Text Catherine Shaw / Styling Charlot K / Pictures K.Y. Cheng
The Gianani family is proof that living in a rented apartment in Hong Kong doesn’t have to mean compromising on personal style. Twentyfour- year-old brand strategist Hanisha Gianani, who lives with her parents in their 36th floor, harbourview Tsim Sha Tsui apartment, transformed their new home into a modern haven – in just one month.
“It was a bit rushed,” Gianani says, laughing. “The apartment is just 1,380 sq ft and its three bedrooms are quite small, so I knew the most important thing was to maximise every inch from a functional and stylistic point of view. We like modern design and luckily those sorts of clean, simple lines work well within a tight context.”
Gianani’s design solution to making a compact space both comfortable and pleasing to the eye was to introduce a neutral palette of cream, white and grey. She threw in bright splashes of colour with cushions and silk throws, and, for character, added distinctive objets and furnishings such as a retro-looking, white-leather Half Moon swivel chair by Kare Design.
Another design trick was the use of furnishings with reflective or transparent surfaces. “I found several perspex and mirrored items that work well in the tight space, especially since we get a lot of sunlight.”
Those fixtures include a compact mirrored cocktail bar in the living room that, says Gianani, “is more like a sculpture”. Custom-made cupboards and a bespoke dressing table in the master bedroom reduce wasted space and help to avoid a cluttered look, she adds.
“We love the modern minimalist look but also want our home to reflect who we are,” she says. “The solution was to create display spaces for our collection of Lord Ganesh statues and other Indian-inspired artwork.”
The statues belong to Gianani’s father, who moved to Hong Kong from India 25 years ago to expand his foreign-exchange business.
Other personal touches include colourful elements such as a vivid red laughing boy figurine atop a slim black miniature table in the corridor.
“Red is my favourite colour and I wanted something quirky to stand out. It makes people laugh.”
She also added small touches to reflect her family’s lifestyle: the master bedroom’s bay window area (see Tried + tested), for example, has been turned into a private space in which her parents enjoy their early morning coffee, with the help of custom-made bronze silk cushions and a built-in tray of natural wood, which fits well with the room’s distinctive gold-and-brownprint wallpaper.
Thought was also given to storage. “We had a massive shoe cupboard in our previous home so I had to look very hard for something that wouldn’t be too bulky but would store what we use.
“I found the perfect solution with an ultra-slim cupboard with a mirrored front that looks like a contemporary console table but hides a double layer of shoes.”
Gianani’s favourite design element, however, is to be found in the retro-print wallpaper in the living room and master bedroom.
“They are quite bold but they work well to balance the cool neutral tones. I think every home needs something to make it stand apart. The pattern on the living room wall is made from real silver so it has a wonderful tactile finish that is unusual but also hard-wearing.”
The flat includes a distinctive guest room, which doubles as a temple room accommodating two intricate porcelain statues of Ganesh.
“They are a reflection of our culture but represented in a contemporary, stylish way, which is exactly how we are as people,” she says.
“We’re accustomed to Hong Kong’s international, cosmopolitan lifestyle but very much connected to our roots, so we mix both elements.”
Living room The leather sofa cost HK$34,000 at Decor Collection (Green View Mansion, 55 Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2882 8335). The white lacquer television console (HK$42,000) was from Ital Designs (39 Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2892 1809). The Noctis wallpaper, by Arte, features a raised-silver print and was bought for HK$1,290 a metre at Tat Ming Wallpaper (26/F, Miramar Tower, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2735 6337). The chess set (HK$1,590) on the console and the coffee table (HK$4,490), with storage, both came from Indigo Living (6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 0540). The wool rug (HK$11,000) came from Tai Ping Carpets (Prince’s Building, Central, tel: 2522 7138). The Half Moon chair by Kare Design (HK$4,970) was from Galleria Divani (Home Square, Sha Tin, tel: 3184 0778). The ceiling light (HK$16,000) came from Future Lighting Collection (Amber Commercial Building, 70 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2893 1355). The wall clock (about HK$3,000) and the “Indian women” cushion (HK$900) came from Homeless (29 Gough Street, Central, tel: 2581 1880). The sound system was from Bang & Olufsen (3/F, One Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 1782). The lime green cushion (HK$400) was from Rimba Rhyme (5/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2544 4011). The silver candle stand (about HK$10,000) came from Fink (20/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 3520 2526).
Dining area The statement mirror (HK$12,400) came from Design Direction (43 Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2904 7232). The mirrored sideboard (HK$26,500) was from Ulferts (275 Chatham Road North, Hung Hom, tel: 2333 6281). On it is a limited-edition crystal Ganesh statue by Lalique (Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2723 1507). The glass dining table was bought years ago from a shop that has since closed. The leather dining chairs were also from Ulferts and cost HK$1,940 each. The glass wall shelves (HK$5,750 each) came from Fontana Interiors (67 Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2890 1276). They hold Ganesh and Radha-Krishna statues, both from Lladro (Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2321 8039). The candle stand (HK$1,840) to the left of the sideboard was from Ovo Home (16 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2526 7226). The whimsical two-bird floor lamp (HK$9,800), by Areti, was from Lane Crawford (3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2118 3428). The ceiling light cost HK$5,980 at Future Lighting Collection.
Bar The compact free-standing bar (HK$3,100) came from Hang Cheong Furniture (Home World, Site 12, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, tel: 3156 1946). The steel stool was bought about a decade ago from Ital Designs.
Balcony The balcony, with its views over the harbour, is a favourite reading spot. The chairs (HK$1,850 each), table (HK$8,375) and cordless rechargeable table lamp (HK$990) were from Everything Under the Sun (9/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2554 9088).
Entrance The shoe cabinet cost HK$8,560 from Ulferts. The crystal vase was bought years ago.
Corridor The laughing boy figurine (HK$1,500) and stand (HK$900) came from Aluminium (10/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2375 0298). The retroinspired Elyan Gold print wallpaper, by Khlara, in the master bedroom, cost HK$3,500 a roll at Tat Ming Wallpaper. The mirrored bedside table cost HK$2,490 at Indigo Living.
Guest room (right) The single sofa bed cost HK$9,800 at Rimba Rhyme. The silk scarves were picked up on a trip to India, while the colourful cushions (HK$169 each) came from Rapee Living (The One, 100 Nathan Road, tel: 2698 2262). The guestroom doubles as a temple room, with the family’s Ganesh and Laxmi idols (from Lladro) displayed atop a mirrored chest of drawers (HK$4,990) from Indigo Living (Prince’s Building, tel: 2801 5512).
Nook, lined and slinky To make the most of the bay window in the master bedroom, Hanisha Gianani created a breakfast nook with cushions and a tray. The cushions and curtains were made by Colormatch (427 Chatham Road North, Hung Hom, tel: 2365 0529) for a total of about HK$10,000 (including the silk-look polyester fabric). The tray was made by Queen's Up Interior Decoration (4/F, On Shing Industrial Building, 2 Wo Liu Hang Road, Sha Tin, tel: 3568 1346), the same contractor used for other fixtures in the flat.