Brit SARAH MUNROE is one year into her Singapore stay and looking forward to discovering more of what the city and the region have to offer. In the meantime, she shows us around her fabulous 3,200-square-foot Ardmore Park condo (near Orchard Road) and shares some tips on renting a condo in Singapore.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
My husband and I moved to Singapore in September 2021 looking for an adventure. Our two daughters are abroad at university and college, and given my husband’s role means he can be located anywhere, we both really wanted to come to Asia. We arrived in the midst of pandemic restrictions and straight into two week quarantine, so initially it was a culture shock and steep learning curve. I’m enjoying Singapore now that it’s opened up!
Your apartment is huge! How did you find such a gem of a condo near Orchard in the current rental market?
When I researched renting condos in Singapore from the UK, there seemed to be so much availability, but the reality was very different on arrival. After enquiring online about a few places on PropertyGuru, we had a stroke of good luck connecting with agent Karen Tang Sock Keng of ERA Realty. She turned out to be absolutely fantastic when it came to renting a condo in Singapore – she is professional, motivated and well connected. She showed us several condos near Orchard but we really liked Ardmore Residence for its quiet, leafy, cosmopolitan vibe just a five-minute walk from Orchard. In a competitive rental market, Karen did well to secure us a breezy 28th-floor apartment. While we love the Art Deco architecture and excellent facilities, what really swayed us to move into the Ardmore Park condo was the attentive and friendly team.
How did you get your Ardmore Park condo looking so great in such a short time?
After reading about Gallery 278 in Expat Living, I walked into the store and met the force of nature that is Felicia Koh. Over a cup of lovely peach tea, she explained the furniture lease option and helped us put a design scheme together for our condo near Orchard. We leased large furniture items such as beds that we knew we wouldn’t need to take back to the UK, and then supplemented by investing in some signature pieces. I also spent a lot of time hunting in Tan Boon Liat and other design and furniture hubs to finish the look. We faced supply chain issues and long lead times on orders, so we had to make quick decisions to snap up products in-store before they disappeared!
Over the years, we’ve focused on buying original local art. Gallery 278 sourced a great piece for my husband’s home office, which everyone comments on during video calls! We visited a number of galleries and attended art exhibitions including S.E.A. Focus and Gillman Barracks during Singapore Art Week. Eventually, we found two amazing pieces from a talented local artist that we know we will always love. It was an interesting journey greatly facilitated by a Singaporean colleague of my husband.
Where do you source your linens and homeware?
We sourced our Weavve bedding and towels through Felicia. After that, it was a matter of tracking down beautiful and functional homeware for every day. We were able to find everything we needed for our Ardmore Park condo at TANGS, Crate & Barrel and Ikea.
What’s your favourite place in your home?
The Ardmore Residence (condo near Orchard) has an interesting indoor/ outdoor balcony area that we’ve filled with plants. Sitting there late in the evening with a glass of wine, chatting about our days and looking at the view is very relaxing.
Tell us about the condo facilities at Ardmore Residence.
The condo has a great club room, a small but super gym, and a divine pool. All the public areas are well maintained including an immaculate garden area. The concierge staff are so lovely and are keen to help you with any query, big or small.
Favourite thing about Singapore so far?
The easy answer would be to say that Singapore is a fabulous travel hub, which of course it is! But what I really like is that everything works – from well-established infrastructure to world-class health care, to the convenience of getting around and efficient government technology. It’s such a refreshing change from the UK where it takes an absolute age to arrange anything.
What would your advice be for newcomers to Singapore?
Find a good real estate agent to guide you through the process of renting a condo in Singapore. While the leasing market here is similar to the rest of the world, there are Singapore-specific quirks and clauses that are useful to understand straight away. Banking as a foreigner (especially as a DP) can be problematic given our lack of credit history, so allow for more time to set up accounts and wade through layers of security.
What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
We’ve started to explore Singapore now the restrictions have eased, but we still have so much more to discover. My husband is an avid F1 fan so he’s super excited about its return. We’ve been to the race several times before, but now we’re living here we’ve got lots of friends descending upon us for the weekend. Travel is back on the agenda, and we’re visiting Japan for the first time later this year.
Home Furnishings & Homeware
Gallery 278 by Esco Leasing (“for furniture, curtains, art, and interior design services”) | gallery278.com
Ipsa Ipse Ipsum (“for individual, quirky artisanal pieces”) ipsaipseipsum.com
Bungalow 55 (“for coffee table books and beautiful gifts”) thebungalow55.com
The Orientalist (“for traditional and modern rugs”) theorientalist.com
Crate & Barrel | crateandbarrel.com.sg
TANGS (“especially the basement”) | tangs.com
Health, Beauty & Wellbeing
Dr Rohan Mendis at Mendis Aesthetics | drmendis.com
IMC Camden (“for your family GP”) | imc-healthcare.com
Reformer Pilates with Clarissa Ng at The American Club amclub.org.sg
Five Iron Golf (“for indoor golf practice and lessons”) fiveirongolf.sg
Blonde Boudoir (“for highlights with Leona”) blondeboudoir.sg
The National Orchid Garden (“the Sembcorp Cool House is an oasis of calm”) | nparks.gov.sg
Restaurants & Cafés
Candlenut (“for amazing Peranakan”) | comodempsey.sg
Culina (“specialist food and wine at the market and all day dining at the bistro”) | culina.com.sg
Saint Pierre (“for a wonderful modern take on French cuisine”) | saintpierre.com.sg
This article first appeared in the October 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
For more ideas and tips on where to live in Singapore head to our Neighbourhood Guides section.