ARTI MITTRA talks to us about the home she loves, a condo in Bukit Batok. The 2,300-square-foot ground-floor apartment at Park Natura Condo is near Bukit Batok Nature Park.
Tell us about your home.
My house is a shrine. It’s canopied by a triptych of tropical foliage, with frangipanis forever falling over, the glitter of sun reflecting off the vibrant turquoise tiles of the pool, and Bukit Batok Nature Park just across the way. It’s a cosy retreat we call home. I share this space with my husband Manoj, daughter Ritika and helper Vanessa, while my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law routinely visit too.
What’s your background, and when did you come to Singapore?
I am Indian and a fashion designer by profession, while my husband and children work in the maritime industry. Our son and daughter-in-law were the first to move to Singapore in 2014, followed by our daughter in 2017 and finally us in 2018.
I have been globe-trotting with my husband over the past three decades, including time at sea while he was still sailing. Since he took up a shore job, we have covered almost every corner of Asia – South Asia, the Middle East, the Far East and now the Southeast.
Your home is a lovely eclectic mix, but modern too.
Every piece in my house is handpicked. My husband and I are fond of interiors and are avid art collectors. It’s a must for us every time we travel or relocate to add to our collection.
My living room is a melting pot of every place I’ve lived in or visited. Each door is embellished with a hamsa hand or evil eye for protection, handmade upholstery from India in deep colours and luxurious fabrics that lavishly drape the earthy-toned furniture. Indoor palms and ornate china add vibrance to the room. I have an entire wall of hanging plates from cities I’ve visited, a customary curio cabinet housing my crystal, silverware and figurines placed in corners, vintage boxes stacked on top of one another, an assortment of books capturing themes that intrigue me, and eucalyptus and lilies that lightly fragrance the room. Each article represents a place I considered home at one time or another, whether it was for months or years.
Favourite part of the home?
Sitting on a vintage handwoven Persian rug are my hand-tooled leather lawn chairs, teamed with layered silver tables that exhibit a buffet of antique silver. On one side there hangs works from local artists that I collected during my travels, whereas my daughter’s charcoal sketches of South Asian brides asymmetrically fills the other side of the wall. This is my favourite corner. The other space I am fond of is my patio where I start my day with masala chai, and where I unwind during twilight hours.
What do you think of living in Singapore? Did it meet your expectations?
I was excited to relocate to Singapore because of its nickname, the “Garden City”. Nature catalyses my creativity and I wake up refreshed without having to put my life on pause. So serenity, space and sunshine were paramount while house hunting, and, fortunately, this low-height condominium checks every criteria.
What I also appreciate about this island is that it is strategically located, extremely safe and sanitised, and very international – probably an exemplary example of a country running by the book. So my advice to newcomers would be to respect the law and culture and relish five-star living.
What else do you enjoy in Singapore?
Although the island is almost flat and doesn’t offer adventurous hikes, the nature parks and reserves here are an absolute retreat. I clock in 7,000 steps daily from my walks. I am fortunate that my house is surrounded by the Bukit Batok Nature Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which connect to the main reservoirs and their surrounding trails. MacRitchie Reservoir is absolutely scenic, offering natural trails, built paths and a treetop walk. You can also rent kayaks here or head to the SICC Millennium Golf Course.
Just north of this is Thomson Nature Park that houses some endangered species like the langur, Sunda pangolin and sambar deer. The Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO heritage sight, showcasing a spectacular variety of tropical flora in stunning verdant landscapes. A few years ago, they established an orchid garden for the national flower; a section of the garden features trees planted by celebrities and politicians.
Food in Singapore is unique. The combination of cultures means the variety of food is international, yet localised. And the hawker culture is integral. Hawker food is inexpensive and authentic, and it’s also served in a no-frills environment; it’s absolutely delicious and almost feels like eating at home. Over the years, the culture has evolved and you can find yourself dining in at more popular, touristy hawkers like Lau Pa Sat or Newton Food Court that are pricier, or humbler ones in your neighbourhood.
HillV2 (“This shopping centre is right near our condo; we like to eat at Spruce and iO Italian Osteria”)
spruce.com.sg | io-osteria.com/sg
Bacha Coffee and TWG at ION Orchard
Dempsey Hill (“We go there often for brunch or dinner; our favourites are The Dempsey Project, Margarita’s, The Dempsey Cookhouse and Bar, and also PS.Cafe”)
House of AnLi
#02-139/141 Tanglin Mall | 6235 5193 | houseofanli.com
Crate & Barrel
#04-21/22 ION Orchard | 6634 8488 | crateandbarrel.com.sg
Lims Holland Village
#02-01 Holland Road Shopping Centre | limshollandvillage.com
Badger & Fox (“for home décor and clothing too”)
#02-43 Tanglin Mall | badgerandfoxsingapore.com
HAIR & FASHION
#03-08 Tanglin Mall | 9119 5491
#02-16/17 Wisma Atria Level 4, Takashimaya | seafolly.com/sg
#03-38/39 Holland Road Shopping Centre | yens.com.sg
This article first appeared in the June 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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