Can interior design help beat the heat? This house does it well
ALL YEAR OF SINGAPORE the heatwave is not that different from the heat in Houston, New Orleans, or the New York subway in July and August. Close to the sea and the equator, the island city-state has average temperatures of 88 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity often reaches 100%.
So many interior design decisions Elizabeth Hay made when planning a three-bedroom home for a young family translate well into summer retreats in the United States and urban digs including homeowners want to polish their winter decor for the scorching heat. season. “You had to read comfortable but not stuffy,” Hay said of the plan. The designer, born in Britain and now based in Singapore, reinterpreted her typical inhabited English cottage aesthetic for a hot and humid Southeast Asian climate. “We wanted it to have a lot of personality but also to be easy and airy in everyday life.”
The tools in his refreshing quiver included materials such as wicker, cane, and rattan, which let air circulate, unlike solid wood which blocks the wind. In the rare cases where wood does appear, light finishes prevail, such as in the oak coffee table in the living room. The padding consists of linen and lightweight cottons that wick heat away from the skin.
“Anything that ‘feels’ warm, like thick wool or thick fleece, can be quite claustrophobic,” Hay said. “I did not purposely use any stuffy fabrics, like mohair.” Here, too, you won’t find an itchy oriental rugs.
Altering the existing architecture to add scallops and arches helped ensure the house feels light and airy. A crisp, calming palette of mostly blue tones does the same. Pink and red are applied sparingly.