Victoria Currie, her husband David and their boys Charlie (5) and George (4) have been in Singapore for 18 months and are comfortably settled in a house off Stevens Road. Vic hit the ground running with her first Singapore venture, Tatty Marsh – a gorgeous home décor shop in Tanglin Mall – and the boys are happily settled at Tanglin Trust School. How did they do it?
What brought you to Singapore?
The same thing that took us from our London home to Hong Kong eight years ago: Dave’s shipping career.
Hong Kong regulations did not allow me to do any sort of work, not even for charity. So, thinking that we’d be back in England after two years, I set up two shops there – one in Marlborough and the other in Cirencester – with the idea of establishing my client base before our return. But Dave’s posting was extended, and extended again. I grew the business out of Hong Kong, visiting the UK about six times a year, and then Dave was posted to Singapore.
How did you find this house?
I had literally a day and a half to find us a home and choose a school. When the rental agent drove up to the gate of this house, and we saw the derelict condition it was in, she wanted to drive on; but it was the first one we’d seen with a garden, so I insisted on going in.
It was full of snakes and cockroaches, and Dave’s first reaction was, “I can’t live here.” The agreement with the landlord was that we’d fix the place up, and it’s already cost us a fortune. We had to find the garden under the rubble before we could re-establish it, we’ve engaged the services of tree surgeons, and laid turf twice already. The house is about 50 years old, and though we’ve done a lot to improve the ancient wiring, it needs more work.
When we leave here at the end of our three-year lease, which sadly seems inevitable, the landlord will probably demand that we rip out the new pool and decking that we’ve put in. That’s what happened to the previous tenants, who just filled the pool in with rubble. What a dreadful waste!
Did you bring your furniture with you?
We took nothing more than our suitcases and a few personal items to Hong Kong. Everything we have here was either bought in Hong Kong or comes from my shops in the UK.
We commissioned Hart to take these black-and-white family portraits as a Christmas gift for Dave’s mum, so it’s nice that he’s doing the photo-shoot today; we already feel that we know him well. He has also done some photography for my catalogue.
Some of the furniture and accessories you see here are destined for the bigger Tanglin Mall shop that we’ll be moving into this month. My shop is generally feminine and floral, which I love, but my own homes have always had a more masculine, vintage and antique style. This leather-bound cabinet for cutlery and these three leather trunks, for example, are amongst my favourite pieces.
About 50 percent of my stock is from Asia, so it may seem a bit daft that everything I sell in Singapore comes through my UK shops. The good thing about it is that everything has EU certification, which demands high safety and quality standards. I feel it would be too problematic for me to import directly from China, for example.
Our dining table was the first piece we bought in Asia, but now that the Asian theme has run it’s course in our house, we need to get rid of it. But the kids love it, and it’s too good to throw away.
How much time do you spend away from home?
I limit my trips to a maximum of 14 days at a time; any longer than that and the children realise I am not around and start to miss me. It’s essential for me to watch the loading of my containers and to do the UK spring and autumn shows.
Where did you get the name of your new Singapore shop, Tatty Marsh?
It’s a play on Tattinger Marsh, the name of my UK company. We make a big thing of having Taittinger champagne at our special events and openings, and the official opening of the new Tatty Marsh store on 11 March will be no different. Let’s hope the 200 guests invited are not raving alcoholics!
I think I’ve been extremely lucky. Straight off the boat, as it were, I found Expat Living and Tanglin Mall, and didn’t waste time looking any further. I think the management at the Mall recognised the quality of my products and their obvious expat appeal. They were also keen to be the only mall in the country to stock the brands. I’m moving into what was the Fat Face shop. It’s around 2,000 square feet, and big enough for me to display the products as they should be displayed: in room settings.
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