She may not live in the black-and-white she yearned for years ago, but Claire Salaria’s house on the east coast of Singapore is the next best thing for her. We loved its eclectic, creative style.
Who lives here: British expats Claire Salaria, husband Tariq, daughters Lila (12), Zakia (11) and Balquisse (Billy for short) (9), helper Grace, Pixie the dog, and cat Snowy.
Size of home: Five-bedroom, three-storey rented house (including attic office), with small plunge pool at the back.
How long they’ve lived in Singapore: Just over 11 years.
Style of home: Eclectic, with a sense of laidback elegance.
There’s a theory that, in Singapore, there are Easties and there are Westies, and once you decide on an area to live in, it’s rare for anyone to cross over. This is true of Claire Salaria and her family, who first moved to Joo Chiat in the East 11 years ago. Living initially in a shophouse, and benefitting from shared facilities, they stayed there for four years until their family outgrew the space and they were on the hunt again, for something bigger, but still in the East.
“We loved the house we had – it was beautiful, but it only had three bedrooms. We wanted more space, and we wanted to pay less, and these properties would only let you renew once a year so we had to negotiate each time. The community thing also just got a little too much sometimes – I’d end up with ten kids in the house and there’s no getting away!”
The family loved the area, and with Lila already attending UWC Tampines, Claire did initially look at colonial houses in Changi and Seletar. “My dream was to live in a black-and-white but it just wouldn’t work with Tariq’s commute into Marina Bay. Here at least it’s just four stops for him to get into the city.”
They found the five-bedroom East Coast house through an Australian family who were leaving Singapore, and its proximity to Tanjong Katong Road was convenient for the family in terms of school, work and socialising. “We also deal directly with the landlady, who’s very reasonable and handson.”
Having moved initially from London, just after renovating their house in South London, Claire was keen to ensure the family had a real home to live in here. “When we left London, we were a small family of four, with Lila and Zakia being only 18 months and two months respectively. We still managed to fill a container when we relocated, and this property has some heirlooms and UK pieces dotted around the rooms.” Claire is also a big fan of mixing old and new, so these heirlooms are interspersed with, for example, shiny metallic decorative skulls, a black peacock chair, and plenty more monochromatic, textural and contemporary pieces.
Textiles & Interiors
Clearly demonstrating a flair for home styling, Claire’s skills have grown from her background as a buyer and product developer in fashion and interiors for high street brands including Next and House of Fraser while in the UK, and a subsequent online interior design course here in Singapore.
She also launched clothing brand Cotton House eight years ago, along with a friend who has since left Singapore. After a brief hiatus, during which time she took said interior design course, Claire re-launched the brand at the end of 2017, with a view to incorporating her home-styling services, and eventually selling home textiles. “I visit India frequently, Jaipur in particular, on research and buying trips. It’s a beautiful and stunning place to visit, and it’s where I source my hand-printed textiles.”
She calls her clothing “relaxed dressing”, with the aim of creating a range that can work across the day, from the school run to work, to a trip to the shops and meeting friends later for drinks. “It’s not simply resort wear, it’s comfortable and easy to wear but stylish and versatile and can be dressed up or down.”
For her home, Claire’s stylish fingerprint can be seen throughout the first floor; however, a visit to the second floor and it’s clear that she’s let her three daughters have free reign on their own rooms – each is a vision of pinks, purples or blues. Beside these three rooms is the master bedroom, a much more sedate and subdued affair compared to the pops of colour next door. Upstairs again and you find Claire’s Cotton House studio, hidden away in the attic. This mix through the house is indicative of Claire’s own style; as she freely admits, “I’m a bit bohemian and eclectic, and I love a bit of laidback elegance too!”
Home & style
Cotton House 9146 3901 | cottonhouse.com.sg
Carlmey Manufacturing (“speak to Michael Tan if you need to have curtains made, anything reupholstered or a screen made”)
6283 6894 | carlmey.com.sg
Ruby Slipper (“for handmade, made-toorder rugs”)
9171 1251 | rubyslipper.com.sg
Singapore Trading Post (“for quirky homeware, pineapple ornaments, ice buckets, tea towels and more!”)
#07-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road
6221 4619 | singaporetradingpost.com
Bottega (“for a mid-week date night”)
#01-02 Suites@Katong 263 Tanjong Katong Road
6816 1834 | bottega.com.sg
The Mango Tree 91 East Coast Road
6440 1285 | themangotree.com.sg
Trattoria L’Operetta (“our kids’ favourite pizza”)
244 Tanjong Katong Road
6440 9322 | trattoriaoperetta.sg
Don Ho (“for great cocktails, food and amazing décor”)
1 Keong Saik Road
6223 5001 | don-ho.com
Singapore Polo Club (“for a touch of the countryside in the city”)
80 Mount Pleasant Road
6854 3985 | singaporepoloclub.org
Want more home inspiration? See our Home decor section!
Why we put roots down in River Valley
Best furniture stores in Singapore
This article first appeared in the July 2018 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!