We are Jamie and David, British expats currently living in Singapore, over the years we have moved around a lot, and have lived in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia.
We bought Merchant House after searching for several months for the perfect property for us. We were looking for a few basic criteria: near, but not right on the sea, in a quiet but not isolated location, an old colonial house for us to renovate and put our stamp on, and above all it had to feel like our home. We looked at a great many places but it was Jamie who fell in love with Merchant House at first sight.
David had walked through it in a matter of seconds and was back on his scooter ready to go to the next place before Jamie managed to convince him to have another look, and so began our relationship with the old house.
The House met all our criteria: it was nestled in a small colonial village, 400 meters from the sea, go 400 meters in the opposite direction and you are in paddy fields. The house is surrounded by nature and when we walk the dogs or take a bike ride around the house with one of the house bikes, you will easily see Mongoose, Peacocks, Bright Blue Kingfishers, a few species on Monkey and of course huge Monitor Lizards, not to mention the fauna.
We restored Merchant House over an extensive two year total renovation, every floor, wall and ceiling was taken back to bare brick and the house lavishly and lovingly restored to its authentic current state. Jamie is an Interior Designer and wanted the house to reflect our various travels and adventures and our tastes so you’ll find it not necessarily typically Sri Lankan in design but a mix of all things Sri Lankan woven with our own design journey and likes.
We have also made the house almost entirely off grid, and have implemented a number of eco-friendly, sustainable and used clean technology as far as we can to reach our goal of being 90% off grid, without compromising on luxury or comfort. The house and hot water is now entirely powered by solar energy, we harvest rain water from our roof using a massive subterranean network of pipes to collect and store all the water we harvest. If this should run our we have a pump system that automatically switches to well water from the well we have in the back garden.
We have six staff at Merchant House including the House Manager, the chef, 2 houseboys, a night watchman, and gardener.
Food ingredients and produce is sourced from fresh markets from within the village and surrounding areas, we aspire to source our own chickens and eggs from a local farmer very soon and it will all be very free range and with sustainable and well-being farming methods at the forefront of our sourcing decisions.
All boys help out in all spheres of running of the house, if you need anything at all, please ask them.
Jamie and I are dog lovers and dog rescuers, we have 4 dogs at our home in Singapore, all rescued from the side of the street in the countries we have lived in! “Titch our Jack Russel abandoned on the side of the motorway in Australia: “Scooby” our Singapore special came from a building site in Singapore, “Bruno” our handsome Chow cross came from under a road bridge in Hong Kong and “Chica” the Chihuahua from an abandoned apartment in Hong Kong where she was left to die.
In Sri Lanka, we have rescued 3 beautiful dogs and they live on the property at Merchant House – Patchy, Pinky, and Mokadiya (Sinhala for Mongoose). They each have their unique personality and story, and are very friendly!
ALL of the dogs have been treated for Rabies, canine distemper, worms you name it! They get regularly checked. They are part of the family, Merchant House is their house too and as such they are very much part of the adventure and life there.