EXPAT HOMES: Coupling Up in Toa Payoh

By Jamie Nonis / EdgeProp Singapore | May 29, 2018 10:00 AM SGT
Matthew moved in with his Singaporean fiancé, Cheryl Miles, radio deejay and senior presenter at ONE FM 91.3 in June 2017.
The heat and humidity never bothered Matthew Nixon from the day he arrived in Singapore on 1 January 2011.
Growing up in the hot desert climate of Phoenix, Arizona, Matthew had then worked in Missouri and then moved to Ireland for a year followed by a four-year stint in Sydney. He decided to come to the Asia Pacific because of the growth in the region and took a job in fund accounting in Hangzhou, China. He was there for just under a year when the opportunity to relocate to Singapore came.
“I was working with the Singapore team and got to know the COO of the Singapore operations and by chance, there was a resignation in his team and he asked if I wanted to come and take care of his clients here,” Matthew recalls.
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They purchased a 3i HDB flat in Toa Payoh.
“When I first arrived, I remember being swept away by the drive down the East Coast Parkway from Changi Airport, and I told my real estate agent that I had to live in the East Coast,” says the 38-year-old Vice President in Corporate Trust (Team Lead) at Bank of New York Mellon.
And he did for six years until last June, when he moved in with his Singaporean fiancé, Cheryl Miles, radio deejay and senior presenter at ONE FM 91.3.
“It’s very modern with a sleek colour palette of white, grey and black. Every part of the house has been designed to be useful,” Matthew shares.
“The style and colours of her flat were almost a match to mine. When I walked in, it was like looking at my same apartment. The only difference is that I don't get the sea breeze that I miss,” says Matthew.
“But I got to experience a different part of Singapore. Toa Payoh is quite central, with Orchard and Somerset close by. It’s been a nice surprise and I like the buzz you get here – I just have to go downstairs and there’s so much action happening at the coffeeshops,” he adds.
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Cheryl had purchased the 3i HDB flat in Toa Payoh the year before and completely transformed the interiors following comprehensive renovations. The walls of one of the bedrooms had been torn down to expand the living room, while the utility room was converted into an office space, leaving one bedroom in the unit.
The walls of one of the bedrooms had been torn down to expand the living room, and another bedroom was converted into an office space, leaving one bedroom in the unit.
“It’s very modern with a sleek colour palette of white, grey and black. Every part of the house has been designed to be useful; the mirrors in the living room are for her yoga and stretching for her runs, on the left is an entertainment area with an L-shaped couch, the dining table is next to the yoga area, and we’ve got a bar for entertaining guests that leads to the kitchen,” Matthew shares.
The kitchen is now the focal point of the flat. “She put a lot of effort into the kitchen and it takes up the majority of the flat. She’s a fantastic cook; we spend a minimum of four days a week cooking,” he offers.
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The couple enjoys entertaining. “We had two Christmas parties last year; a lunch with friends with kids and then we flipped it around and turned it into a night party with drinks for 50 people,” says Matthew, who proposed to Cheryl at Christmas time.
“If you’re a foodie, Singapore has to be the best place in the world,” Matthew says to new expats. “Open your horizons and get out of your comfort zone. Make local friends otherwise you’re closing yourself off from new experiences. I find there’s more growth in that and it’s a lot more fun for me. Personally, I want to come to Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year, not Fourth of July,” he jokes.