Blast from the past

Blast from the past

VINCENT Lim and Sherry See are only in their early 30s, but they're old souls and happy to admit it.

It shows in their home too - their apartment in Joo Chiat Terrace exudes an old kopitiam feel, filled with furniture and knick-knacks that are much older than them.

Young couple calls this 'kopitiam' home

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    Vincent Lim and Sherry See are only in their early 30s, but they're old souls and happy to admit it.

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    It shows in their home too - their apartment in Joo Chiat Terrace exudes an old kopitiam feel, filled with furniture and knick-knacks that are much older than them.

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    The pieces are similar to the ones that the couple grew up with.

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    "We did not know how to appreciate them back then, but now we value these old pieces," says Mr Lim, 32, who works in the F&B business.

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    This is the couple's third marital home, but they took the modern design route previously.

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    Apart from the nostalgia factor, the couple have also incorporated a Peranakan feel into their home, despite neither of them having any Nonya heritage.

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    Ms See, also 32, who runs her own retail store, says: "We went to Penang and Malacca several times, and fell in love with their architecture."

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    As their 20-year-old apartment didn't look "old" enough, the couple got their architect, Benjamin Lim from Livarc, to put in the necessary touches.

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    The false ceiling in the kitchen was removed, exposing the concrete underneath. Kitchen cabinet doors with a distressed look were picked to give them a more old-school feel.

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    And rather than smoothen a wall over with plaster, it was left in its raw state with just a fresh coat of paint.

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    A concrete floor would complete the look, but the couple decided to keep the apartment's marble flooring.

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    "We have to be practical. Concrete flooring is not kid-friendly," says Ms See. The couple have two - a four-year-old girl, and a two-year-old boy.

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    The apartment looks like it has been lived in for years, but in fact, the family moved in just last month.

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    If anybody needs advice on furniture-hunting, the couple would make an amazing source of information and quirky anecdotes.

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    One of their favourite places is Tong Mern Sern Antiques and Crafts, a well-known second-hand goods store at Craig Road. Its owner, Keng Ah Wong, is known to be a grouchy fellow, so "you must be able to click with him," says Mr Lim.

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    Thankfully, they did, and even though the home is furnished, the couple still drop by the store, "to visit Uncle Keng", says Mr Lim.

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    Their kopitiam dining table, chairs, several cabinets, chests and some lights all came from Uncle Keng's shop.

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    As the couple and Mr Keng got along so well, the store owner threw in some extras for free, including a few wooden door frames.

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    "But we needed to fit the stained glass pieces into the frame on our own. Uncle Keng gave us some recommendations of where to go," says Mr Lim.

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    For retro lights, the couple recommend Bangku Bangku Art Gallery, "as they specialise in lighting", says Ms See, who is particularly pleased with their lighting finds.

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    Hanging above their island counter is a trio of lampshades shaped like flowers.Over in the foyer is a hanging lamp that uses a pulley mechanism to lift and lower. Naturally, to fit in with the theme, the couple sourced for old light switches.

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    The green and white bathroom tiles, for example, are the same as those in Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. Mr Lim even took photographs of them to show the contractor to make sure they were identical.

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    The green and white tiles, along with other Peranakan-styled tiles on the kitchen walls and in the foyer, are all from a tile shop in Zion Road.

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    They spent weekends sourcing for retro items to fill their home.

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    Even alcohol licence signs were not spared.

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    "It is an expensive hobby, but it's worth it," says Mr Lim.

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    At Sungei Road, they found old beer trays, tiffin carriers and tea pots to add to their collection.

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    Mr Lim's mother, who lives with them, finds the decor "amusing, because she doesn't understand why we like this retro look", he says.

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    Friends who have come by have mixed reactions to it.

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    The apartment's kopitiam feel fits in well with one of Mr Lim's dreams. "I hope to open a cafe one day, and it will have the same look."

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    The couple say that because some of the items are so rare, they came at a premium price.

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The pieces are similar to the ones that the couple grew up with.

"We did not know how to appreciate them back then, but now we value these old pieces," says Mr Lim, 32, who works in the F&B business.

This is the couple's third marital home, but they took the modern design route previously.

Apart from the nostalgia factor, the couple have also incorporated a Peranakan feel into their home, despite neither of them having any Nonya heritage.

Ms See, also 32, who runs her own retail store, says: "We went to Penang and Malacca several times, and fell in love with their architecture."

As their 20-year-old apartment didn't look "old" enough, the couple got their architect, Benjamin Lim from Livarc, to put in the necessary touches.

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