Here's An Easy Way To Bring Tropical Style Into Your Home

Art & Design

October 11, 2018 | BY Hong Xinying

We explore the Xtra showroom together with Sabrina Ho for weatherproof furniture that looks as chic inside and out

Having recently moved into an apartment with her fiancé Kevin Matthews, home decor has certainly been the topic du jour for Sabrina Ho. By the time we meet her at the Xtra furniture boutique on a sunny afternoon, she’s already brainstorming the myriad ways she can decorate her new home.

Furnished with collections from leading brands around the world, the showroom is a treasure trove of design inspiration; and Sabrina is effusive with praise about the pieces on display. “I love how diverse their collections are—I can look for a wide variety of furniture for my office and home within one place, which saves me a lot of time,” she says.

(Related: 7 New Stores To Explore For Decor Inspiration)

While the couple’s interior scheme is still a work-in-progress, this gives them plenty of room to experiment to turn the space into a cosy sanctuary for two. Partners in work and life, the dynamic duo happily shares the same taste when it comes to their home decor.

“Kevin and I are very aligned when it comes to interior design,” says Sabrina. “I am more detailed about proportions such that I would measure everything to make sure it fits perfectly, while he is more creative and visionary.”

“Kevin and I are very aligned when it comes to interior design ... I am more detailed about proportions such that I would measure everything to make sure it fits perfectly, while he is more creative and visionary.”

(Related: 7 Ways To Embrace The Al Fresco Lifestyle In Your Home)

Describing her personal style as “chic, playful, colourful and feminine”, Sabrina fully believes in dressing for the occasion as much as being confident in her own skin, and she hopes to bring that same effortless ease to her interior scheme. “I do take the current trends as a reference and in terms of furniture, I lean towards the minimalist and modern Italian style,” she says. “I also love to add a touch of gold and find unique, contemporary art pieces to liven up the space.”

The vibrant array of the furniture from Spanish outdoor brand Kettal instantly catches her eye, along with the Melt standing lamps by British designer Tom Dixon at the Xtra boutique; pieces that coincide with her design preferences.

“I particularly love the rosy hues and the quality of the Kettal Mesh sofa, as the colour gives me a sense of calmness and harmony; it’s a piece that looks as good indoors or outdoors,” she shares. “And the Tom Dixon lamp, with its metallic finish, looks like an art piece itself—I have to say I’ve found the missing piece I’ve been looking for our living room.”

(Related: This Dream Kitchen Is Made For Pool Parties)

Of utmost importance for the couple is the study, a multi-functional room that also serves as a calm and conducive space for work or leisure. “Furnishing a home office is very important for us, as we work from home from time to time,” shares Sabrina. “So finding practical home furniture pieces that makes it comfortable and less formal can contribute to creative energy.”

The practical elements of the weather- proof furniture on display call out to her. Be it the foldable Seax seats from Dedon or the lightweight side tables from Belgian brand Tribù, Sabrina appreciates the versatility of these collections. Inspired by the tropical vibes of the showroom, Sabrina also hopes to incorporate plant life into her study too, with accents of pink.

“Pastel pink and green go really well together; I would like to play with these hues to create a warm, cosy and calm atmosphere,” she shares, with the intention of peppering her interior with verdant details as well. She adds: “Greenery has a calming effect and it’s thought to relieve stress, so it would be the look I go for to decorate my study.”

(Related: 19 Fresh Ways To Decorate With Pink And Green)

For the go-getter, home decor is just one of the many items on her to-do list: Sabrina is the director of recruitment consultancy KS Partners, which specialises in the legal and compliance sectors; she also runs executive search company KR Partners (specialising in energy and commodities) together with Kevin. On top of that, Sabrina is in the midst of launching Half the Sky Asia (HTSA), a career platform for female professionals.

“With over a decade of experience in the industry, I have witnessed first hand the challenges female professionals face at work,” she shares. “I started HTSA with a simple purpose of levelling the playing field for women at work.”

(Related: 10 Women Who Are Shaping Singapore)

It’s a project of passion that Sabrina takes pride in, as much as she does with redecorating her home.

On her wishlist: a dream penthouse with a generously-sized balcony, where she can take in the scenic views and greenery, while enjoying the comforts of her sanctuary. “I hope we can find that space we can really make our own, infused with character, charm and our personal style,” she shares, as the couple continues the search for their next dream home.

(Related: The Designers Behind Singapore's Award-Winning Penthouses)

This story was originally published in Singapore Tatler Homes Aug-Sept 2018

Art direction and production: Khairul Ali 
Photography: Jasper Yu, assisted by Tan Ming Yuan
Hair and makeup: Angel Gwee, using Laneige and Kevin Murphy

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