Artist SARASVATHY TK and her husband RAJ PALIVELA show us around their brand new three-bedroomed condo at Waterside Isle overlooking Bedok Reservoir – and explain how they went about stamping their character on it.
Why did you come to Singapore?
Raj: I came here in 2003 from my home town of Hyderabad, for my IT job with Credit Suisse. Sara joined me here in 2007 after our wedding; she’s originally from Pondicherry, but was working for a software company in Dubai, where her parents still live.
Over these past 13 years we’ve lived in a variety of different areas, mainly in the east. First was a condo in Yishun, then Bedok South, Tampines and Simei Rise. We bought our Simei Rise condo in 2010 and lived there for exactly five years before moving here: TOP (Transfer of Property) took place in August 2015.
What do you like most about your new home in Waterside Isle?
Raj: The east suits us, as we continue to be near to my office in Changi Business Park, and this condo development is very well located for family life. It’s ideal for our son Revant (nearly six), who is currently in K2 at Josiah Montessori – conveniently near my office – and will soon be moving to an IB school. He loves his playroom, and also has multiple places to play outside with his friends – not only in the condo grounds, but also at the reservoir, where there’s a big playground.
Sara: As an artist, I really appreciate the view, the space and the sky! Having such an outlook over the hydrotherapy pools and the playing fields across to the reservoir is an absolute pleasure. An open sky view, in particular, is a rare feature, especially in a condo development, and we can go for a lovely walk around the reservoir anytime we like.
Another attraction was the spacious balcony – we spend most of our time there. As for the interior, I particularly like the open-plan kitchen. While I’m preparing meals I can continue to enjoy the view, watch my favourite TV programmes or interact with the family.
Tell us why you changed the interior before moving in.
Raj: As it came with very plain walls and floors, it was an opportunity to do some restyling to express our own taste. Although we’d been hankering to renovate our previous property, I’d had reservations about doing so much to a ten-year-old apartment.
How did you go about it?
Raj: Sara worked with interior design company Rezt & Relax to add more interest, texture and detail to our home. You’ll see there’s a lot of marble in the living areas, but in fact the only real marble is the original flooring and the kitchen countertops. All the “marble” on the walls, including the display cabinets, and together with the built-in dining seat, is actually cleverly painted wood. The seat also provides extra storage.
Sara: We found Rezt & Relax very understanding and helpful when it came to the practicalities of transforming our ideas into reality, and it took them just two months. Lighting was an important part of what we wanted to achieve. Our previous home had warm lighting, but here we wanted bright “day cool” lighting, except for the spotlights for my artworks – one in the entryway and the other at the entrance to our bedroom. Obviously, it’s not like office lighting; it’s tastefully done.
Depending on the mood you want to create, different light sources can be used. There’s cove lighting under the living room console, behind the TV panel and in the island-style false ceiling. A double-lighting effect can be achieved by switching on the LED strips that line the glass-fronted knickknack cabinet, and the pendant lighting feature above the kitchen counter adds another dimension of illumination.
What did you do in the bedrooms?
Both in the master bedroom and in the guest bedroom, we continued with the modern contemporary theme of the living area. Instead of the cool, reflective marble look that you see there, however, we have gone for a lot of contrasting textures – wallpapers, stacked walls, faux leather and so on. Again, lighting was important to us; and our built-in beds provide useful storage, too. We kept the honey-coloured wooden strip-flooring that came with the condo; and there was also no need to change the bathrooms, which came with black marble finishes.
Tell us about your art.
Sara: When I conceived our son, I gave up my IT job in order to follow my passion for art. Largely self-taught, I spend my days painting – either in the study room or on the balcony, depending onmymood. My medium is oil and my genre is realism, including landscapes, but I’m working on a still life at the moment. I’m fortunate to have done a number of exhibitions in Singapore, including the Affordable Art Fair; I’ve also exhibited in Hyderabad’s Canvas of India in 2011, and at Art Expo New York in 2014, and every year the Taiwanese government invites me to participate in the annual Taichung art exhibition. You can see more of my work on my website, sarasvathyart.com.
Blue Bali (“our favourite!”)
1D Cluny Road (at the NUS campus)
23 Cuppage Road
11 Dempsey Road
This article first appeared in the May 2016 issue of Expat Living. Subscription offers here.
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