SEP 2019







EDITOR’SNOTE Who’s getting excited? Me! The Rugby World Cup is up soon, which means I have an excuse to drink beer and watch lots of my favourite sport regularly! It’s the little things in life that make me happy… If any of you are watching Lucifer on Netflix (which my daughter got me hooked on), you will know the relevance of the question, “What is it you desire?” With the world in a state of flux (for want of a better word), peacefulness would be highly desirable – letting everyone get on with making a living, and looking after themselves and their families. But, of course, still with a few hedonistic pleasures thrown into the mix, like watching sport or having brunch with friends. What makes you happy? So long as it’s family-friendly (PG!), we’d love you to share it with us. If you can put it into around 400 words or so and send it to us, you’ll stand a chance to get $200 if it’s published in print or online. We had a great response to our morning walks at MacRitchie Reservoir; let us know if you’re keen on the next one! Or, if there are any other social events you’d like to get involved in, get in touch at Back to the rugby. The best thing about the sport is that I have four favourite teams, so I know one of them will do well. Not sure if it’s me hedging my bets, or just because I’ve lived in quite a few countries! But I will start with saying, “Go the Boks!” If you enjoy watching sport in a place with some atmosphere, we’ve got an online round-up, plus a preview of the teams to keep an eye on, lots of notable quotes and other great sports content at

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief


What will the rugby be like without Richie? Luckily, Eben ( left ) is still around! I wonder who will be the stars of the show in this World Cup.



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Special Projects MELINDA MURPHY Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers HARSHARAN KAUR | RINKA PEREZ 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: |

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

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HOME & PROPERTY 32 News 36 Home Showcase: A modern home in Katong 44 Showroom Spotlight: An interior designer’s world 47 Cool Collection:

NEWS 20 Calendar Updates: 26 Readers’ Letters 28 EL Forum:

What’s on in the coming months

Our online antics and our upcoming events 60

One-stop shop for creative homeware

48 Home Showcase: Collectables on show 52 Business & Balance: The secret to success for this shop owner 54 Décor with a Difference: Adding an Asian touch to your home 56 Inside Story: Readers share their antique finds 60 Buying Guide: Pieces with a history 66 Street Talk: Find out what it’s like living in Orchard LIFE & FAMILY 72 News 78 Noticeboard: Bunnies up for adoption 80 Reviewed: Popular podcasts and Netflix shows 82 What’s On: Celebrating milestones at the SCC 84 Caught on Camera: Top photographers share their favourite shot 86 Celebrating Life: How the memory of loved ones carries on 88 Fly on the Wall: Preschool life at SAS 91 Creative Calling: Dance, theatre and more at Centre Stage 92 Girl Power: Two entrepreneurs’ stories of success 97 Financial Planning: Handy FAQs on retirement 98 Helping Hands: Our latest on volunteer opportunities 100 Around Town: Photos from openings, events and more

Statement pieces with a story

East Coast living for this family of four 36




140 Where to vacay in Vietnam

WINE & DINE 108 News 112 Bar Tab:

New and notable spot for a tipple

114 Responsible Goods: An online grocer you can trust 116 Steak Out! Our guide to Huber’s at Dempsey 118 Family Feasting: Four lunch and brunch spots 122 Dairy Diary: Which milk and why? 124 Review Crew: We rate bubble tea around the island! 126 Recipe Corner: Fail-safe favourites to add to your repertoire 128 Modern Mooncakes: Top picks for Mid-Autumn Festival

TRAVEL 132 News 136 Travel Tips:

A great way to share itineraries and advice

138 Quick Trips: Great destinations

within a four-hour flight

140 Vietnam Views: We explore an area growing in popularity 148 Destination Focus:

Daytime feasts for the family 118

Indonesia insights and reader recommendations




STYLE & BEAUTY 162 Style News 164 Tailor Talk:

Three top spots for custom shirts and suits

166 Beauty News 172 Tried & Tested:

EL readers talk personal training 196

The EL team’s favourite lipsticks

174 Spa Saviours:

The ultimate stress relievers

HEALTH & FITNESS 184 News 188 Nature Nurtures:

How a retreat can benefit your health

We share our go-to lippies 172

190 Expert Voice:

REGULARS 203 Numbers & Websites 204 Horoscopes for September

Solutions to second-hand snoring

192 Diet Talk:

Experts weigh in on popular weight-loss methods

196 Fitness Focus:

206 Advertiser List 208 Parting Shot:

Sharing your personal training experiences 199 Pregnancy & Exercise: Tips and advice

A lonely expat housewife in Singapore





SHOPPING & FAIRS HotLotz Online Designer Fashion Auction (3-18 SEP)


Emily of Emerald Hill

Browse preloved brand-name clothing, shoes and handbags at this HotLotz auction. There’ll be 150 stylish lots on offer, with starting bids of $100 or less. Online bidding closes at 8pm on 18 September. Register online to see the auction catalogue. Glamorous

Giving Fashion & Homewares Clearance Sale (18-19 SEP)

Back for its 12th edition, this fashion, accessories and homewares clearance sale by jewellery brand Stones that Rock will feature

Emily of Emerald Hill (4-28 SEP) Popular local actor Ivan Heng brings to life Emily Gan, one of Singapore theatre’s most iconic characters. The young girl overcomes all odds to become the matriarch of a distinguished Peranakan household. The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre @ Wild Rice, Funan Level 4. Tickets from Sistic. Muse Tribute Night (14 SEP) Enjoy cover versions of songs by the prominent English rock band, including “Citizen Erased”, “Fury”, “Dead Star” and “Starlight”. There will be something for everyone, casual and hardcore Musers alike. SLED Production X Decline. Tickets from Peatix. Feeder (14 SEP) Welsh rock band Feeder will be in town this September, promoting their latest album Tallulah , which features snappy songwriting and an organic home-studio vibe. The Pavilion at Far East Square. Tickets from Sistic. The 1975 (16 SEP) The 1975 are back to perform live in Singapore – their first performance here for five years. The UK indie band is on a world tour this year, including playing at major music festivals such as the Reading Festival and Rock am Ring in Germany. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Apactix.

independent local brands, designers and boutiques. Products will be going at clearance prices in support of the Singapore Committee for UN Women. Orchard Rendezvous Hotel. SOCIAL World Cup Rugby Gala Dinner 2019 (12 SEP) Look forward to a fab three-course meal and entertainment, including an auction and lucky draw. Hear stories from former professional England, Ireland and New Zealand All Black players, with Brian Moore, Shane Byrne and Eric Rush among the former rugby players in attendance. Shangri-La Hotel. McLaren: Applying F1 Grade Technology to Your Industry (19 SEP) Enjoy a special evening with the British Chamber of Commerce and McLaren this September. McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) will be offering insights into how they’re applying technology to today’s unique problems in industries such as transportation and healthcare, alongside Deloitte. Singapore Cricket Club.

World Cup Rugby Gala Dinner




Devin Townsend (18 SEP)

The Podium Lounge

Canadian musician Devin Townsend will be making his debut performance in September. The show will feature a selection of Townsend’s tracks from throughout his career, along with a Q&A session. Gateway Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. The Podium Lounge (20-22 SEP) Hosted by former Formula 1 Driver and Fox Sports Asia’s F1 Pundit Alex Yoong and E! News Asia Host Yvette King, the glamorous trackside after-party returns this F1 season. Look forward to a star-studded entertainment line-up, including Daniel Jones of Savage Garden, Spice Girl Melanie C, The Cuban Brothers and Raleigh Ritchie. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia. Tickets from .

ARTS & CULTURE Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture (UNTIL 15 SEP) This exhibition presents a dialogue between historical and contemporary Chinese design, juxtaposing 29 embroidered masterworks by Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei with 20 Chinese art masterpieces in the Asian Civilisations Museum’s collection. Asian Featuring over 40 artworks by more than 15 local and international artists, this playful exhibition explores the history of inflatable objects, and the way they’ve been used in art, architecture and social activism across the years. ArtScience Museum Flashes of Brilliance (UNTIL 29 SEP) Enjoy the works of Singapore art pioneer Chen Wen Hsi from the collections of Johnny Quek and the Lewis Sisters. The ink works will be accompanied by stories and memories from the collectors. The Private Museum Civilisations Museum Floating Utopias (UNTIL 29 SEP)


Walking with Dinosaurs – The Live Experience (UNTIL 5 SEP) Seen already by over nine million people in more than 250 cities around the world, Walking with Dinosaurs – The Live Experience is now in Singapore. You’ll be amazed as you watch the creatures walk, roar and fight for survival and supremacy. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub website.

Wonderland at the ArtScience Museum (UNTIL 22 SEP)

This playful and interactive exhibition is based on Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice and her adventures through Wonderland. Look forward to theatrical sets, eye- catching props and amazing audiovisual artworks. ArtScience Museum Marlborough College Malaysia Admissions Event (25 SEP) Keen to explore the boarding and day options at the College? During this session, hear from the Master of Marlborough College Malaysia Mr Alan Stevens and meet with senior members of the Common Room and housemasters and housemistresses. Register on the school website. The Jasmine Room, Hotel Fort Canning. The Way Back Home (27-29 SEP) Featuring original music and audience interaction, this charming intergalactic production tells the story of a little boy seeking adventure. Suitable for young children aged three and up. Quote “ExpatL2019” and enjoy 10 percent off! SOTA Drama Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Floating Utopias





Shawn Mendes (4 OCT)

Merdeka (10-27 OCT)


Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes will be in town in October as part of a world tour spanning more than 100 dates throughout 2019. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub. Gala of Light (4 OCT) This fundraising ball aims to honour the work done by two Singapore charities, Beyond Social Services and Compassion Fund. Enjoy cocktails, a sit-down dinner, fashion show by Anita Dongre, a live auction and an after- party with Bollywood DJ Suketu. For ticket inquiries, email Marina Bay Sands Anita Dongre Trunk Show (5 OCT) Anita Dongre will be showcasing her Autumn Winter 2019 collection for the first time in Singapore. The collection will feature both women and menswear. For designer appointments, email Malaysia Room, Hilton Singapore

Written by award-winning writer Alfian Sa’at and playwright Neo Hai Bin, this new play by Wild Rice examines how Singapore’s history and humanity has been shaped and shattered by forces of colonialism. The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre @ Wild Rice. Tickets from Sistic. SCC Family Day & Open House (20 OCT) Have fun with pony rides, games and other activities for all ages at the SCC Family Day. There’ll also be an antique roadshow by HotLotz Auction House and tours of the clubhouse. Singapore Cricket Club. Ladies’ Luncheon (22 OCT) Enjoy a three-course lunch and a cooking demonstration by UK celebrity Chef Paul Askewa at the Padang restaurant. There’ll also be a hands-on session with gems and jewellery. Singapore Cricket Club. Asics Singapore Relay (26 OCT) In the Singapore edition of this race, entrants can choose from a 42km full marathon and a 21km half marathon. Registration ends on 1 October. DUCKS Open Morning (30 OCT) At the Dulwich College Kindergarten and Infants’ School (DUCKS) event in October, hear from Headmaster Nick Magnus, meet the Head of DUCKS and leadership teams, and learn about the school’s dual-language approach. Also, take a tour around the campus. Register for a spot at . Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour (30 OCT) Fans of 90s pop music, get excited: the Backstreet Boys return to Singapore in October! Head along to the Singapore Indoor Stadium and sing along to 20 years of hits including “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” and “I Want It That Way”. Tickets from

Anita Dongre Trunk Show


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. For best letter, Mangla Sachdev will receive a divine candle


fromTo Be Calm. Each month, there’ll be one of their signature candles to choose from .

I would love there to be a small special supplement in each issue that is 10 or 15 pages on different topics such as the uniqueness of Singapore in modern times or how homes in Singapore differ from other expat countries/cities around the world like Dubai, NY and London; that kind of thing. I don’t know if it fits with your brand, but I would personally be interested to hear readers’ stories about their professions, especially if it involves a career change. There have been a few articles in the past featuring individuals and their work, and I really enjoyed the content; and I believe a lot of people look out for these kinds of inspiring stories about potential alternative career options. You should try to focus also on expat women who do work (not only the trailing spouses) in your pieces. For example, what you can do with your kids over the summer when you’re working full-time and can’t send them off to relatives and don’t want to spend too much on camps.



Left: CullenWinesoffers kid-friendly finedining From top right: Crawling along the ancient riverbed ofNgilgiCave;Electric quadbiking in theBoranup KarriForest;Caves RoadCollective and its spectacular fountain

More than just exceptional wines, theMargaret River region ofWestern Australiaoffersactivities toengage the whole family – even tweens and teens. A dventures BY CAROLYNBEASLEY PHOTOGRAPHY CAROLYNBEASLEY, PRIVATEPROPERTIES, CAVESROADCOLLECTIVE

Adventurebeckons Weagree to startour tripwithadventure caving at NgilgiCave , asnoneofushas triedanything like thisbefore.Following a safety talk and “likelihood-of-panic” questioning, Shae leads us deep into the cavern, where we duck under the safety rail,clamberingoverbouldersand through chasms, in totaldarkness. Reaching the riverbed in thebottomof thecave,andwithtorchesswitchedoff,she explains the ancientWardandiAboriginal legendof thecave,whereNgilgi, thegood spirit of the ocean, defeated the evil cave spirit,Wolgine. From underground to very much above ground, our second activity is Forest Adventures SouthWest , where zip-lines and rope obstacles await, including riding a bicycle across a wobbling bridge in the treetops and

hand-peddling an invertedunicycle. Set beneath a crop of shady tuart trees, the park has courses for different ages and confidence levels. I’m thankful for the foolproof carabiner system that makes it impossible to fall asmy nine- year-old daughter fearlessly Tarzans across the forest to a giant rope spider web. Inervously realise that she’llexpect me to join her. Keeping in mind my missionofsharingexperiences, I recheck my double-locking carabiner, and step off theplatform. The forest themecontinues15minutes south of Margaret River township where we meet Gary Ingram of Eco Adventures Margaret River and his custom-designedquadbikes (four-wheel motorcycles) in the towering Boranup Karri Forest.With their speed limited to 25 kilometres per hour, the bikes have a low centre of gravity, preventing roll-overs. Being electric and almost silentmeansmypillion son and I easily hear the chattering of purple-crowned lorikeets and the screech of majestic red-tailedblack cockatoos.

inMargaret River

countless vineyards while they play on their phones,we’re seekingactivitieswecanallenjoy. Luckily,Margaret River caters for all, including adventurous tweens and teens and their slightly apprehensiveparents. One thing I’m not apprehensive about as I arrive in wine country is my choice of accommodation.With kids of this age, hotel roomscanbe tricky, so I’vebookedabeachfront house through booking company Private Properties .Called “Picquet”, the house sits on the shores of Eagle Bay, and is high on glass- walledwow-factor.Wearrive in thedark,and the kids explore at pace; by the time I catch up, all threeareon the in-ground trampoline, laughing and flying through the night, illuminated by a fullmoon.Next, theydiscover theoutdoor spa, andweallplunge into thechilly swimmingpool before soaking in steamybubbles.

I ’m lying flat onmy belly in the sand of an ancient riverbed,45metresbelow theearth’s surface. It’s properly dark, except for the helmet lights worn bymy family and our guide, Shae Small. “This is thedeepestpartof the cave, so there’s more carbon dioxide down here,” Shae says. “Fromhere,we’llhave tobelly-crawl–useyour elbows or you’llnever fit through.” She nimbly scurries along the riverbed, throughahorizontalcavegap.Myhusbandand threekids (9,12 and15) follow, and I’m alone, staringat thedarkholewhere theydisappeared, wondering if it’s the lack of oxygen ormymild claustrophobia that’smaking ithard tobreathe. We’re inWesternAustralia’sMargaretRiver, a three-hourdrive fromPerth.Myhusband and I aredefinitelykeen tosample thearea’s renowned wines,but rather thandragging thekidsaround





Back from holiday! I arrived back from a fun six-week holiday in London and Europe a few days ago and jet lag had kicked in nicely. Waking up at 1am daily gave me a chance to catch up on all Expat Living issues I had kept but hadn’t finished reading. The articles, travel features and shopping ideas gave me renewed energy to start planning an overhaul at home, and ideas for upcoming holidays to take at the next school break! Your magazines kept me nicely entertained. – Mangla Sachdev

Ed: Thank you everyone for the feedback!

Ed: So good to hear! Maybe a good solution for jet lag for others, too?!

Email us at




Check out some of the best places to dine this month.


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Our upcoming events! Visit to register.



MacRitchie Treetop Walk

DATES: 15 September 2019 @ 9am 17 September 2019 @ 11am PLACE: Venus Car park PRICE: Free



HOW WOMEN INVESTORS OUTPERFORM MEN with Andrew Hallam, author of ‘The Millionaire Expat’

DATE: 25 September 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.45am PLACE: HotLotz PRICE: $10, including refreshments





Managing your assets as an expat in the age of change

DATE: 26 September 2019 TIME: 6pm — 8pm

DATE: 27 September 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.45am

PLACE: British Club, Roof Top Terrace PRICE: $10, including refreshments

PLACE: Camden Medical Centre PRICE: $10, including refreshments



36 Home Showcase: A modern space in Katong

54 Décor with a Difference: Adding an Asian touch to your home

44 Showroom Spotlight: An interior designer’s world

56 Inside Story: Readers share their antique finds



Big news! Arete Culture, which earlier this year won first place in our Readers’ Choice Awards for Interior Design and Home Styling, has opened a new residential design studio. Named Atelier by Arete, this latest creative endeavour puts the power back in your hands. You can choose from standalone services like upholstery/reupholstery, painting, wallpaper and mural installation, or, if you’re building a new house, enlist the full-service interior design services available. No project is too big or too small. DESIGN IN DEMAND

Arete’s new 8,000-square-foot showroom and design workshop at Depot Lane also features an in-house material library and design bar, art and carpet galleries, and several dedicated home zones to get you started on your home design journey. 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02.

Livin’ is Easy You may be familiar with the many co- working spaces scattered around Singapore, but have you heard of co-living spaces? With over 30 locations across the island, Hmlet is now launching its largest facility to date: a 150-room property on Cantonment Road. Getting an all-inclusive membership allows you the freedom to choose your own affordable, flexible and secure space, from a single room to a whole apartment. Hmlet is big on community and even uses advanced people analytics to match you with the best home and the right people. So, if you’re on a short- or long-term assignment in Singapore, it can give you a home and a new set of best friends! Visit for more information and to see the available properties.





Under the

Reuse and Recycle Something the whole HotLotz team is passionate about is sustainability. It’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but we pride ourselves on actually offering a sustainable, “reuse” and “recycle” service. We never know what’s going to come through the saleroom door – a 100-year-old antique sideboard, a collection of nearly new Christian Louboutin shoes, a European designer table and chairs; every day is different. Giving these pieces a new home is what drives us. Why should you reuse? #1 Price and quality are better. You can own beautiful items, often at Ikea prices, and these items are made to last – they’ve often already stood the test of time! #2 It’s better for the environment – fewer unwanted items in landfill, less factory pollution and less deforestation. #3 Older pieces have an interesting history. Ever sat at a dinner party and discussed the love you have for your flat-pack furniture? No! But what if your coffee table was once a Louis Vuitton trunk? So, if you need to fill a house, or it’s just time for a change, please don’t buy everything new! Every Thursday, HotLotz holds a general auction, typically covering interiors and antiques. This allows buyers to bid in the saleroom, online or via the unique HotLotz App.

Breaking News! We’re partnering with Glamorous Giving in support of the Singapore Committee for UN Women this month. We will be hosting an online “no reserve” auction of “event bags”. These have been donated by many of the participating brands and are filled with their goodies and experiences. The special catalogue will be launched on Monday 9 September and bidding will close on Friday 20 September. HotLotz will be attending the event and selling a cool collection of vintage champagne buckets – all at fixed prices, with 20 percent of the sales being donated to the cause. Visit for more details.

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

Cool Off Do you feel like you’re always shelling out for your air-con service? Courts now has a solution. Recently launched is a subscription service that covers both your air conditioner and regular services from just $29 per month. It covers the air-con units and installation, warranty protection, and unlimited repairs and service calls for six years, the recommended lifespan of air conditioners. You’ll also receive an annual deep-steam clean, four regular cleans per year and unlimited service calls. Now you can leave it to the experts to provide quality cool air in your home all year round. Visit .



Carla is pictured with her daughter Eva, new kitten Ollie, helper Beth, Eva’s boyfriend Alex and their school friend Sam, who were all visiting Singapore.






D riving down East Coast Road to Carla De Peuter’s home, I’m in awe of the huge homes that populate the street and the cars that are parked on display in the driveways. Carla glides down her very long drive and opens up the gate with a hug and a kiss. We walk back up to the house, through a covered area she uses for her small home-based business. Around the World Carla’s expat journey started in 1985, immediately after she married her husband. “DJ was offered a job in Dubai, and, in those days, unmarried couples couldn’t travel there together. So, we got married and moved to Dubai straight away.” Since then, the couple and their two (now grown-up) children Maarten and Eva have lived all around the world: Dubai, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi in the Congo, Holland, Belgium, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and now Singapore. The home has small reminders of these global adventures, like an antique camel box from Jeddah (my personal favourite in the house) and a Belgian tapestry.

Carla and DJ’s favourite spot to sit in the house.

Who lives here: Carla, DJ, helper Beth, new kitten Ollie

Being steered around the planet for her husband’s career has not stopped CARLA DE PEUTER from creating successful businesses wherever they’ve landed.

(and, during the holidays, children, Maarten and Eva) Time in Singapore:

Eight months Size and type of home: Three- storey modern landed home Décor style: Well-travelled Scandi


Design Dreams The house, which sits behind the President of Singapore’s home, has been carefully interior designed with Geri Archer from Mara Miri. “Geri and I were introduced by a friend in Mallorca. When I found Geri had spent many years in Singapore, I asked her to help with styling our home. The house is very modern and has a bizarre mixture of colours, so it’s not easy to furnish; but with the help of Geri, it now has a contemporary feel, with a cosy touch.” “Everyone loves the house,” adds Carla, “and we enjoy hosting cocktail parties here! Even the owner told us it now looks like a house from a home décor magazine. We’re building a contemporary family home in Mallorca, but it looks totally different from this house.” The hub of the house focuses on a shallow square pool that comes off the main pool. “This is the favourite place for DJ and me to sit at night,” Carla tells me as she points to the two-seat table and chairs next to the pool. I can see why. This little pool separates the entrance, the dining and the sitting room, and becomes the heart of the home. Carla shows me her favourite item, a three-metre- high aqua-coloured Indian mirror fromOriginals. “It’s beautifully carved and took six men to carry into the house! I absolutely love it, even if it’s not practical.”

“This daybed was so ugly, but Geri fromMara Miri worked her magic and turned it into one of my favourite spots in the house now.”




The house is scattered with items left by the owners, like this picture in the dry kitchen; “We found it hidden upstairs in the gym and it works perfectly in this space!”

Antique camel box from Jeddah.

“There were three of these vintage typewriters in the house when we moved in!”


We go for a wander up through the house. I’m not prepared for the master suite on the second floor – to say that it’s awe-inspiring is an understatement! The ensuite, with bright natural light pouring in from the top, is encased in glass, and is the showstopper of the room (though I do find myself questioning the privacy – it’s not a bathroom for the shy!) In Carla’s daughter’s room on the top floor, we find Eva and her long-term boyfriend Alex, curled up with their new rescue kitten, Ollie. “They met at school in Mallorca and have been together ever since,” Carla tells me. The room is delicately designed, with pastel pinks and creams, making the most of the light that floods in from its private balcony. It perfectly suits Eva’s elegant bohemian style. Model Citizen On our way back downstairs, Carla conspiratorially pulls me aside to look through one of the back windows, “See where that guard is? That’s the house of the President! They have one on every corner, 24 hours a day. But I’ve never actually seen her.” Carla and I sit down and start to chat about our mutual passion for sustainability. One of her favourite places to shop is Scoop Wholefoods, where you won’t find wasteful packaging and plastics. She also loves to visit Pocket Greens. “My friend Ting Ting runs a




Eva’s room (“She styled it herself”).

microgreens farm. I love going out there and always leave with a huge basket of goodies. It’s such a great place and she hosts schools and groups who want to learn more about where our food comes from.” Carla’s healthy lifestyle tuition business uses the TRX method. “I’ve been using TRX to coach clients for the last two years,” she tells me, “It’s a form of suspension training that uses bodyweight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility, core stability and burn fat simultaneously. We train the entire body, and everyone can start, no matter your age or fitness level. Most of my clients’ bodies change quickly after starting my TRX classes. I also believe in quality above quantity and only coach a maximum of three students at once.” Our conversation then turns to her modelling career. “While most of the hype in the fashion industry is around new, young models, it seems they’re also looking towards an older generation too. Not only on the catwalk but in photography for beauty products, hotel commercials, the leisure industry and sports like yoga. I’m one of these models of the older generation, called ‘Mature Models’,” Carla laughs.

With one last scratch of little Ollie’s tiny ears, I head off into the busy streets of Katong, reflecting on the peacefulness that Carla’s stunning home and interesting conversation have left me with.


“I have students of all ages, from 20 to 83 years old. I’m 55 and my students have said they are happy that I’m not a 25-year-old supermodel! My experience means I can ‘feel’ what every student needs, so I can work on tailor-made training.”


HOME Mara Miri Global Interior Design Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | House of AnLi #03-17 Tanglin Mall 163 Tanglin Road 6235 3851 | Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, #05-02/03 6471 9918 | Soul & Tables #02-01 & #02-03 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9272 1545 | Taylor B 43 Keppel Road 9420 4000 | WINE & DINE Lucha Loco 15 Duxton Hill Bar-Celona 21 Duxton Hill JimThompson (“I love this Thai restaurant. It’s such a lovely building”) 45 Minden Road, Dempsey Hill OTHERS JSskin Aesthetics (“Gina’s treatments are heavenly! If you care about the health of your skin, you should meet this lady and try the Environ products!”) 30 East Coast Road Scoop Wholefoods (“I take the kids here all the time”) #02-17/18 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road Pocket Greens 201 Petir Road Singapore Wake Park (“I’m addicted!”) 1206A ECP TRX – East Coast Training Zone




Tucked away amongst the shophouses of Tiong Bahru is E&A Interiors’ new studio. A heritage door, painted in a fresh greeny-blue (loved by Instagrammers!) is opened and I’m invited into a designer’s world. The first thing that I notice is the huge array of fabrics neatly arranged by colour in custom bookcase shelving along one wall and hanging above a cane sofa on an array of brass hooks on the other wall. Chlöe grabs a pile and shows me the material. “One of the things that makes us unique is the exclusive fabrics we stock. Over the years, we’ve built up an amazing library of artisanal suppliers from Europe, the UK, Australia and North America.” The studio is cosy and filled with elegant Vaughan Designs lighting, carefully selected furniture, wallpaper and the fabrics. Chlöe and I head along a stylish wallpapered corridor with more hanging fabrics Join us as we step inside the new design space of CHLÖE ELKERTON, founder of E&A Interiors. In the Studio BY KEL FLANDERS

How does E&A Interiors go about designing a client’s home? “It’s really important we work with our clients to develop a style of home they’re proud of. I really enjoy going back after we have finished. Listening to clients say how much they love their new home and how it has changed the way they live is very special.” Since the design process can take three months, and onsite renovations the same time or more, E&A ensures that its planning process is extensive and detailed. “We find that the more we plan, the easier it is when we get on site.” Chlöe pulls out a jam-packed folder and takes me through examples of all the plans they create for each project – from floor plans (if there is any demolition and rebuilding to be done, for example) and lighting plans, to furniture layouts and carpentry plans. They’re all drawn up and agreed to by the client before any work starts. My interest is particularly drawn by Chlöe’s mood boards. “These give the client a more emotive look of what their space will feel like once we’ve finished,” she tells me. Each page is filled with inspiration images, and examples of the look and feel, and the colours, finishes and fabrics. I’m then shown a comparison to the finished product; while not an exact copy, the images have the same design qualities and are definitely a faithful indication to the client of how the end result will look and feel. As we wander back through the studio, Chlöe tells me that E&A works with each client’s particular needs. “There’s never a cookie- cutter approach – budgets, timelines, spaces and personalities are always different. I think that’s why I love my job so much!”

and brass wall lights to the meeting room, which at the moment is made to look like a plush and luxurious five-star hotel bedroom; “Sorry, we had a shoot in here this morning!” she explains.

59 Eng Hoon Street, #01-75 6702 4850 |




Journey Creative


When it comes to creativity, you either have it or you don’t. VISHA NELSON from The Cinnamon Room definitely has it, judging from her ever-growing collection of beautifully designed homeware.

easy-to-maintain, contemporary rugs that are child- and pet-friendly. Red wine or coffee simply wipes off the hides without seeping in, which is why they’re always a winner for busy households.” The other great thing about the products is that they’re from sustainable and responsible sources. “All our hides are ethically sourced from South America and India and are by-products of farm animals,” says

The Cinnamon Room’s showroom in Holland Village is a little sanctuary: it smells good and feels good, and you’ll want to take everything home. I love popping in to see the new things Visha has come up with, whether it’s the neat and elegant furniture, the brightly coloured and metallic hide rugs, or the lamps, jewellery, artworks, bags and cushions. As the founder and creative force driving the business, where does Visha find inspiration to keep creating new pieces? “Everywhere!” says the former lawyer with a laugh. “In the everyday sights of the varied cultures in Singapore, but especially when I travel.” Recently returned from a trip to Europe and Morocco, Visha tells me how she was very drawn to the Moorish architecture in Seville and Granada, and even more so in Morocco. “The intricacy of geometric designs and the vast colours and contrasts there were so inspiring. I’m really excited to be back at my desk and coming up with a new range of designs to echo my recent travels.” Visha continues to explain her design process: “I sometimes have a product

I’m in the middle of developing and then I see something on my travels or around town that inspires me. Sometimes an inspiration comes to me from memory when I’m designing a new product.” She goes on to tell

Visha. “No animals are killed specifically for our rugs. This is certified to us by our manufacturers in India and to the Indian Export Authorities where there are very stringent export standards for animal hides and, inparticular, cowhides. The trusted manufacturer we’ve used from the start only works with ethically sourced hides

me about an evening out in Seville, where inspiration struck in the form of the cutlery displayed at a particular restaurant. “I’ve taken a mental note of how I can design something similar using laser etching!” Her design process often

The Cinnamon Room is at #02-74 Jalan Merah Saga, Holland Village, just above Tiong Bahru Bakery. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm (5pm Saturday), and other times by appointment. You can also shop online at the newly launched – this is one of the key factors in why we have a trusted and continued working relationship with them.”

depends on the product. For the store’s hide rug collection, for example, there’s a large bank of designs already in place that can be customised to suit customers’ needs. “The original designs evolved over time to become something that was unique and contemporary for floor coverings. Singapore offers a wide variety of oriental and traditional rugs but I could see there was a clear shortage of


In a quiet neighbourhood behind Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital is the home of MELWYN and HARRIET DIAS and their two grown-up children. The family, originally from India of Portuguese descent, moved countries frequently on account of Melwyn’s private banking job, living in India, Oman and Dubai, before finally putting down roots in Singapore.





E ntering the Dias family’s courtyard, I am greeted by an enormous life-size bull made entirely of spare car parts. Melwyn welcomes me in and quickly explains the sculpture: “It was inspired by the Charging Bull at Wall Street; I love how totally symmetrical it is. It weighs 900 kilograms and had to be brought in by crane!” Taking over two years to create, and purchased at one of the art fairs in Singapore, the animal is a nod to Melwyn’s stock-trading background. Ancient artefacts If you look up “eclectic” in the dictionary, youmay well find a picture of this house. In fact, I feel like I might be too clumsy to be comfortable in this space, althoughMelwyn assures me that if their large 12-year-old Labrador is okay, I will be too! It’s difficult to pick out a centrepiece of the living and dining area. On the left is

a mounted femur bone of a woolly mammoth; it’s over 10,000 years old (below left) . Carved into it are the figures of six generations of the ruling family of Benin. Although it is priceless to the Dias family – Melwyn admits he would never part with it – the bone is the only one of its kind in the entire world and has an estimated value of over $1.3 million. “It’s the only piece in the whole house that I didn’t pay for! It was a gift.” Melwyn points out two angels that come from the first church in India, St Thomas Syro-Malabar; they’re more than 400 years old, done in the style of Hindu apsaras . “Everything you see in our home has a history to it. We have collected over time! It’s all well thought of and isn’t something that someone else has chosen and brought in. Everything has a memory attached to it. The most important thing to us is where we got each item from and not its price.” Halfway along the first floor is an atrium. It goes up to the top levels, ending with a large skylight, which allows all the natural light to cascade down into the space. This is where the family have most of their meals and entertain, at a table made of ash-coloured fossilised wood, while a bright painting of the Beatles playing golf watches over them (below right) .

Who lives here: Melwyn, Harriet, Tanishqa and Keanu Dias, and Cody the Labrador Time in Singapore: 17 years Size and type of home: 6,800-square- foot, five-storey custom-designed home Décor style: Eclectic and arty


Building a legacy Melwyn tells me the story of the impressive house. “We designed it on this long block as a walk-through art gallery. We wanted a full concrete house, so the colour comes from the art and not the walls.” After settling on the area they wanted to live in, Melwyn asked a broker to go door to door to find a spot where they could build their dream home. Harriet explains, “It was important for us to have a house that was flexible in design and allowed for multi- generational living as well as for my business, Treasures of the Raj, to be housed under the same roof. We had to spend a long time convincing the authorities that it wasn’t a condo because of the three kitchens!” The plot they chose was on a gradient, which then allowed them to have a basement with its own exit at the back, leading to theMRT – less than 50metres away. Living under one roof We take the internal lift to the second level, one of two 1,500-square-foot self-contained apartments. Each has two bedrooms, balconies, ensuite bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes, with its own living, dining and kitchen space. The first is where Keanu, the couple’s 20-year-old son, lives. He has recently completed his International Baccalaureate and an internship with Asialand (the firmwho built the house) and will soon begin a degree in architecture at the University of Kent. This level has a more minimalist and a masculine vibe, thanks to the black-and-white palette used. Keanu’s room has splashes of colour courtesy of the artwork on the walls – all his own creations. Our final stop is the third level where daughter Tanishqa lives, which is softer and includes more colour, including a Bob Marley wall! At 23, Tanishqa has completed a degree in international law and marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and is preparing to go to IE Madrid in September to study her Master’s degree.

Top left: The family have two egg nests of the Oviraptor dinosaur, each one encased in its own glass cabinet containing seventeen and nineteen eggs. Normally only found in museums, these 75-million- year-old artefacts are the pride and joy of the Melwyn says, “Sometimes when I come downstairs at night, the life- size bust of Mao gives me a fright!” Right: The theme of Keanu’s area is black and white. owners. Above:




Left: Harriet and Melwyn’s master bedroom. Middle: The colourful living and dining area of Tanishqa’s floor. Below left: A self- confessed Melwyn has a whole wall dedicated to the Fab Four. Below right: chair from East Africa sits next to the courtyard pool. Beatles fanatic, Melwyn’s favourite

Dias family

Church of Saint Alphonsus 300 Thomson Road 6255 2133 Treasures of the Raj #02-30 Tanglin Shopping Centre 19 Tanglin Road 9173 5041 |




What inspired you to want to run a furniture business? I had left advertising after 18 years and, after seeking the advice of a life coach, I decided to pursuemy original passion of retail. At the same time, I found out that Emperor’s Attic (then called FairPrice Antique) was for sale. It was an established business selling high- quality Chinese antique and vintage furniture to an international market. This was something I’d wanted to do when we lived in Beijing from 2008 and 2012, so the stars aligned for me. What has been your biggest challenge with the business? Staffing is a challenge for every small business. I mostly employ expats because they have such a passion for the products as well as the flexibility to work just a few days a week. I’ve had some fantastic staff over the past three years, but so many of them have transferred back home or to other countries. Training staff takes time and so it’s a real loss when someone leaves. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt? Owning your own business doesn’t give you work-life balance – though you do have flexibility as to when you work! I have to set boundaries for myself so I have time for family and the gym (still working on the last one!). I wanted to be my own boss so I could control my hours and find balance. But my work is my life now – I love it and have We chat to CHANTAL TRAVERS from Emperor’s Attic about what it takes to run a successful business inSingapore andhowshe is (still!) trying to achieve work-life balance.

Emperor’s Attic is open seven days a week from 11am to 5pm (6pm on weekends) at #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road. 9011 0380 | What makes Emperor’s Attic different? Emperor’s Attic and FairPrice Antique beforehand have been selling high-quality, hand-crafted antique, vintage and reproduction Chinese furniture in Singapore for 20 years. We are “award- winning” (we’re consistent winners of both the Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards and Tatler Best of Singapore), “artisanal” (we rarely sell the same thing twice) and “actually affordable”! Our pieces are traditionally hand-crafted and restored and use the highest quality materials and workmanship. We believe you will not find this quality at these prices anywhere else. We also travel to northern China twice a year and work with a few trusted suppliers to personally select every item that arrives in the store. As we only buy from that part of China, our pieces can move when you move and can live in cold and dry climates – not just the heat and humidity. That helps them last a lifetime andmore. never been happier. As a small business owner, you manage finance, HR, the shop, the buying, the marketing – everything. I try to get to bed earlier, force myself to take two days off (also still working on that) and hire fabulous staff to help take the pressure off. I’m really lucky with the team I have. What motivates you to get up each morning? So many things! I love being my own boss, I love my job, I love my team and I absolutely love buying beautiful products, and being in the store and meeting customers. I get such satisfaction when a customer comes in and recognises the quality in finish and construction that we strive so hard to achieve.



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