We get festive at the Mount Faber home of Elizabeth Hay and find out what plans she has for her son Arthur’s first Christmas in Singapore.
By Amy Brook-Partridge
Photography Michael Bernabe
The last time we showcased Elizabeth Hay’s home, just over two-and-a-half years ago, she was living in an Emerald Hill shophouse, had recently got engaged, and the business she set up with Chloe Elkerton, E&A Interiors, was just moving into its first premises in River Valley. Now she’s married to Tim, they have a one-year old son, Arthur, and two “Singapore special” adopted dogs, and they’ve moved from their shophouse to a black-and-white house in the green surrounds of Mount Faber. “We loved the shophouse and the location was amazing, but it only had two bedrooms, and we wanted at least one more, as well as some outside space for our dogs,” explains Elizabeth. She and Tim loved the old feel of their place at Emerald Hill, and couldn’t see themselves in something ultra-modern, so they started to look for a black-and-white house to rent.
They bid on a handful of houses but lost out, then found this spot through an agent, so they didn’t have to go through the bidding process again. “It had been empty for a few years and was completely derelict, but we saw the potential.” The move-in date was set for August 2015, when Elizabeth was eight months pregnant, so it was imperative that all necessary works to the house were completed by then. “It was pretty stressful,” she admits. “Basic maintenance such as painting walls and polishing floors were the agent’s responsibility. Working alongside their contractors I had my own people renovating the bathrooms, which I don’t think had been touched since the 1970s, as well as adding standard things such as water heaters, fans and air-conditioning, and building the attap outside.”
The family loves the greenery at their doorstep, the great dog walks that are nearby, and the fact that it’s so easy to access the Henderson Waves bridge. “One drawback is that you can’t just pop out on foot and grab a coffee, but it’s really nice to be so close to Sentosa, and you’re only five minutes from Tiong Bahru by car.”
Who lives here: Elizabeth and husband Tim, both from the UK, one-year-old son Arthur, helpers Jo and Mehl, and adopted dogs Gracie and Blaze.
Size and type of home: Three bedroom black and-white house in Mount Faber.
Interior style: “Vibrant, full of pattern, multicultural, eclectic, bohemian, colourful, layered and homey,” says Elizabeth.
Favourite room: Elizabeth loves her sitting room. “The soft blue is such a relaxing colour; first thing in the morning and early in the evening are my favourite times to sit in there, as it feels so peaceful.”
Moving house and the arrival of Arthur have meant a busy year for Elizabeth – and with Elizabeth and Chloe’s interior design business E&A Interiors going great guns, it’s not going to calm down any time soon. “We’re now a team of six at E&A. We welcome all kinds of projects, and our aim is to keep working on our large-scale work as well as smaller commissions; whether it’s just getting some cushions made or a full-scale renovation, we’re open to it all.” The business is currently completing around ten major renovations a year, as well as many soft-furnishing projects of varying sizes.
It now stocks 40 boutique brands of wallpaper and fabric, and plans to add more to its collection. Although Elizabeth’s home style is, in her own words, “layered with colours and patterns, and a little Boho-chic”, for their clients’ designs they promise to turn their hand to any style. “Clients come with so many different briefs – for example, an English look, a Hamptons feel, or French country chic. Singapore is a fun place to practise interior design, because so many of the apartments are completely blank canvases and you can get away with almost any aesthetic here.”
“Handmade decorations can add so much charm, but it’s hard to find them here. Vai’s are beautiful, especially her glass snowflakes and angels!”
Arthur spent his first Christmas in the UK, so this year the Hays are staying put in Singapore. “We’ve got my mother, my sister, her husband and their two children coming out here for two weeks; I’m so excited!” Last year, they spent the holidays with Tim’s family in a rented house in Wales, so this year will be a decidedly different experience: Christmas in the tropics. Their plans include a cosy family dinner on Christmas Eve, then church on Christmas morning. “We open our stockings first thing in the morning and then wait until after lunch for the tree presents.” Elizabeth is planning on cooking a traditional Christmas lunch; “I’ll be making everything from scratch, and my mother is bringing out a Devon ham.” As Christmas is Elizabeth’s favourite time of the year, she hopes that Arthur has the same experience. “I still get really excited about it – I love the lead-up to Christmas Day, and getting into the festive mood. I will definitely be doing a wreath-making class with the wonderful florist Charlotte Puxley and going to lots of carol services! I just love spending time with friends and family, the food, and everything about Christmas Day. I have such happy memories.”
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