American expats Jane and Ron Martin are on their second Singapore stay, and fourth Ardmore apartment. Jane tells us why they love living there, and what life is like in Singapore as empty nesters.
Jane and Ron’s second stint in Singapore is decidedly different from their first seven-year residency, from 2004 to 2011. Back then, their daughters Emily and Katie (now 22 and 21 respectively) were with them. Now, with Katie at college in the US, and Emily working as a missionary in the Dominican Republic, Jane and Ron’s Singapore stay has taken a slightly different focus.
“It’s so much easier meeting people when you have children,” says Jane, who’s come up with a novel way of ensuring she stays social. “I’m not a morning person, but I make sure I get up at 6.15am. I make Ron a smoothie, and then go downstairs to wait with the other moms. Once they’ve put their children on the Singapore American School buses, I join their walking group, enjoy a morning Starbucks with friends, then head to the American Club for yoga, which I do a few days a week. This group of Ardmore friends, or the ‘Loop Ladies’, as we call ourselves, is what keeps me going! The walking group is constantly changing, as new families come and go from Ardmore, but I’ve made life-long friends on this loop through the Botanic Gardens, and I don’t know what I would do without my morning loop therapy sessions.”
Ron and Jane spend weekends on the Singapore Island Country Club golf course, whenever possible. Ron has been a long-time golfer, but when the nest became empty, Jane started taking lessons so they would have an activity they could do together.
The couple first came to Singapore with Ron’s job with Emerson and, after a brief stay in Treetops Executive Residences, settled on the centrally located Ardmore area. During their initial seven years, they lived in three different apartments, always within Ardmore. “When we came back in early 2016, we looked around elsewhere, but every time we saw a place we realised we just didn’t like it nearly as much as Ardmore.” The couple love the community feel of Ardmore and its location, being so close to the American Club and Orchard Road. “The facilities are great, and since we have lived here so long it just feels like home.”
During their first stay, Ron and Jane brought some furniture with them, including a green-and-blue plaid couch, which Jane admits was “real country style”; “That couch quickly had to be recovered in a more neutral fabric to make carpet shopping easier!” When they left, they ended up taking a lot of pieces home, including many from China Collection, as well as Lim’s Holland Village. “For this assignment, we just brought clothes and a lot of our bedding, as well as the necessary pots, pans and knives. Getting here and knowing where to go furniture shopping was a lot easier.”
After an initial look-see, at which time they purchased much of their furniture, Ron set up home at Ardmore in May 2016, with Jane arriving later that summer.
Their current home style has been influenced by the fact they’re considering buying a beach house in North Carolina when they eventually return to the US, so the pieces they have here in Singapore may well end up there. During their first stay, their home décor leant towards browns, golds, reds and earth tones; this time, their aesthetic is more greens and blues, and natural wood features. This includes the multitude of pieces purchased from China Collection, including the rustic console found behind the sofa, two stools in the lift lobby, and the repurposed elm-wood day bed, now used as a coffee table.
“I’ve been friends with Anne Lockett since we were first here. I got to know her through my husband’s boss’s wife, and we became friends. I’ve taken plenty of people there to visit, including my mother, who recently passed away, and who loved the store. I just love the subtle Asian style.”
It’s not just Jane who’s a fan, but Ron as well, who frequently purchases pieces from there, including the large shutters used as décor on the wall, bought by Ron for Jane on their 26th wedding anniversary last year. Jane’s very first purchase was a red antique cabinet, which she still adores and which takes pride of place in her living room back in Texas. “It’s probably my favourite piece.”
Although Jane is making the most out of her second time here, it’s clear that home is where the heart is. They make frequent trips back to the US, and their ultimate plan of buying their beach house is not far from her mind. “This time round, I feel like I’m on vacation. I come here, stay for a bit, then go home to our house in Texas, or to Pennsylvania, to take care of my dad. Having no kids here, which affords you more flexibility, is really different. Expat life is great, and I do love it, but you do also give a lot up when it comes to family back home. That is the hardest part of being an expat, especially with ageing parents.”
FOOD & DRINK
UmaUma (“Ron’s favourite food is ramen”) #01-41 Forum Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road 6235 0855 | umaumaramen.com
IO Italian Osteria #02-01 HillV2, 4 Hillview Rise 6710 7150 | io-osteria.com/sg
Din Tai Fung (“one of the things my girls miss the most at home!”) Various locations Wisma Atria Level 4, 435 Orchard Road 6732 1383 | dintaifung.com.sg
Tandoori Corner #01-12 Balestier Plaza 400 Balestier Road 9862 7334
Loy Kee Chicken Rice 342 Balestier Road 6252 2318
Merlin Frame Maker (“used for our better art pieces”) 292 River Valley Road 6735 1866 | merlin.com.sg
Parklane Framer #01-217 Block 354, Clementi Avenue 2 Rehmat
Oriental Carpets 45 Arab Street 6296 8545
China Collection 20 Malcolm Road 6235 1905 chinacollection.com.sg
House of AnLi 163 Tanglin Road, #03-17 Tanglin Mall 6235 3851 | houseofanli.com
Taylor B 43 Keppel Road 6225 7090 | taylorbdesign.com
Woody Antique House #01-05 Block 13, Dempsey Road 6471 1770 | woodyantique.com
Tempat Senang Resort & Spa, Batam tempatsenang.com
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This article first appeared in the March 2018 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!