Moving to Singapore and looking for home furnishings? Or have you been living in Singapore for awhile and considering a change of scene at home? We chat to Mimi Somjee, founder of longtime Singapore rental company, Window to the Past, on why choosing bespoke home rentals are a great idea for interior design and home decor.
How did you decide to create Window to the Past (WTP) 25 years ago?
I was always interested in antique furniture, and from my early teens started collecting modestly. I thought once I had my own home I could acquire nice bigger pieces (those that would no longer fit in my mother’s overcrowded garage). After I got married and moved away, I thought that when I returned home permanently, I could acquire these pieces. When I returned in 1991, I found (to my horror) that it was very difficult to source these pieces. Not only that- my three Singaporean children would never know how we lived! I decided to research and write a book on my heritage.
While doing this, a friend mentioned the sale of a collection from a mansion much like ours, so I decided to buy everything and recreate our old home for the benefit of all Singaporeans, and especially my own children. During the planning stages, my mother suggested that I should think of doing an exhibition and sale. Going by the enthusiastic response to the exhibition, I soon realised there was a market for such furnishings. So I rented a space in a warehouse that belonged to my brother where my clients could make appointment to come down and shop for pieces which I found.
What are the advantages of leasing vs buying furniture?
For the global citizen relocating for an assignment, leasing furniture is a much more cost-effective and stress free, as it involves a minimum capital outlay as opposed to having to source and purchase furniture for a new home.
At Window to the Past, our leasing packages are customised to the client’s requirements, style and budget for the home of their choice. Leasing avoids hassle, as it does not involve transportation from a home base abroad. All design, delivery, set up, maintenance, and collection is taken care of and included in our service with no additional charges.
For a quick start up, loaners are provided until the actual items are thought through; this avoids hasty decisions and wrong choices in a new environment.
How does Window to the Past compare to other, lesser established furniture leasing companies in Singapore?
Established since 1992, WTP offers flexible leasing options, with a wide range of budgets that caters to both long-term and short-term leases. We offer design consulting services, complimentary to our leasing clients, that allow for clients to customise their pieces. Our service also includes making up the beds and laying the linen so that clients can walk in with just their suitcase. Moving is a very hectic and traumatic experience, we do hope we can assist in making the transition as seamless and hassle free as possible. We are confident that we stand out among other vendors in the industry based on price, service, range, ability and capability.
Tell us more about your happy clientele? Please share with us a story of how you helped to transform a client’s home?
Our client Hema’s concern with her house was that in her home, she wanted all her pieces to individually be beautiful and unusual but not to clash when they were in a room together. She liked the idea of quirky, colourful and eclectic interior design. So we combined oriental and industrial design styles to give Hema the effect that she wanted. The anchor pieces such as the sofa, armchair and dining chair had more linear, clean lines and accents such as the dining table and coffee table had a more busy design. This was all brought together with colourful cushions and carpet.
What is your favourite interior design at WTP?
With the mix of interior designers at WTP, we all have different personal tastes. The tendency is more to modern European designers who use some ethnic pieces in their designs.
Visit Window to the Past at 3 Kung Chong Road, Singapore 159141.