By Sheena Chua
iProperty.com Singapore is taking you 'Through the Keyhole' of Singapore's most beautiful and unique homes. We talk to the celebrities and stars that live in them and get their thoughts on art, design, and, of course, the latest gossip.
Stephanie Carrington really likes plants, but has a sneaky feeling that they don't like her.
"Maybe I don't give them enough attention," she wondered, when I visited her at her Balmoral Road home. Since moving a couple of months ago, she has opted for sturdier greenery to add colour to the new apartment.
The word 'new' is used loosely here because, as I discovered while snooping around, the building really is quite old. There are no wet playgrounds, gyms, or elevators serving every floor here. So I was pleasantly surprised to be invited into Stephanie's bright and spacious three-bedroom abode.
"I like it because it has a lot of character. It's old, but you know it has a warm feeling to it," explained the model-turned-television host-turned-actress.
"You don't get everything," the FLY Entertainment artiste nodded to the construction noise humming outside her balcony, partially blocked off by sound-absorbent bamboo blinds. "Which is why the rent isn't as expensive as it would have been in this area."
While her curious three-year old poodle Cobey pawed at my legs, Stephanie told me about a particularly nasty incident when the building's narrower-than-average pipes became clogged and burst. Fortunately for her, only water had gushed onto the landing just outside her door, but the home of her neighbour upstairs was found strewn with human waste.
"Could you imagine if it came into my house? I would die!" she exclaimed, rapping her knuckles on the large dark wood dining table embellished with superficial scratches.
Just like the table, the rest of Stephanie's apartment shows signs of being more than just a pretty place—it is an actual home with people living in it.
A lesson in creativity
"There are fixtures that are in really odd places," she later divulged, exasperated. "Like in the bedroom, there is a power plug at the top of the wall. It's really weird."
Dealing with these unsightly and inexplicable features has forced Stephanie to get creative. The rogue power plug is cleverly tucked behind a tasteful display of framed pictures. In the dining room, another stray socket is artfully hidden by a massive table set and flower arrangement.
There is a reoccurring theme of strategic furniture hide-and-seek—perhaps adopted from Stephanie's modelling years. While a prominent oriental-inspired chest of drawers discretely stores all her shoes, the kitchen's country vibe is enhanced by adding dashes of dark blue on the walls and displaying various tea sets culled from trips around the world.
The six-time National Science Challenge host started out with a vision to theme each room to a different country. "I haven't got it exactly how I wanted," she said. "It's not quite there yet."
So far, the study, with its stylish reds and greens, is decidedly Chinese.
The kitchen has a Southern country twang that she immediately fell in love with. Spending time here is one way the challenge-hungry Stephanie unwinds after a long day of hosting or dabbling in acting.
She enjoys whipping up healthy dishes like fish with vegetables and all sorts of salads that she thinks some may consider boring. She laughed, "I even experiment with traditional dishes and try to include healthy ingredients. So they don't always turn out to be the best!"
The guest room conveniently adopts the set-up of her old master bedroom, while the master bedroom now is dominated by a massive wooden bed frame. However, the boldness of the centrepiece is toned down by flushes of warm colours. "I wanted it to have a classic, old-English style—just the way it looks now," said Stephanie.
The living room, meanwhile, acts as a mini-tribute to the region. The glass coffee table, made from a door, is purchased from India. A carving of Buddha mounted on one of the walls hails from Thailand. An Australian didgeridoo adorns the television set. Stephanie is especially proud of how the matching turquoise porcelain stool and lamp inject much needed brightness into the living room.
"In the past I stuck with neutral colours but since we moved I'm exploring bright colours. I think it works even though it doesn't match completely. I'm proud of how it's worked with the place."
To bring out the Asian vibe and a bit of good luck, numerous bamboo furniture and stems are dispersed around the home.
Working near MediaCorp Studios means the budding actress can easily access the nearby florists. Motioning to a vase of leaves adorning one end of the dining room, Stephanie leaned in to an almost-whisper, "There's like a whole row of plant places there and you can get these for really cheap.
"And they last a long time!"
Catch Stephanie Carrington hosting Season 8 of the National Science Challenge, premiering Tuesday August 14, 7pm on Channel 5.
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