The Life Issue 16: Modern makeover of heritage shophouses, Q&A with Pharrell Williams

Emerald Hill shophouse in Singapore
A pre-war shophouse in Emerald Hill that has been renovated to seamlessly blend the old with the new. Read about three modern shophouses in the October issue of The Life.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO
Neil Road shophouse in Singapore
This Neil Road shophouse (blue) was a winner at the 2014 Architectural Heritage Awards. Read about three modern shophouses in the October issue of The Life.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Read the latest issue of The Life for a peek into the gorgeous interiors of three heritage shophouses, ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke’s restaurant of the month pick and to find out what Pharrell Williams thinks of luxury.
Read the latest issue of The Life for a peek into the gorgeous interiors of three heritage shophouses, ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke’s restaurant of the month pick and to find out what Pharrell Williams thinks of luxury.
Pharrell Williams
Singer Pharrell Williams shares his thoughts on what luxury means to him and his guilty pleasure, in Issue 16 of The Life magazine.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

SINGAPORE - Three heritage shophouses, three very different interiors.

That is the focus of the latest issue of digital magazine The Life, which launches today on The Straits Times Star E-books app.

The owners interviewed have done up their homes in ways that seamlessly blend the old with the new.

For example, step inside married couple Jaelle Ang and Yian Huang's pre-war shophouse in Emerald Hill and you will be greeted by a modern interior with a cool industrial vibe. Think bare concrete flooring, exposed brick walls that were part of the original architecture, and an open concept plan.

At another pre-war shophouse in the Blair Plain Conservation area, the previous cramped and dark interior was gutted out to make way for a bright, two-storey home with a roof mezzanine. Eye-catching pieces within the home, from a sculptural main staircase to the owners' works of art, make it feel like an art gallery.

  • HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE LIFE E-MAGAZINE

    1. Download The Straits Times Star E-books app from App Store for your iPad or Google Play for your Android tablet.

    2. Get The Life magazine inside the app. It's free, along with previous issues of the magazine. The Life is optimised for iPads and Android tablets, and is best downloaded when there is Wi-Fi.

But husband-and-wife team Diego Molina and Maria Arango, shophouse specialists from architecture studio Ong & Ong who worked on the shophouse, made sure that elements of the house's original design were retained. For example, they exposed the wooden roof beams and rafters - a hallmark of shophouses.

Also in the October issue of The Life, find out why The Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke has picked Maggie Joan's as his restaurant of the month. The Western eatery serves original dishes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, but that is not its only draw.

In the regular My Life column, multi-Grammy winning songwriter, singer, producer and fashion designer Pharrell Williams, who was here for the recently concluded 2015 Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, shares his thoughts on what luxury means to him, his guilty pleasure, and what he wishes he could do (hint: it has to do with flying).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2015, with the headline 'Modern makeover of heritage shophouses'. Print Edition | Subscribe