She heads up a successful culinary business that includes Coriander Leaf restaurant, a cooking school and a team-building service, so it’s unsurprising that Samia Ahad is one busy lady. She still found time to welcome us into her new home in Newton and tell us about her enduring relationship with Gallery 278 owner Felicia Koh, who so far has helped style four of Samia’s Singapore homes – and counting.
Who lives here: Samia Ahad and her husband Mahboob, originally from Pakistan.
Type and size of home: Four bedroom apartment.
Home style: Warm, welcoming and traditional.
As the doors open to Samia’s condo, I’m hit by the strong breeze flowing from one side of the apartment to the other. “Welcome to the gale,” she laughs, before going on to explain that the breeze here can be strong enough to knock pictures off the walls and ornaments off the shelves. Being 16 floors up and, unusually, not overlooked by high-rises on either side, this condo benefits from something that is sought-after yet sadly rare in Singapore: a fresh breeze.
After 19 years here, Samia and her husband Mahboob made the transition from long-term house-dwellers to apartment living by moving into this condo in December 2015. When they first arrived in Singapore in 1997, they stayed at the Four Seasons Park condo. From there they moved into a house in Berrima Road, followed by a 12-year stint in a shophouse on Emerald Hill; and now the Newton apartment.
Their ongoing residency in Singapore has in part been cemented by Samia’s successful culinary business, Coriander Leaf. It’s probably best known as a restaurant, but it also offers culinary courses and corporate team-building activities, all under its relatively new Chijmes roof, the third location for the business since 2001. Tag onto this its corporate catering service, provided off-site, and Samia has herself a busy business.
Furniture and Friends
Gallery 278’s Felicia and Samia have had a longstanding relationship that started when Samia was looking for a desk for her husband 19 years ago. “I found a desk that I loved, but it turned out to be Felicia’s own and she wouldn’t sell it to me,” she laughs. Felicia sourced another desk for Samia, which stayed with Mahboob for 18 years until they sold it just prior to moving to their current condo.
Through the years, Felicia has helped Samia furnish Coriander Leaf in both its Gallery Hotel and Clarke Quay locations, as well as the Screening Room. She has also been called on to advise on the furniture and styling of each of Samia’s homes, including this current one.
“Felicia has always helped, not only with furniture but with space-planning in every home, and here was no different. I had a real problem working with the space here, and I kept going to Felicia for advice. She drew up a floor plan for me, which was very useful.”
One important requirement for Samia when they were looking to move was enough space to house Mahboob’s enormous collection of books. “If we viewed somewhere without that space I would turn around and walk straight out.” Luckily, this apartment is big enough – and the couple was also keen to once again take advantage of the facilities that come with a condo.
Xtra (various locations)
Food and Drink
(“go see Victor for the best vegetables”)
#01-08 Tekka Market
665 Buffalo Road
This is an extract of an article that first appeared in the April edition of Expat Living. To read the full story, you can buy a copy in our Shop. Don’t forget to Subscribe so you never miss an issue!
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