Lofty Aspirations

Not a fan of minimalism, TV personality Jade Seah unleashed a myriad of textural wooden elements, vibrant colours, and vintage accents within the shophouse which she shares with her fiance.

Fact File:

Who Lives Here Host Jade Seah and her fiance Terence Lim

Home A second-floor unit of a shophouse in Tanjong Katong Size 1,270sqf

Much like its overwhelmingly energetic and chatty owner, Jade Seah's shophouse home is a vibrant hodge-podge of new and old furniture, spanning vast decorating periods, with bursts of unexpected colour; visitors hardly know where to start looking. In keeping with its non-conformist vibe, this loft is situated in the most unlikely place ­- on the second floor of a shophouse, right above a Korean restaurant! Jade and her fiance Terence Lim jumped at the opportunity to live in a loft-style shophouse and deck it to the hilt with their personal style.

There are glass lamps from Turkey, vintage accessories from Etsy, loud and proud colourful furniture pieces such as a bright purple couch Jade found in Singapore, and a container full of furnishings shipped over from the United States where the couple went sourcing. Not one for minimalism, Jade has filled every corner of the home with the vintage and country-style decor she loves. Statement pieces include a huge faux-vintage bureau on the lower floor from Taylor B which holds personal bric-a-brac, an old wooden bar counter, and wine barrels both in the living space and in the bedroom.

But before they renovated the unit, the place was dark, the loft level was much lower and the space was a little cramped. Purchasing the home from a French expat who was returning home, the couple put a lot of work into turning it into their dream home. Jade tells us more about the now cheerful and warm space, and how they transformed it.

How did you find this place and what was it like before you got it?

We were just casually looking around for a new place, and we saw quite a few, but it was obvious that we were going to choose this one as we really liked the loft element. When we first saw the house, the ceiling beams were much lower and they were in this horrible shade of brown. I really hate brown so, if you notice, there's very little brown in the house. Whatever brown there is here, it's not because of me, it's my partner.

The unit is pretty old. Did you have to change much of it?

As the beams were too low, the loft level was lower too. If you look at the walls, you might still see the marks of where the loft had rested. We got our contractor, who was really good, to help us lift up the whole thing. There was an awful bridge in the middle of nowhere at the loft level, so we got rid of that. It was also pretty dark, so we created skylights in the roof. It's nice at night, especially when you can see the moon through the skylight. The only unfortunate thing is that it gets hot. We'll probably get UV film for the windows. We have air-conditioning, but the unfortunate thing about living in an old house like this is the voltage problem ­­- you can only turn on two air-conditioning units at a time.

What other problems did you face moving into an old house?

Well, for one thing, there's no parking. That is very annoying. I come home late, and it doesn't help that there's a restaurant downstairs, which makes it so difficult to get a parking space. As for the house, we had to redo the plumbing. Previously, you couldn't use the washing machine and shower at the same time, at least now we can.

Despite all these problems, it seems you still love the place. You've put in so much effort in getting great furniture.

It's a small sacrifice for a place you love! We put a whole bunch of stuff from the US in a container and shipped the whole thing here. Furniture from Singapore, like my dresser and bed, are from this shop in Tanjong Katong Complex and the large shelf is from Taylor B. I don't like things that look too sleek or too modern, I hate the minimalist look. I know it's very current and all that, and maybe I'm uncool, but I really hate it. I like wood textures, lots of colour and vintage stuff. In fact, I take credit for introducing the world of vintage to my partner. He went a bit mad. He fell in love with it and would send me website links every day.

Would you say that the decor was mainly due to your influence?

Well, the wines are his, I just like to drink. He used to own a wine shop and we got to keep a lot of the old stock. The candles are also his, none of it is mine. I think he just likes the smell. My friends find it quite funny. But he is extremely house-proud, which is really nice. He always says he does more work around the house, and in getting the house set up. And he did most of the arranging of the house, not me. I've got no time, and I really have no patience. I'm very good at buying things, like the pictures and the frames, but arranging - not so much.

It must have been quite a hassle moving all the old furniture up the stairs.

Yes! I felt quite sorry for the movers, especially when they had to bring up the bar counter and the huge barrel. It was quite a problem moving in. When my brother comes here, he yells bloody murder: "Why can't you just build a lift?" That's the thing, it's really not fun when you have heavy luggage. But, like I said, small sacrifices if you love the place.



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1. Get a copy of the April 2014 issue of Home & Decor and read about the latest local and international trends in home design. Home & Décor, published by SPH Magazines, is available at all newsstands now. 2. Check out more stories at Home & Decor online,

Also, check out the April 2014 issue for these stories:

a) Green Living We've got 12 petite and moveable garden ideas for injecting a touch of nature into small spaces.

b) Keep Food Fresh Tips and ideas for organising and keeping food fresh in your pantry and fridge.