For any jetsetter, one of the most difficult parts of travelling is coming home. No matter where you go, you will never run out of things to see and do.
This might not be the case for Singaporean travel blogger Jaclynn Seah. Even when she spends all her free time flying overseas when she can, she still looks forward to coming back to her Serangoon family home, a three-storey semi-detached where she lives with her mother, sisters, and their families.
The family moved to this house in 1997. It was then a one-storey house with three bedrooms. Last year, they had the home rebuilt to make space for the expanding family. “I like this neighbourhood because it's quiet. It's not the most accessible but it's peaceful and quiet,” says Jaclynn.
Greeting guests upon entering this contemporary home is the front porch, which the family members use to entertain visitors most of the time. "It's quite an open area. When we have friends over, that's where people gather naturally, so we spend a lot of time here."
The interiors of this home were mostly designed by Jaclynn's mum, with the consultation of an architectural firm for the house renovation. “My mum didn’t want anything too fancy. She just wanted it to be airy and open, because the previous house didn’t have very good airflow. She also wanted something simple that would be able to accommodate the mix of furnishings our family has collected, from traditional teak furniture that’s as old as I am, to my mother’s collection of Chinese paintings.”
"I bought these three sketches because I'm narcissistic and I couldn’t make up my mind," laughs Jaclynn, who sat for live portrait sketching event Portraits After Dark at MAAD market several years ago. The sketches she bought were framed and displayed in her room.
Jaclynn works a full-time job in corporate communications and started her travel blog The Occasional Traveller five years ago to encourage herself and fellow busy working folks to remember to take the time to travel.
Her bedroom on the second floor is a treasure trove of her travel curios and mementos. The walls are painted in her favourite shade of blue, which she says is soothing and relaxing. Almost all the furniture pieces in her room are from IKEA.
“I like the simple clean Scandinavian look and the idea of building my own furniture. IKEA’s stuff fits that need and frankly it’s just easier and cheaper to shop where you can get everything in one place.”
Jaclynn's bed alone gives a hint of her wanderlust. Her duvet cover, which she purchased from online store Deny Designs, shows the world map in all its colourful glory. Another felt world map hangs on the wall where some of her favourite photos and ephemera from her trips are displayed.
Globes also have a big presence in this travel blogger's bedroom. Intricate paper globes from Japanese retailer Geografia in various sizes litter her floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. “I run an online shop with items that I feel spark wanderlust. The shop is a nice way to feed my own shopping habit!” explains Jaclynn.
As someone who jet sets a lot and writes extensive travel journals on each major trip, Jaclynn needed a space for all these stuff. Where to find them? Look under her bed. Pull-out storage from her IKEA wooden bed houses Jaclynn's growing travel journal collection—made up of a variety of notebooks bundled with plane and bus tickets, her sketches, souvenir items, receipts, brochures, maps, guides, and just about anything she collects on her travels.
Besides travelling to see the bigger world out there, Jaclynn's other interests include reading and DIY craft.
The IKEA Expedit bookshelf stands right in front of her bed because Jaclynn loves being able to see her entire book collection, even if it does get quite dusty. "I buy a lot of fantasy, crime, and graphic novels. My all-time favourite author is Neil Gaiman.”
Her love for craft is evidenced in another smaller shelf by the window filled with various tools and materials for craft making.
Jaclynn isn’t the only member of her family who loves to travel—a collection of over 100 magnets installed on metal boards along the staircase pays tribute to the various places the family has visited around the globe.
“It’s something my mum started as a way to remember our trips. Even if I don’t end up buying any souvenirs on a trip, I’ll buy at least one magnet back to add to the collection. I try to pick something representative of what my trip was like.”
Some of her favourite magnets include the Gyeongbokgung Palace from Seoul (“It was my first solo trip, and I saw a lot of palaces for some reason.”), a turtle magnet from Cebu (“I saw lots of turtles while scuba diving.”), and a colourful tile piece from Spain (“I like the Moorish influence on Spanish architecture.”).
Jaclynn's home design and maintenance tips:
● A common theme that runs throughout the room gives it a unified look. "I really like the colour blue and I think it shows quite evidently in the décor of my room, but on the plus side, I never need to worry about matching."
● Keep your furnishing simple so that your decor and accessories on display can really stand out.
● Furniture pieces don't have to be expensive to look classy and sophisticated. With IKEA as her go-to store to shop for furniture, Jaclynn was able to furnish her room and achieve the look she wanted.
● Choose multi-purpose furniture as much as possible. Her bed is also her storage for her travel stuff while a short step-ladder serves as a make-shift side table and helps her reach for items on her shelf.
● Plan ahead. When transforming their single-storey home into a three-storey abode, the family had a lift installed as well, due to Jaclynn’s mum’s concerns about convenience in case she becomes less mobile in later years, and because the toddlers (and all the stuff that comes with young children) in the house were roomed on the top floor. The lift has since proven quite convenient in transporting bulky items and the growing amount of kid’s toys upstairs.
Photos by CH Thyng
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