If colors were a person, Kathy Ramos-Ferrer would be it. This all-around creative force welcomed us through the doors of her vibrant Singapore home.
Reading through Kathy Ramos-Ferrer's interview made me see only one thing: colors. Lots and lots of vibrant colors. I have never felt so much life and vibrancy come through mere words - it was as if she was telling me her story in person despite being based in Singapore. This imagery would be fitting because Kathy is someone who describes herself as "an artist, writer, dancer, storyteller, life partner, life bringer, life coach, and life of the party". There a quite a few more combinations of words she used for herself (think "pro-bono problem solver, kisser of booboos, curator of adventures, and connector of people") - words I typically don't come across in the sentence on a day-to-day basis. This leaves me with this impression: Kathy is a creative force to be reckoned with.
Interestingly, these colors also spilled into the photos of her home that she sent in. Her white walls became a canvas for her to splash colors and prints in a harmony that almost doesn't make sense but it does.
Get to know this hired pen, voice actor, and occasional salsa teacher (you thought it was over didn't you) in this home feature.
Tell us a little bit about your home and the people (or animals!) you live with.
Our home? She’s a brick… house! A three-storey rental at the end of a short row of townhouses in Singapore’s first heritage district. It’s my family’s sixth house since leaving the Philippines 13 years ago to follow my husband’s work. We have a young teenage daughter and sometimes her big brother comes to visit us from the Netherlands where he is based.
Describe the style of your home in 5 words or less:
Maximalist, multicultural, flea market fab.
What is the best advice you have given or received when it comes to interior styling?
Take your time. Enjoy the process. Sometimes you need a few weeks or months to find that perfect accent piece. When shopping for pretty things go with your gut! Leave something on the shelf and give yourself time to fall in love with it. When a room finally reveals its complete self it will be worth the wait! And you will have gathered lots of stories to share about how you put everything together.
Recommend three Netflix movies or series to watch while in quarantine.
The Social Dilemma, Sherlock, Cobra Kai.
Ice cream or cake?
Ice cream cake!
What was the biggest design challenge you faced in designing your home?
Deciding where to put the couch. There is a column that stands oddly in the center of the living room, effectively cutting in half what could’ve been a much bigger space for lounging. Ultimately, it gave me a reason to create a special listening corner where we could showcase all our 80s memorabilia.
What is the biggest embarrassment in your home?
The bathrooms, hands down! Our landlady didn’t have a big budget for renovations so we settled for the so-so bathrooms in exchange for rent that was 10% less and space that was 20% more than our previous house.
What makes a house a home?
The people who live in it.
Name the top 5 Instagram accounts you follow for home design.
I don’t have Instagram (watch The Social Dilemma to know why). Once in a while I will check out Pinterest if there’s anything specific that I need inspiration for, like a collage or space that needs decorating. Or I’ll go to the library to borrow design books (anyone remember what a library is?)
Which room do you spend the most time in? Which room do you spend the least time in?
The living room at my kopitiam table. (Kopitiam is a term for traditional Singaporean coffee houses.) Lots of sunlight and birdsong from the neighbor’s big trees next door. I go there soon after my husband and daughter leave for work and school. I like having my morning coffee and writing postcards there. My happy spot! Least favorite spot: the baaathroooms.
If you could source anything from anywhere, what would it be and from where?
An old black-brown food cabinet from China, which I nearly bought at an antiques warehouse that a friend and I drove two hours to find. (My family and I lived in Beijing for nearly eight years.) It had a big SOLD sign attached to it! It was originally a cupboard locals used to store their food before refrigerators were invented. No solid sides, just bars with gaps that keep its contents cool. I see lots of them here in Singapore but they are about 10 times pricier and less authentic looking under coats of glossy paint.
What’s your ultimate tip for organizing clutter at home?
Consider unconventional places for storage so you don’t have to buy extra cabinets or containers. Even decorative items like baskets and chests can store things like hand towels, art supplies, batteries, or electrical cables.
What advice would you give for creating a home you love?
Surround yourself with objects that bring joy to you and the people who live with you. Let it tell a story about your journeys - as a person, a family, as travelers, and as human beings - and not just because things match the sofa!
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