Pooja Kapur, owner of lifestyle store Benares at her home in Coronation Road West.
A$600 watercolour painting hangs outside Mrs Pooja Kapur’s home in Coronation Road West. But the owner of lifestyle store Benares is not worried that someone might steal it.
“It’s just that kind of community where you never really worry about people taking your things,” says Mrs Kapur, 42. “We leave our doors open all the time, and the kids run in and out. So I’m not worried about people taking it away.”
That painting, by an Indian artist whom she remembers only as “Deepshika”, is the first artwork the Indian expatriate bought from a Mumbai gallery about 15 years ago and it sparked off a love affair with art. And it hints at the beautiful collection within her 3,800 sq ft condominium apartment.
Step inside and you will find works by other Asian artists. About 30 pieces, including those by Punjabi-Indian artist Satish Gujral, Vietnamese painter Thon That Bang and Japanese Fujitako Hiroko, hang on walls. Furniture accessories, such as a larger-than-life birdcage, dot the apartment.
The centrepiece in the dining-cum-living area of Pooja Kapur's home offers an all-round view of the family’s art collection.
Most were picked up on Mrs Kapur’s travels with her husband Varun, 42, who works in the finance industry here. The couple also buy art at auctions and art fairs around the region, such as in China and Vietnam.
She says they never planned on being art collectors. “We stumbled onto our first piece and really liked it. We never talked about collecting art as collectors or as an investment. We like the look of all the works we have bought and they have special meaning to us.”
Sharing the apartment are their two sons Rahil, 14, and Riyaan, nine, who attend the Singapore American School. The family also has a Labrador dog, Neo.
They moved here from Hong Kong two years ago and Mrs Kapur set up shop in Ion Orchard with her Singapore-based sister Shabri Malik about three months ago. Now Benares’ chief executive, she had previously worked in advertising for 10 years.
The paintings and accessories, such as a luggage table top and Venetian masks, add pops of colour to the communal spaces. Of the mix of works, she says: “I have them all out together though they are different styles and from different places. It’s eclectic yet harmonious.”
She entertains regularly around the heavy wood dining table that takes centre stage in the open concept dining-cum-living room. But the family eats mostly in the kitchen at a table that seats four.
The dining table in the kitchen is where Pooja Kapur and her family take their meals. Ms Kapur is the owner of lifestyle store Benares.
The kitchen is also where she works when she is home. It has a “peaceful” view of the lush greenery on the condominium’s grounds.
There is also a game room and three seating areas for the family to spend time together. “It’s important that the house has central points where everyone can do things together,” she says. “If not, everyone’s off doing his own thing.”
She has extended her interior decorating touch to her sons’ room, picking out the furniture. But the boys personalised it with movie, music and sports posters and memorabilia, and chose their own colour.
She says with a laugh: “It’s still such a boys’ room. But I’ve kept everything simple so that it’s easy for them to keep it clean and neat.”
Pooja Kapur’s younger son, Riyaan, personalised his room with movie and sports posters. Ms Kapur is the owner of lifestyle store Benares.
She says she is a stickler for neatness and it shows – her house is immaculately put together. But it is not a big deal to her if the boys create a little mess. After all, she says, it is their home to enjoy.
“The boys have grown up with these pieces and know how to move around them. I’ve never made my house childproof. I don’t want it to be a museum.”
Written by Natasha Ann Zachariah for The Straits Times. Photos: The Straits Times. This article was first published in 2012.