A British family moved into a 100_freckle removal on arms

Amanda Goh·10 min read
The exterior of the black and white colonial house
The exterior of the black and white colonial house. The house is built using dark timber beams with whitewashed walls, hence the color.Amanda Goh/Insider
  • There are only 500 black-and-white colonial houses left in Singapore.

  • The historic homes are protected and managed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

  • Interior designer Elizabeth Hay showed Insider what it's like to live in one of these coveted bungalows.

With their dark timber beams and whitewashed walls, Singapore's black-and-white colonial bungalows are an iconic part of the city-state's heritage. Today, however, only 500 of these homes are still standing.

The exterior of a black-and-white colonial house
The exterior of a black-and-white colonial house.Amanda Goh/Insider

British officials and military personnel built the houses for residential use between 1903 and 1928 when Singapore was still a colony. Today, many of these houses can be found in prime neighborhoods or close to areas where the British had air and naval bases.

When the British administration left the island, they sold the bungalows to the Singapore government. While the government conserved many of the houses, others were demolished to make way for the city's development.

Today, an estimated 500 of these colonial bungalows are left. The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) preserves and manages them, leasing them out for commercial and residential uses.

Part of the bungalows' allure comes from their size: Some of these houses have more than 5,000 square feet of space and more than 31,000 square feet of land, per real-estate platform PropertyGuru.

The design of the houses is heavily influenced by the Tudorbethan architectural style, with steep roofs, high ceilings, and exposed timber frames. In the first floor of the house, tiles help keep the house cool in the tropical weather. On the second story, the floor is made of wood.

Elizabeth Hay moved to Singapore from the UK in 2013 with her then-fiancé, Tim. The two of them — now married with three children — have been living in a black-and-white colonial bungalow since 2015.

The couple wanted to build their family in a bigger home.
The couple wanted to build their family in a bigger home.Alecia Neo/Neon Studio

Elizabeth is an interior designer, and Tim works in investment management. The couple lived in a heritage shophouse in a neighborhood called Emerald Hill before moving to their current home.


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