With London relocation plans in progress and a new villa in Sri Lanka almost ready for holiday rentals, we thought it was time for a chat with VISHA NELSON. The Cinnamon Room in Holland Village has been her focus for 14 years – we talk to her about what’s next!
There’s so much going on in your life right now! Let’s start with your big move.
We’ll be relocating to London at the beginning of July. With my daughter starting sixth form and son starting university in England, it felt like the right time. The world feels like a much smaller place due to COVID and this too has spurred our move.
Singapore has been a big part of our lives. I grew up here, left at 18 and returned after 20 years for our latest stint of 14 great years, during which I created and launched The Cinnamon Room. But it’s time for the next chapter of our life for our family and the business.
What will happen to The Cinnamon Room?
I’ll be keeping the customer-facing showroom open until the end of June; so, if you’ve had your eye on something from our home décor range, now is the time to come and pick up some current, previous and end-of-line stock! I’m moving the brand to a business-to-business model and finding reliable stockists with the same level of service we have offered to carry our key products.
You’ve almost finished building your villa in Sri Lanka; tell us about your plans for it.
This Sri Lankan villa has been a complete labour of love. I’m of Sri Lankan origin, and although I have never actually lived there, I feel a real affinity with the island. I carried out my first site visit six years ago and we started the villa build just over four years ago. Of course, the pandemic has had an effect on the timings and caused delays, but we are finally looking at a completion date by the third quarter of 2022.
I see Sri Lanka villa as my next exciting project. My vision is to extend The Cinnamon Room’s values and ethos of unique interiors of outstanding quality and an authentic personalised level of service to clients renting our holiday villa, offering them a holistic and memorable holiday experience.
The property is unique; it’s well-thought out and, being on the beachfront, has spectacular sea views. The adjoining plot of land will be stage two of the project where I plan to realise a dream close to my heart of creating a mini wellness retreat, offering yoga and a range of other holistic activities to guests.
Tell us more about the Sri Lankan villa itself and what guests can expect.
We want to give our guests something special, with the very best of what Sri Lanka has to offer. Along with its natural seafront beauty, the villa will feature distinctive and memorable interiors combining an eclectic mix of unique Sri Lankan architectural design with a twist of modern style and comfort.
I’ve enjoyed a number of exciting design trips visiting factories in little-known, far-flung locations across the island sourcing distinctive architectural heritage pieces, each with a unique story. One piece I found is a centuries-old antique brass frame from a temple in Jaffna adorned with over 100 lamps that will be suspended in the foyer to the main house. It’s one of a kind and really sets the tone of the original interiors that guests can expect to experience at every turn and corner in the villa.
The Cinnamon Room’s signature style of geometrics and bold colour combinations will also be incorporated into our villa, along with artisan-crafted, customised fixtures and fittings.
THE VILLA IN SRI LANKA
- Four ensuite bedrooms – the villa offers adjoining rooms, making it ideal for families with young children; an ensuite games room and ensuite study can also double up as bedrooms for larger groups.
- Beachfront property with unobstructed sea views, just ten minutes tuk-tuk ride or drive from the historic UNESCO city of Galle Fort.
- Fully staffed with chef, housekeeper and security guard, complete with separate staff quarters.
- Facilities include a swimming pool and yoga sala.
- Minimum rental of three nights.
As you prepare to leave, is there anything you’d like to say to your customers?
My heartfelt gratitude extends to all our loyal following! From new clients to those who have been with us from the very beginning nine years ago when I started my business in my living room, to the fairs, to our gorgeously curated showroom in Holland Village, it’s been a ride I have so enjoyed, alongside their support! That said, this is definitely not the end; as our brand moves on from Singapore, we would love for them to follow us in the next exciting stage of our journey.
The credibility of our brand has been built on trust and establishing strong ongoing relationships with our clients, and this is something I feel very strongly about maintaining and building upon in the next chapter of our brand journey.
Finally, what are you going to miss about Singapore, and what are you looking forward to in the UK?
I’m under no illusions as to what I’m leaving behind! Amongst many other things, I’ll miss the warm sunshine, the delectable Asian cuisine, and the incredible level of Singapore efficiency. But there’s plenty to look forward to in the UK, including beautiful coastal walks, different seasons and the wide offering of theatre I can’t wait to get back into. It will be exciting to explore new places and I’ve got two teenagers who are eager to get to the UK and expand their horizons! We are all excited about the great adventures that lie ahead for our family and for The Cinnamon Room brand
The Cinnamon Room is at #02-74 Jalan Merah Saga, Block 43, Holland Village. Call 9727 3051 or visit thecinnamonroom.com for showroom opening hours. For villa updates and news, follow @thecinnamonroom on Instagram.
This article first appeared in the May 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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