People are all different shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of oddly shaped apartments in Singapore, so finding the perfect sofa, bed or dining table ‘off the rack’ can be time-consuming and frustrating. Customised furniture is a great option and it’s not necessarily more expensive.
We spoke to a few readers to find out how they worked with different stores to find their perfect ‘tailor-made’ furniture solutions.
Katrin, Pascal and Peanut the dog, German
“We didn’t want our living room to just have sofas and a coffee table. So, we chose to have a hand-carved and crafted bench made by Gallery 278 by Esco Leasing. It’s sculptural yet functional, serving as extra seating in our living room. It’s also a conversation piece for anyone who comes into our home.
We originally started leasing furniture from Gallery 278 when we came to Singapore but we fell in love with the pieces so we bought them! The store’s principal designer Felicia not only designed this bench, she also space-planned and helped with our home colour scheme.
When you buy from Gallery 278, you get to see where the wood was sourced and its sustainable background. We like that we can make responsible purchases and yet have custom-designed items that are unique.
Our Welle Bench is made completely from reclaimed solid wood. The design resembles a draping silk fabric carved out of a thick piece of wood plank to look soft and flowy. The master artisan has wonderfully captured the essence of a soft look, even with hard wood material. The effect is artistic and mesmerising, and the bench looks organic, blending in with our tranquil garden. Our whole family loves it, and it’s now Peanut’s favourite posing spot!
If you’re new to Singapore and unsure, you can always opt for leasing first and then buy. You’re sure to fall in love with their pieces – we’re about to add a bed frame to our Gallery 278 collection!”
Cindy de Oude, South African
“I’ve been looking for the right coffee table for years! Why is it such a difficult thing to find? I was in Hacienda Blue and the sales assistant mentioned they offered custom-made pieces, and I started thinking about my coffee table.
I was looking for a small one, and ideally oval-shaped to fit into my small lounge.
We lived in India previously and I like the bone-inlay “Rajasthani” feel. I also like unique mix-and-match items. So, I simply love Hacienda Blue products. It’s not often two items in my house come from the same shop.
Hacienda Blue hadn’t done many coffee tables before, but they assured me they could make pretty much anything I could dream up. This in itself was a bit daunting, and also not being able to see what the product would actually look like in advance.
But I am thrilled with it! I also have a chest of drawers from the store, and a few home items like platters and frames. I often intend to give them for gifts but then end up keeping them for myself because they’re just so gorgeous.
I love the option of custom-making items. You can get pieces that perfectly fit your rooms, or drawers that are the perfect depth for different items.”
Sophie Edwards, Australian
“We were looking for a European-sized super king bed so that if (or when!) we move home, it’ll be easy to find the right bedding. My husband and I love the simple and elegant design of the European Bedding pieces, and the fact we could have a natural organic latex mattress individually tailored to each of our needs. So, we chose to shop there for our new customised bed.
Sarah at European Bedding personally tested and matched us to our perfect mattress type. They then made the mattress for us with “his and her” sides so we each get a top night’s sleep. We can also adjust our own bed base separately to personalise our own sides. Even with all this, somehow the join between the two sides works seamlessly. We couldn’t be happier with our bed, and our two little boys love the extra space for them!
The service provided by Sarah and her team was outstanding. Sarah spent a couple of hours with us while we chatted and tried out different mattresses. She also gave us lots of advice about getting the perfect blend of comfort and style – all while keeping us fuelled with gorgeous snacks, teas and coffees. The team that delivered and installed the bed couldn’t have been more professional and gave us great advice about maintenance.”
Woody Antique House
Bilyana, British-Serbian, Milla, Alexander and dog Sunny
“I was looking for a cabinet in specific measurements as I found standard cabinets to be a bit low in height. Initially, I came across a wonderful signature piece for displaying my teapot collection while browsing items at Woody Antique House. I then liaised with the sales assistant who helped with the selection and purchasing via WhatsApp. The shop also lent me some items for two months while I waited for my custom-made pieces to be delivered. The delivery men couldn’t have been more careful and helpful, and the overall service was wonderful.
I bought several items in the end: a carved wooden picture and a matching cabinet; a custom-made Chinese wooden cabinet with a matching mirror; two bedside cabinets; and a wood and glass display cabinet that opens sideways, ideal for easy access. I was the most excited about the furniture we bought but all my family members were very happy with the selections – especially the display cabinet because I’d spent a lot of time searching for one.
I’m extremely happy with my purchases and the personalised service I received. I was able to liaise with the sales representative via WhatsApp about colours, sizes and ideas. This made the entire process efficient and easy. I’ve already bought a number of items from the shop and would be happy to return.”
Sarah and Phil Cockerill, British
“We’ve lived in Singapore for many years. During that time, we’ve bought and inherited lots of furniture from friends. We wanted to give some much-loved pieces a refresh, and create a unified look across a number of different styles of furniture.
Retro Dec came highly recommended from friends and I’d seen their work first hand too. Ronnie responded very quickly and clearly understood exactly what we were looking for.
The team worked on three items for us in total. They varnished an old Indonesian coffee table that we inherited from friends about 15 years ago, they painted a black modern wooden console in white, and they painted a dark wood Chinese cabinet a beautiful blue colour. They took the furniture outside to paint where possible, and protected the room very carefully when that wasn’t possible. Their work was efficient and done to a very high standard.
Ronnie’s team even found the exact matt blue I wanted for the Chinese cabinet, but once it was done I realised it really needed a gloss finish to it – they were happy to oblige with a varnish finish that made it perfect.
Our whole family is super happy with how they all look. The rooms are much more pulled together. It’s great that we’ve been able to keep the coffee table especially, as it has real sentimental value for us – a reminder of our departed friends!”
Aya Fujiki, Japanese-American, and daughter, Maya
“I was moving my family from two historical homes in Canada and the US. We had a mix of furniture to ship, and I wanted my new home in Singapore to feel more modern and coordinated. I interviewed several stores during my house preview trip, and it was Naazli from WTP whose design sense and proposal (as well as price point) made me choose them. She gave me beautiful suggestions based on a photo of the artwork I owned, and created my living space around it. She also was very open to working with my pre-existing furniture, helping me make hard decisions about what to let go of and what to keep, and advising me on the new pieces I might need to fill my space – including custom-made items to help pull everything together.
If I later looked around a room and thought, “I need something on this blank wall” or “I need more storage”, I’d send a quick message to WTP. They would promptly send ideas for me, with colours and design matching flawlessly.
Naazli’s ideas are always spot on. This has been a dream for me as an expat with a complicated logistical move, a full-time international career and a toddler. I needed someone to help me create a space I can call home, without the stress of logistics and running around. Naazli never pressures me into buying anything; if I pick things out on my own, she just works around the items I’ve chosen. And every time I get something new, it’s like that piece belonged there from the beginning.”