The chic apartment: Blast from the past

The study (above) is separated from the living area by folding doors. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: YEW XIN YI

The study (above) is separated from the living area by folding doors. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: YEW XIN YI

The chic apartment: Blast from the past

Vintage furnishings and childhood nostalgia fill this apartment

Louisa Clare
Nov 5, 2016

Stepping into the home of Mr Surojit Mundle and Ms Jayne Kuriakose, you feel a sense of ease in the casual yet chic resort-meets-traditional- colonial-style interior.

The home’s abundance of wood and cane furniture is complemented by light fabrics and occasional pops of bright colour.

“While the overall look is colonial and vintage Indian, there are also elements of other styles,” says Ms Kuriakose, who grew up in India and wanted to infuse the 1,600 sq ft three-bedroom condominium unit with memories of her childhood.

The 19th-century French cot bed (above) is made of Burmese teak. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: YEW XIN YI


The different furniture styles include a dowry chest from China that was converted into a sideboard, vintage rugs and traditional antique furniture.

The couple have been living in Singapore for 10 years, but this apartment, located amid the greenery of Mount Faber, is the first home they own here. They live here with their pet dog.

They did up the place themselves, with the help of contractor Louis Lim of interior design and renovation company Homeland Design.

What inspired you to design your home?

I already had a lot of design ideas – I used to buy a lot of design magazines and Pinterest also helped. Because it was our first place, I wanted to be a bit more involved in terms of the look. And we felt confident about designing it ourselves, with a good contractor who has good ideas and technical knowledge.

What did you have in mind?

The starting point was to give the space a sense of comfort and childhood nostalgia. I borrowed elements from things I like, such as the black- and-white colonial houses here. We like modern design, but wanted a vintage and colonial-style look as it links old Singapore and old India.



What ideas, materials and colours did you incorporate?

For the living area, we wanted wood furniture with cane and wicker work. I’m conscious about using recycled things, so a lot of the furniture was custom-made using recycled teak.

The study has a brick wall inspired by the school I went to in India, which was built with red bricks. The red brickwork also hints at the New York-loft style, which I like.

We wanted an old Indian vintage style with colonial elements for the master bedroom. The curtains and cushion covers for the bay window were made using my grandmother’s old silk saris. The vintage- style wallpaper is by Sabyasachi – a famous fashion designer in India – for Asian Paints.

As for the guestroom, it has more of an English-cottage style, as we wanted to keep it fresh and different. But it still has a bit of an Asian theme, with the blue-and-white ikat-print wallpaper.

Do you have a favourite spot at home?

I love my balcony. Most condominiums do not have balconies as big as this one, which is sheltered and has a planter. We wanted to make full use of the space, so we moved our dining area there.

We socialise a lot – we have friends over and our parents visit quite often – and everyone loves sitting and eating alfresco. It’s very breezy in the evenings.

I also like the bedroom for its unblocked view of greenery. The bed, a late-19th-century antique colonial French cot acquired from Karaikal in India, was the last piece we bought for the space.

Ms Jayne Kuriakose is sitting on a vintage Plantar chair. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES; ART DIRECTION: YEW XIN YI


Where did you find the furniture?

The vintage Persian and Pakistani rugs in the master bedroom and study, and Pakistani rosewood dresser in the master bedroom, bar and secretary desk in the study – all with brass inlay patterns – are from a shop called Brasswoods.

We also bought a lot of pieces from Prakalyam Gallery, such as the vintage Plantar chair in the master bedroom, the Burmese teak French cot bed in the master bedroom and rosewood Rajabari chair in the living room.

That piece was inspired by the kings in India, has three reclining positions and is traditionally used for relaxing on the verandah. You can find a lot of these chairs in Kerala.

There is also a website called The Calcutta Restoration Company, where I got the two Bengal librarian chairs in the living room and the Edwardian swivel chair in the study – they are reproductions of vintage styles, with a seven-step pattern weave made with cane from Assam.

Another great online source is Anthropologie, where we got the Terai folding chairs (in the balcony dining area), with Kantha stitch details and hand-block prints.

Also, Ikea – many accessories such as the baskets, as well as the bed in the guestroom, are from there.

•If you have a Housing Board flat or condominium apartment you would like featured, e-mail your pictures, with the header The Chic Apartment, to

•This article first appeared in the October issue of Home&Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines. Get the November and latest issue at all newsstands and download the digital edition of Home&Decor from the App Store, Magzter and Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes on



This article was first published on Nov 5, 2016.
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