Colour is always a good idea, especially when it comes to decorating. And, especially when it comes to pink. Which is why my heart fluttered a little when I saw pictures of Tula Goodwin’s beautiful Singapore home. Tula, who lives in an Peranakan house with her husband Henry and 3 daughters also loves colour, “especially pink” and wanted her home to “be cosy and homely.” With a beautiful mix of gorgeous fabrics, colonial-style furnishings and bright pops of colour, Tula’s home is just the thing to swoon over on a grey old November day…
I imagined that most ex-pats in Singapore lived in apartments, is it quite unusual to live in a house like this?
Yes, very! In fact I haven’t seen a house like this in Singapore. It’s a traditional Peranakan house and I think they’ve all been knocked down now. Peranakan Chinese or Straits-born Chinese are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya (including Singapore) and Dutch East Indies between the 15th and 17th centuries.
What do you love most about your house?
The peace and quiet! It’s hard to believe that we are living in a busy city when I’m here. I also love the character of the building, especially in such a shiny, modern city. It makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time with its high ceilings, whirring fans and old floorboards.
The dining room and sitting room form one large open room – with the dining table at one end. I’ve used a side table and sofa to separate the room in two. I bought the table cloth in Biarritz – it’s the Basque fabric I love with all its wonderful colours. The rug is a bespoke one from Ruby Slipper – they design and import dhurries and jute rugs from India. The cushion fabrics are a mix of imported Susie Watson fabric and fabric from Australia, which an interior designer friend helped me source. I had a big cabinet made into a TV cabinet as I hate seeing TVs on a wall so it’s bolted onto a specially made shelf inside. I’ve bought a few art works from the Affordable Art Fair, which comes here twice a year now. I have also had a carpenter knock a couple of pieces up for me – such as the butlers tray table in the sitting room.
Tula and Henry’s bedroom (top picture)
I was very lucky to get away with as much pink as I have with my husband! I always love crisp white bed linen to form the central part of my room and then have added colour everywhere else. I had the Korla duck-egg fabric from my old house where it was used for curtains. When we moved here I had the fabric turned into blinds as there are four windows in the room and edged the blinds in pink to create a different look. I had the headboard made and covered here in Singapore and I bought the pink bone inlay side tables from a shipment a friend organised from India.
Daisy and Aggie’s bedroom
Daisy and Agatha have always shared a room. Like my bed, I love white pretty bed linen but that gets covered by their mass of soft toys…! I bought the white single beds here and then had the shelves and chest of drawers made by a carpenter in a White Company simple style. Their books are stacked in blocks of colour! I just want their room to be cosy and homely for them. The curtain and blind fabric are from Korla too – with a Chinese zodiac themed design which I thought was fun for Singapore. My daughter Margot has her own room, which has two bespoke beds in it and a Ruby Slipper rug. It’s a very simple room.
The girls love this room, although I do wince at the amount of stuff they have! I had always hoped for a tasteful space filled with lovely wooden toys but that’s an impossible dream with three girls and their love of pink plastic! It’s a very colourful place and I try to ensure that everything is stored away properly. For example, separated boxes for playmobile figures, lego, pretend food, farm animals, barbies etc etc. I store the jigsaw puzzles on one shelf and other games on another shelf so they can find their toys easily. I am quite draconian about their felt tip pens – if I find any without a lid, I throw them away and that soon teaches them! I have a separate area for storing arts and craft, sticker books etc too. I like to frame and hang some of their treasured bits of art that they bring home. It’s a playroom at the end of the day and as long as they are happy in it, that’s what matters. It is great to have this space though as it keeps most of their toys from being flung all over the house. That’s the theory anyway!
Images: Kian H Tan. Images originally appeared in Expat Living