This article first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, the fashion leader on the best in style, beauty, design, travel and the arts. Go to harpersbazaar.com.sg and follow @harpersbazaarsg on Instagram; harpersbazaarsingapore on Facebook. The May 2022 issue is now available on newsstands.


SINGAPORE — When energy trader and interior design influencer Vivienne Shen and her Dutch husband went house hunting in Singapore, they fell in love with conservation shop Joo Chiat as soon as they got there. have set foot.

“We have always loved shophouses in Singapore. Each one is unique and carries a piece of the country’s history and cultural heritage. This one has very high ceilings, an open space on the first floor and a courtyard in the middle of the house, which allows us to bring the outdoors inside,” says the 34-year-old of the 3,500-square-foot, 2.5-story home, which includes an attic and rooftop terrace. .

She grew up in China, married a European, traveled extensively and lived in Singapore for 16 years, and her taste for interiors has evolved over the years.

“My eyes have been constantly educated by the places I’ve traveled, the cultures I’ve been immersed in, the materials I’ve touched, and the people I’ve found inspiring,” she says.

She is “always intrigued by a space that displays a variety of aesthetic eras and textures”, and on her travels she seeks out local markets and antique shops. “Nothing beats the feeling of finding a one-of-a-kind piece that touches your heart,” she says.

As such, she decided that her home would be designed as a melting pot of influences, housing “an assemblage of my fondest memories of life”, and showcasing a mix and balance of texture, materials, eras and of patina.

For starters, two old-fashioned bicycles form an attractive tableau perched on the entrance’s checkerboard floor, which features reclaimed antique Carrara marble and bluestone tiles imported from the Netherlands.

A pair of 17th-century framed maps of China and the Netherlands (the couple’s home countries) lend period charm, while the glass balustrade and cantilevered wooden steps of the minimalist staircase offer an unobstructed view of the entire ground floor.

In a nod to the charming old villa in Tuscany where the couple hosted their wedding party, it’s settled into a Mediterranean-inspired living room and courtyard before adding a modern farmhouse kitchen and master bedroom and a colonial-style bathroom.

Disparate themes are unified by a soothing palette of neutral hues – mostly white, with pops of grey, beige and black – and the use of timeless natural materials such as brass, marble, wood and rattan , accented by the placement of tropical greenery. .

An abstract painting in earthy tones and a clean-lined sectional sofa covered in gray fabric anchor the living room.

Freestanding pieces such as a &Tradition Little Petra chair covered in sheepskin, a mid-century modern vintage chest and a 13th-century French chair add depth and texture.

Another focal point is a faux limestone fireplace in the 18th century Louis XVI style. It is flanked on either side by built-in display niches with an assortment of Han Dynasty pottery, a three-legged earthenware vessel from the Neolithic Yangshao culture, and period African crafts.