Designer Elizabeth Hay transformed this once purely ‘functional’ home into a treasure trove of color and pattern |

Having spent her childhood growing up in a 14th-century cottage in Devon, English-born interior designer Elizabeth Hay moved and set up her eponymous house design firm in Singapore in 2013 and, for the past 10 years, has been developing her signature ‘quintessentially English and layered’ decorative style. It was this color and pattern-rich aesthetic that the owners – an Australian and Korean couple – sought for their modern townhouse in East Singapore. 

Describing it as having ‘typical architecture’ of the 1980s and 1990s Singapore housing development, Elizabeth Hay says the property is ‘more functional rather than architecturally striking’. The owners had been following her work on Instagram for a while. ‘They travel a lot and they wanted to bring an international and multicultural feel, making it layered, bold and cozy.’

maximalist living area with lots of pattern on rugs, sofa, cushions, walls with chandelier and mirror and coffee table

Cushions and antique Syrian ottoman in Kalamkari Chevron linen, Soane Britain. Antique sofa in Straub Twill, Claremont. Alba lamp, Vaughan.

(Image credit: Alecia Neo/Neon Studio)

The project is smaller in scale compared with those Elizabeth normally works on, however, tasked with only a few key areas to design and decorate, it offered an opportunity to focus solely on soft furnishings and decorative finishes. ‘This means that you can be creative and you get to see everything you’ve suggested come to life much sooner!’ 

That creativity is certainly in full flow throughout the sitting room, as Elizabeth explains. ‘At the core of the project brief, the clients wanted the double-height sitting room to be a fun space to entertain in, and one that would make guests and visitors think “wow” when they first walked in.’ The statement Ikselwallpaper felt like the perfect answer. 

colourful pink bookshelf with scallop edge and lots of books i

Library wall light in Brass, Vaughan. Lampshade, custom made in Valentine, Pukka Print. Woodwork in Queen Coral, Dulux.

(Image credit: Alecia Neo/Neon Studio)

‘It was quite a big commitment, so we did a 3D mock-up so the client could see what it would look like in the room – and they loved it. It looks incredible.’ It also brings a strong sense of decorative detail into the property. ‘Given the lack of internal architectural features, the Iksel paper gives the room structure and impact,’ Elizabeth continues. 

Describing the result as breathtaking, she also points out that it doesn’t feel overpowering when you’re living here on a day-to-day basis. ‘This is because we kept the colors quite soft and the overall feeling is quite classic, and because it’s classic it has longevity and the house won’t feel dated.’

Lots of pattern in living room with wallpaper matching sofa and ikat lampshade and tiger artwork on wall and rug and antique style painted ottomana

Walls and sofa in Monfaucon in Green, Christopher Moore. Cushions in Janavi Jaipur, Namay Samay; Montignac Operetta, Nicole Fabre Designs; and Roussillon in Russet, Guy Goodfellow Collection. Cabinetry in Balkan Sea Blue, Dulux. For similar wall art, try Tiger, late 19th-century, King & McGaw.

(Image credit: Alecia Neo/Neon Studio)

While the sitting room feels vast in scale, the snug, which has a view of the garden, is very different. The petite space has French doors and an L-shaped sofa upholstered in Christopher Moore Monfaucon fabric with matching wallpaper. ‘For this room, we wanted to curate something all-enveloping and cozy, hence the all-over pattern choice. When you are in the snug it feels just as it should – cocoon-like. The owners wanted to achieve this feeling as it’s where they relax in the evening when it’s just the two of them.’ 

pattern in living room with patterned wallpaper matching sofa and lots of cushions and riger artwork on wall

Walls and sofa in Monfaucon in Green, Christopher Moore. Cushions in Janavi Jaipur, Namay Samay; Montignac Operetta, Nicole Fabre Designs; and Roussillon in Russet, Guy Goodfellow Collection. Cabinetry in Balkan Sea Blue, Dulux. For similar wall art, try Tiger, late 19th-century, King & McGaw.

(Image credit: Alecia Neo/Neon Studio)

An indulgence in contrasting colors, the blue and yellow decor in the bedroom, featuring Peter Fasano’s Fiddlehead wallpaper and a curtain and headboard fabric from Bombay Sprout called Mughal Marigolds (now discontinued), mirrors the bright garden aspect and is styled with scatter cushions that Elizabeth had custom made. 

Looking ahead, Elizabeth is about to complete two further projects in Singapore (one of which is the conservation of a historic shophouse) along with the design and decoration of a Georgian house in Buckinghamshire. ‘I am also doing up a home for my family in the UK, which is exciting.’

lots of pattern in bedroom

Avery flush-mount ceiling light, Coleen and Company. Fiddlehead wallpaper, Peter Fasano. Similar curtain and headboard fabric, Marigold linen, Molly Mahon.

(Image credit: Alecia Neo/Neon Studio)

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