Sneak a Peek at a Home Built in Tropical Splendor

Singapore’s Black and White Houses 1898-1941

When it comes to touring in Singapore, the number one item on my list is to visit the architectural treasures known as Black and Whites.  They’re an important legacy of the island’s colonial past, and not found anywhere else in the region.

The massive size of the Black and Whites was due to the need for airiness and spaciousness in this tropical climate.  Large windows and doorways allow the breezes to flow throughout the house.

Originally built for British colonial officers and their families, they are now owned by the Heritage Foundation and available for lease only.  But when you visit one, it’s easy to be transported back in time to the bygone era recalling charmed lives of ease and elegance.

This example of a typical Black and White covered porch is one of my favorites.  I love the contrast of black trim against white ceiling.  Notice the green roller shades banded in black and white fabric which double as wind and rain shields.

The arched portico, tiled entry, and grand stairway leading into the living quarters are beautiful examples of a Black and White interior.  Notice, again, the contrast of black trim and ceiling details against the white ceiling.

The oversized windows along the back wall of this stairway add beautiful architectural detail as well as allowing natural light to pass between floors.

Large open windows are perfect for letting the tropical breezes flow through the house.  I love the Dutch doors across the bottom of each window.  What a perfect way to access the side porch!

To see another modern day interior of a Singapore black and white house, take a look at the March 2010 issue of Architectural Digest.  It was designed by American designer, Michael Fiebrich, now living in Singapore.

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Feng Shui for Your Home

For years I’ve been intrigued by the practice of feng shui.  I’ve purchased several books (never read them) and thought about it a lot.  On my visits to Singapore I’ve visited the feng shui shop at the local mall many times, and always meant to try it – but never did.  So when I saw a new book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter, I decided to buy, yet another book, and see where it would lead me.

Last week, while on vacation, I read this book from cover to cover and loved it!  The author practices the Black Hat style of feng shui which divides your house into 9 equal categories (life situations).  Each part relates to one aspect of your life such as career, prosperity, health, etc.  What I enjoyed most about the book is the author’s entertaining  way of revealing these ancient Chinese secrets in way that everyone can understand.  At the very least, it’s a great guide for home improvement!

So when I returned home, I set the intention to put into practice everything I had learned in the book.  Like the title says, Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, what do I have to lose?  My clutter!!!

And so begins my “Feng Shui Adventure” of clearing the clutter and rearranging my house one gua (area) at a time.  My next post will begin in my Prosperity corner.  In the mean time, visit Karen’s site at www.fengshuipalace.com to order her book and follow along with me.