Well I’m back in the UK.  The last couple of months have been an insane whirlwind of closing down my home, life and business in Singapore, and starting up all three in Surrey/London.  I can’t quite believe it but apparently I’ve been away from the motherland for nearly eight years.

I started this blog back in the early days, to track my progress from Chartered Accountant to ‘Interior Design Goddess’ {complete with fairy image, ha!  27 year old Elly was apparently about as silly as 34 year old Elly} – comically poorly formatted first blog entry here {I do still love armchairs and lanterns, but errr I’m still not sure what a splicer is?!}.  Well I am certainly no goddess, but I am happy and proud to say that I am now a fully fledged interior designer, with many fantastic projects in my portfolio, spread across Singapore, Hong Kong, the States and the UK.

It’s been an incredible adventure, starting on a windswept Caribbean beach and ending in a leafy green Singaporean suburb, via Hong Kong’s crazy skyscrapers and Bali’s peaceful paddy fields, with many many highs along the way as well as an irritating quantity of lows – two continents, four countries, six homes, two careers, two small businesses, one marriage :), one divorce :(, four new amazing sports, one Nepalese goat-bus, never enough Jamaican dancehall, 0.1 chicken feet, many underwater dancing turtles, six choral performances, two new lifelong loves of hermit crabs and bougainvillea, one Balinese motorbike crash, 400,000 curry puffs, one marathon, three manta rays, 0.01 durian, seven sets of stunning climbing crags, so much nasi goreng and gamelan music, one mohawked monkey, four Hungry Ghost Festivals, three National Day Parades, two Pirates Weeks, one Thaipusam Festival, approximately 1 bazillion downward facing dogs, three Sai Kung waterfalls and four dai pai dong, too few Boggy Sands Beach fish fry, six dragonboat competitions, 15 lovely design clients, five print magazine articles, many technology tantrums, one comically passive/aggressive sub-contractor, a huge number of fantastic suppliers, and innumerable good people around quite literally the entire world.

But why blab on about it when you can cram 8 years into 20 seconds of highly saturated images?  {Side note: I’ve discovered the Photoshop ‘saturate’ button is like the e-numbers of the photography world}.  Is it healthy therapeutic reflection, or self-indulgent narcissism…?  Maybe somewhere in the middle between the two:



At least I managed to restrain myself from adding an emotional soundtrack.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to turn a passion for interior design and traditional artisanal textiles and handicrafts, into a business in Singapore.  I am now offering competitively priced e-design services in Singapore, the US and the UK, and am available for full service design projects in the London/Surrey area.

Please refer to my portfolio {here} to see my previous work, and Houzz {here} for happy client testimonials!  And feel free to reach out to me directly, I’d be delighted to hear from you:

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{all credits: Elly MacDonald Design}

I don’t get much time to write blog posts these days sadly, but I am occasionally updating my website blog page with past projects, and current inspirations – head on over for random ramblings!  I’d love to connect on Instagram and Facebook too, where I share peeks into current projects and errr more random ramblings.

So here ends the blog!  Thank you for reading, and I hope its contents have helped or inspired at least a few people out there.

Over and out,

Interior Design Non-Goddess

Design from Down Under

I’ve been increasingly drawn to Australian interior design over the last few months, after having a good oogle at a couple of their design mags on a flight back home.  Literally almost every single space I see makes my eyes pop out of my noggin, so I thought I’d do a little round up this week of a few of my faves.

Incorporating more light, bright, natural finishes than you can shake a stick at, a large smattering of Balinese/general Indonesian decor and a focus on indoor/outdoor spaces, these are guaranteed to make your day – I recommend you go make yourself a cuppa and take some time over them.


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Swing arm wall sconces

I’ve spent about 18 hours this week gawping online at swing arm wall sconces, hunting down the perfect piece for my Serangoon Condo client.  I love incorporating these plug-in suckers into projects, as they pack maximum punch design-wise with minimum faff and rewiring.  In fact, no faff or rewiring whatsoever.

Whether you go for a design classic like the Flos 265 Swivel Sconce {top left} or Serge Mouille Lamp {top right} {see here for more of these aliens}, a more industrial bare-bulb option, or even some traditional{ish} sconce-with-shade shizzle, there’s a swing arm out there for every style!



Designer Pillow Giveaway

We’ve had some fab news over here at EMD this month: Home & Decor Singapore magazine has featured my Joo Chiat Duplex project in their September issue, and dubbed lil’ old me ‘Queen of Textiles’, which is extremely fitting {well, the ‘textiles’ bit anyway}.


Head on over to my press page for the full article {here} or grab yourself a copy online {here} or on paper {errr in any shop in Singapore}.

So to celebrate the coronation I’ve decided to share said textiles with one lucky reader, anywhere in the world!  I’m giving away one designer pillow in a vintage ethnic textile, totally for free – take your pick from a Malian mudcloth, a Timorese ikat or a Hmong batik.

Combined with an all-natural linen backing, one of my signature solid brass zips, and a gorgeous chubby overstuffed inner, it’s guaranteed to be the cherry on the cake that is your sofa / bed / armchair / window seat / sectional / terrace furniture / banquette / chaise / errr floor.  Textile deets below.


Decided which is your fave…?  I know I know, it’s tricky…you have to really concentrate.

Got it now?  Brilliant.  Here’s how to win it:

1) Connect with me on Instagram {here} or Facebook {here};

2) Leave a comment on this blog post saying which piece is your pick, and where in your home you’d put your new pillow {and remember to leave your email address please}.

The lucky winner will be picked on September 30, 2016, time to get clicking!

***************************WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!!***************************

Congratulations Helen Tan!  Your white Malian mud cloth textile is on its way to the workshop, will email you with the details.

{Designer approved} IKEA scores

A very common misconception about interior design services is that they cost big bucks and that only multi-bajillionaires can afford to hire designers.  I would like to squish this idea and set the record straight.  In the past I’ve worked with large budgets and small budgets – I love being able to splurge on beautiful custom furnishings and gorgeous luxe finishes, but I also equally love the challenge of creating amazing style and highly personalised spaces on a smaller budget.

So today let’s talk IKEA budget design scores.  I’ve used at least one IKEA piece in every single project to date – a lot of their designs still leave a little to be desired, either style- or quality-wise, but they also have many many stylish and durable items, that allow you to re-direct budget towards pieces that would otherwise be unaffordable.

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Skyline Condo – before + after

Oooh I do love me a good ‘before and after’, I do.  Ever since my first B+A post a comically long time ago {here}, when I was evidently still finding my design-feet {and where, at some point since, WordPress has inexplicably decided to make the text ALL ANGRY CAPS}, I still have a huge soft spot for seeing spaces transformed from uggers version to thing-of-beauty.  I also still ponder that droopy {technical term} silk blind on a weirdly regular basis.

Anyhoo, I digress.  No droopy silk blinds were involved in the design of this masculine, slightly ethnic, very well-travelled bachelor pad, in a rental unit at Concourse Skyline Condo, just next door to Nicoll Highway/Arab Street.

skyline condo singapore elly macdonald design - living2_1

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Succulent styling

I have a photoshoot lined up next month for one of my recently completed projects.  I’m excited: it’s the first time I’ve had the pros in as opposed to doing it myself, and I can’t wait to see them work their magic.

The project’s pretty much good to go, it just needs a little tropical botanical/floral pep, and I’m thinking that succulents and cacti are the way forward.

succulent cactus interior design styling www.ellymacdonalddesign.com0

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E-Design Services

I’ve received quite a few enquiries over the last couple of months about the interior e-design services I offer, here at Elly MacDonald Design, to clients in Singapore, the US and the UK.

So I thought I’d save my sausage-fingers from some avoidable typing, and do a little blog summary of the ins and outs of this service.

penn farmhouse plan ground floor - Elly MacDonald Design - Singapore interior designer

It’s essentially a more affordable version of a traditional interior design project.  In an e-design project, the client does all the non-design-y bits and pieces: the measuring up of the space, the purchasing and installing of all furniture, textiles and accessories, the sourcing and managing of contractors (where used), the dealing with any and all install bloopers {there’s always one!}, the styling, etc etc.

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Outstanding Oushaks

I seem to have a nine year old’s skills in titling blogposts…there’s nothing like a spot of alliteration.  Err random start.  SO today I thought we should talk oushak rugs, ladies and gents.

I have had a soft spot in my heart for these for a long long time now – adding the perfect exotic/ethnic vibe underfoot but without the more saturated and vibrant palettes you so often get with Persian rugs, they complement a really wide array of different interiors styles.

oushak rug round up www.ellymacdonalddesign.com8

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We’re in business!

Yikes loves, I’ve been awol for some time.  Well there’s been some changes around here at Caribbean Living HQ.

Where to start…well firstly I guess Caribbean Living HQ actually has a new name now: Elly MacDonald Design – Interiors + Urban Landscapes.  Yeehaw, we are in business.  And by ‘we’ I in actual fact mean ‘I’, for the time being anyway – I’m doing the designing, the project execution, the admin, the marketing, the website design, the graphic design, the photography, the business side of things aaaaand flipping instagram.  I’m a busy busy bee these days, so please forgive my errr year-long absence?  I’ve been sitting exactly in this spot working my bot off:

joo chiat duplex singapore elly macdonald design - office3 (2)

{credit: Elly MacDonald Design}

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