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ENTER THE DRAGON

Diana Khoo

Diana Khoo, Editor

And just like that, it’s almost a wrap for 2023. Before we usher in the Year of the Dragon, it is always good to take stock of how we lived the past 12 months. Thanks to a trusty journal, I can recall enjoying toshikoshi soba (or year-crossing soba) on New Year’s Eve. A delightful Japanese culinary tradition, this auspicious meal is practically ingrained in the country’s culture, as hardy buckwheat, which is used to make the noodles, is a symbol of resilience. Also, once cooked, soba bites off easily, signifying a clean break from any of the year’s hardships.

For all of us at Haven, it has been a good and productive 2023, filled with the privilege of visiting and profiling some of the loveliest homes and workspaces in the country and, sometimes, around the world. In this issue, check out the biophilic beauty of a boutique design firm’s office in Damansara Jaya as well as three distinctly different homes, each a testament to the homeowners’ taste and style.

Writer Aireena Azni travelled to Langkawi to check out a new resort restaurant but ended up discovering a little Malay-inspired sanctuary instead. Assistant editor Tan Gim Ean attended a sushi-making session with the maestro of Nikkei food himself, Nobu Matsuhisa, to give you yet another star-studded entertaining tip. Then, French chef Jean-Michel Loubatieres generously shares easy recipes to help you lay on a sumptuous spread this festive season.

Naturally, the team has also put together an assortment of things to dress up both home and table to ensure you aren’t short of inspiration or ideas.

It is a truism that how you spend the first day sets the tone for the rest of the year. Just as we easily recall the times we’ve travelled, attended exciting events or checked out fun new places with friends, it is equally important to prioritise time at home, enjoying our lives within the very spaces we work so hard to craft, create and upkeep.

To ensure 2024 is filled with meaning (and meaningful moments), make it a point to eat in more. Put to good use those Le Creuset cast-iron pots you’ve been hoarding. Gracefully turn down invitations you know will not add value to your life. Pick up that book and read it from cover to cover. Enjoy that expensive sofa you saved up to buy. Play music — preferably on an instrument. Buy a bright new cushion. Light a scented candle or an incense stick to clear away stagnant energy while subtly perfuming the home. Remove or repair broken things.

Life can be hard. Life at home shouldn’t be.