Caitlin, 27, and Nic, 32, are two New Zealanders who have been living in Singapore for a little over two years. In January of 2020, they made the move from their Redhill condo to their current three-room condo in Little India. They decided to move as they were looking for a more vibrant area with lots of good food nearby.
But what’s special about their new home, is that it features plenty of cool smart features that compliment the stylish interior.
What’s more, they did this in just three months. Which is quite remarkable as they managed to bring new life into a place that was bare in the beginning.
Home Away from Home
While the couple had successful careers in New Zealand, Nic was offered a good opportunity to work as a Product Manager in Singapore. Once he had accepted the role, the first order of business was to find a place where he and Caitlin could live as they worked through the transition. Caitlin meanwhile, remained in New Zealand for a couple of months as was still tied to her job.
Having grown up in the suburbs of Red Hill in New Zealand, Nic said it was “weird synchronicity” that he ended up in Singapore’s own Redhill.
When told Caitlin about the place, she was in full compliance with the decision and simply said: “If you like it, I’m there.”
While the couple loved that Redhill oozed local character and authenticity, it was a little too quiet for their liking. So, when the two-year lease was up, the pair looked for a new vibrant neighbourhood that would give them more to see, do, and most importantly, eat!
“We’re at a stage where we can easily make lifestyle changes and we’re up for new experiences. So, the natural choice was to move again,” says Caitlin.
The couple had ‘pretty strict requirements’ for their new abode: It had to be roomy with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. They also preferred being centrally located and having an MRT station within walking distance.
With these requirements in mind, the searched for a home on PropertyGuru. PropertyGuru’s filter functions helped them narrow their options and helped them to find their current three-bedroom unit in Little India.
Not so rosy in the beginning
While they loved the location of the apartment, the building was in a dire state as the condominium developers went bust before the project was fully completed. Caitlin recalled some of the problems they faced: “So the pool was getting pretty green and although a steam room and tennis court were promised on the developer’s website, these never came to fruition.”
Moving into the new apartment, Nic and Caitlin assumed that it’d be similar to how it was in their previous place, where there were only minor things that needed fixing. This assumption, as it turns out, was misguided: the couple didn’t quite know what they had gotten into until they signed the lease and moved in.
“It was pretty stressful. For the first couple of weeks, we had to shower at the pool because we didn’t have water pressure. The electricity was out, and we didn’t have gas, so I had to get somebody in to do that,” Nic recalled.
But instead of getting bogged down by things beyond their control, Nic and Caitlin focused their efforts on creating their own sanctuary, even though it was a rental unit.
Caitlin says: “Now that we are planning to stay longer in Singapore, we wanted somewhere that we could make our own. We like to spend a lot of time at home – it might be a Kiwi thing to invite people over so we don’t always go out. So, having a space that is us, that’s really cool.”
When the couple started discussing how they envisioned their home should look and feel, they realised they had ‘slightly different tastes’. Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock to them, since they have different interests and hobbies; Nic is the sporty half who likes Muay Thai and rock climbing; while Caitlin is the more creative of the two and even sings in a rock band.
So, rather than arguing about styles and tastes, they decided to engage an interior designer. Rashi Tulshyan, owner of interior design studio Home Philosophy, helped them to design their own personalised space without hefty renovations (and in just four weeks!).
To simplify the process, Nic and Caitlin completed a simple design questionnaire so Rashi could get a better sense of their unique styles. The couple were then presented with concept boards, so they were able to pick and choose what they liked.
Rashi also had to consider how to integrate the only pieces of furniture that Nic and Caitlin decided they could bring to their new place – a grandfather chair and an antique chest previously owned by Caitin’s grandmother.
After taking everything into account, the end product was a beautiful Mid-Century Modern style drenching with jazziness.
Making the ‘Smart’ Move
The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle for the couple was to transform their newly furnished apartment into a cutting-edge, fully connected smart home. Everything is automated: from the lighting, to the air conditioner… even the vacuum cleaners!
After three months of work, they finally call their rented space their home. “We’ll see what the landlord says. He hasn’t seen the place since we’ve done it up. I think he would be pretty pleased”, says Caitlin.
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