We invited ourselves over to Namita and Pranay Mehra’s seriously cool Robertson Quay condo to find out how they turned a tired and dated apartment into a home with all the mod cons, including Namita’s funky kitchen, where she dreams up the latest creations for her culinary company The Indian Spicebox.
Country of origin: Namita was born in Nigeria and spent her first five years there; Pranay was born and raised in Mumbai.
Size of home: 1,800 square feet, originally four bedrooms now converted to three.
Who lives here: Namita and husband Pranay, their three-year-old son Shivum and their helper Joy.
Style: Modern with eclectic touches in the soft furnishings and art.
Favourite room: The living area is Namita’s favourite space. The balcony is Pranay’s preferred spot, and his favourite things are the couch, where he sits and listens to music, and the bar that holds, among other things, his beloved single malt collection.
Namita and Pranay arrived in Singapore five years ago, following a ten-year stint in New York where Namita worked for an advertising agency and then as a marketer for Facebook. When Shivum was born in March 2013 and they realised they were going to need more space. Coming to the end of their next lease, and with the housing market looking more favourable for buyers, Namita and Pranay decided to start looking for a home to buy.
“We started casually, but in the end I must have seen around 50 properties. When this unit came up, our realtor warned me that it was much smaller than we had anticipated and the interior was not in good shape. Although it was hard to visualise at first, there was an energy about the place when we first stepped in.”
The couple called on the help of their friend Gaurang Khemka, who owns architecture firm URBNarc. The condo’s style is a combination of Namita, Pranay and Gaurang’s creative visualisations.
“We went through an intense three-month design process, with plenty of great discussions, and some disagreement on things like built-ins, concealing televisions and the choice of materials, but in the end we collaborated like crazy and ultimately trusted him. Our home looks shockingly like his original designs!” Having purchased the apartment in July last year, the family moved in in November – an impressive feat, Namita agrees, especially considering that the entire apartment was gutted and one of the four bedrooms opened up to allow for a large, open-plan living space.
Books and cooks
“After having Shivum, I did go back to work for three months, but then I couldn’t bear to be away from him. I felt like I’d put my career first for a really long time, and as my job involved a lot of travelling I struggled with being away from my baby.” She took a position with a venture capital firm for six months. “While there I met lots of founders and entrepreneurs, and that gave me a real buzz. By the time I left I’d written two business plans.”
She had in fact already started up a Facebook page for The Indian Spicebox in 2009, which had gained quite a following. The idea behind it was to make Indian cooking at home accessible to everyone, by sharing recipes and ideas. Then, in November 2014, Namita launched her Spicebox set, a box packed with some of the essential spices needed for cooking Indian food at home – part of the proceeds of sales go to fund meals for street children in India. She also self-published her own cookbook, Cooking with Indian Spicebox, and her children’s book The Magic Spicebox was recently published by Scholastic. Then there are her cooking classes at The Providore’s cooking studio in PasarBella.
So what’s next for Namita? Apart from recently becoming a regular blogger on the Huffington Post, she has her sights on publishing more books. “Another one is inevitable, to be honest; I actually have the idea already, looking at spices from around the world, and mixing food and travel, which are both huge passions of mine.”
Home & Interiors
25B Kreta Ayer Road
6222 7600 | urbnarc.com/en
XTRA (multiple locations)
213 Henderson Road, #01-03
6692 1199 | rice-fields.com
456 River Valley Road
6235 0220 | dream.com.sg
Hoe Kee Hardware (“for the best selection of Blanco Silgranit sinks”)
8 Genting Road, The Blue Building
6749 4521 | hoekee.com.sg
Grohe (“they were so patient, and amazing to work with”)
Exquisite Builders (“our fantastic building contractors”)
80 Playfair Road
Food and Drinks
#02-01 Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street
6837 0142 | corianderleaf.com
Tower 2 Level 57 Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue
6688 9955 | marinabaysands.com
6 Jiak Chuan Road
9694 9623 | thecufflinkclub.com
Laurent Bernard (“just one of our Robertson Quay favourites”)
#01-11 The Pier at Robertson Quay, 80 Mohamed Sultan Road
6235 9007 | laurentbernard.com.sg
The Indian Spicebox
indianspicebox.com | email@example.com
#02-K1 PasarBella at The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road
Crate and Barrel
#04-21/22 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn
6634 4222 | crateandbarrel.com.sg
Teak & Mahogany
#07-02/03/04 Century Warehouse, 100E Pasir Panjang Road
6273 8116 | teakandmahogany.com
This is an extract of an article that first appeared in the August 2016 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!
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