Perched atop an unassuming row of shophouses in Bukit Timah is one of the city’s most joyfully eclectic apartments. After one conquers the steep three- storey climb up, the first thing one notices is the abundance of light, colour and space. That last quality, such a precious commodity in Singapore, was one reason Sandra Cameron fell in love with the place two years ago. “What we love is that it looks like a dump from the outside, but when you come up, it’s a feeling of ‘Oh, it’s really not bad!’” she says. “When we found the place, it wasn’t in the best shape, but we saw the potential. I love that the living room is a huge open space and obviously, the outdoors is priceless. Where else are you going to get a patio like that with an apartment?”
Related article: Yoyo Cao Takes Us On A Tour Of Her “Eclectic And Minimal” Penthouse
Cameron has filled that space with a glorious, riotous mix of objects, art and furniture—all brilliantly coloured and grouped together in charming themes or delightfully mismatched. On the far end of the living room, a wall is covered entirely with framed mirrors of all shapes and sizes. Another by the dining table is adorned with whimsical food-related art—two prints by Singaporean artist Jahan Loh, depicting luncheon meat and canned lychees, are instant eye-catchers. Stacks of art and coffee-table books sit atop the different tables, counters and shelves dotting the space. The space itself, flooded with light thanks to the huge glass windows running the length of the apartment, has been carved into little sections.
Related article: Mae Tan Brings Us Into Her Family Home
The seating area is demarcated by a huge sectional draped in white sheets and a couch covered by a graphic textile, with metal trunks painted in robin’s‐egg and inky blues serving as whimsical coffee tables.
Related article: A Peek Into Designer JJ Martin’s Vibrant Milan Home
“Almost 99 percent of the furniture here are things we already owned. For things we have to buy, I like to look at second‐hand items, pieces with a past life. We accumulated so many things over the years that we never quite knew what to do with; this place gave us the freedom to put all those things together and suddenly, they make sense,” says Cameron of how the aesthetic of her abode came together. “I feel it’s important that your home reflects your personality. For this place, I want it to speak of warmth, a sense of humour, a sense of character. And very importantly, it’s not a museum— you can sit anywhere, touch everything; read the books, light the candles, lie down on the couch.”
This ethos is reflected in Cameron’s approach to fashion as well. “Even if it’s precious, it needs to have a life,” she says. “If I have a fancy designer bag, for example, I’ll put it on the floor.” Another aspect of her style that spans both décor and fashion is her love for all things bold. “I love prints, I love bright colours. I absolutely adore Dries Van Noten. His boutique in Paris? I was like, ‘Oh my God, can I have this as my apartment?’ His mix of patterns and prints and colours is so unusual; sometimes, you would never think that they’d work but they totally do. I don’t love every single collection, but whenever possible, I do want to collect his pieces.”
Related article: June Goh-Rin Takes Us On A Tour Around Her Stylish Home
This former stylist for Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore is an accessories fanatic. “I’m crazy for them,” she shares. “You can totally cheat with them—you can wear the same simple dress or pantsuit, but accessories will take the look from super casual to something very elegant.” Her go‐to accessories are earrings and lipstick. “Those are definitely the two things I can’t live without. I have these geometric Hermès hoops—you can wear them with anything. I also have earrings with expletives on them—they look very dainty and then when you come closer, it’s like, ‘Whoa!’” Right now, her favourites are a delicate pair of mother‐of‐pearl hands with tiny garnet bracelets by Grainne Morton and dangly gold chandeliers from Chanel’s Egyptian-inspired Metiers d’Art collection.
Cameron used to be a fast-fashion fan as well, but she finds that her priorities have shifted with age: “As I get older, I try to buy less, but buy better. When I was moving here, I had to cull my wardrobe, which was when I realised, like seriously, how many high-street t-shirts and trousers do I need?” That doesn’t mean that all those pieces go to the landfill though. “I try to give new life to the ones I haven’t worn in a while,” she says. “I’ll maybe put them together with something unexpected.”
Again, that approach is also mirrored in the way Cameron dresses up her home. “I’ve been asking people on Facebook if they have orphan pieces—if you have one silver-plated knife or one cup from your grandmother you don’t know what to do with, give it to me. I love to have mismatched things—it’s fun,” she shares. That sense of fun comes through the clearest when Cameron throws one of her legendary parties. “We’ve been entertaining a lot more since we moved here. I had an epic birthday party right before the circuit breaker; we had maybe 70 people—we put rugs and pouffes on the patio and had this Marrakech vibe going on.”
Related article: Wendy Long Gives Us A Peek Into Her Chic Apartment
While it would probably be a while before we go back to pre-pandemic levels of entertaining, Cameron’s rules for a good party remain the same.
“You have to get the mix of people right,” she says. “And I’m not going to lie: I can’t cook very well, so I focus on putting a nice table together and having lots of alcohol— at some point, nobody is going to notice what you serve.” As for what she serves, Cameron has a fail-proof formula: “My go-to is raclette; it’s melted cheese poured over boiled potatoes and served with a selection of cold cuts. The fun thing is that you have to melt the cheese in an appliance, so it’s like a little game you do together.”
Related article: At Home With Matter’s Renyung Ho
For Cameron, it’s not so much about what you do than the flair with which you do it. “To me, it’s not about expensive things,” she states. “You can have cheap leaves, for example, but if you put them in a nice bowl, nobody will ever know. I hate it when I see on those American reality TV shows all these millionaires eating out of disposable plates—it drives me insane.” The saying may go that home is where the heart is, but as Cameron proves, it is also the heart that one puts into it that makes a house a home.