An exhausted homeowner teamed up with a stylist to add the final flourishes to her glamorous family flat
Text Charmaine Chan / Styling David Roden / Photography John Butlin
Sometimes it's the finishing touches to a home that make or break a design. That was the case for Reema Mulchand. After spending almost a year renovating her family's 2,400 sq ft, seaview Pok Fu Lam apartment, she needed help pulling the disparate elements together to create a pleasing whole.
"I was so exhausted," she says of the project to modernise the former government apartment she and her husband, Rajesh, bought in 2012. "I was like, 'Somebody just come and help me!'"
That somebody turned out to be none other than Post Magazine stylist David Roden, who not only assisted in finding furniture, soft furnishings and art, but also managed to turn what was becoming a bugbear into an enjoyable experience. Over three months the pair went on twice-weekly shopping dates. "It was so much fun," Mulchand says.
Their collaboration is palpable on the day of the photo shoot, with Roden anxiously awaiting the arrival of a carpet he designed for the couple's master bedroom and Mulchand proudly showing off her own purchases as well as items they decided on together. For the new home, which features white walls (something she yearned for after the yellow, country feel of her previous flat), pieces were selected to give it a vague beachy vibe, albeit with touches of modern glamour.
Items such as the Moroso coffee tables in the living area were the personal choice of Mulchand, as were the "Tiffany blue" walls of the master en-suite bathroom and slightly rough marble-look floor tiles, selected with her father in mind because the shiny alternative can be slippery. Then there were the items bought and made overseas that were chosen for their craftsmanship or because of lower prices compared with those in Hong Kong.
While Roden and Mulchand have trawled local stores, she also had furniture made in Dubai, where her father lives, and bathroom fixtures, among other things, imported from the United States.
"Dad travels back and forth quite a bit; that's why we wanted an extra bedroom, so whenever he comes down we have enough space for everyone," Mulchand says of what is now a three-bed-room, two-bathroom apartment with a playroom for the couple's two daughters. The girls, aged 10 and seven, wanted to continue sharing a bedroom.
"It's really sweet," says Mulchand, adding that her children also chose the world-map wallpaper that is the focus of their room. "It's a bit messed up because there's more of Canada and the Russian republic, but it's such a great talking point."
The girls may sleep together but homework is often a separate affair, with one child studying at her desk in their bedroom while the other uses the dining table. It's in that open area, which segues into a lounge and deep, scenic balcony with pebbled floor, that the family spends most of their time.
Roden had his largest input in this vital space, helping to coordinate the gold-and-silver palette of the dining room to showcase the vintage-style lamp Mulchand had spotted in a store. So from art, to end chairs upholstered in a mustard fabric, and the legs of a console, it all feels like one part of a piece.
Only a few hints of the family's Indian heritage (Mulchand was born in Delhi; her husband in Hong Kong) can be found in the apartment. A discreet custom-built altar accommodates sculptures of Hindu gods, while an artwork of an Indian woman hangs in the tranquil master bedroom.
Despite several hands having worked on the apartment, harmony permeates throughout, although there was one thing on which Mulchand and her decorator clashed.
"The leather chair!" remembers Roden, a vegetarian who usually chooses home furnishings not derived from animals. "But it was the shape we were looking for.
"And," he jokes, recalling their conversation at the time, "Reema said, 'I'm not going to buy leather handbags or shoes for a year.'"
Dining area Gold and silver make a statement in the dining area, which features a chandelier from BS Lighting (73B Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2808 4138). The armchairs came from Master Casa (61Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2178 1328). The other chairs were from Ovo Home (1Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2526 7226). The B&B Italia dining table and Penta table lamp were from Via (3 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3102 3189). The Porta Romana console was from Altfield Interiors (11/F, 9 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2524 4867). The artwork (from left to right) consists of a “Nothing” gold bar, by Wayne Warren, from China Art Projects (www.chinaartprojects.com); a Slim cockatoo photograph, by Leila Jeffreys, from The Cat Street Gallery (222 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2291 0006); a painting, by Jack Frame, from Britain’s Cube Gallery (www.cube-gallery.co.uk); and “Hope”, by Peter Blake, also from The Cat Street Gallery.
Living area The serene living room, which opens onto a balcony, features a painting by Tina Buchholtz, from Karin Weber Gallery (20 Aberdeen Street, Central, tel: 2544 5004). The artwork, which hangs from a panel hiding a television, is flanked by Vaughan Colvara wall lights from Altfield Interiors. The coffee tables, by Moroso, came from Chaplins (www.chaplins.co.uk), in Britain; and the armchairs were from Bold Bespoke Design (www.bolduae.com), in Dubai. Beside the Sitting Vision leather recliner, from Decor Collection (51A Wong Nai Chung Road, tel: 2881 7283), is a Minotti gold side table from Andante (Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2537 9688). Complementing the gold-and-silver theme is the steel side table from Bowerbird (2/F, Oceanic Industrial Centre, 2 Lee Lok Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2552 2727). From Altfield came the Jane Churchill fabric used to cover the floor cushions and the blueand- white ikat material of the cushion on the armchair. Material for the blinds and sheer curtains came from Cetec (18/F, Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, tel: 2521 1325). The carpet, designed by David Roden Designs (tel: 9774 3238, www.davidroden.yolasite.com), was made by Freda Carpet (17/F, CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2521 6606). Beside the terrarium, from Ovo Garden (1Wan Chai Road, tel: 2529 2599), is a Tom Dixon tealight holder from E-Lighting (197 Wan Chai Road, tel: 2575 1010).
Kitchen The cabinetry was built by Kitchen Square (The Sun’s Group Centre, 200 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2838 6218). The countertop is made of Silestone. The Hunter Pacific fan came from Life’s A Breeze (16/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2572 4000) and the stools were from Bowerbird.
Balcony The balcony was given a beachy feel with a pebbled floor laid by the Mulchands’ contractor, Louis Lau of Ample Design (13/F, Eastern Harbour Centre, 28 Hoi Chak Street, Quarry Bay, tel: 3529 1864). The Cane-line table was from Everything Under the Sun (9/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2554 9088) and the chairs and footstool were from Franc Franc (iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 3102 0730).
Girls’ room The world-map wallpaper came from www.worldmapsonline.com in the US. Ample Design made the beds and desk. The Moll chairs came from Magazzini (1/F, Ruttonjee Centre, tel: 2521 3282). The Manuel Canovas curtain fabric was from Altfield Interiors and the sheers from Cetec. The bedside lights were from PLC Lighting (210 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2519 6275).
Master bedroom The tranquil master bedroom features a carpet designed by David Roden Designs and made by Freda Carpet. The table lamp and stool came from Altfield Interiors; the quilt from David Roden Designs; the curtains from Cetec; and the sofa from Bowerbird. The George Nelson Bubble lamps were from California-based YLighting (www.ylighting.com) and the Ron Rezek fan from G.O.D. (various locations; www.god.com.hk). Ample Design made the bed and bedside tables, which have pulls from Restoration Hardware. The painting was bought years ago from Good Earth (www.goodearth.in) in India. The bedside lights were from PLC Lighting. The Boen flooring came from Equal (23/F, 111 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2881 7066).'
Bathroom The en-suite bathroom features sconces and drawer knobs from Restoration Hardware (www.restorationhardware.com) and taps from Hansgrohe (www.hansgrohe.com), all ordered from the US. The basins were by Roca (www.roca.com). The laundry basket came from Zara Home (Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2880 5068).
Cast in stone When the side table arrived from Bold in Dubai, the Mulchands realised it was a little too high beside the sofa, and not quite the look they wanted. Rather than send it back, they had David Roden make it fit, which he did by snipping the legs at the top and using a piece of stone from Wing Ming Marble (160 Lockhart Road, tel: 2802 7891), that was cut to fit over the white lacquer top.