People sometimes ask what sparked my passion for interior design and what informs my style today. Though my answer, my childhood, is conventional enough, my childhood was perhaps not.
I grew up in a faded Edwardian seaside town to a librarian mother and a hard working father. As a child I spent many hours exploring my poh-poh (Cantonese-Grandmother) and grandpa's house. They met in colonial Malaya, my grandpa the son of wealthy Dutch settlers and my poh-poh the daughter of Singaporean Chinese settlers. Their marriage was frowned up at the time despite Malaya's diverse ethnic heritage. Grandpa Rex was the epitome of a gentleman, kind hearted, dignified and always impeccably dressed! Poh-poh exuded warmth but had a stoic resilience. They were and remain the most devoted couple I have known.
Their home was a beautiful fusion of European and Oriental styles. Before her retirement Poh-poh was a couture seamstress, designing wedding dresses for society women, however, her love for sewing never diminished and she retained a large studio that was an Aladdin's cave over flowing with reams of fabric, from oriental silks to plush velvets and floral linens by JP & Barker. Their furniture included lacquer screens, mother of pearl inlaid rosewood, richly scented camphor wood chests and Turkish carpets juxtaposed with mid-century teak and a few exquisite art deco pieces.
When I think of these personal memories and attachments I am reminded that their taste was as universal as it is personal. For if something possesses true beauty it is timeless and will both arouse feeling and provoke thought for years, decades, even centuries to come.
JP & Baker's ‘Upstream’ linen. A classic brand that’s still freshand innovative.
Pamono's super collection of mid-century chairs.
Liberty's sumptuous carpet emporium with knowledgeable staff to tell each rug's unique story...