ANUP KUMAR chats to us about buying property in Singapore with his wife Lakshmi, and how they tasked interior design firm HiVAR Studio with transforming their Bukit Batok condo into a dream home! They succeeded in creating a modern interior design with traditional elements.
Where are you from and how long have you been in Singapore?
We’re from India and we were nurtured in different cities including Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. We moved to Singapore as a young couple with big dreams and huge ambitions, and have been here for more than 15 years.
Where did you first live when you came to Singapore and why?
Our first residential neighbourhood was Choa Chu Kang. In fact, we lived in multiple places before moving into our present home. These were mostly chosen for proximity to our workplace; we’d rather spend more time at home than doing the daily commute!
When you were buying a property in Singapore, what areas and types of properties did you look at?
Our house-hunting journey was extensive. Initially, we focused our attention on Districts 21, 22 and 23 (from Upper Bukit Timah across to Jurong) as they were closer to our workplace and schools. We carefully researched the demographics, infrastructure and ambience of each location, envisioning how it would align with our family’s lifestyle and needs.
We also explored a range of property types. Each had its unique appeal when it came to size, layout, price and long-term suitability for our family.
While we encountered some impressive properties in our search, there were a few we decided against for various reasons. One was located in a desirable neighbourhood but didn’t have enough bedrooms; another was aesthetically pleasing, but didn’t meet the Vastu or Feng Shui requirement that was a critical part of our decision-making process.
We were finally driven by a combination of factors that aligned perfectly with our vision – this Bukit Batok condo had ample living space, on a high floor with plenty of ventilation, and a layout that suited our family dynamics. The location within a family-friendly community, with access to kids’ schools and recreational facilities, was a significant draw too.
For the interior design of your home, did you have an initial concept or theme in mind?
Yes, we always wanted modern interior design with an open feel while retaining traditional ethnic elements. We wanted to create a space that was both functional and stylish but not too trendy – one that provides comfort where we can relax and unwind, while remaining simple and uncluttered, and following a black, grey and white theme.
Why did decide to work with HiVAR Studio on your Bukit Batok condo?
We were looking for firms who could understand our needs well. HiVAR Studio is known for its expertise in interior design, and we were impressed by their portfolio and positive client testimonials; since we also knew Suchi Gupta personally, we decided to engage their services to help us transform our chosen property in Singapore into our dream home.
What’s it been like working with HiVAR Studio?
From the initial consultation, where they presented a comprehensive and well thought out plan, working with HiVAR Studio has been an exceptional experience. Suchi’s team of talented designers and contractors has demonstrated a keen understanding of our vision, translating it into a functional and aesthetically pleasing living space. Their attention to detail, commitment to quality and ability to incorporate our personal preferences have made the collaboration enjoyable and rewarding.
What do you love about your property in Singapore and living in Bukit Batok?
One aspect we truly love is the seamless integration of modern interior design and traditional design elements, and the warm and inviting atmosphere it creates. The open-plan layout also gives a sense of spaciousness, perfect for hosting gatherings with family and friends. And the proximity to workplace, schools, amenities, nature and recreation enhance our quality of living.
We had finalised the furniture before engaging HiVAR Studio. Suchi’s team designed the space and work around it and we both think they did a tremendous job. They even modelled the furniture and all our existing paintings to show in the 3D renderings which really helped us to visualise the space.
What have been some of your best home décor buys in Singapore? Anything you’d have done differently?
Over the years, we’ve regularly bought antiques, artwork and other home décor – one of my favourite purchases was a wooden piece that we had custom made for us in Indonesia; it adds a touch of elegance to our home and is also functional.
While I’m satisfied with my purchases, I probably could have invested more time to compare prices and found more affordable pieces. I also underestimated the importance of proper measurements, which led to some pieces not fitting as well as anticipated. It’s important to consider the dimensions of your space carefully before buying.
Overall, I’ve learnt that creating a comfortable and stylish home is a gradual process that requires patience and attention to detail. It’s important to take the time to curate a living space you genuinely enjoy spending time in.
Any advice for newcomers leasing or buying a property in Singapore?
I would say it’s important to conduct thorough research on the real estate landscape to understand the different neighbourhoods, property types, market trends, prices, rental yields and financing options.
Secondly, engage the services of a reliable real estate agent who specialises in the Singapore market. They can help you find suitable properties, navigate the legal aspects, negotiate on your behalf and ensure a smooth process.
Next, be sure to define your requirements and priorities – consider factors such as location, amenities, transport and future development plans. Determine the type of property that suits your lifestyle and budget, whether it’s a condo, landed property or HDB flat.
Finally, take your time and don’t rush into buying a property in Singapore. Attend property viewings, compare options, and assess the potential for growth and value appreciation. Seek advice and conduct thorough inspections. And be aware of the additional costs involved in the property market, such as stamp duties, legal fees and maintenance charges.
Name a few of your favourite regional holidays so far, and one that you have on your bucket list.
South Asia is so diverse and rich in cultural heritage – we love experiencing the unique landscapes, traditions and regional delicacies. Some of our best holidays have been to beach resorts in Phuket and Tioman, seeing the historic sites of Angkor Wat and Bali, and exploring the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.
Further afield, I have my sights set on New Zealand; I’ve heard wonderful things about it and can’t wait to immerse myself in the nature there.
Furniture & Accessories
HiVAR Studio | hivarstudio.com
Snow Globe Home | snowglobe.sg
Castlery | castlery.com/sg
Originals | originals.com.sg
Artiiso Premium Furniture | artiiso.com
Rooma SG | rooma.com.sg
Taylor B Fine Design Group | taylorbdesign.com
Island Living | islandliving.sg
BoConcept | boconcept.com/zh-sg
Just Anthony | justanthony.com
Curtains, Blinds & Upholstery
Craft Axis | craftaxis.com.sg
Akemi Uchi | facebook.com/akemiuchi.sg
Danovel | danovel.com
Amardeep Fabrics | amardeepfabrics.com
Restaurants, Coffee, Bars
Tiffin Room, Shahi Maharani, Yarana, Bikanervala (for chaats), Indian Wok, Blu Kouzina, Lavo Italian Restaurant, Supply and Demand, Bangkok Jam
Katapult Trampoline Park, Bounce
Paragon, Takashimaya, Tanglin Mall, IMM
This article first appeared in the September 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
To find out more about Bukit Batok and other neighbourhoods in Singapore, read our latest City Guide here for free!