Driving down East Coast Road to Carla De Peuter’s house, I’m in awe of the huge homes that populate the street and the cars in the driveways. We walk up to the house through a covered area she uses for her small home-based business. Being steered around the planet for her husband’s career has not stopped her from creating successful businesses wherever they’ve landed.
Who lives here: Carla, DJ, helper Beth, new kitten Ollie (and, during the holidays, children, Maarten and Eva)
Time in Singapore: Eight months
Size and type of home: Three-storey modern landed home
Décor style: Well-travelled Scandi
Around the World
Carla’s expat journey started in 1985, immediately after she married her husband. “DJ was offered a job in Dubai, and, in those days, unmarried couples couldn’t travel there together. So, we got married and moved to Dubai straight away.” Since then, the couple and their two (now grown-up) children Maarten and Eva have lived all around the world: Dubai, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi in the Congo, Holland, Belgium, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and now Singapore.
The home has small reminders of these global adventures, like an antique camel box from Jeddah (my personal favourite in the house) and a Belgian tapestry.
The house, which sits behind the President of Singapore’s home, has been carefully interior designed with Geri Archer from Mara Miri. “Geri and I were introduced by a friend in Mallorca. When I found out she had spent many years in Singapore, I asked her to help with styling our home. The house is very modern and has a bizarre mixture of colours, so it’s not easy to furnish; but with the help of Geri, it now has a contemporary feel, with a cosy touch.”
“Everyone loves the house,” adds Carla, “and we enjoy hosting cocktail parties here! Even the owner told us it now looks like a house from a home décor magazine. We’re building a contemporary family home in Mallorca, but it looks totally different from this house.”
The hub of the house focuses on a shallow square pool that comes off the main pool. “This is the favourite place for DJ and me to sit at night,” Carla tells me as she points to the two-seat table and chairs next to the pool. I can see why. This little pool separates the entrance, the dining and the sitting room, and becomes the heart of the home.
Carla shows me her favourite item, a three-metre-high aqua-coloured Indian mirror from Originals. “It’s beautifully carved and took six men to carry into the house! I absolutely love it, even if it’s not practical.”
We go for a wander up through the house. I’m not prepared for the master suite on the second floor – to say that it’s awe-inspiring is an understatement! The ensuite, with bright natural light pouring in from the top, is encased in glass, and is the showstopper of the room (though I do find myself questioning the privacy – it’s not a bathroom for the shy!).
In Carla’s daughter’s room on the top floor, we find Eva and her long-term boyfriend Alex, curled up with their new rescue kitten, Ollie. “They met at school in Mallorca and have been together ever since,” Carla tells me.
The room is delicately designed, with pastel pinks and creams, making the most of the light that floods in from its private balcony. It perfectly suits Eva’s elegant bohemian style.
On our way back downstairs, Carla conspiratorially pulls me aside to look through one of the back windows, “See where that guard is? That’s the house of the President! They have one on every corner, 24 hours a day. But I’ve never actually seen her.”
Carla and I sit down and start to chat about our mutual passion for sustainability. One of her favourite places to shop is Scoop Wholefoods, where you won’t find wasteful packaging and plastics. She also loves to visit Pocket Greens. “My friend Ting Ting runs a microgreens farm. I love going out there and always leave with a huge basket of goodies. It’s such a great place and she hosts schools and groups who want to learn more about where our food comes from.”
Carla’s healthy lifestyle tuition business uses the TRX method. “I’ve been using TRX to coach clients for the last two years,” she tells me, “It’s a form of suspension training that uses bodyweight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility, core stability and burn fat simultaneously. We train the entire body, and everyone can start, no matter your age or fitness level. Most of my clients’ bodies change quickly after starting my TRX classes. I also believe in quality above quantity and only coach a maximum of three students at once.”
Our conversation then turns to her modelling career. “While most of the hype in the fashion industry is around new, young models, it seems they’re also looking towards an older generation too. Not only on the catwalk but in photography for beauty products, hotel commercials, the leisure industry and sports like yoga. I’m one of these models of the older generation, called ‘Mature Models’,” Carla laughs.
Seeing this house on the East Coast has opened my eyes to the area, and the style of homes available on this side of Singapore. It was great to meet Carla and see the area in a new light. It’s been an inspirational visit!
Mara Miri Global Interior Design
#06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
9640 3829 | areteculture.com
House of AnLi
#03-17 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road
6235 3851 | houseofanli.com
1 Bukit Batok Street 22, #05-02/03
6471 9918 | originals.com.sg
Soul & Tables
#02-01 & #02-03 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road
9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sg
43 Keppel Road
9420 4000 | taylorbdesign.com
Wine & Dine
15 Duxton Hill
21 Duxton Hill
Jim Thompson (“I love this Thai restaurant. It’s such a lovely building”)
45 Minden Road, Dempsey Hill
JSskin Aesthetics (“Gina’s treatments are heavenly! If you care about the health of your skin, you should meet this lady and try the Environ products!”)
30 East Coast Road
Scoop Wholefoods (“I take the kids here all the time”)
#02-17/18 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road
201 Petir Road
Singapore Wake Park (“I’m addicted!”)
TRX – East Coast Training Zone
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This article first appeared in the September 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!