Schezene Khan walks us through her carefully curated home pieces, and explains how moving to Singapore over a decade ago gave her the confidence to set up her interiors store, Bespoke Living.
The exterior of Schezene Khan’s Tanglin home is seriously impressive – all contemporary white Bond-style chic – and it paves the way for what’s on the inside. There, huge glass windows lead out to the garden, and each room is impeccably styled.
Schezene and her husband Faisal arrived here almost 11 years ago, with the three sons they’d had in their home country of Bangladesh. Though this was their first and only move away from home, Singapore was not new to them. “My husband did business here, and the family and I used to come across quite often. However, it’s very different visiting a place to living in it,” she says.
The family started off in the Four Seasons apartments, which afforded her the comfort and safety of apartment living, a necessity as she was also pregnant with twins. For Schezene, Singapore is very much suited for the family. “It gives you such a sense of security, and I feel it’s more cosmopolitan than when we first arrived. It’s also close to my home country, and the education and medical care is second to none.”
The couple found they needed more space so that eldest son Faiz could have his own room, and it was actually Schezene’s husband who found this Tanglin home; he’d visited it before and knew the previous tenant. When it became available, the family took it on. “It’s a very modern house, and it affords us a bit more space. The two middle boys share, and the twins now also have their own rooms.”
Faiz is now at boarding school, and this has helped spur on the most recent and exciting development in Schezene’s life.
Starting a Dream
With Faiz off to school in London, Schezene realised she was beginning to have more time and opportunity to throw her energy into something new. “I felt that, even for my children, I needed to do something; they don’t really understand that parenting and being a mother is a big job. In that same period, I also turned 40, and I think I changed a lot in my mindset. Moving to Singapore had already meant I had to step out of my comfort zone; then, with the huge support of my husband and friends, I had the confidence to invest my energy into something new.”
Schezene came from a family who loved to entertain, and she grew up watching her mother and grandmother organising events, from creating floral arrangements using flowers from their own garden, to making the streamers and putting together the dining settings. “I remember always watching them do these things for themselves, and it inspired me. As I grew up, I also always entertained, and when we arrived here I carried on, albeit with smaller groups.”
Over time, she found herself carefully curating all her unique dining and entertaining pieces, from cake stands, to cutlery, candlesticks and trays, and it was the admiration from friends that spurred her on to set up Bespoke Living. “I wanted to offer something more in the middle ground; it’s a balanced business in terms of time, so I can give as much of myself to it as I’m able.”
Starting with a pop-up shop in Scott’s Square in December 2016, Schezene soon realised she would need a more permanent space, and sourced one in the basement of the same building. From the outset, she’s been very hands-on, from the store’s concept, to the look and feel of the space. There’s always been a clear vision of how she wanted the store layout to look; that is, “without stacks and stacks of products everywhere.”
The products you will find in store are sourced from all over the world, with some items customised by suppliers, making them unique pieces. Schezene offers delivery to her customers, and she also helps with spatial planning and product placement in their own homes, should they require it.
As the business has continued to grow over the past year, Schezene has added online retail to its offerings. “First it was the physical store opening, and then going online – it’s been a series of little goals for us, but the online retail is important, particularly for those people who mightn’t have time to go into the store initially, but who want to see what products we have.”
House and Home
Schezene’s own house clearly reflects what you expect to find in her showroom. Her style is a blend of larger, more neutral pieces, along with pops of colour and some luxe touches in the mirrors and textiles. Bespoke Living carries many semi-precious stone items, such as lapis lazuli, quartz, agate and malachite, and many of these you can spot in her own home.
“I used to love a more traditional style; then when we started travelling I found I was drawn to more modern pieces. Now my main advice to clients is to blend pieces – don’t buy everything at once, and understand that just because you think something is pretty, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will go with your own home style.”
When Schezene isn’t busy curating décor and advising clients, she still enjoys spending plenty of time with her family. “I have to have the right balance between my family and my work, and I don’t ever want my kids to feel that I’m not giving them enough time.”
This doesn’t mean that she hasn’t got a clear vision for the future of the business. “My focus is to ensure Bespoke Living makes its mark in the online business, and ultimately for the company to go global; I’m pinpointing Dubai and London as the next places to open our doors to.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: KATIE MARTIN-SPERRY
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