Art house

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am


Behind the bustle of Stanley Main Street is a quiet little oasis. Here, British fashion designer Zoe Jordan has transformed a traditional village house into a comfortable, contemporary home.

Jordan and her husband moved from London to Hong Kong and into the 1,800 sq ft, two-storey house, which they had rented sight unseen, at the beginning of the year. Such was her vision and drive that she furnished the place, picked because of its location, within a month, almost from scratch.

'I think the only piece of furniture I brought with me was the black chair in the living room,' says Jordan.

Now, after this speedy but successful project, which includes a striking rug she designed for the living room, Jordan admits to finding interior design easy: 'It's like fashion for me but it's not work. I find reading interior magazines relaxing.'

Her clothing label, Irwin & Jordan (soon to be re- branded Zoe Jordan), is sold in high-end stores in Britain, including Harrods, and an own-label boutique on London's Savile Row. Jordan is aiming to expand the business in Hong Kong.

Her day job is evident throughout the house, from samples strewn about the bedroom to her mood board in the office and pieces she has created through collaborations with artists.

The house has a relaxed feel. There's a warmth from the liberal scattering of framed family pictures and Jordan's mixing of second-hand finds with start- ling modern pieces. A chair was 'borrowed' from her parents, a wooden clothes stand rescued from a friend who was about to throw it out and a backgammon set bought for a song at a car boot sale.

'I love a bargain,' says Jordan. 'It's the Irish gypsy in me.'

Although she hasn't altered the structure of the house, Jordan has made clever use of the layout. The copious cornicing, for example, has been put to work: Jordan painted the raised surface white then placed artwork within the cornicing so it acts as framing, as seen to stunning effect in the chocolate-coloured bedroom.

Clearly art is important to the couple. There are photographs and paintings in every room, each of which has a story to tell, of, say, a road trip or a sporting event (Jordan and her husband love cars, running marathons and hiking). Some are gifts, such as a photograph that decorates the wall space behind her stove.

The house has plenty of outdoor space- from a small frangipani-filled courtyard accessed through the kitchen to a first- level balcony overlooking the sea and a roof terrace that resembles a chill-out lounge. She spends most of the time in the kitchen, though.

'I like hanging out here,' she says. 'That's how my family were when I was growing up - we're very easy-going.'

1 Bedroom The portraits above the bed, by Briton Mark Demsteader, feature on limited-edition dresses designed by Zoe Jordan in collaboration with the artist for her fashion label, Irwin & Jordan (tel: 9502 7902; The bedside tables (HK$3,000 each), which were custom made, and the bed (HK$10,000) came from Artura Ficus (20 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 2893). The bedlinen cost HK$500 from Tong's Sheets & Linen (55 Main Street, Stanley, tel: 2813 0337). The silk top on the bed is by Irwin & Jordan.

2 Photograph collection Grouping together a selection of framed photographs makes an effective design feature. These photographs are on the landing at the top of the stairs, placed inside the cornicing to create an extra frame. The SEX photograph, by Willy Camden, was bought in a pub in London.

3 Dining room An eye-catching circular table fits neatly into the corner of the open-plan living space, creating a cosy dining area. The table (HK$12,000) and chairs (HK$10,000 for six) came from Artura Ficus. The sculpture on the dining table is by Carnie Lyons and came from The Cat Street Gallery (222 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2291 0006). Artworks on the walls and the sculpture on the windowsill were sourced from Beaux Arts Gallery (22 Cork Street, London, Britain, tel: 44 20 7437 5799).

4 Living room detail Jordan designed the wool rug, which was made by Yarns Wool Carpets (26/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 9098 7785) for HK$10,000. The two prints on the wall were sourced on a trip to Shenzhen. The wall is painted in Frost Grey by Dulux (HK$450 a litre) from Cheong Fat Ho (22 Fleming Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2507 2420). The chair used to belong to Jordan's parents. The skull candle was a gift and the glass dome cost HK$100 from Indigo Living (Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2523 5561). The sculpture on the floor is by Carnie Lyons and came from The Cat Street Gallery.

5 Roof The roof terrace has been turned into a chill-out area. The sofa and ottoman cost a total of HK$5,000 from Patio Mart (16/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2555 8988). The Designers Guild cushions were bought years ago in London.

6 Living room A large sofa that Jordan bought in Shenzhen takes centre stage in the living room and its L-shape forms a divide with the open-plan dining area. The cushions were made by Great Sun (24 Fleming Road, tel: 2511 2008) for a total of HK$1,000, using a selection of fabrics from Altfield Interiors (11/F, 9 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2524 4867) that cost HK$700 a metre. Family photographs and mementos line the windowsill. The 3D image of Queen Elizabeth is by Chris Levine ( The lamp (HK$2,000) and coffee table (HK$10,000) are from Artura Ficus.

7 Office Most of the office wall is taken up by a mood board- pictures and sketches Jordan has put together to provide inspiration for her work as a fashion designer. The wall paint is Traditional Tan by Dulux (HK$450 per litre) from Cheong Fat Ho. The desk (about HK$8,000) and chair (about HK$4,000) came from Marc James Design (16/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2517 2000).

8 Kitchen The photograph of people dancing on a beach in Brazil was a gift from a friend, who had the image blown up and mounted. All items on the countertop were bought years ago at The Conran Shop in London (

Tried + tested

Shelf life

Alcoves filled with bookshelves are a standard design device for period properties but Zoe Jordan went one step further by painting the inside of the alcoves a dark slate colour. This provides a dramatic contrast and, Jordan believes, 'frames' the contents on the shelves.

Styling David Roden