Personal e TRAINERS
& MANI-PEDIS CAKES & FAMILY BRUNCHES WHALE WATCHING Spas
Girl Walk! World Record
It’s been great seeing people come back from holidays – sometimes very long ones! Listening to their stories has been inspiring and exciting. I am starting to plan a big trip next May (niece’s wedding in Italy) but I’m not sure where to start. I downloaded an app for learning to speak Italian and that lasted about three days… And I looked at the map and now have a rough idea of where everything is. I had no idea that Pisa was near the sea or Venice was on the northeast coast – so that’s been helpful. Geography is something that interests me, but our teacher at school was a shocker. She’d make us read out of the book silently – instead of teaching us. I would put my head in my hands and have a little snooze while pretending to read. Anyway, it’s way too long ago to blame my ignorance on a teacher. Must put a note to myself to say: “Could do better”. This month, we have another fab travel inspiration story that includes a world record (page 130), and a few nearby options for long weekends too. Let us know if you’ve been anywhere fun! With the holiday done, it’s now time to settle into Singapore life – and there’s no better way to catch up with friends than at a brunch (page 102)! You can also take notes from this issue on where to find good mani-pedis and spas, antiques, cakes, photographers and personal trainers. There’s quite a bit of sport coming up to watch at the pub, too – the recent All Blacks vs Springboks rugby games were crackers! And we’re happy to see the F1 back in town later this month, with the buzz of live entertainment too. If you want to find new friends, come to one of our walks or talks (page 30); the associations have plenty of get-togethers too. See if you can spot anyone you know in the photos from our events (page 28).
REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief
Have a splendid September!
Look out for some nearby saling options next month
Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET
Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR Copy Editor JULIET KEYS Editorial Team HEALTH & FITNESS: AMY GREENBURG LIFE & FAMILY: PATRICEA CHOW WINE & DINE, TRAVEL & LEISURE: DEEPA CHEVI HOME & PROPERTY: AMY BROOK-PARTRIDGE FASHION & BEAUTY: REBECCA BISSET JUNIOR EDITOR: YIMIN HUANG Online & Digital Content MICHAELA BISSET Client Services (Ads) Manager NUR HANANI KAMAL LUDDIN Production Manager JUDIT GÁL Graphic Designers MICHAEL BERNABE | JEANNE WONG Marketing, Circulation & Administration ANNA TSERLINGAS | VEENA GILL | SITI SHAHIRAH KHIRUDEEN | HARSHARAN KAUR Advertising Sales KARIN GALLEY | DANIELLE ROSSETTI | LARA SAGE | JACQUI YOUNG Events & Partnerships SUSAN KNUDSEN-PICKLES IT & Web Support RENE YUTIAMPO | HANADDI REY DIAZ MAMBA Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers ANNA MURPHY | JUNO SPENCER | MELINDA MURHPY | CHRISTINE AMOUR-LEVAR
Contributing Photographer KEN TAN (MISTERKENTAN.COM)
CONTACT US Call or WhatsApp: +65 9112 0652
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Cover: 100%Women World Record (myswitzerland.com/worldrecord) Photo: Switzerland Tourism
Styling a heritage home 38
What’s on in the coming weeks
24 Singapore Pages: Interesting facts about where we live 26 Fun things to do on or near the water 28 Around Town: People spotting! 30 Subscribe or join us at an event
Home & Property Home décor news and store updates
38 Renovating and styling black-and-white houses 46 Reader recommendations for antiques 48 Buying Guide: Vintage, repro and antiques for sale 52 An artist who’s inspired by the sky, day or night 54 Rent hikes in Singapore – Melinda tells her story
Shopping for antiques
Life & Family
56 Street Talk: Living in Joo Chiat 59 Get the TV shows you want with a good VPN
62 The latest news for parents and kids 66 Shows to watch and books to read this month 70 A new sensory gym at All Hands Together 72 Which international school has a new curriculum? 74 Where to find a great photographer 76 We meet a new head of school 80 Perfect gift boxes and hampers 82 Helping children adapt to expat life 84 Performing Arts: How your child can get on stage 88 Be a respite carer for children and parents in need 90 Competition: Win one of seven $300 pamper sessions!
Where to go for water play! 26
Climbing into the record books
Wine & Dine
Restaurant openings, new menus and more
100 Where to buy cakes in Singapore 101 Sunday lunch ideas – fancy a roast? 102 Family brunches for the weekend and weekdays 107 Find out what we thought of this new bar 108 Recipes: Roasted cauliflower and cheesy garlic bread 110 Healthy stuff to have in your pantry!
100 Tasty treats!
News on hotels near and far
118 Destination Focus: Tips and advice for Indonesia 120 Ideas for your next adventure in Bali or beyond 122 Victoria, Part 2: 124 Kuching’s museums and heritage hotels 130 The all-girl walk Whale watching and seal cruises
Cruising the Australian coastline
that broke a world record!
Behind the brands 140
Style & Beauty
136 Shopping and fashion news 140 Three fashion brands now at A Raft of Otters! 142 Everything you need for kids at Cluny Court 144 Two tailors with tales to tell 146 Personalised jewellery from Aarti 148 New beauty and skincare products 150 Where to find a good mani-pedi 152 We review fab spots for massages and facials 156 Tried & Tested: Home spa pampering products
Health & Fitness Medical updates and health tips from experts
167 It’s time for some personal training! 172 Bones and joints feeling creaky? 174 Where to turn if you have toe trouble 176 Counselling for trauma and neurodiversity 178 Some not-so-obvious health symptoms to watch 180 Behavioural disorders in kids 182 What’s behind those heart palpitations? 184 Common paediatric foot problems
Challenge yourself with our Puzzle Pages
188 September horoscopes – what’s coming up? 190 Important contacts and this month’s advertisers 192 Parting Shot: A word from a dog…
F1 Singapore Grand Prix
WHAT’S ON PWRx: Grow Your Air Plants Like a Pro (25 SEPTEMBER) Did you know that Air Plants are grown just in air, without soil? If you’re interested to take the first step in acquiring a green thumb, join Passion Wave in this hands-on course to learn how to grow and care for these special plants like a gardener. Held at Passion Wave @ Marina Bay, the course is for ages 12 and above. Tickets are $20 to $25 and can be purchased at onepa.gov.sg/courses/pwrx-living with-air-plants-c026936539 . Singapore’s favourite sale is back for its 13th edition (and its first post-COVID). Organised by award-winning store Emperor’s Attic, Glamorous Giving features over 80 brands showcasing quality fashion, furniture, home décor, gifts, children’s clothing, swimwear, jewellery, accessories, art, wine and more, all at bargain prices. The money raised contributes to United Women Singapore to help promote women’s initiatives in our region. The event is being held at the Orchard Rendezvous Hotel across two days – 28 September from 6pm to 9pm, and 29 September from 10am to 7pm. Show your support and follow Glamorous Giving on Facebook and Instagram, @glamorousgiving . Glamorous Giving (28 & 29 SEPTEMBER)
F1 Singapore Grand Prix (30 SEPTEMBER TO 2 OCTOBER) The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix remains one of the most highly anticipated events in the race calendar. The race experience is also elevated by a line-up of lifestyle and entertainment programs that extend beyond the Circuit. Fans can look forward to crowd favourites like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and first-time racers in Singapore such as Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams). Tickets are available via the official website (singaporegp.sg) and authorised ticketing agents. Fans can select from a variety of three-day grandstand offerings ($298 to $1,288) and combination packages ($698 to $1,088) that will enable them to experience the exciting race action and off-track entertainment from different parts of the Circuit Park over the race weekend.
#SGFASHIONNOW (UNTIL 16 OCTOBER)
The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) unveils the second iteration of this free fashion showcase, which explores how designers navigate the fashion space using their own language of draping. Based on a winning curatorial pitch by Ethan Lai from LASALLE’s BA(Hons) Fashion Media and Industries programme, it features 16 ensembles and accessory pieces that offer a snapshot of Singapore’s diverse fashion landscape. sgfashionnow.com
Singapore Biennale – Natasha (FROM 16 OCTOBER)
The seventh Singapore Biennale has an interesting name: “Natasha”! Why? Organisers see the process of naming something as a prompt for audiences to rediscover ways of seeing the world. Artists and collaborators will become “fellow travellers” in the journey of Natasha, expressed through encounters, infrastructure, reading performances, music, publications and study groups stretched over time and space. This large-scale art exhibition is one of the highly anticipated events of the year. Tickets are $10 to $25, available at singaporebiennale.org . Guided by the expert scent designers of Maison 21G, this private 60-minute perfume workshop ($160) is a chance to uncover the hidden mysteries of perfumes through the ages, discovering which fragrances match your personality and blending your unique fragrance to take home. You’ll discover 35 exclusive natural haute couture Maison 21G essences and even personalise your own 30ml bottle design. Workshops are available from 11am to 8pm. Register at maison21g.com/perfume-workshop/perfume-creation for your preferred location – Duxton flagship store, Marina Bay Sands or Takashimaya. maison21g.com/sg/perfume-workshop Become a Scent Designer with Maison 21G (DAILY)
UWCSEA Open Days (7 SEPTEMBER TO 7 OCTOBER)
SJI International Elementary School Open House (8 OCTOBER)
Applications are now open for entry to all grades, K1 to Grade 11, at UWCSEA in August 2023. Parents can find out more about what’s on offer at both the Dover and East campuses, including a boarding programme for Grades 8 to 11, at the school’s Open Days. These are a mix of campus tours and online webinars held on selected days. Check uwcsea.edu.sg/admissions/open-days for dates and to register for a spot. Canadian International School Open House (9 SEPTEMBER & 5 OCTOBER) Hear from the Head of School about CIS’s IB programme, global curriculum and innovative approach that caters to children aged two to 18. Discover and see learning in action with other parents and academic leaders. You’ll also meet the experts behind the school’s innovative programmes including their award-winning bilingual Chinese-English programme, which is available on a full-time basis to children aged two to 12, with bilingual course pathways in secondary school. Secure your spot at cis.edu.sg/admissions/open-house . House on the Hill is offering Open House sessions at three campuses, so you can discover what it’s like to learn with the Montessori Method, and meet the principal and teachers. You and your child can try some crafts, taste a nutritious school meal, play in the cedar wood playground and more. The Open Houses run from 9am to 12 noon at the Mount Sophia (17 September), Balmoral Crescent (24 September) and Pasir Panjang (24 September) campuses. houseonthehill.com.sg/openweek House on the Hill Open Houses (17 & 24 SEPTEMBER)
Learn about SJI International’s holistic and values-based education programme, including the International Primary Curriculum, The Virtues Project, and other well-tried and successful curriculum components. Parents will get to explore how the school’s child-centred approach to learning provides students with multiple opportunities for self discovery, inspiration, exploration and experimentation. Pre-registration is required at sji-international.com.sg/ admissions/elementary-school . Dover Court International School Early Years Open Morning (7 NOVEMBER) Dover’s Open Morning is a great opportunity for families to meet the Principal, Head of Primary, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) staff and students. The team will introduce you to their programmes, and show you around the school so your child will get a flavour of what life is like as a Doverian. Register at bit.ly/DoverCourt2022 for your chance to learn about the school’s EYFS (Nursery and Reception) and Lower Primary (Years 1 and 2) programmes. Dulwich College (Singapore) Open House (ONGOING) Take a personalised tour of the Dulwich campus with the school’s Admissions Team to experience their learning spaces. You’ll also hear from the Head of College and Heads of Schools about the unique programme and have a chance to ask questions. Find out how the College places children at the heart of all they do, allowing students to thrive at school and beyond. Indicate your preferred date and time that’s convenient for your family to visit at singapore.dulwich.org/visit-us .
Investigating the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers!
GUESS WHO’S 50? The famous Merlion statue that shoots water into Marina Bay is half a century old this month. Here’s a fact file! #1 The Merlion was installed in an official ceremony overseen by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 15 September 1972. #2 The 8.6-metre, 70-ton statue was built over the course of 10 months by an award-winning local sculptor named Lim Nang Seng. #3 The Merlion’s location at the time was right at the mouth of the Singapore River, just north of the Fullerton Hotel and beyond Anderson Bridge. (The small photo at right dates to 1994, and shows the Merlion in that original spot.) START YOUR ENGINES! After a two-year absence because of you-know-what, the Singapore Grand Prix returns this month (30 September to 2 October). About the Race Track name : Marina Bay Street Circuit Track length : 5.06km Number of turns : 23 Race distance : 308.7km (61 laps) Race duration : Approximately two hours Fastest race lap : 1 minute 41.9 seconds (Kevin Magnussen, 2018) Maximum speed : 323 kilometres per hour Gear changes : 70 per lap Most wins : 5 (Sebastian Vettel) Most team podiums : Red Bull Last winner : 2019, Sebastian Vettel
What else? • The track makes its way past some major Singapore landmarks, including City Hall, the Padang, the Fullerton Hotel, Merlion Park, the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer. • The Safety Car has appeared at least once in every Singapore Grand Prix.
• After the inaugural F1 race in 2008, some drivers made comments about the track being “bumpy”, though most seemed happy with the lighting conditions in what was the first-ever F1 night race. (Sebastian Bourdais said, “It’s daylight!”) • Singapore’s a hot place, and the cockpit of a Formula 1 race car is even hotter. Drivers can lose up to 3kg of fluid during the race. For ticket info and more, see singaporegp.sg.
A photo of the track from the first Singapore F1 Grand Prix, in 2008
#4 In 1997, construction of the new Esplanade Bridge blocked the Merlion’s view of Marina Bay. Initially, there was talk of raising the creature to a higher pedestal to compensate, but eventually the decision was made to relocate the statue. In 2002, it was carefully moved via cranes and a barge to its current spot, 130 metres to the southeast. Lee Kuan Yew – who by then was Senior Minister – returned to officiate a welcome ceremony for the new location. #5 While the statue itself is 50 this year, the Merlion design and symbol is older. It was designed by Alec Fraser-Brunner as the logo for the Singapore Tourism Board in the early 1960s. Fraser-Brunner was a British ichthyologist (i.e., a fish expert!) who was a member of the city’s Souvenir Committee. He also worked in Singapore as curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium – see opposite. #6 What exactly is a Merlion? It’s a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of fish; the prefix “mer-“means “the sea”, and reflects Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing village called Temasek, while the lion component represents Singapore’s original name “Singapura”, meaning “lion city”.
THE OLD AQUARIUM Singapore is today home to the S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa, among the world’s biggest aquariums, with 49 habitats, 800 species (12 species of shark alone!) and a whopping 36-metre viewing panel that feels like watching an IMAX screen. But it isn’t Singapore’s first aquarium! That honour goes to the Van Kleef Aquarium, built in the 1950s on the southern slope of Fort Canning Park (close to Clarke Quay). It was named for a Dutch expat, Karl Willem Benjamin Van Kleef, who in 1930 bequeathed his entire fortune to Singapore – the equivalent of around $10 million today. Several options for how to spend the legacy were considered, but the idea for an aquarium won the day. After the Second World War delayed the project, the Van Kleef Aquarium opened to the public in 1955 (tickets were about 30 cents). It featured more than 6,000 sea creatures and
Think you know Singapore well? What is this structure? (Hint: It’s a National Monument that has been pretty quiet since 2011.)
Last month: The flower-bed clock from last issue can be found at Gardens by the Bay; it’s about 100m to the south of the two Domes.
Alec Fraser-Brunner, mentioned as the Merlion designer on the previous page, worked as curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium from 1956 to 1970, before moving to Scotland to work at Edinburgh Zoo.
Did you know? This same southwestern corner of Fort Canning Park was the location of two other well-known Singapore landmarks that are no longer standing: the National Theatre (1963-1986), and the River Valley Swimming Complex (1959-2003), where a Tiong Bahru Bakery sits today.
180 species, and soon became very popular, with over a quarter of a million visitors in its first year of operation. This rose to 400,000 at its peak in the 1970s. Piranhas and crocodiles were among the main attractions. Numbers started to decline in the 1980s, and, despite a major renovation in 1986, the aquarium never really found its mojo again. In 1991, the opening of Underwater World on Sentosa led to the closure of the Van Kleef Aquarium, and the building was knocked down in 1996.
Search for “Van Kleef Aquarium” on YouTube to find old footage of the aquarium.
#7 In 2006, scaffolding went up around the Merlion while it was cleaned and mended for wear and tear. The scaffolding was illustrated to look like shower curtains, so the Merlion appeared to be sticking its head out from above the curtains. #8 On the afternoon of February 2009, lightning struck the Merlion and broke some fragments from it, leading to further maintenance. #9 There are currently six merlions in Singapore, including a Merlion “cub” close to the main statue, and another on Mount Faber. There used to be a seventh: the 37-metre Sentosa Merlion. It was built in 1995, and designed and sculpted by Australian artist James Martin, with features including octagon-shaped scales to represent the Taoist bagua symbol. There were two observation decks – one in the creature’s mouth and one at the top of its head. The site closed in 2019. #10 Singapore’s Merlion makes plenty of appearances in popular culture, from films ( Crazy Rich Asians and others) to video games ( Animal Crossing and Mario Kart Tour ).
Surrounded by ocean and dotted with large reservoirs, Singapore is a water-lover’s dream. Whether you’re wanting to just look at it, be on it or under it – there are plenty of ways you can enjoy it. Here are just six ideas!
Ride the wake! Singapore Wake Park is the country’s only cable-ski park – it’s built into a lagoon at East Coast Park. The park ensures a safe environment for both beginners and experienced riders looking for an adrenaline fix. There are three cable-systems catering for experienced, intermediate and novice riders alike, and promising all levels of fun and challenge. For more on pricing and bookings, visit singaporewakepark.com.
Marvel at marine life Home to more than 100,000 animals across
10 different zones, the S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa goes all out when it comes to the highlights of
the deep blue sea. Its Open Water Habitat is among the world’s biggest, and is filled with enormous sharks, rays and turtles. 8 Sentosa Gateway; visit rwsentosa.com for details.
THINGS TO DO
Cycle by the water With its cycling and jogging paths beside calm waters, Punggol Waterway Park is lovely for an afternoon jaunt. Bring along your bicycle or skates, or rent them from stalls along the stretch. You’ll breeze past a peaceful backdrop of nature as you ride. Bird-watchers have plenty to keep an eye out for too, such as rose-ringed parakeets and collared kingfishers. And the kids will love running amok in the watery playground! Sentul Crescent Road
Soak up sun on Lazarus For one of the best things to do with visitors that involves sand and sea, jump on the ferry from Marina South Pier to Lazarus Island, next to St John’s island. A morning visit is your best bet; the powdery stretch of sand is usually empty, save for a few other day-trippers. Pack some food and drinks for a sandy picnic, and enjoy splashing in the turquoise waters. Although there’s zero infrastructure here, internet access is still decent (for folks who’d like to upload envy invoking shots onto Insta…). Board a ferry at Marina South Pier, 31 Marina Coastal Drive.
Explore a hot spring park Relax at Singapore’s only natural hot spring park in Sembawang. With a cascading pool and a flora walk, it has a rustic environment that’s reminiscent of old kampongs. Soak your feet in the footbath pool, explore the education zone or even cook an egg in the hot spring water at the designated egg cooking station. Located off Gambas Avenue; for getting there and other info, visit the NParks website (nparks.gov.sg).
Walk around a reservoir or along the coast MacRitchie, Peirce, Seletar and Bedok Reservoirs all have great walks around them and places to have picnics – provided you can find some shade! There are plenty of fab picnic spots in West Coast Park and East Coast Park, too, with views of the sea and the ships in the Singapore Strait. Hire bikes, tricycles or even family “carriages” to cover more ground. Pasir Ris Park usually has a lovely sea breeze, with pretty views at dusk, and little sandy bays to dig your toes into or build a sandcastle.
Find plenty more ideas on things to do at expatliving.sg .
AROUND TOWN An Anniversary for Glyph Glyph was set up five years ago by a group of friends as a small initiative to help families in need in the Bukit Merah area and provide the opportunity for them to discover and learn new skills. To commemorate its fifth anniversary, Glyph celebrated at Forest Play Sentosa with over 300 children and families. The event was attended by VIPsMinister Desmond Lee, Minister of National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Eric Chua.
Liverpool Gets the Win! Liverpool took out the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy 2022, beating fellow Premier League team Crystal Palace 2-0 in front of a sold out crowd at the National Stadium in July. More than 50,000 spectators attended, with the cheers of Reds fans reverberating around the stadium when their team sealed the win. The tour witnessed plenty of activity off the pitch, too, with meet-and-greets, training clinics and more.
Refreshed & Ready There's plenty happening at Parkroyal on Beach Road, Singapore. We toured the hotel recently to see its refreshed new spaces, as it welcomes back business and leisure travellers alike. You can now enjoy an enhanced stay experience, coupled with authentic hospitality – and plenty of great food, of course! The hotel is also encouraging guests to discover the rich stories of the surrounding Kampong Glam neighbourhood.
Floorish by Journey East Established in 1995, Journey East consistently gets a mention in conversations around Singapore’s favourite furniture destinations. And it recently launched its first ever Persian rug collection, Floorish, featuring designs by three Singapore studios reflecting themes such as familiar memories, tropical fruit and the journey in search of hope.
Nature Walk with EL Readers We spent the last Sunday afternoon of July some 250 metres above the jungle, on Singapore’s highest suspension bridge, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the canopy and beyond. On our stroll through Windsor Nature Park and across the TreeTop Walk, we spotted a beautiful kingfisher, monitor lizards, a coiled snake on a tree and some wild boars that could have passed for pygmy elephants! Fortunately, there were no cheeky monkeys trying to grab our phones or water bottles.
Weber BBQ Club Opening In August, Weber welcomed guests and partners to its new Singapore BBQ Club opening in Duxton. The BBQ Club is a retail space that doubles as a Grill Academy, offering cooking enthusiasts the chance to learn from Weber’s grill experts. Book now at weber.com.
7 SEP / 8.30am
9 SEP / 10am
New to Singapore Your Family’s Health A private brunch with Dr Foong
Mould How it affects your health
13 SEP / 8.45am
14 SEP / 10am
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? Why finding out early can save your life
beach clean-up with One Planet
15 SEP / 9am
16 SEP / 9am
Singapore Living Coffee & Info Morning Establishing your new life in Singapore
Aqua Fitness Get fit, have fun and no sweat!
23 SEP / 10am
30 SEP / 10am
Block Printing Workshop Design your very own tote bag or scarf
Lampshade Workshop with The Lampshade House
Scan to register or visit expatliving.sg/ELevents
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Girl Walk! World Record
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Soul & Tables
46 Where EL readers buy antique furniture 52 We meet an artist inspired by the sky 54 A story of Singapore’s rent hikes
HOME & PROPERTY
Homegrown Style J. Edition is a recently established homegrown furniture company set up by husband-and-wife team Sam and Samantha. Already well experienced in the furniture industry, their mission is reflected in the brand name, whereby “J” is derived from the Chinese character (ju), meaning “to gather together”. Driven by a passion to bring people together, their locally designed furniture range includes sofas, ergonomic lounge chairs, bed frames and other home accessories. Their pieces are contemporary and designedwith comfort and functionality in mind. Check out the collection online at j-edition.com .
Carpet Collaboration The Floorish rug range marks a collaboration between Journey East and design talents in Singapore and across the region. Curated by creative director Rafiq Mohamad of branding and design agency Feral, Floorish reimagines the sights, smells and tastes of Singapore. These are seen through the lens of two homegrown design studios, Studio Hafi and Studio Ensemble, alongside Studio Grain. The unique designs are showcased by Journey East; find out more at journeyeast.com .
ShopThe Look! Interior design experts E&A Interiors have decided to let us mere design mortals shop their look. Owner Chloe is launching Shop E&A The Edit in October, selling gorgeous homewares, furniture and Fermoie cushions and lampshades. There will also be the brand’s own Bobbin furniture collection and much more. Unique and striking designs are guaranteed! 59 Eng Hoon Street, #01-75. eandainteriors.com
HOME & PROPERTY
Create a hotel bedroom at home
Continuing our regular monthly column, where Arete Culture’s founder and creative director Caroline Chin Geyler shares her professional tips on home design and décor.
As much as I love a hotel escape, there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed. With a few clever design tweaks, you can have the best of both worlds, even with a small bedroom. #1 Start with the biggest focal point of the room: the bed. Set the right tone with crisp white sheets. For added interest, layer on throw cushions, a single long lumbar or a soft throw. #2 Whether you have a large or small bedroom, create the illusion of more space by drawing the eye up with a headboard or artwork behind the bed. #3 A hotel room feels warm but polished. Achieve this by mixing in reflective materials through table lamps with a glass base, or nightstands and décor with metallic or mirrored surfaces. #4 Good design engages al l senses. Complete the transformation with your favourite home scent to make your bedroom smell like a serene getaway.
Arete Culture | 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 | 9640 3829 | areteculture.com
HOME & PROPERTY
BY REBECCA BISSET
The interior stylists and designers at Arete Culture have worked with one client on three different Singapore homes. We take a look at their most recently completed project of the three, a black-and-white house in Alexandra.
HOME & PROPERTY
HOME & PROPERTY
A s with his previous homes, the client wanted Arete Culture to manage the entire project. He gave them complete creative freedom to do what was needed – something he’s done from the first time they worked together. The newest project, which was an old black and-white on Royal Road in Alexandra, took three months to complete, including the renovation work. Because the client was living in the space for the duration of the renovation (even hosting guests during this time), it was important to always have one bathroom functional at all times! Renovation guidelines It’s perhaps a little unusual to undertake full renovation work in a black-and-white property, but the home was not functional for entertaining – the amenities were old and there was no storage. Key to the interior design transformation was the need to adhere to SLA (Singapore Land Authority) guidelines. This meant that things like laminates and tiles, as well as the overall colour palette, had to conform to the black-and-white aesthetic. Arete Culture was more than happy to do this to respect the heritage of the property; they focused on creating functional storage instead.
HOME & PROPERTY
HOME & PROPERTY
Inside the home Since rooms in Singapore’s historic black-and-white homes are only fitted with a simple overhead bulb, Arete Culture customised lampshades for the entire home to make the space warmer. The client is an avid collector of art – paintings, sculptures, antique furniture and more. It’s a collection that grows with every home that Arete Culture works on! Like in the previous two properties, the priority was to show off these artworks while keeping the feel of the home both modern and inviting. They placed his most important collectibles downstairs in the communal entertaining areas. Deciding on art placement – which pieces suit which space – always takes a considerable length of time. But it’s an important part of any interior stylist’s role in a makeover. And, of course, you have to get them hung well!
HOME & PROPERTY
HOME & PROPERTY
The aimwas to respect the heritage of the property and focus on creating more functional storage and space
Atelier by Arete 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 | 9640 3829 Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building | 9640 3829 areteculture.com A word from the client I have worked happily with Caroline and Jeannette at Arete Culture previously and so they were the obvious choice for my move to this black-and-white house. They understand my tastes and are able to blend my eclectic collection of art and antiques with modern pieces. They project-managed the new kitchens and bathrooms from design to completion, which saved me a lot of time and effort. I would definitely recommend them to others. The finishing touches The client’s previous home was a new property done in a black-and-white style; it had more built-in storage and a more straightforward layout. While most of the furniture was brought over from that home, Arete also had to round out the selection with additional standalone display cabinets. They also brought in more mirror panels to bridge the originally disjointed design flow between rooms.
HOME & PROPERTY
Finding EL readers tel l us about their search for some home décor with history – and the fab Singapore stores where they foundwhat they were looking for. We moved into a heritage building last year during the pandemic, and have wanted to find furniture that matched the more historic feel of our property. A few of my friends had been to Just Anthony during a furniture search and were very impressed with the inventory there. We went to check out what they had, and ended up buying five pieces! Specifically, we needed a few utilitarian pieces but also wanted some statement pieces, and we purchased a combination of those over two different visits: a grey console table for the living room (it now houses lamps and plants); a dark-blue dining room buffet for our formal dining ware; and three cabinets – a white carved one for the living room, a floral painted one for the entryway, and a dark green one that we use as a bar cabinet and for wine storage (the Just Anthony team installed interior lighting in it). We’ve also bought two lamps from the store. We’re very happy with our purchases and have recommended Just Anthony to several of our friends who have commented on the pieces in our home. The team is very helpful and showed us some great items that were similar to things we were looking at. They have so much there; having someone guide you through the inventory is helpful. The service was great too, because they do a quality control check before delivering your pieces to make sure any imperfections are fixed first. Just Anthony Christopher & Bethany Bloch, American
379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | justanthony.com
HOME & PROPERTY
Petra Paavilainen, Finnish I wanted a piece that had history and that would add a different touch to our home. I was also keen to add something of Asian origin to one day remind us of our time in Singapore. Much of our furniture is more muted, and this cabinet helps add a bit of colour to our living room. I researched online and read a ton of reviews of reliable Chinese antique furniture stores, and Emperor’s Attic was a top recommendation. Once I visited the store, I found the staff helpful and efficient, even over WhatsApp regarding questions that I had. In the end, I went for something that was the opposite to what I had originally planned, simply because I loved the piece in the store. I had been looking for a different colour, but the blue somehow resonated with me. I’m very happy with my shopping experience at Emperor’s Attic and would buy from them again!
Emperor’s Attic #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9011 0380 | emperorsattic.com
The Picken family, South African & Malaysian We have always loved antique furniture, and during our global travels over the past 20 years, we have tried to find unique pieces that tell a story. It’s always key for us to find pieces that tell those stories and add to the warm homely feel of our house. We were doing a weekend walk through the Dempsey area when we saw the amazing collection at Woody Antique House . It really grabbed our attention, and after meeting the wonderful team we bought our first piece – or rather, our first three pieces! This has now grown to eight pieces over the past months. The quality of the products and the amazing service have made Woody a regular spot for us to pop into to see interesting new stock. This particular item of furniture was so unique with its blue colour; we knew that it would really become a lounge centrepiece in our home. There’s a great story around the piece too, as it was once a kitchen cupboard in China, making for a wonderful talking point. We’ve had a great experience shopping at Woody Antique House and will definitely recommend the store to friends who are interested in antiques. Woody Antique House 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6475 7036 | woodyantique.com
Whether you’re looking for an antique steeped inhistoryor something reclaimed from a bygone time and repurposed, here are some ideas to get you started.
HOME & PROPERTY
1 Antique Beijing low cabinet, made of elm, Emperor’s Attic 2 Elm and bamboo kitchen cabinet, approximately 80 to 100 years old, in original colour finished with semi-matte clear lacquer, Just Anthony 3 Lattice-door kitchen cabinet, 150 years old, from Ningbo, China, Woody Antique House 4 Vintage Gansu sideboard, made of pine, Emperor’s Attic
5 Tall Shanxi cabinet in distressed grey, made of elm and pine, approximately 100 years old, goes well with modern interiors, Just Anthony 6 Old door coffee table from India, Woody Antique House 7 Antique coffer table from Shanxi Province, in original patina and colour, with iron drop handles, Just Anthony 8 Painted sideboard, 180 years old, from Dongbei (Northeast China), Woody Antique House 9 Carved kitchen cabinet, 200 years old, from Wenzhou Province, Woody Antique House 10 Blue antique book cabinet, made of pine, Emperor’s Attic
HOME & PROPERTY
Directory Emperor’s Attic 315 Outram Road, #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building 9011 0380 | emperorsattic.com Just Anthony 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | justanthony.com Woody Antique House 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6475 7036 | woodyantique.com
HOME & PROPERTY
CHARLOTTE LANE is a UK-born “skyscape” artist who is launching her new solo exhibition, “Light Side of the Moon”, at REDSEA Gallery this month. We discover the inspiration, process and philosophybehindher latest collectionof artworks. Charlotte began her career as a scenic artist, creating huge-scale backcloths for theatre shows, operas and events. “By working commercially for so many years, I learnt my craft as a painter without space for my own ego,” she says. “It was exciting and exhilarating work and I totally loved it.” Life changed dramatically when she became a mother; her sense of self and her priorities shifted. This, coupled with an unexpected move to Asia, paved the way for a reinvention. After years of painting to a brief, she was suddenly totally free to explore her own creativity and expression – which she describes as terrifying and liberating at the same time! Inspiration & Process In the UK, Charlotte and her husband lived on a boat, surrounded by gently lapping water. When they moved to Asia, and into apartment-living in the sky, her outlook changed in a few ways. “My sky series began on a rainy day in Singapore. Faced with this incredible freedom to create whatever I chose, I looked out of my window and was so struck by the dramatic cloud structures that the incredible tropical climate could produce. I began experimenting and immediately found a groove.”
HOME & PROPERTY
Of ten, she uses an image or photograph of clouds as a starting point. She prefers to work from a monochrome image to allow her own interpretation of colour to evolve. “I always light a candle and repeat a few affirmations before I begin painting. I try to remind myself to enjoy what I do and stay true to my own voice. It’s easy to be distracted by the work others are doing or the idea of what an audience might want. I’ve learnt to trust myself and know that if I create pieces with heart, soul and integrity, that will always shine through.” Charlotte also has an emotional response to colour and is not afraid to be bold and messy. “I mix all the colours I use, and never use anything straight out of the tube. There’s such a world of possibilities with colours – it’s like the most delicious kind of playtime!” Philosophy &Mindfulness During times of difficulty, she has fallen back on a three-word mantra her mother always repeated: “Float and accept”. “These words have been uttered to me so many times that I actually have them tattooed on my painting arm. I created a painting to honour this mantra. It had the fragile strength and powerful serenity that my mother embodies and was both delicate and bold. It was bought by a couple for their first home.” Cha r l o t t e be l i eve s t he re i s an increasing need for mindful contemplation and quiet in this frantic modern world, and her paintings tap into the need to stop and take a breath. She says, “I often receive feedback from clients that my work has bought a sense of calm into their homes.” Charlotte’s“LightSideoftheMoon” exhibition is ondisplay at REDSEA Gallery from 22 September. Email email@example.com or call 6732 6711 for more information.
HOME & PROPERTY
BY MELINDA MURPHY
Singapore is now like a giant chessboard, with everybody moving. I was curious about who could afford my crazily-priced house and it turns out all the people viewing it were those with black-and whites who can no longer afford them. So, it seems renters are making way for those who have enough money to afford a palatial home but not enough money to afford their current palatial home! Finding a new place The best way to find a new place is to know somebody who knows somebody. Tell everybody you’re looking for a new home. Get on the expat Facebook pages – there’s even a page for lease takeovers. My friend Vanessa found an apartment in her same condo by chatting to neighbours Rents have gone crazy, right? My friends keep telling me how their rents have spiked 20 percent, 50 percent or even 70 percent. I seem to have gotten the worst of it, with my own rent more than doubling, increasing 110 percent ! Insanity!
at the pool – and she prefers the layout to her old apartment. I found a new place through my friend Kristen Graff, a realtor. She knew of an American family repatriating. Funny thing? Our new apartment is the exact same apartment we first lived in in Singapore. So we’re back in our new/old apartment and paying less rent than we’ve ever paid. Being forced to move may not be so bad after all. Still, moving is a pain, especially when it’s not your choice – and it’s a pricey process. My own personal hell Not only have rents gone through the roof, but stories of handovers gone bad are cropping up everywhere. It seems landlords are being difficult, nit-picking every little thing. And some are taking advantage of the situation to rake in extra dollars. My own personal handover took six excruciating hours, with me ending up in tears. And then my fabulous handyman, Peter Lee, spent 12 hours at top-speed fixing every teeny, tiny thing. I thought I was a really good tenant, so I was in shock. My next-door neighbour had the same experience. We each spent thousands of dollars fixing up things we didn’t even know were broken, things we each felt weren’t our responsibility.
Peter told me it was the most insane handover he’d seen in decades. Simply, the landlord’s realtor Cleo really put us through the paces, being overly anal about every tiny thing. Peter said, “Cleo is the kind of realtor you want to have if you’re a landlord. She’s not the realtor you want if you’re the tenant.” Yup. In the end, I’m glad to be out of that house and back into an easier-to-manage apartment. And, now that I’ve been through hell and back with this handover, I’ve sought out some tips so you don’t have to repeat my nightmare. Realtor or not? First, get yourself a good realtor. It’s easy to look for places on propertyguru.com, but everybody is looking at the same listings. Homes are being snatched up and rents are getting jacked up in bidding wars. To get a deal, you need to find a place before it hits the market. Realtors often know what’s coming on the market before anybody else. More so, realtors help protect you during the duration of the lease and particularly during handover. How I wish we’d had our own realtor to do battle for us during my hellish handover. I found the house we just vacated on my own and negotiated a great rent, but it came back to bite me when we moved out.
HOME & PROPERTY
The handover The things landlords often ding you with during handover would normally be covered under minor repairs – not the renter’s responsibility, but the landlord’s. But landlords will claim these small nuisances are your responsibility. And they’re often in cahoots with their own handymen. If your lease says you’re responsible for minor repairs up to $200, the repair job mysteriously comes in at $200. We had to order a replacement toilet seat from Europe after the bracket on ours broke. Price? $200 exactly. I bet that seat didn’t cost $200! My own realtor would have helped battle that. I was just exhausted with it all and gave up. Get your own handyman to make requested repairs – they’ll often charge far less than the landlord’s handyman. Peter’s number one thing he deals with is lighting issues – burnt-out lightbulbs and faulty switches. I didn’t realise how many lightbulbs had burned out until we started to move out. There is a misconception that the landlord must return your deposit within 14 days of vacating the property and that once the inventory is signed, he or she can’t make further requests. This is not accurate. Often landlords and their agents go through the place again to note defects. If a tenant is moving in right after you, sometimes their defects become your problems. Ouch. Moving in Did you just move into a new home? Are you reading this in a total panic? No worries. You still have time to protect yourself. When you first move in, you have 30 days to report problems with your home. Be fastidious. As Peter said, “Pretend you’re Cleo.” Take photos of every little problem you find. With my new/old apartment, I’ve worked on writing a list of faults daily for the first 30 days. Every time I see something tiny, I take a picture and add it to the list. That list has gone not only to the landlord, but also to my realtor. Do it. Don’t get lazy. Protect your deposit.
Keep updating the list the whole time you live there. Let your landlord know what’s happening with the home. Make your motto “Good communication”. Keep receipts for maintenance such as air-con servicing, pest control and more. Be ready to hand them over when you move out. Moving out Be prepared to return the house however it was given to you. Newly polished floors? Make them glint when you give it back. Curtains freshly cleaned? Clean them again for the next tenant. Fair wear and tear is subjective; don’t give the landlord anything to pick over. Be sure to get rid of all of your stuff when you move out. Donate things to the Salvation Army or go to the Blessings Only Facebook page. Find a junk disposal company on Carousell. Another tip: dig out the old handover list fromwhen you moved in. Go through it and make sure everything is the same before you hand over. This means replacing lightbulbs and making sure you have all the keys and remotes, and so on. When things go south If your landlord refuses to give you back your deposit, you can take them to small claims court (judiciary.gov.sg/civil/cases eligible-small-claim). This is a lawyer-free
process and only costs $10 or $15, with a maximum claim being $20,000. You need to be in Singapore to claim, but someone can go on your behalf. The mediator listens to both sides and tries to work out a solution. Note that landlords may offer to give you an extra month on your lease while you look for a home. Don’t do it. Put the extension in writing. Why? Because if your landlord doesn’t treat you fairly and give you back your initial deposit, you can’t go to small claims court without a current lease in hand. From the landlord’s point of view In truth, there are probably more bad renters in the world than bad landlords. Landlords trust people wi th their biggest investment: their home. So it’s understandable that they want you to take care of it and return it in good shape. For every bad story about a handover gone bad from the renter’s point of view, there’s an equally bad story about a renter destroying a house. These tips will help you navigate the current market, but in the end, you need to be fastidious and have a little luck on your side. I wouldn’t wish my handover hell on my worst enemy. And in the end, remember one key thing: be Cleo!
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