Island life

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 January, 2012, 12:00am


We have always loved this house because it has a permanently open view,' says interior designer Debi Yeung-Salansy of her Lamma home. 'We don't really see any other houses, just trees and sky from most windows, and a gorgeous view from the roof.'

The three-storey house is in the village of Tai Peng, a short uphill walk from the main village of Yung Shue Wan. Yeung-Salansy and husband Gilles bought the place in 2006, when it was three individual apartments, each 700 sq ft and each with three bedrooms.

'We didn't really need to live in the whole block,' says Yeung-Salansy. 'So we decided to rent the ground floor out.' Originally, the couple created a two-storey duplex by knocking out the walls in the internal stairwell, opening up the top floor to create an open-plan sitting room and kitchen area and renovating the master bedroom.

However, when two children became three and the tenants left, the couple decided to reclaim their space.

'We knocked down everything on the ground floor,' says Yeung-Salansy. 'It was so completely open that our neighbours thought we were making a garage!'

When it came to planning the space, the family's lifestyle was paramount. 'We love having friends around and we have lots of parties,' says Yeung-Salansy. 'Both Gilles and I love cooking, so an open-plan kitchen with a big dining area was a must.'

The kitchen is a stylish mixture of simple white units and a solid concrete breakfast bar, where the children do their homework or help with the cooking. 'An open-plan kitchen is perfect for us to chat with friends while we're cooking,' she adds.

To the side of the kitchen is a music room. 'We went to a friend's party in Sai Kung and my husband fell in love with the music studio on the roof. When we decided to renovate, he asked if I could include something like that for him in the plan. In order to keep the whole area open, I got the builders to build glass walls with my favourite black iron. It was double the price of aluminium, but the results are very satisfying.'

Living an island life meant a large patio was essential. Yeung-Salansy created a tranquil outside space that blends elements of bamboo, concrete and pebbling.

'I hated having sand all over the house when we came back from the beach, so I was determined to have an outdoor shower,' she says.

By using the same slate tiles as the patio in the ground-floor guest room, Yeung-Salansy has been able to bring the outdoors in and create a greater sense of space. Furnished with a sofa bed, the room can be screened off or the bi-fold doors can be opened wide to extend the patio. 'I always think having a room purely for guests is a bit of a waste of space,' she says.

The newly renovated house works perfectly for Yeung-Salansy's growing family. On the ground floor, the large dining room and kitchen are the hub of the home. The sitting and living area occupies the top floor and enjoys the best views. On the level in between are the bedrooms.

'I couldn't give up the living room on the top floor because it has the best views, even though I'd like to have it closer to the dining room,' says Yeung-Salansy.

Although there were nightmares along the way, including the builder constructing the concrete worktop 21/2cm too low for a dishwasher to fit beneath ('We were prepared to have the whole floor dug up, but he managed to cut out just enough concrete to slide the dishwasher in.'), Yeung-Salansy is more than happy with the renovation.

'We all love the open kitchen and my husband is very pleased to have a room just for his guitars.'

1 Sitting area The bench and large side table were bought in Macau from a shop that has since closed. The leather sofa (HK$9,000) is from Ikea (various locations; The black leather armchair was a gift, and the chest and red floor lamp belonged to a friend's grandmother. The small coffee table (in the centre) was purchased for HK$700 from Zhonghua Rui Antique Furniture (Eiji Tanzhou Industrial Area 11, Zhongshan, Guangdong, tel: +86 0760 8633 0692). The bookshelf was designed by Debi Yeung-Salansy of Debi Yeung Interior (tel: 2904 7897) and built by her former helper for HK$800. The silk rug was bought at Central Cottage Industries Emporium (, in New Delhi, India, for HK$19,500. The floral cushions (HK$400 each) are from G.O.D. (various locations; The ceiling fan is from SMC (HK$1,680; The photograph montage was printed and mounted for HK$1,200 by Color Six (

2 Garden room The sofa bed was bought from Ikea for HK$2,450. The folding doors cost HK$28,000, including installation by Debi Yeung Interior. The bamboo fence (HK$7,900) came from Lift Lifestyle (Unit B, 2/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town, tel: 3907 0386). Yeung-Salansy made the long outside bench from an old door, which she stained and treated. The other bench (HK$800) was bought from Asiaxpat (

3 Kitchen The kitchen units cost HK$85,000 from German Pool Kitchen (22 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3110 2030). The polished concrete worktop was installed by Debi Yeung Interior for HK$15,000. The stools, HK$500 each, are from Ikea.

4 Music room A highlight of the renovated home for Yeung-Salansy's husband, Gilles, is the music room, which features glass walls, black iron frames and furniture from Zhonghua Rui Antique Furniture.

5 Master bedroom The double bed and bedside tables were bought in Macau years ago. The artwork was from a Hollywood Road shop that is no longer open. The rugs were bought years ago from Ikea. The clothes stand (HK$1,700) and basin (HK$300) were from Zhonghua Rui Antique Furniture, which also custom made the dresser (HK$7,600).

6 Bathroom The ceiling light (HK$2,600) was from Manhattan Lighting (20 Morrison Hill Road, tel: 2572 5111). The bath (Kohler, HK$4,200), sink (Roca, HK$2,800) and toilet (Kohler, HK$3,600) came from Delta Sanitary (368 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2573 9773). The tiles (Crocatile, HK$348 for 60cm x 60cm) came from Pacific Tiles Collection (187 Lockhart Road, tel: 2866 9980). The bath mat (HK$400) was from G.O.D. and the towel rail is an old bamboo ladder.

7 Outdoors The teak table and chairs, bought second hand for HK$1,200, were treated and stained by Yeung-Salansy. The glass carafe and Monkey Business bottle holder were gifts.

8 Stairwell The chair (HK$2,800) came from Zhonghua Rui Antique Furniture. The photographs were printed and mounted on canvas for HK$1,200 by Color Six.

Tried + Tested

Door to desk Debi Yeung-Salansy has repurposed many items in her home. 'I love DIY and furniture design,' she says. 'I made my office desk out of an old door from the ground floor. I believe every old thing can be turned into something beautiful if you see it from a different angle. I hate to think of big pieces of still-usable furniture being dumped into the sea for reclamation.'

Yeung-Salansy sanded the door to a matt finish and through her company, Debi Yeung Interior, had a metal worker create a frame (HK$4,000). Computer cables are threaded through the hole where the handle was once installed.

Styling: David Roden