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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
28 HongKong Street (“for cocktails, it’s literally a hidden gem”)
Riona Bonnet-Israni (“for interior decorating services”)
8730 1214 | email@example.com
Fire Station Tours (“every Saturday morning the fire stations open their doors to kids; it’s a blast for children of all ages”)
Where should you live in Singapore? Look at our neighbourhood guides
Get more design ideas at our Homes section.