Home Away From Home: This Expat Couple Is Living Their Best Life   

Eugenia Liew
Home Away From Home: This Expat Couple Is Living Their Best Life    
Hailing from the Netherlands, Biek Speijk, 36, and her American husband have had quite the journey finding their dream home in Singapore. Soon after they first met in Beijing about three years ago, her husband had to relocate to Singapore for a new job. “I did not expect the long-distance relationship to last. But we survived it and grew stronger as a couple,” Biek shares with a smile.
Biek fell in love with Singapore the moment she landed here. She had worked in fashion for over 20 years and knew she would be giving that up as Singapore doesn’t have much of a fashion industry. But in the end, it was an easy decision to move. “I chose love over my career, so here we are,” laughs Biek.
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While she couldn’t continue her career in Singapore, Biek has put her vast knowledge of working in the fashion industry into her venture, Biekaleidoscope. As a “confidence designer and textile artist”, Biek helps women go from a chaotic closet to a tidy home and head. Biek explains the importance of knowing oneself in finding the inner woman. “What do we want in life, and how do we achieve that? Once we have answers to those questions, then we can translate that to our wardrobe so that our clothes and fashion represent us.”
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Moving From An Apartment To A Landed House

When they first moved here, the couple was renting an apartment in Holland Village, and it was everything they had wanted till the city entered the Circuit Breaker ‘lockdown’. It was then that the enormity of not having an outdoor space hit them. So, when their landlord decided to sell the apartment, they decided to take the opportunity to move. Biek says, “We could have either bought it or moved. It wasn’t a hard decision to make as the apartment didn’t fit our needs. We were going to start a family soon, and wouldn’t it be lovely if we had a garden and more open space?”
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During the Circuit Breaker, Biek would walk down to Chip Bee gardens and look at the landed houses. “I dreamt of living in one of those houses,” she says. With her curiosity piqued, Biek was ready to explore options.

Finding Their Ideal Home

She started with a broad search, not knowing what they could get in their budget of $3,200 to $4,200 per month. So, they looked at apartments and houses on the West Coast and extended their search from Tanglin to Upper Dairy Farm. They wanted to live in a quiet locality, with a lot of greenery and open spaces.
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Even though they had an agent, they decided to be hands-on in the house search. Biek made an account on PropertyGuru, and every morning, she would go through the new listings to see if anything met her requirements. She would then contact their agent to arrange viewings.
When she came across the listing for this landed house in Toh Tuck, there were only three photos on the website, but it caught her attention. Biek had previously visualised walking up wooden stairs barefoot with her hands on the railing, and was excited that this could possibly become a reality. “I caught a glimpse of the stairs in the photos, and they were the same as what I had imagined,” Biek says in disbelief. There was something about the house that called out to her, and they had to see it.
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Yes, the stairs were exactly what she had visualised when she saw it in person. But that was not the only thing that sealed the deal – the garden was. “It was exactly the open space we are craving for,” recalls Biek. The place seemed like the perfect home for them to start a new chapter in their lives – welcoming a baby boy.

Exciting Times Ahead

“There is so much to look forward to. I got pregnant in this house. Our baby boy will be here soon, and this house has such positive energy. I feel we can grow as a family here, and we will be very happy,” Biek says, brimming with happiness.
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Biek admits she didn’t think this would be possible. Singapore is an expensive place to live in, so she never thought they would afford the rent for a house. “I feel like I am living my ideal life. It is so much bigger than our apartment. I could continue to work from home, I have my art studio here and I could also potentially hold art exhibitions,” Biek remarks.
Her husband loves cooking (and is great at it), so they bought a big oven for the kitchen. They also installed ceiling fans all over the house to reduce aircon running for sustainability reasons, built a deck in the backyard to sit outside in the shade, and their egg barbeque in the garden is the envy of all their friends. “We are even growing our vegetables now! And my art studio is a beautiful space in the centre of the house with daylight beaming in from the glass above.” With pride and joy, Biek says this is home.
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