Founder of the cinnamon room, a home accessories retail store.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Founder of the cinnamon room, a home accessories retail store.

My Reading Room

After almost two decades in London, former lawyer Visha Nelson returned home to Singapore with her family. Here, she began to pursue her passion for design, and started The Cinnamon Room in 2012. Visha stocks her own designs of cowhide rugs, lanterns, side tables, cushions, handmade boxes, picture frames and trays. She also represents several small businesses that share the same design philosophy as her, and is currently collaborating with British artist Diana Francis, social enterprise Elephant Parade, and more.

Tell us how The Cinnamon Room started.

When I first moved back and was decorating my house, I was surprised that there wasn’t a huge variety of affordable choices. I started finding manufacturers to make designs I wanted; thereafter, people began telling me to think about doing it as a business. A very distinctive part of The Cinnamon Room is that it offers style, at an affordable price. I always try to get the best quality, at the best price.

Do you offer styling services to clients, too, on top of designing your products?

Yes, some customers tell me they love the products, but are not sure how they will fit in their home. So I suggest what might work, from looking at pictures of the space. For those who are completely lost and have no idea how to go about improving their space, I’m always happy to drop by. It is never about pushing my products, but the integrity of the service that I’m providing.

What is your signature style?

I use lots of geometric designs. I like that they are contemporary, yet classic, and don’t go out of style. Look at Peranakan or Moroccan tiles, for example, that originated from long ago, yet people are still drawn to them. I incorporate technology into the design process, too, like laser-cutting and laser-embossing for the lanterns and side tables, and rugs, respectively.

How did you make the career switch from law to design?

It was very easy – I hated my job (laughs). After I resigned, I enrolled in the Chelsea College of Arts to do some design courses. I was intimidated at first, because I was much older than everyone else in class, but I managed to do really well, which boosted my confidence.

What do you love most about your job now?

I love to travel, shop and design, and this business feeds all three passions! I’m also happy that I can provide unique, high-quality, and most importantly, affordable products for homeowners here.


My Reading Room

ABOVE Laser-embossed designs are etched into the cowhide rugs to create patterns, while maintaining the materials’ natural texture.

ABOVE, RIGHT The lanterns are made of powder-coated iron, and are great even for outdoor use.

BOTTOM Select from a variety of options, from colourful rugs, to neutral or monochromatic ones.

My Reading Room