Su-Quinn Toh–28-years-old interior decorator, fashion-savvy mother of two, and entrepreneur–was texting me at 12am the night before our shoot, finalising outfit ideas and breakfast options. When we meet on a Thursday morning, everything is coordinated to perfection, as expected of her type-A personality, from delectable platters of pastries to racks of designer clothing at the ready, down to the perfect details of her home, where fresh pink roses are ordered in for the shoot. Could there be more flowers in this English cottage-inspired home, given that floral wallpapers are in almost every room, complemented by furnishings in muted greys and romantic prints? “In this house, florals are always in season,” Su-Quinn jokes, with a tinge of seriousness.
Her perennial fascination with flowers was the catalyst that led Su-Quinn to start a florist business in 2016, a job that encouraged creativity, while smelling fantastic all the time. “Spending half a year at the famous Jane Packer Flower School in London back in 2015 was really insightful, as I got to learn the A to Z of the flower industry. The thing about doing something outside your comfort zone is the constant newness. I was always in awe when I learned something new!” she recalls excitedly.
When it comes to her sentiments of being a florist, Su-Quinn is ready to dive into the past. “It certainly wasn’t a bed of roses all the time,” she laughs. “All blooms are special on its own, like the number of petals or the way it blooms. The making of a long-lasting bouquet requires patience and skill. From going through batches of fresh blooms, finding the correct mix, to crafting your winning bouquet … it all takes some serious trial and error. The best part is seeing everything fall into place and stepping back to admire my work.”
Tucked away in the quiet and affluent district of Taman U-Thant, Su-Quinn’s home, which she shares with husband Lip Jin Teh, is modern European meets country-style romantic. Gilded tables are placed next to velvet accent chairs, while Laura Ashley wallpaper with matching, painstakingly sourced lampshades breathe life into the living room. In the dining room, a large black marble table is positioned next to a gigantic mirror for the illusion of an expansive space.
The walls are dressed with a fusion of Malaysian and other Southeast Asian art, an autographed Roy Lichtenstein print, and charming Etsy prints, setting the tone for the couple’s relationship.
As for the children’s room, it is Su-Quinn’s for the taking. She has chosen a sunny palette of baby blue and yellow (“a gender-neutral shade,” she says), with ample natural light filtering in a room that just radiates happiness. “This is my favourite part of the house. It used to be my husband’s wine cellar, but when I was heavily pregnant, I immersed myself in the transformation. It truly is a happy place,” she muses.
Between chauffeuring her twin boys, Chad and Casper Teh, to weekly gym classes, and her part-time job as an interior decorator, Su-Quinn fills her private time by dining at her favourite restaurant, Cilantro, picking out her favourite peonies, and playing the piano. “My hidden talent is the fact that I have perfect pitch. I can play any song on the piano as soon as I’ve heard the melody once,” she says when asked, before taking a seat at the grand piano. Her choice of tune today? “City of Stars”, composed by Justin Hurwitz for the movie La La Land.
Su-Quinn also pursued a career in fashion once, working as a buyer and merchandiser at Valiram Group for Jimmy Choo, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Kate Spade New York. “Working at Valiram was real hustle from day one. In the fast-paced retail world, you had to dip your hands in everything, from organising buys, studying sale figures, analysing trends, to eventually deciding on the product range that consumers see on shelves,” she reminisces.
Drawing correlations between three of her greatest passions–fashion, floristry, and interior decorating–Su-Quinn subscribes to the theory of perfect balance and proportion. From the seed of an idea, to the choice of colours and textures, as well as finishing details, it’s about finding what works best. Her latest project sees her decorating Tomato Kidz’s children showroom, which she stumbled upon during one of her secret runs to Baskin Robbins for a quick dose of ice-cream. “I’ve always had my eye on dollhouses and treehouses, so when I saw their ad for interior decorators, I dialled the number and got myself a job!” she beams.
The stylish mother’s daily ensemble includes cult Italian brand Marni and MSGM; the feminine and quirky designs a creative expression of her vibrant personality. “I could live in Marni’s skirts and dresses, as they are comfortable and flattering for my height,” she says. As a jewellery enthusiast, she also doesn’t leave home without accessorising. “People often underestimate the power of a jewellery piece. The colour of the stones or hues of gold can reflect one’s skin tone, or add a touch of sparkle to complete the look,” she says. Su-Quinn’s current obsession are the Van Cleef & Arpel’s Two Butterfly earrings and between-the-finger rings. “I’ve always been drawn to birds and butterflies. This design is delicate yet tasteful, and it matches my whole wardrobe. When you have kids, it’s important to be able to grab and go,” she says.
As a creature of habit, Su-Quinn doesn’t stray too far from her Roksanda pencil dresses, Georges Hobeika gowns, and Hermès Kelly bags. However, as a 21st-century woman in this social media era, Su-Quinn watches her style-icons, Queen Rania of Jordan and Malin Känsäkangas Bergfors, closely, and is fascinated about the constant evolving world of fashion: “Fashion gives the thrill, because clothes were created for a functional reason, before they became an expression and aesthetic pleasure, almost like a work of art on a blank canvas,” she says. “It also demonstrates our ability as humans, to change, to seek more, and to push ourselves further. That’s the beauty of life.”
A Look into Su-Quinn’s Style