Just like home

Fact File

Who Lives Here: An interior designer and her fiance
Home: Two-bedroom shophouse at Emerald Hill.
Size: 2,800sqf

For Elizabeth Acland, finding the perfect home away from home was paramount. Originally from Devon, England, she had trained as an interior designer in London before moving to Singapore with her fiance last year. Shortly after, she set up E&A Interiors with a business partner, upon recognising an opportunity to bring in fabrics from the UK, Europe and the US – brands which weren't yet available here.

The young couple had looked at around fifteen apartments before finally deciding to rent this Emerald Hill conservation shophouse. "One of my friends here lives in a shophouse and when I visited, I fell in love with its one-of-a-kind architectural style," she says.

Creature Comforts

"Back home in Devon, I grew up living in a thatched cottage, so it felt more natural for me to live here in a house rather than a high-rise apartment," says Elizabeth. Her current home has retained many of its original interior features such as hand-painted tiles, intricately carved architraves, wood-and-iron staircase banisters, and traditional window panels and shutters. It also has the characteristic airy, high ceilings and long, narrow layout of most shophouses. Appreciating the heritage of the shophouse's interiors, the designer just furnished and decorated the house, filling it with pieces she acquired mostly in flea markets and antique shops in England.

'We shipped over lots of antiques and furniture from England as I see myself in Singapore for awhile, so I wanted to feel at home," says Elizabeth. Apart from surrounding herself in familiar comforts, she also bought items from local shops such as Aphorism Antiques, Hock Siong & Co and Like That One.

As shophouse interiors tend to be dark because it only has light coming in from the front and back of the structure, Elizabeth kept to a palette of light and vibrant colours. Her passion for using soft furnishings is evident. The living room furniture is dressed in printed, textured upholstery in subtle shades of cream, beige and pale blue, with a pop of cheery colour with the cushions. Upstairs, the master bedroom channels the same feel, but in richer hues such as terracotta red and berry shades.

Personal Touches

Newly-installed modern classic ceiling lamps from Vaughan Designs complement the other original brass lighting fixtures perfectly. The designer also has quite a collection of photographs, illustrations and artwork brought over from England, which she has decorated the home's bare white walls with. Among them is one with great sentimental value - a large black and white photograph of her grandmother, which she hung above her study desk under the staircase.

Even though this isn't her permanent home, as she is only renting the property, it has not stopped Elizabeth from taking the time and effort to infuse her personality and sense of style into the place. Also, living in a beautiful conservation shophouse is a unique experience in itself.

"I love it, because where else in the world am I going to be able to live in a house like this?" she smiles.

Where to go: E&A interiors tel: 9647-3276

1. Get a copy of the March 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, www.homeanddecor.com.sg.

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

a) Bathe in Style

Dive into our pool of great ideas for bathroom design and take your pick of the best showerhead, tap, tub and washbasin styles.

b) Rest Assured

Need a new mattress but not sure where to start? Begin with your own preferences and needs in this guide to buying one.