Angelia’s 4-room flat in Whampoa is decidedly local and global at once. A bright and colourful space made up of an eclectic jumble of vintage furniture, plants, and knick-knacks from all over the world, every piece of item in her beautiful home comes with a story to tell.

Returning home to Singapore after spending 10 years working abroad, Angelia set out to fill her home with furniture that are 100% made in Singapore after inheriting a wooden cabinet from her late aunt.

This 55-year old wooden cabinet used to be a wardrobe of Angelia’s aunt

This modest wooden cabinet that sits right in front of the entrance to her bedroom was the first piece of furniture she had in her flat. In the era before fast fashion and furniture, it held all her aunt’s clothes when she was alive.

In fact, many of her furniture are vintage pieces made locally, and subsequently restored and given a new lease of life in her flat.

The centrepiece of her kitchen and dining area: a gorgeous table made in Singapore using Burmese teak, and no nails!

Restored wooden cabinets displaying crockery collected from all over the world

Angelia’s advice for home owners looking for vintage furniture is to start early. Identify the items and style that you are looking for, and ask around. She let vintage furniture sellers know the pieces that she was on the lookout for, and they contacted her once they had suitable pieces on hand.

She also suggests looking into dumpsters and sourcing from karang gunis (rag-and-bone men). Like they say, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

Singapore-invented bathroom door system made for saving space

Besides vintage furniture, Angelia also proudly showed us the doors of her bathrooms — a Singapore invention too! The unique system takes up a significantly smaller swing area compared to conventional bathroom doors in the market, freeing up more space in the toilet.

Angelia’s living room is filled with colourful art pieces

In the living room, her colourful personality and zest for life shines through in the art pieces that were collected from her adventures all over the world.

She is especially pleased with the portrait of the girl looking defiantly into the space. It was bought for 1 yuan from the roadside in Beijing. That is 20 Singapore cents!

An enthusiast of plant-dyed textile arts, the colourful cloth that she proudly hangs in her living room is a hand-painted piece by the Sumba tribe in east Indonesia. Using only colours derived from 2 plants — Indigo and Moranda — the textile features motifs of horseshoe and crayfish, a nod to their headhunting heritage.

DIY macramé plant hanger made using recycled clothes

Wooden shelf featuring miniature white plastic chairs ubiquitous in Singapore

Plants can be found in every corner of her house

It is not hard to see why she describes her flat as an ‘urban jungle’. The plants breathe life into the space, making it more warm and inviting.

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  • Lim Wei Di

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