Many folks are moving out of Manhattan, NY these days, so I’ve heard. Some retreat to Brooklyn or Philadelphia, some escape all the way to the West Coast. Last year, Linh Nguyen and Craig Theisen decided to head for the coast, too — the coast of Vietnam!
The two first met at Columbia University, where Linh was studying under a Fulbright scholarship and Craig was completing a Master’s program in social work. Linh, a native Vietnamese from a small town outside Hanoi, had always known she’d return to Vietnam one day. Craig, who had traveled to more than 40 countries with the U.S. Air Force, was happy to join her. After eight years together in Manhattan, they packed their things and settled in Hoi An, a small gem on the central coast, famous for its picturesque streets lined with trees, lanterns, and artisanal shops.
The transition from Manhattan to Hoi An took some getting used to, especially without central air conditioning (the average high temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit!). Their home, built in 2014, includes traditional Vietnamese interior elements designed to beat the heat. Marble floors are always cold to the touch and a great place for a midday nap. During the day, bamboo blinds block out the sun, but in the evening, the oversize windows and doors are thrown open to let in the cool ocean breeze. Solid wooden chairs in the living room are easy to clean, and stay cool against sweat and humidity.
To break up the swaths of hard surfaces, Linh and Craig introduced tropical plants, woven floor mats, and colorful wall hangings and seat cushions. The result is an oasis that feels relaxed and refreshing. —Hanh