THE CHONGS': A PEEK INTO LIVING WITH PLANTS IN A SINGAPORE HDB FLAT

What's home to you? For the Chongs, one of the biggest aspects that define their home is their plants. We speak to them to find out how their home came to be, and get tips on how they style their home, and keep their plants happy and healthy.

For our very first feature of real places, we will be starting with a feature of our founder's home. Sarah and her husband, Kai, live in a three-bedroom apartment in Singapore; and while Kai is happy to lounge on the sofa and be surrounded by plants, Sarah takes it a wee bit further by hanging out and talking to her plants every night before going to bed.


Tell us a bit about your space – how did it come to be?


Kai: Interesting story – we never intended to have this many plants in our home. We knew we wanted a couple of plants to jazz up the place. But once we (or rather, Sarah) got our first few plants, we couldn't stop.

But once we got our first few plants, we couldn't stop.

We got our first two plants the weekend after the homestay for a dog that we were trying to adopt failed. We were pretty devastated then, so having two new plants was a great way for us to divert our attention to something else. After having two plants, we were pretty much addicted. Sarah couldn't stop buying new pots (and inevitably plants), so here we are now. I don't mind having more plants—Sarah enjoys learning about their needs and taking care of them, while I love the vibes that they add to our home.


What role do plants play in your home?


Sarah: Plants make our home, our home. We see them almost like art and furniture—they add that additional touch which we love. It's very comforting to come home to this space that we adore.

Our space is a reflection of what we love; and naturally, it's very comforting when we come home to the things we love.

I also find taking care of my plants extremely relaxing. My daily routine after work is to walk around the house to check on how each of them are doing. I find it very therapeutic and it makes me very happy when I see that they are all doing well!


Where is your favourite spot in the house?


Kai: It's a tough one between the bedroom and the living room... But I reckon it's the living room. When Sarah and I were first thinking through how we wanted to design our home, we agreed that we wanted the living room to be this inviting and warm communal space. And I think we achieved that—our friends and families love coming over and we love hanging out with them there.


Sarah: My womancave (i.e. plant room), for sure! I love being in this room when I need some head space. I find that I am most creative, inspired, focused and yet, relaxed when I'm there. It's where I prune, repot and care for my plants, and also where I go to do some writing or brainstorming. We haven't furnished it a whole lot but I have so much love for the vibes in this room.


What are some of your tips for styling a space with plants?


Sarah: Pots play a huge role in making a space look stylish. Different pots bring different vibes to a place. One of my favourite pots is this boobies pot from Urban Outfitters—it's so quirky and playful. I'd like to think that it encourages our friends and family to let loose and have fun when they are at our place.


How do you keep your plants happy and healthy?


Sarah: For us, the toughest thing to manage is light. Everything else like soil, pests, or watering is all within our control. To ensure that our plants are happy and healthy, we always consider if we can provide the light requirements that the plant has before we buy it. That has worked really well for us so far! Except for that one time when I killed Figgers (Fiddle Leaf Fig) from low light… (you can read more about it here)

To ensure that our plants are happy and healthy, we always consider if we can provide the light requirements that the plant requires before we buy it.

Kai: I don't do much, except follow Sarah's instructions! "Can you carry the pot here? I don't think it's getting enough light." "This plant needs watering, can you water it?" You get the idea.


What are some of your favourite indoor plants for styling?


Kai: Sarah does most of the plant styling in our home but I think having big foliage plants in the corners of the rooms is pretty neat. Some of the ones that we'd love to have are the Bird of Paradise or the Weeping Fig. We haven't had the chance to get our hands on those plants but I've seen some great pictures of it on Pinterest and Instagram.


Sarah: I agree, nothing else livens up the place as big plants do. However, I enjoy smaller potted plants too—some of my favourites are the watermelon peperomia, string of hearts and the peacock plant! These plants are so gorgeous and charming in their own right. I also love the cardboard palm, and the mini olive tree too. Am I naming too many plants? It's too hard to only name a few!


Do you know any space which we could feature? Let us know – we'd love to speak to them. As always, happy planting!

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