Built to scale
You might wonder how a couple who favour minimalism and white walls could possibly accommodate a baby in their elegant apartment. But Bonnie Chu and her investment banker husband, Samuel Yue, who have a five-month-old son, Isaac, have achieved the improbable.
Chu became pregnant around the time the couple bought their apartment in Repulse Bay, so some of their plans had to be altered as it dawned on the parents-to-be that certain designs weren't 'baby proof' and that junior would need a room of his own.
'The room that is now Isaac's was intended to be a study, with glass walls and a glass door that let in light from the living room,' says Wesley Liu of PplusP Designers, who worked on the interior of the 1,433 sq ft flat.
Although the study was relegated to a recess in the dining area, the couple went ahead with their idea for an open-plan bathroom in the master bedroom. 'We thought it would be more spacious and let more light into the room,' says Chu.
Even though it is not a large bathroom and there is no bath, the effect is luxurious, possibly because the design incorporates solid marble and a striking stainless-steel-framed mirror suspended from the ceiling.
The couple's other main requirement was that the sizeable living/dining room and kitchen remain as unadorned as possible so that the eye is drawn to the magnificent views over Repulse Bay through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
'We wanted lots of floor space because that's what we like, but also so that Isaac has plenty of room when he starts to crawl and walk,' says Chu.
The sofa is the focal point in this area and was chosen after 'a lot of trawling' of shops by the couple, who think of it as an investment piece. They decided a splash of colour here would 'lift' the minimalist look.
'My husband wanted a sofa that stood out as he believes it is the heart of a home,' says Chu.
To make the most of the view they needed a sofa they could position at an angle, but they weren't keen on the 'too traditional' L-shape versions. Also, Liu says, because the back of the sofa faces the front door, that side of it also needed to look good. That's why they opted for a curved version that is part of a mix-and-match range available at B&B Italia.
The couple chose Liu to design their home because of his signature 'contemporary yet cosy' style.
Liu says: 'I make use of available light and natural materials where possible and always have a white background.'
Chu says: 'We wanted a design that included real wood and lots of white - something simple, elegant and timeless.'
Liu obliged by adding an entire wall of white lacquered custom-made storage, with opaque glass sliding doors, in the living room, walnut flooring and a wooden dining table.
The door and wall of the long, narrow kitchen, which was next to the main living area, were demolished and replaced with a glass partition and sliding doors.
'We wanted to open [the kitchen] up but we also didn't want cooking smells going into the rest of the apartment and ruining the furniture,' Chu says. 'We also changed all the [cabinetry] units to make it lighter and brighter.'
The compact balcony was updated with new flooring, furniture and lighting. Liu placed white pebbles beneath the windows to conceal an unattractive ledge.
The result is a grand apartment that befits its location in Hong Kong's second-most-expensive area for real estate and a comfortable, cosy home for baby.
1 Dining area
The table (HK$15,450) came from TREE (various locations; www.tree.com.hk) and the chairs (HK$3,500 for four) from Decor Collection (55 Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2882 2763). The Moooi ceiling light shade cost HK$11,490 at Bals Tokyo (Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2302 1961).
The mirror and shelf (HK$8,700) and bowl (HK$800 for a pair) came from Ligne Roset (Guardian House, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3106 3221). The door (which leads to baby Isaac's bedroom) was designed by PplusP Designers (14/F, Hoi Bun Industrial Building, 6 Wing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, tel: 3590 3340) and custom made by the company's in-house contractor for HK$15,000. Wesley Liu of PplusP designed the wall sculpture, which was made by an artist in Dafen artists village in Shenzhen for 5,500 yuan (HK$6,700).
3 Living area
The Arne sofa was bought from B&B Italia (3 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3102 3189) for HK$126,360, as were the cushions (HK$18,600 in total). The white Foscarini Bubble lamp cost HK$12,800 at PLC Galleria (50 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2836 3839). The white lacquered sliding doors with opaque glass and aluminium frame (called the 'Square' wardrobe) cost HK$133,400 at Ligne Roset. The steel front door was designed by PplusP Designers for HK$15,000. The Baltic walnut wood flooring came from La Floor (375 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2838 3325) and cost HK$99,000, including installation. The side table was bought at Ligne Roset about four years ago. The white foot stool/table cost HK$15,700 from B&B Italia. The grey hexagonal foot stool/table was bought years ago from Franc Franc (2/F, Hang Lung Centre, 2 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3427 3366). The rug (HK$19,900) was from Tai Ping Carpets (Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2522 7138). The Foscarini Falena wall lights were HK$2,880 each at PLC Galleria.
The sliding glass doors were designed and built by PplusP Designers for HK$58,000. The units (HK$265,000), the Silestone worktop (HK$32,700), the Whirlpool two-head induction hob (HK$12,600) and the Roblin hood (HK$8,200) were all from Leicht Kitchen (2/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2803 4638). The flooring cost HK$2,800 from Forever Wallpaper and Carpet (260 Lockhart Road, tel: 2519 0178) .
5 Balcony The decking is by La Floor and cost HK$6,800. The Airstar cube table (HK$4,300) was from Zzue Creation (151 Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2580 0678). The Taku chairs, by Fischer Mobel and also from Zzue Creation, cost HK$5,280 each.
6 Master bedroom
The bed and headboard (HK$13,500 plus HK$4,600 for the headboard cushion) and bedside table (HK$7,300) were designed and custom made by PplusP Designers. The Philips bedside lamps cost HK$680 each at Elements Lighting Design (48 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2573 1322). The curtains came from Colour Furnishings (19/F, Fortune Factory Building, 40 Lee Chung Street, Chai Wan, tel: 2541 9088) and cost HK$6,400.
The total cost of designing and building the bathroom, including materials, was HK$100,500. The mirror is suspended from a metal frame embedded into the false ceiling. The Toto sinks and taps came from Hop Lung Building Materials (298 Lockhart Road, tel: 2802 2296) and cost HK$1,920 in total. The decking is made from red cedar wood and was custom made by the contractor for HK$5,000.
TRIED + TESTED
Instead of using a chunk of solid wood for the desk, which the designer thought would be expensive and heavy, the contractor constructed a frame and worktop from a stack of plywood with a laminated veneer, and added a slim piece of bark to the front. The entire structure cost HK$6,800 for materials and labour.
Styling David Roden