Sitting comfortably with hands resting protectively on her pregnant tummy, Terri-Anne Leske glows with the healthy radiance that is synonymous with women in particular stages of pregnancy. She explains that this four-bedroom Siglap house was the first and only property they viewed, after two years in a tiny River Valley condo, and that it’s an ideal fit for their growing family. The family has settled easily into a more relaxed lifestyle since moving to the East Coast in March.
“The house is perfect,” says Terri-Anne. “While the kitchen is the star attraction for me, my two-year-old twins Eli and Olivia love having so much space in which to race around; they didn’t have that in the condo.”
Take a photographic tour of Terri-Anne’s glorious Siglap house in the gallery above
Terri-Anne is from Australia, and it was coincidentally an Aussie architect who renovated the house. Among its features is an open and airy kitchen, ideal for this cooking enthusiast. “I love to leave the front and back doors open, so the kids can run through while I’m cooking; it works well for all of us.”
Spread across three levels, the house has a light and spacious ground floor with kitchen, living and dining rooms. “This downstairs space is great for dinner parties; with the children tucked up in bed, we can be as loud as we want without disturbing them. The outdoor area has a barbecue, and it’s nice to sit outside in the cooler months,” she says.
The middle level has an open-plan family area, the twins’ bedroom and the master bedroom. On the third level are another two bedrooms and a helper’s room. “Relocating to a house was important to help me feel settled, and to rid myself of that temporary, itinerant sentiment I felt while living in the condo,” she says.
Terri-Ann and her stockbroker husband Tom moved to Singapore in 2012. It was a challenging time. “We married, found out we were pregnant on the last day of our honeymoon in Paris, and moved to Singapore within the space of about six months. I was 20 weeks pregnant when we arrived here from Port Melbourne, and we only viewed Singapore as a short two-year stay,” she says.
“The twins were born nine weeks early, and at the same time I was adjusting to life in a new country and culture, I’d left my career, and I was trying to make friends. But since overcoming those early challenges we’ve established friends, revelled in the travel opportunities and decided to stay on longer. We’ve seen the great benefits of living here and are really taking advantage of them now,” she says, nominating travel, domestic help and the children’s education as three major pluses.
Last year, she launched her blog, Carrotsticks and Cravings, an expression of her love for cooking and writing recipes. “I needed to do something that didn’t revolve around my marriage and my kids. It’s something for me – especially now the kids are a bit bigger and sleeping better. I also wanted something to show for my time here, and I hope people get some inspiration from it.”
Terri-Anne learnt to cook from her talented mother in Bermagui, a picturesque town on the South Coast of New South Wales where she grew up. It’s clear she has taken the baton and run with it. For the twins’ second birthday, Terri-Anne baked a total of eight cakes to create a train for Eli, and a tiered princess cake for Olivia. But despite this diligence and creativity, she admits that making a good pavlova in Singapore is still a challenge on account of the humidity.
She’s also keen to pass on the cooking impulse to her kids; during this pregnancy, she has found herself in the kitchen constantly. “Now the twins are two, they are beginning to show an interest in my cooking. And because the kitchen is open, they can help with mixing and measuring. I hope they can learn from me.”
Terri-Anne’s recommendations for living in Singapore:
Barbie Girls (“home-delivery produce, including salmon”)
Borneo-Rasa Ria Resort (“kid-friendly resort and orangutans”)
Kota Kinabablu, Borneo
BW Furniture (“for beautiful designer furniture”)
Carrotsticks and Cravings (Terri-Anne’s food blog)
Common Man Coffee Roasters (“for the best coffee and breakfast”)
22 Martin Road, 6836 4695
Oh-Deli (“butchery and delicatessen”)
421 East Coast Road, 6440 4409
Tanjong Beach Club (“for easy weekends with kids”)
Tanjong Beach, Sentosa
Tekka Market (“for great, fresh veggies, look for Chia”)
Serangoon Road, Little India
Where should you live? Look at our neighborhood guides
Get some more major home envy at our Homes section.