johor. Disney On Ice (15-19 MAR) Watch Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice this March. Great for the whole family, it’s a chance to meet favourite cartoon characters from movies like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and Frozen . Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub website.

Marlborough College Malaysia Admissions Event




SOCIAL George Washington Centennial Ball (4 MAR)

Stamford American International School Open House (17 MAR) Stamford American’s Open House is on this March, giving you the chance to find out more about their International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme for children from 18 months to 18 years. Register now and have a chance to tour the world- class facilities. Stamford American International School, 1 Woodleigh Lane. Jason’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (18-19 MAR) This March, SSO Associate Conductor Jason Lai gives an exciting new spin on British composer Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra . Expect an entertaining learning journey through different instruments and musicians. Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic. Official Opening of Dulwich Senior School & Performing Arts Centre (24 MAR) Dulwich is celebrating the opening of its Senior School and Performing Arts Centre this month. Explore the state-of-the-art facilities, which include a 750-seat professional theatre, two black box theatres, a double gymnasium, a dance and fitness room, and a large dining room. Dulwich College (Singapore), 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8. Earth Hour (25 MAR) Show your commitment to the environment by switching off all non-essential lights during Earth Hour this March. Join like-minded individuals all around the world from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time to commemorate this special annual event.

Don’t miss this instalment of the black-tie ball that has been enjoyed by the American community since the 1930s. Share a fabulous evening of entertainment, a delectable four-course dinner, a silent auction and more. Capella Singapore.

ART 21st Century Calligraphy Exhibition (UNTIL 12 MAR)

Drop by The Private Museum to admire the skills of prominent Chinese calligraphers. In conjunction with Singapore Art Week, 19 works from Wang Dongling, Sun Xiaoyun, Wang Tiande, Wei Ligang and Guan Jun will be on display. The Private Museum, 51 Waterloo Street. MINT Museum of Toys – Childhood Favourites (UNTIL 27 MAR) Don’t miss the MINT Museum of Toy’s latest exhibition that explores toys and childhood memorabilia inspired by classic children’s books and tales. Check out the selection of dolls, figurines and collectable items that span the 20th and 21st centuries. MINT Museum of Toys. SingaPlural 2017 (7-12 MAR) An annual celebration of all things design, SingaPlural returns with a new theme (Stories – A New Perspective) and more design elements on show, including architecture, interiors, furniture, urban planning and fashion. The festival celebrates creativity in individuals and in collaborations. F1 Pit Building.




A Peter Rabbit Tale (UNTIL 14 APR) Join Peter the rabbit as he goes on a musical adventure to see new places and meet new faces. Learn the importance of family and cherishing your loved ones. KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. Tickets from Sistic.

Boys in the Band (8 APR)

DJ at the finish line. Marina Barrage. Glorious & Free Gala (22 APR) Don’t miss the Glorious & Free Gala this month. Organised by the Canadian Association of Singapore, it’s an the evening celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. The Westin. Metasprint Series Triathlon (23 APR) Swim, bike and run at this triathlon in April. Enjoy camaraderie and competition and cheering spectators while you sweat it out with friends and family. Angsana Green, East Coast Park. Poultry Tales (29 APR – 14 MAY) This fun and interactive musical production features a bunch of feathered friends in a farmyard. Little ones will laugh along at their wacky antics and learn some valuable lessons. Drama Centre Theatre, National Library. Tickets from Sistic.

Groove along to the world’s greatest hits with Boys in the Band. Enjoy 50 years of tunes such as “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Hey Jude”, “Imagine”, “ABC”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and other great numbers. Grand Theatre, Mastercard theatres. Tickets from Sistic. OUE Singapore Open 2017 (11-16 APR) Catch some of the world’s top badminton shuttlers in the OUE Singapore Open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, including the silky skills of top-seeded players such as Simon Santoso, Kento Momota and Lee Chong Wei. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from Apactix or the Sports Hub website. Electric Run Recharged Singapore (22 APR) Run, walk and dance the night away with friends and family at the upcoming Electric Run Recharged Singapore event. Experience themed party zones at each kilometre and rock along with a live

Anatomy of a Free Mind Exhibition (UNTIL 23 APR)

Don’t miss this exhibition that features over 100 works of multi-disciplinary artist Tan Swie Hian’s creations, including paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, seal carvings, photographs, lithographs, multimedia performances as well as original writings. National Library Gallery, Level 10. Collecting Magic: From Stamps To Wands (UNTIL 30 JUN) Get those Harry Potter fans excited at this magical exhibition, as they feast their eyes on beautiful Harry Potter stamps, movie memorabilia and collectibles from all around the world. Singapore Philatelic Museum.

Collecting Magic: From Stamps To Wands


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





Best Letter We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. To celebrate her time in Singapore, we’ll be delivering a bottle of champagne to Carol Grey .

We’re thrilled about our upcoming move to Singapore from Jakarta, which was our first expat posting from Adelaide two years ago. But with an eight-year-old, a

five-year-old and a three-year-old to think about, I don’t know where to start my search for schools. Which forums would you suggest? – Lola Ferrante Ed: Why not pick up our EL Kids’ Guide? It’s full of helpful information, including our readers’ feedback onmany of the top schools in Singapore, from preschool to high school. You can order a copy from our website: PAYING IT FORWARD As a big fan of Expat Living , I gave a copy to a lovely Australian woman who was here on a short visit before relocating to Singapore. My husband, a real estate agent, was helping her and her husband to find a home for their family. I felt sure that it was going to be just as useful to her in settling in, finding new schools, etc., as it had been to me. I also forwarded her the Expat Living email about subscribing to EL and receiving a free copy of the 2017 Kids’ Guide . When the family finally moved into their new house, I presented my new friend with the champagne I won from EL for the Best Letter a few months ago. Since then, our children have had playdates together and we’re looking forward to meeting up again at our house for Chinese New Year. Our two families have clicked so well, and I thank EL for playing a big part in that. – Fulfilling Sng Shu Fen

BUBBLE TROUBLE It may sound silly, but I’m worried about how our daughter (11) and our son (8) are going to cope with our

inevitable move back home to Auckland later this year. Since we moved to Singapore four years ago for my husband’s job – I work full-time, too – they’ve had the constant attention of our fantastic helper, who cooks for the family, picks up after the kids and (I suspect) spoils them rotten while we’re at work. As a result, they don’t do a thing for themselves. How do I prepare them for the big change? I feel like we’ve been living in a bubble – and it’s about to burst. – Carol Grey Ed: This is a real issue: culture shock works the other way round, too. You could try spending at least the weekends as a family, doing the cooking and housework together, and talking about the many things your children have to look forward to in their beautiful home country. Any ideas or suggestions from other readers?

Email us at


MARCH2017 Get more updates and helpful content from Singapore’s ultimate lifestyle guide. What’s Shaking in the City Followus at ...

Never miss a beat! From fun runs to concerts and bar nights, keep up with what’s going down in Singapore town wi th our weekly what’s on guides and handy events calendar. Don’t forget to check out our month l y Expat Living events too!

Get our latest Home & Property Guide FREE when you subscribe to Expat Living MAR2017 HOMES • FAMILY • ARTS • FOOD • TRAVEL • FASHION • HEALTH • BEAUTY


March2017 Issue 176

AMaldives holidayworth $12,000 Win!

For just $78 a year, you’ll get: 12 monthly copies of Expat Living delivered to your door FREE Home & Property Guide





Crossing Iran’s Fiercest Desert

Hanging inHawaii


MCI (P)145/11/2015

Get yours now at


MCI (P)092/02/2016


35+ Style ideas for your bedroom




Whatwe’reup toon…

INSTAGRAM Follow us @expatlivingsg for all our behind-the-scenes antics!

Our ed-in-chief Rebecca gets dolled up by The Big Blow for this month’s shoot!

Reporting from colder climes – our editor Emi tried skiing in Japan.

Testing out brunch spots – like these eggy delights from Tanjong Beach Club!

How to grow your own herbs successfully HERBSONTAP

DATE 17 March 2017 TIME 10am — 12pm PLACE Originals 896 Dunearn Road Sime Darby Centre #02-03 Singapore 589472 CONTACT


includes refreshments & goodie bag

31 MARCH2017


A luxury, 5-night Maldives holiday for two adults and two children, valued at S$12,000!

Thanks to luxury tour operator Scott Dunn , Expat Living readers have the chance to win an amazing holiday experience in the most famous tropical island destination of them all: the Maldives. Here’s what’s in store for the winner: • 5 nights at PER AQUUMNiyama for two adults and two children • Accommodation in a Beach Studio on a B&B basis • Seaplane transfers • Two spaces in the Explorers kids’ club run by Scott Dunn

Note: terms and conditions apply; prize doesn’t include international flights or extra F&B expenses; not valid for travel during peak dates.




About Scott Dunn Scott Dunn was founded in 1986 and has over 30 years’ experience in crafting high-end, personalised trips, all around the world. Whatever takes your fancy – be it a villa retreat in the Mediterranean with a private chef, host and nanny, a safari with the family, a memorable honeymoon, or an amazing skiing adventure – Scott Dunn’s travel specialists can make it happen. To find out more or to book your next getaway, visit or call 3158 6530. About the resort PER AQUUM Niyama is a luxury five-star Indian Ocean resort set on two pristine islands on the Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives, with a design that mixes modern and traditional Maldivian features and facilities. On offer are exceptional water sports, reef explorations with marine biologists, an Explorers kids’ club for children aged 12 months to 12 years, a brand new surf school and tennis court, and treetop, offshore and underwater dining options, making this the perfect retreat both for couples and families alike.

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33 MARCH2017


77 Buyer’s Guide:

Beautiful bedroom furniture and furnishings

Ethnicraft Online

57 Smart Moves: An East Coast home that provides the ideal space for entertaining

53 Product Ideas: Turn your pictures into lasting memories with Brilliant Prints

66 Shopping Spotlight: Behind the scenes at new River Valley store HomesToLife


Tidy Discount To thank its supporters, including you lovely Expat Living readers who voted it the winner of the Best Home Services Company 2016, A-Team Amahs & Cleaners is offering a special $120 discount off its agency fee right now. Go to or call 6100 6122 , and quote “ELoffer”.

Super Storage With 36 basic units that can be combined according to your needs, Montana’s modular shelving system is made with adaptability and style in mind. The shelving comes in four depths, with over 40 different colours and finishes to choose from. It’s now available exclusively at Danish Design, along with the nifty Montana guest chair and Panton Wire storage modules. Find out more at , or go to #06-03 Century Warehouse, 100E Pasir Panjang Road .

Markdown March

Insurance Offer! Allied Pickfords Singapore is offering EL readers a special insurance premium of 3 percent, inclusive of complimentary cover for mould and mildew, pairs and sets, and mechanical derangement. To qualify, you must register your enquiry before 1 May 2017 by calling 6862 4700 and mentioning this ad.

Hacienda Blue , producers of the striking bone and mother-of-pearl inlay furniture you’ve probably spotted around Singapore, is offering a 20 percent discount on orders made in March. Find out more about the unique pieces it sells by going to haciendablue. com , or contact josephine@ to make an appointment or discuss custom- made furniture options.




Get your free hugs here on this Hug lounge chair, by Danish sofa company Wendelbo. This comfy-looking piece, along with matching ottoman and Raft sofa, is now available at Mountain Teak . There are plenty of fabric and leather upholstery options available too; find out more at wendelbo-sofa , or call 6224 7176 . STYLISH SEATS

Winning Feeling

Cool Beginnings Singapore online furniture startup HipVan has launched its first physical retail store. It’s located in The Cathay, and customers can experience a selection of products for themselves, including a range of sofas and beds. Go to #02-06/07/08, 2 Handy Road , to see for yourself.

Design Intervention ha s done i t a g a i n , winning the award for Best Interior Design Firm in the Asia-Pacific region at the International Property Awards for the third year running – many congratulations to Nikki Hunt, Andrea Savage and the rest of the team for putting Singapore firmly on the interior design map!


Inspired by her battle with the heat and humidity of Singapore while expecting her first child, Aussie mum Jacqui Vicario created the fine linen brand Madreperla . All pieces are high quality, natural and breathable material, embroidered with pretty botanical motifs and in a range of neutral soft colours. Exclusively stocked at styledeco. com in Singapore, pieces range in price from $99 to $165. To find out more, go to .



&All ThingsNice




It’s always interesting to see how different people can use the same kind of space to create something dist inct yet equal ly striking. Expat Living showcased another apartment in this same building two years’ ago, so it was opportunity for us to see just that. T h i s a p a r t m e n t happens to belong to VISHA NELSON, owner of home décor shop The Cinnamon Room , where you can find cowhide rugs and cushions, artwork and home accessories – not to forget free weekly meditation sessions. Here she talks about translating her own design influences into her family’s home. Who lives here: Visha, of Sri Lankan origin but born in Singapore, British husband Richard, children Harry (12) and Lara (10), helper Marie and rescue dog Mango. How long in Singapore: Eight years this time (Visha grew up here as a child). Size and type of home: 360-square- metre, four-bedroom apartment off Lornie Road, which they bought three years ago.


41 MARCH2017

n insistent woofing comes from behind Visha’s door, and I’m greeted by Mango, the family’s adopted Singapore street dog, as I walk through to the apartment. She leads me to her

When they moved to Singapore, Visha had given up her job, and they were moving with Richard’s position. The relocation options given to them were Moscow, Hong Kong and Singapore. “We’d lived in Hong Kong already and with young kids I just thought no, then when they started discussing bulletproof cars for the family we struck Moscow off the list too!” So Singapore it was, albeit reluctantly, admits Visha. “For the first two years I was pretty miserable and very displaced; I didn’t feel like an expat and I didn’t feel like a Singaporean.” One thing she highly recommends, and which helped her come out of her initial funk, was finding work. “I found myself at way too many coffee mornings with people moaning about being bored, or their maids, so I started working at an art gallery, then trained to become a docent at the Singapore Art Museum; this is one of the best things I can recommend people do. It was a great way to meet like-minded people.”

owner, Visha, who is sitting on the balcony. Settling down here to chat, it’s a great opportunity to also take in the view over the tall rain trees that line Arcadia Road and shield us from the PIE. This isn’t the first time Visha has lived in Singapore. “I grew up here, just up the road in Binjai Park, and we’ve always stayed in the Bukit Timah area,” she explains. From there she travelled to London, where she lived for 17 years, then Hong Kong for two years and New York for one. It was in London that she met her husband Richard. Both she and Richard have a background in law – Visha previously worked as a capital markets lawyer, and Richard as an energy lawyer.



Finding her feet The family first settled on a huge house in Chancery Lane, but when this deteriorated beyond reasonable use they moved to another property on Chancery Hill. “It was a beautiful house, but when I knew we were staying longer term I wanted to look into buying.” Ignoring the dud houses they were shown – including one with a urinal in the front yard! – Visha narrowed it down to this Arcadia condo. It’s an older build whose size and stability appealed to her, as well as the maintenance assistance – something you don’t get when you purchase a house.

“It really suits us, it’s convenient, it’s nice for the children to live in a condo, we have lovely neighbours, it’s green and quiet, and it’s close to Greenwood Avenue, where we spend a lot of time. Although this is by no means my dream home, it’s given us a lot of flexibility.” Also, just a stone’s throw away is Visha’s happy place, the Botanic Gardens. “The only thing that hasn’t changed about Singapore since I grew up here is the Botanic Gardens, so I spend a lot of time there, including for my Saturday morning meditation.”

ABOVE The console is from Just Anthony; the table Visha had made and designed in Hong Kong; the prints on the wall are linoleum cut, bought from a shop near their home in London; the lamps are cleverly made from extra fabric she had left over from her bridesmaids’ dresses.




Home away from home Although she has a background in law, Visha’s passion is in design and décor. “When I was younger I was never encouraged to do anything creative, though that was what I wanted to do.” So, when she quit her profession to start a family, she also followed her heart and went to Chelsea Art College to take part in a handful of courses to learn the interior design trade. Alongside this, they had purchased a house in London and gutted and renovated it, which is when she really fell in the love with the process. Once settled into Singapore, she struggled to find furniture and furnishings that fitted her budget and quality standards. “I realised that if I could find the manufacturer for something, I could get exactly

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT A Ketna Patel mixed media piece. Visha has worked with the artist, and may collaborate again with her in the future. Artwork by an Indonesian artist named Dedy – Visha purchased it from a pop- up art sale. This leather chair has travelled the world with Visha and her family, and was originally bought from an antique shop on Lillie Road in London.

45 MARCH2017

what I wanted, and for the right prices.” And this is exactly what she did. Initially setting up sale events and attending fairs, she then became part of a design collective, which opened for a short while in PasarBella. “Being creative but also with a business background has really helped me, and the positive response I got to the PasarBella opening gave me the confidence to forge ahead with my own venture.” Visha decided to progress towards a design business rather than purely a shop, and she needed something that would also give her that crucial work- life balance. “I felt that starting up my own showroom with my own hours would give me more flexibility, and I could design my pieces alongside this.” She opened her Holland Village shop, The Cinnamon Room, towards the end of last year, and

is clearly positive about the decision. “The Chip Bee Gardens outlet gives me the space to showcase more home décor items, so I’m constantly busy at the design board coming up with new ranges. Holland Village has been a great spot for me, and I’ll be looking to expand with a team of people for home styling and interiors.” The shop is also home to a regular meditation session, held every Thursday by Gladys Lee of Dawn of Gaia. Meditation is something very close to Visha’s heart, and she has been taking regular sessions with Gladys for the past two years. “It’s very much part and parcel of my life, and the clarity it has given me has propelled my business and all aspects of my life forward, so I’m thrilled to have the space to host the sessions here for free.”

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT “If you go into any Sri Lankan house there are bookshelves – in England too; so when we came here and there were none I had these made.” The chairs came from a shop in Chelsea and are mid-

century Italian. “I’m very big on meditation and

mindfulness, and these words mean a lot to me” When Visha became a guide at Art Stage she purchased this acrylic picture of Tokyo.






I love to travel, I love to shop and I love designing things, so this is the perfect way to merge the three things I’m passionate about and make a business out of it

O P P O S I T E N o t able to get the bed she wanted, Visha designed her own, as well as the lampshades and ottoman. ABOVE, FROM LEFT This mirror was used as their table plan when they married at Syon House in London. Visha also designed a Union Jack rug for Harry’s room, which has p roved ve r y popular in the shop too. Visha designed this rug specifically for Lara’s room. “It was exclusive for her – until someone else wanted one as well!”

Inspiration and aspiration For Visha, design influences are all around her, but particularly when she travels. “I love London and Paris, investigating the little side streets and discovering new places.” She and Richard have just purchased a plot of land in Sri Lanka, ten minutes from Galle, which provides another inspirational hunting ground for Visha. “You can find these hidden places selling gorgeous old shutters or candle sticks; I love the discovery of it all. In fact, send me anywhere with a market and I love it. Take Morocco: there’s often a lot of tat, but then you’ll find a gem. Present me with a beautiful shop and of course I love it, but I really

get my kicks out of rifling through somewhere and finding a little treasure.” One Singapore spot that fits this bill for her is Charlie’s, next to Junkie’s Corner in Turf City, and she’s a regular customer. “It’s my kind of place, and it’s somewhere I have to dig a little harder.” Visha has managed to marry together her home life and business quite neatly, finding the time to give both the attention they deserve. “I love to travel, I love to shop and I love designing things, so this is the perfect way to merge the three things I’m passionate about and make a business out of it.”

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Health & Leisure The Body Temple (“for personal training, great group classes and programmes”) 75 Loewen Road 9100 8714 | Gladys Lee of Dawn of Gaia (“for meditation sessions, retreats and workshops”) Greenwood Avenue (“for a great enclave of fantastic restaurants, bakeries, a fishmonger and a butcher”) Kinki (“for delicious Japanese with great views”) #02-02 Customs House 70 Collyer Quay 6533 3471 | Nutritious & Delicious (“Speak to Karin for great nutrition advice and workshops”) 9855 6643 | Open Farm Community Restaurant (“delicious locally grown menu with a healthy twist”) 130E Minden Road 6471 0306 | Recommendations

Home Décor Charlie’sAntiques (“for hidden treasures and antiques waiting to be revamped into pieces of beauty”) 2 Turf Club Road | 9791 2607 The Cinnamon Room (“for chic contemporary home décor, including hide rugs that can be customised to any size, plus artworks by Diana Francis, Elephant Parade Merchandise and lots of unique gift ideas”) #02-74 Block 43, Jalan Merah Saga 9727 3051 | Learning Dulwich College Singapore (“a fantastic school providing an all-round excellent education that brings out the best in every child”) 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 6890 1003 | Friends of The Museum’s (“FOM”) Docent Training Programme #02-06 Stamford Court

61 Stamford Road 6337 3685 |




Dylan Vo in the studio

Keeping Memories Prints headquarters in Australia, which Liam currently runs, and watching it successfully grow. I was also bored of my banking job at the time and there was a soft lead of an opportunity in Singapore. The rest is history.

Alive Lookingtoprinta familyportrait or create a photo montage for yourhome?Theguysat Brilliant Prints cando just thatandmore. We sat downwithAussie expat DYLAN VO, managing director of its Singapore operation, and found out how it all began and their future plans. You and your business partner Liam have known each other for a long time. What inspired you to set up Brilliant Prints? We’ve been close friends since primary school in Australia; we did everything together. The decision to set up Brilliant Prints in Singapore came after a drunken dare at our annual group Australia Day barbecue in 2008. I would say it was a “calculated risk”. It was a combination of me helping out at the Brilliant

A great photo can help keep memories alive. What are your fondest memories of growing up together? We have countless memories, from travelling the world, camping and building machines to those created through the process of setting up our businesses. The one that stands out the most was when Liamwas inspired by Dawson’s Creek (a popular television show at the time) to build a wooden one-man canoe. True to our group culture, this turned into a big joke and then, later, a dare that resulted in five guys spending every weekend for two years building a seven-metre fishing boat. Launching our legally registered boat in front of all our families was a big day. Working out that the electrical wiring was done backwards and having the boat slam into a jetty is a memory permanently etched in our minds! Our most popular products would be the canvas prints and the LumiTiles (photos mounted on acrylic). Canvas prints are popular for their timeless art feel, and LumiTiles for their sleek, modern look. The tiles are perfect for table and desktop displays. What are some of your most popular products?


Dylan and Liam Tovey, childhood friends and now business partners, working on their boat together

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What’s up and coming? The latest technology has allowed for better quality prints with brighter, more vibrant colours, and for longer-lasting prints to be created within a shorter time frame. We will be expanding into photo albums and picture framing at our new studio factory from the second quarter of 2017. What has been your most memorable project to date? It would have to be the 1.5 metre by 6 metre landscape print that currently hangs in a home in Sentosa. The print was so large it required the removal of the windows and hoisting by a six- man installation team. We were definitely proud! Why are tangible keepsakes like canvas prints so precious? The capturing of moments on camera in itself is amazing. All too often, photos are kept in our phones or computers. Printing and displaying them as personalised art allows us to share these special moments. Has working together been for the better or the worse? Definitely for the better. What could be better than two best friends travelling the world, exploring, learning, embarking on projects, building businesses, sharing and creating experiences? Liam and I are very different. Our strengths and weaknesses are total opposites. Establishing this early on as friends before going into business together is the reason why we make a great team and everything works. The bromance is real! What’s your favourite motivational quote? Not a quote but a word: kaizen – it’s a Japanese philosophy meaning continuous improvement. Rainbow bubblegum swirl with a Swiss dark chocolate coating. Serious, sexy and classy on the outside, but fun on the inside. Share with us some tips for creating a wall montage. Use an app or software for the layout; it will save you a world of time. Each montage should have one “wow” image. This would be your favourite one and is usually the largest print of the bunch. If your company were an ice-cream flavour, what would it be?

FROM TOP “Uncle” James, who’s close to retiring, hard at work on the canvas prints Rows of canvas prints in the

workshop. Just some

examples of photographs mounted on

acrylic, or LumiTiles, produced by the company.

Brilliant Prints 38 Genting Lane, #07-04 6842 2571 |




Return to theEast When LAVINIATHANAPATHY andKARSTENWARNECKE moved to Singapore in 2012, it wasn’t your usual expat relocation. German diplomat Karsten had been posted to the embassy here in 2003 for a five-year stint – and it was there that he met his Singapore-born wife, Lavinia. An extension to Karsten’s current secondment to the Asia- Europe Foundation means they’ll be sticking around for another four years, a rare treat for a family used to life on the move. They invited us to look around their lovely, semi-detached home on the East Coast. BY AIMEE FORDOS PHOTOGRAPHY KEN TAN

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A tapestry of influences, this living room is just made for entertaining.

“We entertain for both work and pleasure, and have had 70 people in here – though that was maybe a few too many!”




Relaxed living It really is a divine space, filled with art, beautiful furniture and mementos from around the world. “Whenever we move, we look for a nice shell of a house that we can fill and make our own,” Lavinia explains. “We like open space, because some of our pieces are quite large. We have an Indian cabinet that takes six people to move. I must know the dimensions of every piece of furniture in the house! We also love the big terrace. There are 365 days of summer in Singapore, and we wanted to take advantage of that.” The spacious garden, relative privacy and safety were also important, especially for Joshua. “We wanted him to be able to wander around freely. This is a dead-end road, so he can ride his bike outside, and his school is just 500 metres away,” says Karsten. Joshua, it seems, is the only one who doesn’t commute. Despite Karsten working in Kent Ridge and Lavinia in Bukit Timah, living out east was a no- brainer. “This is where I grew up,” Lavinia explains. “It will always be home.”

s you walk through the front door, you arrive in a gorgeous, open-plan living and dining room. From its plush sofas and enormous 12-seater dining table, you can see immediately that these are people who like to entertain. This

comes as no surprise when you consider that Karsten is Ambassador and Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), an organisation that promotes cultural, educational, political and economic dialogue between Asia and Europe, and that Lavinia is Associate Director of Communications at NUS Law, and President of PrimeTime, a professional women’s association and the most active women’s group in Singapore. “We entertain for both work and pleasure, and have had 70 people in here,” says Lavinia, “though that was maybe a few too many!” It’s also perfect for the times that they’re able to get their large family together. Between them they have five children: from Karsten’s first marriage, three adults and one teenager, all of whom live overseas (Glasgow, Berlin, Chicago and Maryland), and their son, six- year-old Joshua, who lives here in Singapore.

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Living abroad for so long hasn’t always been easy. She left at 18 to study in Australia, and then went to the UK before moving back to Singapore and meeting Karsten. Their life together took her to Berlin for four years before she returned home once more. “It’s strange to come back into this bizarre local- expat life, where I’m neither one nor the other; I move in two circles equally. Our son goes to an international school rather than a local school, and he speaks Chinese, German and English. We’re a real Asia-Europe mishmash.” An important network Getting involved in PrimeTime has been a saving grace for Lavinia. “Moving back here in 2000, it was my first time living in Singapore as an adult,” she explains. “A lady I met at an art exhibition told me about this great women’s group. In those days, there weren’t that many events going on, and the first meeting I went to was huge. I walked in not knowing a single person, but some of the women I met that night are still my very good friends today. Before that meeting, I didn’t even know how much I needed something like it.”

TOP When they first looked at the house, the spacious deck was a real draw. RIGHT A well-travelled Balinese Buddha: this

statue was covered in snow on a

Berlin balcony before making its way back to the tropical

warmth of Singapore.




and histories. There are paintings from New York, a dowry chest from Burma, stools from India, and a collection of tea and coffee cups inherited from Karsten’s grandmother and great aunt. There’s even a piece of the Berlin Wall. Says Karsten: “Your personal identity is made up of many different components: where you grew up, where you have lived, what religion you are, what nationalities you have in your family. In a way, this home is the same thing; it’s bits and pieces of everything and everywhere we’ve been – a mosaic coming together.” After his secondment ends in 2020, they’ll have been in this house for eight years. That’s longer than either Lavinia or Karsten has ever lived in a single home. They’ll also be back in the German Foreign Service rotation, so who knows what, or where, the next part of their mosaic will be.

Lavinia quickly signed up as a volunteer and was soon made a member of the board. Today, she is the first Singapore-born president of the association, which has over 350 members. Hailing from a wide range of backgrounds and numerous nationalities, all are women seeking professional, social and community fulfilment. A passionate advocate for women in the community, Lavinia is also member of the board of the Singapore Council for Women’s Organisations (SCWO), a body that brings together various relevant clubs and committees in Singapore to give them a unified voice and act on their behalf in matters that affect them. Everything comes together Much like their family, Lavinia and Karsten’s house is an Asia-Europe blend. There’s no single style that dominates; instead it’s a montage of their lives



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