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For the last 10 years, CHLOE ELKERTON of E & A Interiors has been working across Singapore helping to transform spaces into homes. Here, she takes us through one of her recently completed projects.

The brief: Completely renovate a four-bedroom apartment
Location: Stevens Road
Who lives here: Helen, Andy and their two children, Delfina (5) and Ayla (7)

The Brief:

Our client, Helen, saw a feature in Expat Living on E&A Interiors. She liked the warmth and style of our other projects and wanted a similar look in her newly purchased apartment. It was tired and dated, and would need a full renovation.

The brief was to create a stylish and inviting home to suit the whole family. The living room, dining area, kitchen and master bedroom were the most important areas and where we focused the majority of the budget. But we also renovated four bathrooms and created a new playroom.

We had a clear budget to stick to, and although we had to make some small compromises along the way, we fulfilled (and exceeded) her vision. Our advice to clients is to focus on key areas and get those how you really want them – guest rooms and study areas can always wait until a later stage, to help ease the budget. To get the best results, don’t water down those keys areas!

The client had spent time studying and working in the UK and was drawn to the beautiful period homes there. This was the look she wanted to achieve when she contacted us. She also had a couple of incredible statement art pieces that helped as a starting point and gave a lot of inspiration for the project.

The Design Process:

The initial stages of planning are vital, and we find ourselves extremely involved with weekly meetings. It can be three months before any site works commence. We believe it’s better to spend the extra time to get it right at the beginning, as it will make the process smoother for everyone on site. Luckily, Helen had allowed a few months before they got the keys so we had ample time to plan.

As part of E&A Interiors’ design process, we first create a design concept with detailed drawings of the floor plans, lighting plans, furniture layout, demolition plans (if needed) and elevations of any custom carpentry, plus the bathroom and kitchen. We then create boards with the proposed finishes and images of the selected furniture and lighting.

Once the client approves, the drawings are given to our trusted in-house contractor to quote. There may be a few rounds of tweaks but once the budget is approved and we get the green light then site work can start! It can then be three to four months of onsite renovations (depending on the project size and final scope of works).

Colour palate:

Throughout the apartment, we used a palette of seafoam, greeny blues, neutrals and pastels – soft, liveable colours that were inspired by some of Helen’s stunning art. They are very calming and worked well with the existing grey marble floors. We then added touches of brass for lighting, handles and beautiful accessories throughout.

The Living Room:

The original living area was huge and far too big for their everyday needs. We proposed to divide the space and create an additional play and craft room for the two children. This kept their toys out of the main space and ensured Helen’s lounge stayed immaculate! We also designed and custom-made furnishings, such as the dining bench, rugs, sofas, ottomans and all the built-in carpentry.

The Dining Nook:

This needed to be suitable for both formal and everyday casual use and Helen loved the idea of a built-in seating area with storage display cabinets either side. We found the dining chairs from Hock Siong, which really helped to give the space character and combined well with the elegant Barbara Barry dining table. We resprayed the chairs and added a seafoam Blithfield fabric on the seat. It shows how you can mix and match to breathe new life into old pieces, giving the place character and preventing everything looking too new!

The amazing green wallpaper we used behind the dining bench and on the television wall is from an Australian company, Quercus & Co, which made a big difference as it adds subtle pattern, colour and depth.

By using the banquette seating, we maximised the space, instead of having all chairs and the tables pushed out further into the room. It also avoided having a plain wall behind the chairs. This is Helen’s favourite place to sit as she can look out across the entire space.

Kitchen:

We totally gutted the brown and dreary kitchen and designed a family friendly and stylish kitchen. We installed double French doors that opened the space up, plus a customised island with cane chairs. We used a stronger green on the kitchen island, which pops against the white spray painted carpentry and marble chevron splashback. The wall panelling adds character to what would be a plain wall.

Girls’ Bedroom:

The girls wanted a pink enchanted-themed bedroom and fell in love with an expensive Cole & Son stars wallpaper. Instead of just papering one wall, which can often look unfinished, we installed it at half height with a dado rail to save costs – it looks very effective and pretty.

Girls’ Bathroom:

We put in a pink and white scallop cement floor combined with a wall mosaic. For more cost-effective carpentry, we used a laminate and added pretty handles and a decorative mirror.

Master Ensuite:

The existing bathroom was very dark and depressing. We gutted the space and used a patterned cement floor tile that added character and interest to a big bathroom. We then used a more cost effective grey metro glazed tile for the walls. The spray-painted, customised carpentry in soft grey with brass hardware and pretty pink glass lights from Anthroplogie add to the finished look. I love this bathroom as the details like the floor, carpentry, wall lights and handles really make it a bathroom you want to spend time in!

Master Bedroom:

Andy and Helen didn’t want an overly feminine bedroom, but they did want a calming and pretty space. We used a palette of blush pinks and greys with a custom-made winged bed in a lovely paisley printed fabric and bone-inlay bedside tables to add some beautiful detail. A large bamboo silk rug adds luxe and warmth, and grounds the furniture. It combines with touches of brass and the art, which really pull the room together.

Powder Room:

This was a great room to work on, as we had fun installing an unusual wallpaper and a striking geometric patterned cement floor. You can get away with something more eccentric in a powder room – I absolutely love it!

The Finishes:

Adding natural finishes, such as cane, gives character and texture. Upholstery and cushions in printed linens combined with brass lighting and finishes adds luxe and elegance.

Chloe’s advice

#1 You don’t always do everything at once – you can just focus on a few key areas to start with and get those right. Then go back to do guest rooms or the study. Don’t water down the look you want and try to do everything.

#2 Mix in less expensive finishes and add pretty handles.

#3 Consider a few vintage pieces – mixing old and new always works!

#4 A patterned floor makes a lifeless bathroom more interesting.

#5 Invest in good lighting; it really adds to the luxe feel and you can take it with you if you move.

E&A Interiors also takes on single room projects and customised furniture projects. 59 Eng Hoon Street, #01-75 6702 4850 | eandainteriors.com

Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!

Inside a stunning Black-and-white

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Buyers guide: Benches, consoles and side boards

This article first appeared in the June 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

The post Take a look at this home make over! appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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Ever wanted to try Durian? Melinda Murphy heads to Durian Empire to get the need to know facts!

Expat Living Singapore Durian 101 - YouTube

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The post Durians 101: All you need to know about the king of fruits appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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With 25 years of teaching under her belt and experience building a London school from the ground up, Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS) is excited to have Principal ELAINE ROBINSON at the helm. She sat down to talk to us about why this position was one she couldn’t pass up.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Liverpool, but lived in Israel, Hong Kong and, most recently, London.

Your undergraduate degree is in Theology. How did you end up in education?

I graduated from Birmingham University with joint honours in Theology and Cultural Studies. It was there that I was inspired by the cultural theories of Michel Foucault. Later I received an MA in Philosophy of Education from The Institute of Education at the University of London. This introduced me to the writings of John Dewey and the concepts of democratic and moral education and the wellbeing of the child as the centre of education. It was during this time that I was inspired to become a school leader. I always wanted to work in education, and religion is my passion. My two degrees are the foundation of all that I do.

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been in education for over 25 years. My career began as a youth leader in the UK and Hong Kong. In 2002, I started formally teaching. I’ve taught Religious Education and, in London, I mostly taught A level and GCSEs.

You won a prestigious award while working in London. Why were you given this honour?

I helped to set up the first pluralist Jewish Day School in the UK. It’s a school that caters to all denominations in the Jewish community. The Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) is a trailblazing school. As Deputy Head, I was involved in defining the direction of the school, creating ethos documents, developing curriculum and, of course, teaching. It was my dream job. I was incredibly excited to be involved in building a school from scratch. Seeing our first cohort graduate was an inspiring and emotional moment.

What attracted you to Singapore?

My family and I moved here in July 2017 so I could take on the role of Principal at SMMIS. I had been in a leadership role at JCoSS for over eight years, and I was ready to take on a Headship role. This job felt like the right job at the right time. It was interesting and exciting enough that I was prepared to leave my alma mater. It offered an adventure for me and my family. It’s thrilling to be in Singapore, a country that is committed to religious harmony, which is something I feel very passionate about. The microcosm of the SMMIS community is fascinating too, in that it’s just as varied and dynamic as the society in which it exists.

Is it difficult to go from teaching students to leading a school?

Leading a school is the natural pathway from classroom teaching. All teachers have a vision of how they would like to see children educated. Being the Principal of the school means you can influence and direct every aspect of the child’s educational experience – from the physical to the spiritual. It’s the ultimate opportunity to a see your educational vision become a reality and impact on the lives of so many.

Tell us three things that sets SMMIS apart from others.

Ours is a not-for-profit, boutique school that offers individualised learning for our students. We have a strong commitment to values education, and social activism pervades all that we do. SMMIS is committed to interfaith education and interfaith dialogue with real grassroots interactions with young people in Singapore. We teach Jewish Education as well as World Religions, and celebrate all religious festivals. There’s a strong community feel here – we’re one big family.

Does the school offer Hebrew?

Yes, though it isn’t the only language on offer. We have a diverse student body that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish students. Students can choose between Hebrew and Mandarin, just as they can follow a Jewish Education track or one that covers Jewish culture as part of the study of world religions. Hebrew is taught either as a mother tongue for native speakers or as a second language for non-native speakers. Language lessons begin in our pre-school classes, when the children are around 18 months old.

Your school moved locations not long ago. What does the new campus offer?

We moved to our purpose-built Sembawang campus in May 2016. It has a rooftop swimming pool, basketball court, soccer pitch and state-of-the-art auditorium that houses our beautiful Steinway grand piano and has seating for up to 400 people.

Fun Facts about Elaine:
First job you ever had: Waiter
Book you never tire of reading: Wuthering Heights
Number of kids: Two of my own, hundreds of students
Favourite sports team: Liverpool FC, of course!
Favourite travel spots: Somewhere quiet with a book and a hammock

SMMIS at a Glance:
Number of students: 160
Ages accepted: 18 months to Grade 10 (growing into Grade 12 over the next couple of years)
Average class size: 18
Cost per year: $14,000-$24,000

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang                                    
6331 4633  | smmis.edu.sg


Read more in
our Schools section:

Which school’s student-teacher ratio has got tongues wagging? 
Top international schools in Singapore

The post A principal with principles appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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Did you know that it’s recommended to get a comprehensive eye test at least once a year? Regular exams and vision screenings are important for everyone, but especially if you’re a frequent contact lens wearer (like me), or if you have a family history of eye conditions like glaucoma. I recently visited the Videre Eyecare store in Orchard for an all-important eye test – here’s how the experience unfolded.

First impressions

Videre is a spacious store in Forum Shopping Mall on Orchard. It has an open concept with multiple stations, including an interactive multi-media Acuvue Experience Zone. After a warm welcome from Senior Optometrist Yee Leen, we started the session with an in-depth consultation consisting of questions relating to my current eye health.

Common eye conditions

Common eye conditions and health risks change as we age. For example, those from four to 16 years old are generally susceptible to issues like myopia and lazy eye, while those in the older categories are typically more prone to presbyopia and glaucoma. Getting a yearly eye test can help detect and even prevent these common eye problems.

Videre offers a comprehensive range of eye examinations and services tailored for all stages of life, from early detection of refraction errors to myopia management and eye disease screening. Eye screening packages are grouped according to four age categories: I-Gen (4 to 16 years), Millennials (16 to 34), X-clusive (35 to 44) and S-clusive (45 and above). I opted for the Millennials package ($60), which includes screening for digital eye fatigue, colour deficiency, glaucoma and early signs of keratoconus.

New revelations

During the hour-long session, I found out a few helpful insights with regard to my eye health. Although I don’t have glaucoma or any form of colour blindness, I have digital eye fatigue, and my prescription for myopia has gone up since my last vision screening two years ago. I’m not surprised, considering the number of hours I spend facing the computer each day! The solution to both? Stick to the 20-20-20 rule: take visual breaks every 20 minutes of screen time by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I’ve been very guilty of skipping it – especially in the past few months of adding Neflix binges to all my screen time at work.

These silicon contact lenses fitted like a dream!

I’ve also discovered that my current brand of monthly contact lens (the same brand I’ve been using for the past 10 years) is not suitable for my dry eyes. During the contact lens fitting, Yee Leen recommended that I go for silicon hydrogel lenses instead. Compared to regular contact lenses in the market, including the ones I’ve been using, silicon hydrogel lenses allow more oxygen to reach the cornea of the eye, thus preventing dryness and fatigue. One example is the Acuvue Oasys 1-Day range, which I got to try on the spot! The verdict? It took only two seconds to put on, and my eyes weren’t dry even at the end of the day. I’m sold! Yee Leen also stresses that it’s important to throw out your lens case once a month to prevent bacterial contamination. (Google it for details; it’s not a pretty sight!)

Kid-friendly features

From start to finish, my experience at Videre was nothing but comfortable and informative. Seeing how friendly and patient Yee Leen and the staff are, I can totally understand how kids must feel at ease going through the screening process.

Another child-approved feature here is the Acuvue Experience Zone, located right by the store entrance. Not only will the interactive multimedia games keep your little (and big) ones occupied while you’re getting your eyes checked, it also allows them to learn about eye conditions like myopia in a fun and engaging way. I particularly enjoyed the interactive games on the screen, where I was challenged to a game of basketball and running while having blocked vision!

Don’t miss

Book an appointment now and enjoy exclusive discounts!

Videre 
Forum the Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#01-26/27/35/36/37
6369 0041 | 8522 7799
videre-eyecare.com.sg

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What could be better than a bespoke suit, made with the best fabrics and customised to your exact fit? If you’re looking for a good tailor, meet “Uncle Chung” of Meiko Tailor, who has been perfecting the craft for a whopping total of 52 years – ever since he was just 16. Here’s how he does it.

Founder Mr Chung How it all started

Master tailor and founder Chung Chi Kwong – also affectionally known as Uncle Chung –  first got into the trade when he was enrolled into a tailoring course as a working apprentice in 1967, when he was just 16.  Back then, the income was decent and he had to support his family as he was the eldest in the family. Three years later, Mr. Chung honed his skills doing freelance suitmaking for local tailors.  In 1977, he decided to officially launch his own shop with his wife and named it Meiko Tailor (which bears her name); their first workshop was opened in a small shophouse along the old Geylang, now known as Kallang.

Fast forward to today: everything is still created from scratch with no mass production or outsourcing to sweatshops, but now at a newer, more spacious workshop. Appointments are held at Meiko Tailor’s Pan Pacific atelier, which has been up and running since the hotel first opened its doors in 1986, as well as at their Asia Square branch that serves the Marina Bay financial district crowd.

A stickler for quality

One way for modern tailors to save cost is to opt for the faster and easier route of iron-on interfacing in their bespoke suits. Mr. Chung, however, sticks to the rules of traditional, full-canvas interfacing for all his suits. The use of all-natural-fibre canvas holds the shape of the suit and prevents it from deforming. The amazing part? It’s all hand-stitched! Today, Mr. Chung  is the only draftsman and cutter behind every suit and trouser from Meiko Tailor. The canvas is cut to the jacket’s shape, then the wool is stitched to the canvas. No shortcuts are taken here. Not only is this method more tedious and a lot more time-consuming, it also requires a high mastery of cut, skills and experience – which is where Mr. Chung’s years of sartorial craftsmanship comes in.

According to him, the jacket falls into place more naturally and looks better when it’s crafted in this way. The canvas conforms to your body’s shape, creating an excellent fit. The canvas lining allows the suit fabric to drape naturally, resulting in a clean, well put-together look. This explains why bespoke jackets command a higher premium than made-to-measure jackets with iron-on fused interlining, which is glued to the shell of the fabric. Mr Chung explains the problem with fused jackets: the glue degrades with time, often resulting in a “bubbling” of the fabric around the chest and lapels during the dry-cleaning or pressing process.

Traditional full-canvas interfacing

Another common cost-cutting measure is for tailors to outsource production. It is not unheard of for tailors to outsource their production to neighbouring sweatshops due to the lack of skilled workmanship and real-estate maintenance, as well as a high labour cost. Mr. Chung, however, still subscribes to having everything made in-house at Meiko Tailor’s workshop for quality consistency and control. “We’d rather invest in training our sewers to have a stable and consistent quality in the clothes we make for our customers. If they like our work, they return,” Mr Chung explains.

Personalised details

The process of having a bespoke suit made is not as convoluted as it sometimes sounds. First, you’ll need to determine the occasion. Is it for a new job, an upcoming business trip, or your wedding? This will determine the choice of fabric (fabric composite, weight and weave), colour, cut and most importantly, the fit. For example, men in the management consulting or finance sector should invest in a well-cut power suit in a classic navy blue and or charcoal grey shade over a soft, light blue dress shirt. A black-and-white suit combo does not quite cut it, unless your profession calls for it. If you are attending a black-tie event, a tuxedo would be the defacto dress code. With more fintechs (financial technologies) and start-ups in the business scene, many are leaning towards something more smart casual like a half-lined or unlined blazer in a fitted cut.

Personalised cufflinks

During the consultation, you’ll get to choose your preferred fabric. Meiko Tailor carries premium quality shirting and suiting fabrics from some of the finest mills including Loro Piana, Solbiati, Ermenegildo Zegna, Alumo amongst many fabric mill brands we see in the store. You’ll also get to customise little details, such as the inner lining of your blazer, the lapels and the buttons, right down to the inner pocket of your jacket or trousers to fit the dimension of your smartphone. Personalised initials on shirts, suits and cufflinks? Sign us up!

Don’t miss!

Through June, bring your dad to Meiko Tailor and he gets a free 100 percent Egyptian cotton shirt (worth $159) with every order of three custom-made shirts placed.

Written in collaboration with:

Meiko Tailor
enquiry@meikotailor.com
meikotailor.com

#02-01 Pan Pacific Singapore,
7 Raffles Boulevard
6334 6911
 

#02-17 Asia Square Tower 2 (weekdays only)
12 Marina View
6386 9309

 

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The post The man behind the suit appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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With 25 years of teaching under her belt and experience building a London school from the ground up, Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS) is excited to have Principal ELAINE ROBINSON at the helm. She sat down to talk to us about why this position was one she couldn’t pass up.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Liverpool, but lived in Israel, Hong Kong and, most recently, London.

Your undergraduate degree is in Theology. How did you end up in education?

I graduated from Birmingham University with joint honours in Theology and Cultural Studies. It was there that I was inspired by the cultural theories of Michel Foucault. Later I received a Philosophy of Education from The Institute of Education at the University of London. This introduced me to the writings of John Dewey and the concepts of democratic and moral education and the wellbeing of the child as the centre of education. It was during this time that I was inspired to become a school leader. I always wanted to work in education, and religion is my passion. My two degrees are the foundation of all that I do.

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been in education for over 25 years. My career began as a youth leader in the UK and Hong Kong. In 2002, I started formally teaching. I’ve taught Religious Education and, in London, I mostly taught A level and GCSEs.

You won a prestigious award while working in London. Why were you given this honour?

I helped to set up the first pluralist Jewish Day School in the UK. It’s a school that caters to all denominations in the Jewish community. The Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) is a trailblazing school. As Deputy Head, I was involved in defining the direction of the school, creating ethos documents, developing curriculum and, of course, teaching. It was my dream job. I was incredibly excited to be involved in building a school from scratch. Seeing our first cohort graduate was an inspiring and emotional moment.

What attracted you to Singapore?

My family and I moved here in July 2017 so I could take on the role of Principal at SMMIS. I had been in a leadership role at JCoSS for over eight years, and I was ready to take on a Headship role. This job felt like the right job at the right time. It was interesting and exciting enough that I was prepared to leave my alma mater. It offered an adventure for me and my family. It’s thrilling to be in Singapore, a country that is committed to religious harmony, which is something I feel very passionate about. The microcosm of the SMMIS community is fascinating too, in that it’s just as varied and dynamic as the society in which it exists.

Is it difficult to go from teaching students to leading a school?

Leading a school is the natural pathway from classroom teaching. All teachers have a vision of how they would like to see children educated. Being the Principal of the school means you can influence and direct every aspect of the child’s educational experience – from the physical to the spiritual. It’s the ultimate opportunity to a see your educational vision become a reality and impact on the lives of so many.

Tell us three things that sets SMMIS apart from others.

Ours is a not-for-profit, boutique school that offers individualised learning for our students. We have a strong commitment to values education, and social activism pervades all that we do. SMMIS is committed to interfaith education and interfaith dialogue with real grassroots interactions with young people in Singapore. We teach Jewish Education as well as World Religions, and celebrate all religious festivals. There’s a strong community feel here – we’re one big family.

Does the school offer Hebrew?

Yes, though it isn’t the only language on offer. We have a diverse student body that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish students. Students can choose between Hebrew and Mandarin, just as they can follow a Jewish Education track or one that covers Jewish culture as part of the study of world religions. Hebrew is taught either as a mother tongue for native speakers or as a second language for non-native speakers. Language lessons begin in our pre-school classes, when the children are around 18 months old.

Your school moved locations not long ago. What does the new campus offer?

We moved to our purpose-built Sembawang campus in May 2016. It has a rooftop swimming pool, basketball court, soccer pitch and state-of-the-art auditorium that houses our beautiful Steinway grand piano and has seating for up to 400 people.

Fun Facts about Elaine:
First job you ever had: Waiter
Book you never tire of reading: Wuthering Heights
Number of kids: Two of my own, hundreds of students
Favourite sports team: Liverpool FC, of course!
Favourite travel spots: Somewhere quiet with a book and a hammock

SMMIS at a Glance:
Number of students: 160
Ages accepted: 18 months to Grade 10 (growing into Grade 12 over the next couple of years)
Average class size: 18
Cost per year: $14,000-$24,000

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang                                    
6331 4633  | smmis.edu.sg


Read more in
our Schools section:

Which school’s student-teacher ratio has got tongues wagging? 
Top international schools in Singapore

The post This award-winner is now a principal appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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JANICE FELDMAN is an innovator of the design industry and an icon for anyone looking to build a global business. Since 1978, as the founder and CEO of JANUS et Cie, she has transformed her single showroom in Los Angeles to a luxury contemporary furniture brand with 19 showrooms worldwide, including one here in Singapore. We ask how she became a successful entrepreneur and the tips she’d give to someone starting or expanding a business.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a business owner, and what advice would you give to others?

Embarking on this journey required ambition, wit and an entrepreneurial spirit. I knew we had to create memorable environments that would inspire designers and architects all over the world. JANUS et Cie was ahead of its time in the outdoor industry as when I started, there was just a handful of styles and materials. In a way, creating the desire for luxurious spaces outdoors was the biggest opportunity, and our products truly paved the way for thinking about high design in the exterior.

I will always advocate for challenging yourself as a business owner. The best advice I can give is to never give up! Be honest and use your best instincts. Be exceptional at whatever you choose to do – and, of course, if you love what you do, you’ll be happy every day.

Janice Feldman, CEO and Founder, JANUS et Cie What about the specific challenges of being a global business with stores in different locations around the world?

At JANUS et Cie, we have a treasured and unique company culture that we strive to protect. We’ve been able to adapt and interpret this culture to include insights gained from doing business in different regions globally.

We tend to interview many, many people before we find the right person to join us. I think it’s a wonderful, beautiful thing to have different people, cultures and operating styles woven together with a common vision and set of values. As a group of enthusiastic industry experts driven by this company culture, we are always dedicated to creating the most beautiful spaces for our clients.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Only the paranoid survive.”

You’re the head of the company’s development team; talk us through your design, testing and build process.

A product design sometimes begins as simply a sketch on a napkin… I love how the touch of hand to paper really makes a concept take shape. Our unique focus on creative problem-solving gives us an edge – an expertise in understanding specific challenges. We design with the excellence and high aesthetic of the interior while engineering our products to be rigorous and durable for the exterior.

Every product undergoes rigorous testing to meet our high level of performance standards. Materials and structures are tested and engineered for outdoor use in virtually any climate. Our diverse range of furnishings can be found everywhere from high-end resorts, villas and luxury residences to public parks and universities. This allows us to provide something beautifully designed and executed for every client. It doesn’t matter if they’re from the residential, hospitality, contract or marine sector nor their specifications or budget. We aim to inspire.

Many of our collections are entirely handcrafted, including handwoven products that can take days or even weeks to make. Our dedicated weavers use traditional, time-honoured techniques and what they produce is extraordinary.

What’s next for you and the company?

I’m not interested in slowing down! As long as there are opportunities out there, I’ll challenge myself to innovate and build a global business. I’m constantly on the lookout for the best of the best to collaborate with. We’re so energised with where we see the future of design going. Being consistently focused on how innovation and technology can exist in harmony helps us to deliver what our clients want.

Digital technology has changed every business, and the design industry is not excluded. Online shopping has certainly influenced consumers, making them more confident in their spending but also in their own selections. I believe we’re going to see the industry constantly evolving to keep up with e-commerce and a culture that increasingly wants everything quickly. Technology has enabled us to be more agile in every way, to truly build a global business. This combined with a diversity of location makes us more creative. Our solutions and developing a team of global perspectives have allowed us to succeed brilliantly. It’s an exciting time in the industry and the potential for innovation is incredible.

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

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Are you are moving to Singapore, or changing homes, and wondering where you can find furniture and decor to refresh your space. Or do you want to buy a unique Singapore gift? We’ve put together 15 of our favourite homeware stores in Singapore so you can easily shop ’til you drop.

WTP – The Furniture Company

The big, bright and elegant four-story WTP showroom is an absolute haven for those who love beautiful design and are looking for something special.

We’ve been praising the store’s short and long-term furniture rental options for years, but it’s also the homewares that we love – from sofas, beds, dining tables and consoles, to beautiful cushions, lamps, paintings, ornaments, sculptures and everything you never actually realised you needed for your home.

WTP is also happy to work with you to create a customised piece. Cheers to having a one-of-a-kind home!

3 Kung Chong Road
6235 2760 | wtpstyle.com

Soul & Tables

Displayed in two gorgeous homeware stores in the Tan Boon Liat Building, the Soul & Tables range is stylish and functional. From living, dining, bedroom, kitchen, office and even outdoors, the eco-friendly, contemporary collection is built to last.

The Soul & Tables showroom

Customer service comes first for the Soul & Tables team – they say “we’re only happy when you’re happy”! That’s why they offer free delivery and installation, lifetime warranties and complimentary maintenance – even a no-questions-asked one-month return policy.

Soul & Tables is always on the lookout for new products and you can view the store’s extensive range at its website. So, there’s no need ever to run out of interior design ideas again.

#02-01 & #02-03 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sg

Grey and Sanders

The team at Grey and Sanders believe that life is too short for boring furniture. Their statement pieces, live-edge tables and beautiful leather couches feature organic forms and textures.

Book-matched Black Walnut dining set from Grey and Sanders

The furniture is sourced directly from its makers but they do hand finish some of the furniture in Singapore using a premium, zero-volatile-organic-compound (non-toxic) finish. Every one of their stunning, one-of-a-kind live-edge tables has a story to tell.

The Grey and Sanders team are also obsessed with materials. From prized timber to full-grain Italian leather to stain-proof fabrics, you can be sure these guys aren’t holding back when it comes to using premium components.

#06-02 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
8371 8864 | greyandsanders.com

Artful House

Each piece at Artful House is truly a gorgeous find. This homeware store in Singapore focuses on sourcing beautiful Indian vintage doors, window frames and carvings. These are then creatively transformed into one-of-a-kind pieces including consoles, tables, sideboards, mirrors and more.

If you’re into style with substance, this may well be the place for you; the store’s clients value its pieces both for their exquisite aesthetics as well as the fine craftsmanship. Textile lovers should look out for the hugely popular range of accent chairs available in a variety of both vibrant prints and solid colours.

#08-04 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
8112 6127 | artful-house.com

Snow Globe

Online retailer Snow Globe has curated a beautiful range of furniture that’s both affordable and adorable, from elegant Art Deco-inspired furniture pieces with brass features, to big, luxurious and sinkable sofas to curl up in and binge-watch your favourite shows.

The range really does cover everything and the online store has beautiful items to fill every corner of the home. The team can also custom-make furniture pieces to your specifications. An added bonus is that you can visit the Snow Globe showroom to view and try the collection.

#02-131 Midview City, 28 Sin Ming Lane (by appointment only)
8748 7363 | snowglobe.sg

Emperor’s Attic

If you need to furnish your whole home, or if you’re looking for artisanal gifts and décor, pop into the vibrant award-winning Emperor’s Attic showroom.

Emperor’s Attic stocks a range of affordable hand-crafted antique, vintage and reproduction Northern Chinese furniture. The team can advise you on the origin of any item and how you might incorporate it into your current style. The ever-changing range (check the Facebook page for new shipments) includes cabinets and consoles as well as ceramic stools, jars and vases.

They also stock a stunning range of Asian-inspired art from locally-based international artists.

Pssst… If you’re looking for a new mattress, the store also has 100 percent Natural Latex mattresses by Willow Mattress.

#01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
9011 0380 | emperorsattic.com

Originals

If simple, clean and elegant living is your thing, you’ll love Originals as much as we do. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for functionality and style.

The Originals team is passionate about the environment and committed to its protection, so it ensures all its processes are as clean, energy-saving and renewable as they can be. From beautiful cabinets from India to tables made using reclaimed teak from Java, the possibilities are endless with recycling. On top of this, the quality of each piece is assured, as it gets restored to perfection by a team of skilled carpenters.

Pssst… Originals is moving to a new exciting location in July; so, check out the Moving Sale, with up to 70 percent off until 15 June!

#02-03 Sime Darby Centre, 896 Dunearn Road
6471 9918 | originals.com.sg

Ipse Ipsa Ipsum by Sam & Sara

If vanilla isn’t your kind of flavour, head down to Ipse Ipsa Ipsum to customise your furniture. The Singapore-based design brand offers luxury pieces at an affordable price.

One of our favourite things about visiting this homewares store is that the team encourages you to play with the materials at their amazing Art Deco-inspired material bar – from semi-precious stones and marble, to bone inlay, leather and metals. (And who doesn’t love playing with a bit of bling?!)

This is a store that believes in the maxim of “Live the Ordinary, Extraordinarily”. Needless to say, it’s a great place to head to for designing a conversation piece for your home.

#11-02 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
6264 4789 | ipseipsaipsum.com

The Cinnamon Room

It’s impossible to walk into The Cinnamon Room’s Holland Village store (just above the Tiong Bahru Bakery), and not be amazed by the beautifully curated collection of contemporary rugs, cushions, side tables, frames, art, décor and more!

Every piece in store has been lovingly designed or hand-selected by owner Visha Nelson, whose personal touch will help you decide, customise and style any of the unique pieces to suit your home.

The store is especially known for its award-winning rugs, so pop in for some expert advice on how to choose a perfect rug to transform your home into a chic, memorable and beautiful space.

43 Jalan Merah Saga, #02-74
9727 3051| thecinnamonroom.com

Woody Antique House

For the past 18 years, Woody Antique House has been supplying Asian furniture and antiques sourced from China, Tibet, Mongolia, Myanmar, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

The store’s product range covers authentic antiques as well as reproduction and customised pieces. When you step inside, don’t be surprised to see everything from a 150-year-old Chinese wedding bed to old Mongolia sideboards. Chinese, Tibetan and Indian cabinets are also displayed as well as coffee tables and dining tables made with antique doors from India.

Woody Antique House is also the sole reseller for the exclusive Domus Ventures range of outdoor furniture in Singapore.

This is the largest showroom in Dempsey Hill for Asian furniture, and, with its bi-weekly shipments, it will always be a furniture treasure trove that deserves to be explored.

13 Dempsey Road, #01-05
6471 1770 | woodyantique.com

House of AnLi

The House of AnLi’s gorgeous store in Tanglin Mall is filled with every kind of luxe homeware you can imagine. There’s lightning and giftware, huge Flemish wall tapestries depicting African tribal leaders, plus cutlery, crockery, décor, beds for pampered pooches and elegant etched glassware.

Keep going and you’ll also find latex mattresses and plush Belgian linen-covered sofas and headboards – all customisable.

But that’s not all; stop by the bistro at the back of the store for a cuppa, afternoon tea or the new vegan Impossible Burger, complete with a black bun!

#03-17 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road
6235 3851 | houseofanli.com

Arete Culture

Not only is Arete Culture an award-winning interior styling firm, it also has an incredible homewares store in the Tan Boon Liat Building.

Curated by owner Caroline Chin Geyler, the store’s walls, floors and ceilings are covered in beautiful items, from small accessories to large headboards. The store even smells incredible, thanks to the delicious range of Cochine candles that are always lit.

Whether you want to add a touch of interior design glamour to your home, need custom furniture done for your home, or are looking for gorgeous gifts to shower upon your friends, drop by the Arete Culture store and you’ll walk out with armfuls!

#06-01 (Main showroom) & #06-04 (Outdoor Living) Tan Boon Liat Building
315 Outram Road
9640 3829 | areteculture.com

Altfield Interiors

If you’re searching for luxurious fabrics for curtains, upholstery, soft furnishings or anything in between, be sure to visit the inspiring Altfield Showroom.

You’ll find fabric for both indoor and outdoor use in a huge range of colours, textures and patterns. Also available are beautifully crafted and printed wallcoverings, including items by renowned brands such as Ralph Lauren Home, Rubelli, Weitzner and Armani/Casa.

There’s a wide array of choices here for both contemporary and traditional interiors, and if you need a bit of professional and personalised décor advice to help you make a choice, just speak with the showroom team – they’re a font of knowledge!

#07-10 Central Mall Office Tower
1 Magazine Road
6909 2768 | altfield.com.hk

HULS Gallery Singapore

If you’re a fan of clean lines and natural materials, you’ll be in heaven at HULS Gallery at Duxton Hill.

The store champions thoughtful Japanese craftsmanship, with a collection that has been carefully selected to bring more nature in our homes and to promote calmness (who doesn’t need a bit of that after negotiating the city streets every day).

With timeless tableware (porcelain, ceramic, glass and wooden) décor, vases, linen, leather goods and collectible art on offer, a trip to HULS Gallery should beautifully solve all your gifting problems.

24 Duxton Hill
6225 6331 | huls.com.sg

Lim’s Holland Village

For the past 40 years, the Lim family have been sourcing and supplying beautiful antique and reproduction homewares.

Their joy-filled store at Holland Village includes a wall full of vivid cushions, shelves of homewares and gifts, lamps, and a huge selection of brightly painted furniture. The collection of genuine antiques from Northern China includes pieces that are over 150 years old!

Can’t find what you’re looking for in-store? Just ask. They also have a 4,000-square-foot warehouse packed with pieces that are ideal for homes of all sizes and styles.

#02-01 Holland Village Shopping Centre
211 Holland Avenue
6466 3188 | facebook.com/limshollandvillage

Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!

Looking to decorate?
Check out this gorgeous Black and White home at Alexandra Park

The post 15 go-to homeware stores in Singapore appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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Singapore may be small, but you can still eat up plenty of time while travelling from one place to another. Having a car can really help to reduce this time – whether you’re commuting or exploring. Avis Singapore offers a variety of car rental packages, from daily rentals to long-term rentals of more than a year. If you’ve not driven here yet, why not start by taking the family on a fun car trip around the island for a weekend? Here are some cool ideas of where to go.

#1 Sentosa

You won’t need to lug your beach gear on the train and monorail if you get to Singapore’s best beach spot by car. It’s well-worth the modest entry fee (flat fee of $2 or $6, depending on the time), and there are plenty of parking lots close by to Tanjong Beach and Palawan Beach. You could also visit Universal Studios, Adventure Cove, or AJ Hackett Sentosa, with its thrilling bungy jump and giant swing. If you want to beat the heat, make a trip to the Trick Eye Museum or the SEA Aquarium.

#2 Riders’ Café

Everyone loves starting the day with brunch, so we suggest driving to Riders’ Café at the Bukit Timah Saddle Club for a homely meal with the family. This charming spot is a pleasure to reach by car; it’s housed in a heritage building and surrounded by lush greenery. Dig into classic breakfast eats such as brioche French toast and scrambled egg whites, or push the boat out with the fried buttermilk chicken BLT or beer-battered fish and chips. What’s more, while you’re there, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the horses – definitely something the kids will enjoy!

#3 Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Located in Kranji, in the far northwest of the island, this nature reserve houses many native inhabitants, from mudskippers and crabs to otters and monitor lizards (and the occasional croc!). You’ll also be able to spot a wide variety of birds including herons and kingfishers. There are free guided walks that happen every Saturday from 9.30am to 11am. Remember to dress comfortably, come in walking shoes and bring sufficient water.

#4 Henderson Waves & HortPark

Known for its iconic curvy architecture, Henderson Waves is a popular spot for a nature walk. It connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. While you’re there, drop by HortPark, a popular green space that offers activities for the whole family, from a fun Nature Playgarden for the little ones to beautiful themed gardens to explore.

#5 MacRitchie Reservoir

This popular trekking location has well-designed trails to explore and houses the TreeTop Walk (closed on Mondays, except Public Holidays) that is a suspension bridge offering a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding forest. You’ll come across animals such as monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards, and can also choose to kayak or canoe on the reservoir. After a good workout, hop back in the car and drive to a nearby restaurant to fuel up!

#6 Seletar Aerospace Park

This dining enclave has several nice spots to grab a meal with the brood, including popular Wheeler’s Estate and The Summerhouse. The cafés and restaurants are housed in historic black-and-white bungalows, and the estate is green and laid-back – a great escape from the city. If you’re not up for a meal, head to the airplane-themed playground at The Oval or watch planes take off at nearby Seletar Airport.

#7 Hay Dairies

Yes, there are still farms in Singapore! The kids will enjoy a visit to this goat farm in Lim Chu Kang (closed Tuesdays), where they’ll be able to get up close to the goats, and view the milking and feeding process. If you’re keen to know more, sign up for an educational tour where you can enjoy some fresh milk and feed the animals with hay.

Need a rental car?

Avis Singapore is currently offering 25% off monthly rentals. They also have daily and long-term leasing (more than one year). Find out more now.

About Avis Car Rental

Avis Car Rental is a popular international car rental brand, with approximately 5,500 locations in about 170 countries. Avis Singapore is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), which operates and licenses the brand throughout the world.

Written in collaboration with:
Avis Singapore
City: 390A Havelock Road #01-07 Waterfront Plaza
Airport: Changi Airport Terminal 2 Arrival Hall
6737 1668 | avis.com.sg

Looking for more about living in Singapore?
35 Cool & Fun Things To Do In Singapore
The best places to watch the sunset in Singapore

The post 7 fun spots to explore by car appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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Looking for a not-for-profit boutique international school in Singapore that emphasises values and academics? Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS) may be the school you’ve been searching for all along. We sat down with Principal ELAINE ROBINSON to learn more.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Liverpool, but lived in Israel, Hong Kong and, most recently, London.

Your undergraduate degree is in Theology. How did you end up in education?

I graduated from Birmingham University with joint honours in Theology and Cultural Studies. It was there that I was inspired by the cultural theories of Michel Foucault. Later I received a Philosophy of Education from The Institute of Education at the University of London. This introduced me to the writings of John Dewey and the concepts of democratic and moral education and the wellbeing of the child as the centre of education. It was during this time that I was inspired to become a school leader. I always wanted to work in education, and religion is my passion. My two degrees are the foundation of all that I do.

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been in education for over 25 years. My career began as a youth leader in the UK and Hong Kong. In 2002, I started formally teaching. I’ve taught Religious Education and, in London, I mostly taught A level and GCSEs.

You won a prestigious award while working in London. Why were you given this honour?

I was involved in setting up the first pluralist Jewish Day School in the UK. It’s a school that caters to all denominations in the Jewish community. The Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) is a trailblazing school. As Deputy Head, I was involved in defining the direction of the school, creating ethos documents, developing curriculum and, of course, teaching. It was my dream job. I was incredibly excited to be involved in building a school from scratch. Seeing our first cohort graduate was an inspiring and emotional moment.

What attracted you to SMMIS?

My family and I moved to Singapore in July 2017 so I could take on the role of Principal at SMMIS. I had been in a leadership role at JCoSS for over eight years, and I was ready to take on a Headship role. This job felt like the right job at the right time. It was interesting and exciting enough that I was prepared to leave my alma mater. It offered an adventure for me and my family. It’s thrilling to be in Singapore, a country that is committed to religious harmony which is something I feel very passionate about. The microcosm of the SMMIS community is fascinating too, in that it’s just as varied and dynamic as the society in which it exists.

Is it difficult to go from teaching students to leading a school?

I have been teaching since 2002, and whilst I miss the classroom connection with students that comes from teaching, I find other avenues within school life to create those relationships. It’s cliché but when you are working with and connected to kids, you really do feel like have been handed the opportunity to impact the future.

Tell us three things that set SMMIS apart from other schools.

SMMIS is not-for-profit, boutique school which offers individualised learning for our students.  We have a strong commitment to values education and social activism pervades all that we do.  SMMIS is committed to Interfaith education and interfaith dialogue with real grassroots interactions with young people in Singapore.  We teach Jewish Education as well as World Religions, and celebrate all religious festivals. At SMMIS there is a strong community feel.  We are one big family.

Which classes does SMMIS offer in Hebrew?

Yes, though Hebrew is not the only language on offer at SMMIS. We have a diverse student body that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish students. Students can choose between Hebrew and Mandarin, just as they can follow a Jewish Education track or one that covers Jewish culture as part of the study of world religions. In answer to your question though, students at SMMIS can learn Jewish Education in Hebrew and have language lessons on top of that. Hebrew is taught either as a mother tongue for native speakers or as a second language for non-native speakers. Language lessons begin in our pre-school classes, when the children are around 18 months old.

Your school moved locations not long ago. What does the new campus offer?

SMMIS moved to our purpose-built Sembawang campus in May 2016. We have a rooftop swimming pool, basketball court, soccer pitch and state-of-the-art auditorium which houses our beautiful Steinway grand piano and seating for up to 400 people.

Fun Facts about Elaine:
First job you ever had: Waiter
Book you never tire of reading: Wuthering Heights
Number of kids: Two of my own, hundreds of students
Favourite sports team: Liverpool Football Team of course!
Favourite travel spots: Somewhere quiet with a book and a hammock

SMMIS at a Glance:
Number of students: 160
Ages accepted: 18 months to Grade 10 (growing into Grade 12 over the next couple of years)
Average class size: 18
Cost per year: $14,000- $24,000

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang                                    
6331 4633  | smmis.edu.sg

Read more in our Schools section:

Which school’s student-teacher ratio has got tongues wagging? 
Top international schools in Singapore

The post Want an affordable school that stresses religion & academics? appeared first on Expat Living Singapore.

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