Home » Homes » Family life in this modern Orchard Road apartment
Decorating Ideas Exclude Homes Readers Homes

Family life in this modern Orchard Road apartment

With wraparound views across Orchard Road and its surrounds, Riona Bonnet-Israni certainly got the central location she wished for when she and her family arrived in Singapore just over a year ago. We find out what else made her pick this apartment, as well as her tips on making a place feel like home.

Riona and family
Riona, Sylvain and Kavi

Who lives here: Riona, originally from India but grew up in Geneva, her French-Spanish husband Sylvain, their two-and-a-half-year-old son Kavi, and helper Mae.

Size and type of home: 180-square-metre, four-bedroom apartment, which the family rents.

Personal style: Riona says she favours a classic, elegant style, and this is reflected in their apartment.

Living room
Their classic and elegant living room

Riona’s list of places she’s already lived and worked in is enough to make most people green with envy. Growing up in Geneva, she then spent four years in Toronto at university, studied for her masters in London and Paris, gained post-masters work experience with Hermès in New York City, before returning to Geneva where she started her career with Procter & Gamble (P&G). It was here she met her now husband, Sylvain, who also worked at P&G at the time. Their son Kavi was born while they lived in Cincinnati, before their move to Singapore in December 2015.

Nigerian painting artwork
Painted by Nigerian artist Suraj Adekoka, who is also a family friend

During a recce in July, she pinpointed the Orchard, Cairnhill and Newton areas as potential spots to live in. “We were definitely looking at newer properties; our agent did show us a house down the road that was interesting but we felt new would just be easier to manage.”

Settling on this St Thomas Walk condo, Riona says the location and size of the building were perfect for her family; “it’s not too big, but still sizeable enough to meet new people. However, what really attracted us to the apartment was how much light and brightness it benefited from; this was a really important consideration for us.”

open concept kitchen condo
The lovely open concept kitchen

Full-time passion

With a toddler and a full-time position working in sourcing at P&G, it would be easy to assume Riona would have little to no time to indulge many other interests, but this simply isn’t the case. Having helped her parents change up their family homes during various moves within Geneva, as well as hers and Sylvain’s previous rental properties, she developed a deep interest in interior design. She took a course with an American association called Certified Interior Decorators, and qualified as an interior designer last year.

master bedroom
The master bedroom has fantastic views at sunset, and at night you can spot the lasers of Marina Bay and the Singapore Flyer popping out from behind the other buildings

Her advice to others setting up home in a new country is to always measure your key pieces of furniture to allow not just for the furniture itself, but also for sufficient flow of movement in the space. She also recommends visualising.

Settling in

Painting by Indian artist Anjana Kuthiala
This piece by Indian artist Anjana Kuthiala is another one of Riona’s favourites. “She also did a collection for my parents, so I got my inspiration from them.”

Having lived in Singapore for just over a year, the family is still having fun discovering the city and its surrounds. Finding time for holidays, they’ve already fallen in love with Cambodia, enjoyed Bali, spent Christmas and New Year in Myanmar, and Chinese New Year skiing in Japan. “We’ve tried to take advantage as much as possible,” says Riona. In their short time here it certainly seems so.


By: Amy Brook-Partridge
Photography: Ken Tan


Food & Drinks

Neon Pigeon (“terrific place for Japanese fusion cuisine with a great atmosphere!”)
#01-03 1A Keong Saik Road
6222 3623 | neonpigeonsg.com

Fat Prince (“amazing Middle Eastern food in a very hipster setting”)
48 Peck Seah Street
6221 3683 | fatprincesg.com

28 HongKong Street (“for cocktails, it’s literally a hidden gem”)


Riona Bonnet-Israni (“for interior decorating services”)
8730 1214 | riona.israni@gmail.com

Silk Flowers Singapore (“gorgeous artificial flowers at very reasonable prices”)
8307 6355 | silkflowerssingapore.com

HomesToLife Flagship Store (“a great selection of furniture and décor for all tastes and styles”)
65 Mohamed Sultan Road
6635 5050 | homestolife.com

Typewrite.sg (“I adore this company for personalised cards, invites, stationery and much more!”
9858 7401 | typewrite.sg


Woods in the Books (“lovely little bookshop in Tiong Bharu for every possible children’s book imaginable”)
3 Yong Siak Street
6222 9980 | woodsinthebooks.sg

Fire Station Tours (“every Saturday morning the fire stations open their doors to kids; it’s a blast for children of all ages”)


This is an extract from an article that first appeared in the April 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

Where should you live in Singapore? Look at our neighbourhood guides

Get more design ideas at our Homes section.