Dictionaries define the French D phrase “je ne sais quoi” as an appealing quality that cannot be adequately described or expressed. Well, Aude Giraud’s home, an airy, high-ceilinged, three-bedroom conservation terrace house in East Coast, certainly exudes it in spades.
She moved into the rented 100sqm space a year ago, and shares it with her husband and their baby. “People say it’s an unusual home for Singapore—retro and charming,” says the French-Javanese founder of Ask A French – Flowers, whose arrangements are inspired by classic 18th-century still lifes. “I fell in love with it because it’s within the Katong-Joo Chiat heritage area, where it’s like time has come to a standstill. The layout is exactly as it was in the 1930s. I found out that the sea used to be just at the end of the street, before the land was reclaimed. Leatherback turtles used to lay eggs in the crawl space under the house. The neighbourhood’s mix of traditional coffee shops and western eateries is amazing.”
Giraud is also Flanery, the singer-songwriter whose debut album Oh Boy is a folksy exploration of life, love, heartbreak and healing. Her stage name was inspired by the French word “flânerie”, an aimless state that leads to wanderings, and though she’s classically trained in the viola (and has been since her pre-teens), the guitar is now her instrument of choice.
The short walk up the graceful Art Deco-style staircase leading to her home is a visual treat, redolent with period details including the plaster mouldings that adorn the home’s façade, the richly patterned polychromatic cement tiles underfoot, and the unassuming wire mesh grilles that evoke a bygone era. An old brass fan and a tarnished candelabrum, placed casually next to the front door, enhance the patina charm of the place; a large potted palm and handmade wreaths introduce a touch of tropical greenery.
“My taste in home decor was shaped by my travels,” explains the 36-year-old, who grew up in Paris and enjoyed an eclectic childhood exposed to lots of different cultures, travelling often to visit her father, who lived in Singapore, and her grandma, who lived in Indonesia. “I also like all things vintage; things that carry a story. So the overall scheme for my home is French and vintage, [in a palette of] blush and earthy colours.”
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