A daily blog would just about finish me off completely. ~ Robert Plant

shade of Winter Blue

Winter Blue can be a warming hue. It’s the kind of deep vivid blue of dreaming, the kind that you can really sink in to. I love this time of year – time to withdraw, enfold, to seek comfort within.

I found this sense of Winter Blue even in the most humid part of the world during a recent visit to Penang, Malaysia.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The Blue Mansion is a fascinating old house that says a lot about its original owner, Cheong Fatt Tze, and tells a grand story of his time and heritage. You can read more about his life and his house here.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tzecheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The strange and elaborate blend of traditional Chinese and Western architecture and detailing of this home is captivating – blending British and European wrought ironwork, stained glass and floor tiling with Southern Chinese trompe l’oeil frescoes, timber and porcelain works, as well as feng shui elements.

But there are two strong features that draw me back to this place again and again – its colour and courtyard living spaces.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The walls of this house are painted a traditional indigo limewash – incredibly stunning especially experienced from its internal courtyards.

Spending an extended period of time and really being in this colour and space made me feel submerged – the kind of dropping-down that I feel in winter. And when the unbearable heat and humidity of the day finally relieved itself in thunderstorm and late afternoon rain, falling and flowing into these open inner places where I sit sheltered and receiving, I felt a beautiful distilled sense of being within. And it has a colour, Winter Blue.

blog-cftraincheong fatt tze

We spent our few days entirely at the mansion, wandering out only for lunch and dinner.

Looking for inspiration along its corridors… Tracking the day as it unfolded over layers upon layers of pattern… Uncovering patina, textures, details… Capturing thoughts, flitting about like sparrows under the eaves there… Listening in on the whispers of wives, floating in hot air pockets… Drawing breath… Waiting for rain…

Languidly, deeply, immersed in the blue of it all.

cheong fatt tze


Post by ROBOAT.


  1. Love these images – inspiration for textiles!

  2. roboat says

    Thanks Kaz! If you ever go to Malaysia for songket weaving explorations, you really must take a side trip to Penang :) xx

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