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Designs on Emerald Hill: Tour this traditionally-styled shophouse

By: Amy Brook-Partridge; photography by Michael Bernabe

Elizabeth AcLand, one half of interior design-duo E & A Interiors, invites me into her Emerald Hill shophouse to talk expat moves, design passions and why her home will never quite be “done”.

 

Emerald Hill. Even the name has an aesthetic ring to it, and the prospect of having a nose around a shophouse tenanted by interior designer Elizabeth and her fiancé Tim means expectations are high.

From the outside, their home exudes all the typical attributes of a beautiful shophouse. Inside is an interesting mix of classic British and European furniture, combined with Elizabeth’s boho-chic, and some eye-catching patterns and pops of colour from the soft furnishings and reupholstered furniture.

Elizabeth and Tim arrived from the UK in April 2013, and stayed at the Park Royal serviced accommodation on Beach Road while hunting for a place to live. They first looked at apartments, but after visiting her friend Millie Heath’s house on Killiney Road, Elizabeth’s heart was set on a house.

“I can see why people would want to be in an apartment, but I couldn’t stand being on a high floor. We don’t particularly miss the amenities, such as a swimming pool; but we are becoming members of the Tanglin Club – more for when friends and families visit than for ourselves.”

When they first saw the two-bedroom home on Emerald Hill, it hadn’t been lived in for almost a year. “It looked so depressing; there were piles of leaves in a corner, and for people who don’t have much vision it would have been a ‘no’.” But the couple saw promise and made an offer.

Walls having been given a lick of paint, and the floors cleaned, they moved in with their belongings, including furniture mostly brought over from the UK. “We purchased a number of pieces from Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea, London. I do find it a lot harder to track down unusual furniture and antiques here,” Elizabeth says, although she does mention Hock Siong and Aphorism as preferred haunts.

Business in Design
At the same time as moving, Elizabeth was also job-hunting. Having come from a senior designer position at Veere Grenney Associates in London, she was of course keen to continue her career in Singapore.

“I was worried about having nothing to do, so I had various interviews with interior designers when we first came for a recce. Tim and I aren’t married, so I had to get a work pass, and was eager to find something as soon as possible.” After meeting designer and stylist Chlöe Elkerton in Singapore, Elizabeth bumped into her again at a series of design fairs on a visit back to London. It wasn’t long before the idea for E & A Interiors was conceived, and the two women became business partners.The company now has a studio on Kim Yam Road, a 15-minute walk from Elizabeth’s home. It carries a wide range of soft furnishings from a range of designers, and offers services from re-upholstery, curtains and other soft furnishings, up to full project management. Its numerous fabric and wallpaper brands include Peter Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow’s “go to” fabric designer, and the new head of Oscar de la Renta Home, Carolina Irving.

Rules of Engagement
Having never actually lived together in the UK, Elizabeth and Tim’s move to Singapore signalled more than the typical kind of adventure for expats. Things have obviously worked out well, as Tim proposed on a visit to Elizabeth’s family home in Kenya in November last year.

“We were staying at my granny’s place on the coast, which is my favourite spot on earth. There’s no electricity, and at the end of the week there was a full moon, which literally lights up the place. That’s when he proposed.”

So, after a successful first year in Singapore, what’s on the horizon? More home improvements, by the sound of it. “I’m never really finished with my own home,” says Elizabeth, “and when new fabrics come in I have more ideas about what to change next.”

Hi, Elizabeth!
Hi, Elizabeth!

 

Elizabeth’s Recommendations
Travtus Workforce. “Great handyman service for all your odd jobs.”
3158 7474

Aphorism. “Great furniture pieces from France, many of which have an Art Deco influence.”
8168 9060

Hock Siong. “For furniture finds to revamp and turn into treasures.”
6281 8338

Vaughan Lighting. “For beautiful lighting.”
c/o E & A Interiors, see contact details below.

Common Man Roasters. “For delicious coffee and food; this is where I get my coffee every morning.”
22 Martin Road
6836 4695

Jessie Lim. “Beautiful ceramics and sculptural pieces; she also does amazing ceramic courses where you make your own pieces.”

Leo Poloniecki. “His abstract pieces are so gorgeous; he did a series for the E & A showroom and I have already earmarked two for myself.”
9352 0644

E & A Interiors
#04-02 The Herencia, 46 Kim Yam Road, 6702 4850

Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!

 

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