Designing Happiness in Tiong Bahru

Designing Happiness in Tiong Bahru
Aarish & Cynthia

Expats Aarish and Cynthia met in Singapore through mutual friends and bonded over their love for art and design. Their rental walk-up in the heart of Tiong Bahru is filled with beautiful warm sunlight spilling through their expansive kitchen windows, and their love for bringing the outdoors in has resulted in a home with a healthy curation of plants as well as a fun collection of furnishings accumulated from their travels.


“We are both designers and met because of like-minded mutual friends. Cynthia and I work in tech companies but outside of work, we like to pursue a few creative fields. Cynthia is building an e-commerce brand No Simping Simp Club, and I’m running a furniture and home decor brand Artica. We also like to do photography and make things, and Cynthia also plays the cello and piano.

“I think as a designer you either have a distinct style or you like to adapt to different styles and keep trying new creative pursuits. We’re kind of the latter. So our home is a mix of styles and creative inspirations. We enjoy the process of creating so much, I just don’t see us ever ‘finishing’ this space.”


"We wanted our space to feel like a creative studio and we tried to create some of our own home pieces as well as incorporate our hobbies into the space, such as music, art, and design. While some furnishings may be more conventional, others like keeping a cello out or displaying an aviation trolley and a prominent painting space with an easel, are more like 'why not'? It breaks the mold a bit, and I think having that kind of reminder that we can do anything we want is important.”

“I also enjoy nature and hiking, so we have a lot of plants to bring a sense of closeness to nature. Additionally, we collect many of our pieces when we travel together, so they bring memories to the objects in our home."


"We find ourselves spending most of our free time in the living room area because we have a wonderful and unobstructed view from the open kitchen just beyond. We spent a lot of time making this spot feel nice to us. Recently, we created a mix of retro and modern elements. The chairs have retro vibes, while the bar stools, coffee table, and couch are more modern. This combination provides a nice contrast and keeps things visually interesting. For smaller pieces, we recently fell in love with some European brands such as &Klevering, &tradition, as well as Hipvan, Ikea, Stacked Store, and Taobao, of course."


"Quality materials and sustainability are important to us. We value pieces that will last for a long time, and we have become more conscious about not acquiring items that are quick to use and discard. Additionally, we salvage pieces whenever possible. At least 3-4 frames of ours were salvaged from homes in the neighborhood as people moved out, and the same goes for planters."


"Our recent ritual is to go to the gym, make coffee, and start our day in the study. We love grinding our own beans fresh and making coffee, using our collection of cups—almost each one is from a different country, satisfying a mini ceramic obsession."


"One criterion for a place for us was that it had to have good natural light. I think as long as there’s really nice natural light, everything else can be solved. We get direct sunlight in every room of this house at different parts of the day. The sunrise lights up the kitchen area, then the living room hall by noon through the atrium, and finally the bedroom and study by afternoon or early evening."


"Home is a place that refills your energy physically and mentally, a place you love to come back to. From a creative standpoint, I love that we can bring our ideas out of our heads and into reality—that feels amazing. From a practical sense, it's also a good amount of work. It's an older building, and maintaining the house is hard work but fulfilling too."

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