A Penthouse in Singapore
This Singaporean couple INDI and ANUSHKAR (Nush), tell us why they love their newly renovated Bali-style penthouse in Siglap, on the east of Singapore.
Size: 2,400-square-foot, four bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse apartment (plus additional bedroom and bathroom in the backyard)
Where: Siglap, East Singapore.
Who lives here: Indi (Singaporean) and Nush Tandon (originally from Indonesia, now a Singapore citizen)
How long for: Since 2019
When Indi and Nush Tandon arrived back in Singapore following a year-and-a-half stint in Shanghai, they knew they wanted to settle in a large loft or penthouse apartment. For shipbroker Indi, the space had to accommodate his love of socialising and entertaining. For Fintech professional Nush, also a certified meditation and sound healing practitioner, it needed to work alongside her love for meditative practice and reading.
Travel was a driving inspiration for their home style. Nush hails from Indonesia and shares with Indi a love for Bali – it’s also their favourite holiday destination and where the couple married. Their love of travel, and in particular Bali, needed to be reflected in their home. “It had to be conducive to our different personalities and interests and, more significantly, incorporate elements of being in our favourite holiday destination.”
Why did you settle in Siglap, and this condo in particular?
Siglap has a laid-back atmosphere, and there’s a certain charm to it. It’s a great social hub with its strips of restaurants, cafés and bars, so there’s really a perfect balance. The proximity to the beach is perfect, and there are plenty of green spaces; it’s closer to the sea than the concrete jungle, but still quick enough to get to the CBD.
We chose the Villa Marina condo because it exudes an “old school”, peaceful, resort-type ambience. The first time we walked into the condo, we really felt that ambience – in its cobblestone path, abundant greenery and low-rise units. It made us feel at ease.
Our driving desire was for a penthouse or loft apartment; we wanted a spacious place and felt this apartment made smart use of the space available. We fell in love with the spiral staircase and fine timber in some of the flooring, which we have maintained. It also boasts a lot of natural light.
Why did you choose Studio Igg as your interior design firm?
We’d already met with a few interior designers but hadn’t settled with anyone as yet. We had been searching online for home designs to get some inspiration, and came across Studio Igg, so we decided to take a risk and explore a little further.
The first time we spoke to Nishi and her team, she seemed to instantly sync with us and articulate what we wanted. There was a great balance of her giving her expert input whilst also listening to ours. Ultimately, we felt she could not only understand what we wanted but elevate it as well.
She seemed to have a broad view of things – some out-of-the-box perspectives. And her team had a profound understanding of space beyond aesthetics. Separately, her personality stood out to us, too – she was extremely humble. Since we knew we’d be closely involved, this was a real plus point.
How did you find the whole renovation process?
We were closely involved throughout the project, providing our input on the design of each space, and the selection process of materials, furniture and décor. Nush coined the whole process a “labour of love”. It was time-consuming, but ultimately fulfilling. Some parts of the process were relatively daunting, particularly initially when we saw the whole place torn down!
Some parts were also really enjoyable, including selecting the design and style of the new space.
What are your favourite parts of the home, and why?
Indi: The bar lounge area, definitely! That’s on the second floor. It’s mainly filled with my whiskey assortment, from single malt to blended scotch. For me, it’s the whole ambience – wood tones, leather day-bed, and some coastal colours in the décor; it feels luxe and laid-back.
Overall, the flow of our home ensures comfortable living as well as hassle-free entertainment. It encourages us to unwind and appreciate all the good things life has to offer.
Nush: It’s so hard for me to select favourites because I like it all! The three bathrooms are lovely; each has its own unique, well-considered design, but still follows a consistent underlying minimalist style. My two particular favourites are the second-floor tropical-styled bathroom, and the master, with its mix of marble and wood tones.
I also love the main living room just beside the cosy balcony; the area is spacious and calm with neutral tones. And I like the second-floor Bali-inspired room, and the master bedroom bay window area! These are actually the three areas I would use for my meditation or for reading time.
The kitchen is also a fantastic space; it has a little bit of fun and a pop of colour in the aesthetics. I especially love the writing board that Nishi incorporated there; I like to leave motivational quotes on it.
What tips would you pass on to our readers considering a renovation?
Indi: It’s important to know what you want – or at least have a good idea! Take it slow, don’t rush into it, and manage your expectations around budget.
Nush: When it comes to your home space, I believe it’s important that it encapsulates what you love, and what brings out the best in you. However, you also need to think about the practicality of your day-today life. Also, try and make the process an enjoyable journey and memory!
The Design Story
Nishi Somanna, interior designer at Studio Igg I was approached by the Tandons in January 2018 after they’d seen one of our projects online. They were very clear about what they wanted – minimalist design with lots of white.
When we found out that Nush came from Indonesia and that their favourite destination was Bali, we knew that would be incorporated as the inspiration for their home. They were open to a few changes on existing masonry in the kitchen, master and family room of their duplex apartment, which gave us a free hand for space planning. The couple were very involved in the project. I loved the way Indi used to coordinate meetings so he could accompany Nush and participate. Nush was very clear in expressing what she wanted, and that gave us a lot of clarity. After every two to four areas of design development and three-dimensional drawings, we used to meet up and have discussions on the overall feel, finishes and materials.
I’m very proud of the project, I love the space and the people in it; it feels so perfect for Indi and Nush. The living room, with the vertical white wooden beading on the wall and ceiling, is particularly noteworthy. This enhances the double-height space, and the white walls give a relaxed, calming feel as we enter the house.
The bedroom lobby area, which has white laser panels letting light through it to create shadows on the wall, gives a very serene, fairy tale, magical effect. The glass partition for the master bedroom walk-in wardrobe, with hanging rods in a free flowing showroom style, creates a spacious feel and interesting wall feature for the master bedroom.
The bedroom at the upper level has a raised floor bed, wooden beams, jute-like cabinet doors, aquamarine metal knobs and bathroom with rustic textured stone wall and skylight at the shower area. All of this contributes to the tropical holiday concept.
We truly feel that the house resonates with Studio Igg’s ideology of creating spaces that are healing, uplifting and peaceful.
Indi & Nush’s Recommendations
Studio Igg (“a boutique company with great values”) East Coast
East Coast Eats & Drinks
Next Door Spanish Café (“great food”) 699 East Coast Road 8168 4009 | nextdoorspanishcafe.com
Stamping Ground Coffee (“for a coffee fix!”) 87 Upper East Coast Road | stampinggroundcoffeesg.com
Mad Nest (“for a casual drink or two”) 380E East Coast Road | 6348 6861
Jalan Tua Kong coffeeshop (“particularly for the carrot cake and laksa”) 64 Joo Chiat Place Geylang Lor 99 (“try the hokkien mee”)
Thevar Modern Indian Grill Restaurant & Bar 9 Keong Saik Road 6904 0838 | thevar.sg
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge 55 Keong Saik Road 6221 0522 | olivia.com.sg
Si Chuan Dou Hua #60-01 UOB Plaza 1 80 Raffles Place 6535 6006 | sichuandouhua.com
Barbary Coast (“great cocktails”) Level 01 & 02 16 North Canal Road 8869 4798 | barbarycoastsg.com
This article first appeared in the March 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!