Those few weeks of year when it gets really, really cold — inside — are around the corner. You know, the time when you have a choice of three layers of socks, tucking the comforter around you while you watch The Good Wife or simply staying outside. In a city lacking central heating, the closest thing most of us have to indoor warmth is an air conditioner that blows warm air, which is both expensive and inefficient. But there are other ways to heat the home in Hong Kong.
The perennial favourite in Hong Kong is the stalwart space heater. This is the easiest and, usually, least expensive way to warm up the room but the appliance itself is a blocky, boring mess. Or it used to be. A stroll through Wing On Department Store reveals a clutch of surprisingly stylish heaters that are as modern as they are functional. British manufacturer Dyson’s AM02 Mini is a bladeless tower fan that uses Air Multiplier technology to heat all the surrounding air rather than just blowing a warm stream your way. Safe for kid-heavy households the fan is remote controlled, super easy to clean and its dimmer switch means there are as many settings as you want.
If you prefer something a bit more ambient, one of the easiest ways to get cosy is with fire. The idea of an open flame without a chimney could be harrowing but there are plenty of eco-friendly, indoor fireplaces on the market now. Hit interiors retailer OVO for one of their German Home Flame Collection fireplaces ($14,000 to $27,000), eco-ethanol burning, smoke-free units designed as table top, wall-mounted or standalone floor models. The German Home Flame gives off no particles keeping the space clean and the double skin stainless steel combustion chamber and ceramic sponge are weather resistant, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Bear rug not included.
If you’re looking for a little more permanent check out Thermofilm. The Australian heating solution is a bit of work to get a hold of but once it’s installed there’s no need for finding a place to put it off-season. The classic Heatstrip THS-A Series is ideal for uninsulated spaces and provide targeted heat and the wall-mounted, silent CP Series uses a convective heating system. On top of all that, it’s an Australian product, and Aussies know a thing or two about energy efficiency. Thermofilm is available in the UK as well, so if you’re worried about plugs and currents, a UK model is always an option. And if you have a terrace, a range of outdoor heating solutions is available too.
Finally, if you are in the middle of a redesign you may want to consider underfloor heating. Koreans famously call it ondol, but the technology is as old as the hills. Regardless of where it started, hot stones (the ancient version) underfoot or warm water piped under the floorboards heats (and cools) rooms efficiently and evenly, and it’s becoming more and more popular. The major work to install it pays off in having the ultimate in silent, space saving heating. Lockhart Road’s Switch On can set you up with Passion Living’s underfloor system, though your designer may have a personal preference. Just be careful with the on button. It’s easy to have a greenhouse if you forget to turn it off.