We find out how this Azerbaijani couple ended up in Russia, then the UK, and how they are now living in Singapore. With nine years in River Valley, initially in a condo and now in a house, they share their recommendations on furniture and accessories, favourite cafes and schools – and life in Singapore.
Who lives here: Farah and Javad, daughters Aysha (12), Medina (8) and Safiya (5), and puppy Ryo
Size of home: Four-bedroom, two-storey house
How long they’ve lived here: Just over one year
Style of home: Classic with a luxe edge
While they’re both originally from Azerbaijan, Farah and Javad Movsumova actually met in Moscow, while studying. Javad moved to London to do his A-Levels and Farah followed soon after graduating from university. Five years on and their next move saw them in Singapore with their daughter Aysha, and Farah pregnant with Medina.
Moving first to River Gate condo, they stayed there for eight years. “We loved living there, and I still think it’s one of the best condos in Singapore; the facilities are amazing, you can get to Great World City and the river really easily, it’s a good, safe area for parents with young kids to choose to live.” Eight years on and, although reluctant to vacate the area, Farah knew they had to leave the condo in search of more space. “We arrived here with one child and ended up with three – we had simply outgrown the place.”
Having always lived in major cities, Farah still wanted to remain in a central area. The family did look in Bukit Timah and Holland Village, “but that wasn’t our neighbourhood; our roots were already here,” she says. “I feel connected to this area, I know every corner of it.”
Home & Away
They discovered this four-bedroom house in early 2017, and moved in in May. Both the location and the size suited their family perfectly, and then it was just up to Farah, with some help from Affordable Style Files, to turn it into their perfect home. “I think that when you’re an expat with young children it’s really important to create a home for them, to help them stay grounded.”
Farah points to being an only child as one of the reasons why she has put so much focus on being a mother and homemaker to her own children for many years. It wasn’t always the path she was going to follow, however. Studying to be a doctor in Russia, she then spent two years in a medical attachment position at St Bart’s Hospital in London, before she fell pregnant with Aysha. “I come from a family of doctors; I grew up with it and loved it, but I also love being a mum. Once you’ve stopped working in the medical profession it’s very difficult to go back, and, for me, the hours you have to put in are just not realistic when you have a young family. I didn’t want to sacrifice my kids for my job.”
But when Safiya turned two, Farah felt she had time to commit to something else. She had carried out an interior design course with Design Intervention, but also had a passion for food and healthy eating, so was being pulled in two directions. She and her two best friends and now business partners, Nicole Treffert and Lonnie Kelsey, initially looked into opening a healthy food café, but there was so much bureaucracy around it they turned their attention towards an interiors and décor business.
Having met the previous owner of Ruby Slipper, Lucy, at a fair, they understood she was selling the handmade rugs and home accessories business, and the three friends took it over in April 2016. “I don’t think we’ve moved it in a completely different direction, but we have added our touch to it in quite a few ways. We’re carrying out a lot of home visits, and advising clients on what should work.” The friends have also brought in new designs and patterns, including a range of Moroccan boho-style products, modern wool rugs and accessories from India, including poufs, doormats, placemats and cushions, as well as bed throws, wedding blankets and cushions from Morocco. “We’ve also made cushions out of some of our rugs; they’re so durable – great for families and everyday life.”
All the rugs as well as many of the accessories seen in Farah’s home are from Ruby Slipper, mixed with personal pieces including wedding gifts from Azerbaijan, vintage products and even the odd IKEA piece here and there. “I’ve always loved interior design and fashion, my second passions after medicine,” she says. Now, with her family home complete, she can finally give these passions the focus they deserve.
Affordable Style Files 9101 6903 | affordablestylefiles.com
Ruby Slipper 9171 1251 | rubyslipper.com.sg
WINE & DINE
House of AnLi Bistrot (“one of my favourite places, great for a girly get together”) #03-17 Tanglin Mall 163 Tanglin Road 6235 3851 | houseofanli.com/thebistrot
Carrotsticks & Cravings 75E Loewen Road 8356 3331 carrotsticksandcravings.com
LIFE & FAMILY
Tanglin Trust School (“our three girls go there; it’s such a switched on school with the right amount of support”) 95 Portsdown Road 6778 0771 | tts.edu.sg
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