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East Coast shophouse: Tour this stunning terrace off Beach Road


Wendy Smith’s house is tucked down a tiny lane off East Coast Road, with chic, lime-green mosaic steps leading up to the front door.

Apart from her obvious talent and flair, you can soon tell what makes Wendy so popular as an interior designer: her down-to-earth, no airs-and-graces manner and genuine friendliness.

In 1998, living in London and a “bit burnt-out”, she confesses, Wendy and her husband Nishan took up a job offer here. “It took me only two weeks to know that I loved Singapore and had no intention of leaving. Having a traditional home makes me feel that I really live here.

“Before long, I found a huge, old 6,000-square-foot house in the Devonshire Road area and negotiated with its owner for a five-year lease on reasonable terms. I did it up and then started doing up houses, first for friends of friends, and then established as a business of my own.

“We completed the building of this house in August 2009. It’s been a huge project, but a fabulous experience.”

Before the land reclamation that preceded the establishment of East Coast Park, this 1931 Peranakan terrace just behind Beach Road was very close to the sea. Its basement, Wendy explains, would have been awash with seawater during the flooding season.

Looking at the wealth of varied furniture, accessories and knickknacks that could be family heirlooms, it’s surprising to hear that Wendy and Nishan came here with just two suitcases. But as she points out, you can find anything in Singapore, including at auctions.

How does Wendy describe her own style? “I’m a bit of a drama queen. I love strong statements, and I’m quite brave. I say to my clients: “Don’t buy six little things; buy just one big thing,”

Flick through the image gallery to see photos of the living room, basement den (complete with walk-in wine cellar), roof terrace and master bedroom and en-suite.

First published in ‘Shophouses and traditional terrace homes of Singapore’ 2010