Just look at this view!” Sasha Young exclaims, looking out of her apartment, perched high on a hill in leafy Pok Fu Lam, overlooking the country park and reservoir. “It looks like a jungle; there are even wild pigs roaming around – it’s a paradise for my boys.”
Born in Bahrain and raised in Hong Kong, Britain and Singapore, Young manages three energetic boys, aged seven, six and four, while taking care of Wright & Smith, the design-led company she launched this year, soon after she and her husband, James, moved into their serene, 3,000-sq-ft, four-bedroom rental apartment.
The company, which she describes as a “global forum of artisans and makers”, offers a collection of handcrafted pieces, from ceramics and glassware to furniture and textiles, sourced from small workshops around the world.
“I like to go to the source, to find out where and how something is made, and get to know the people who have made it,” Young says. “I like having things because they have a story to them, like when I saw some beautiful curtains in Italy that were fringed and then I decided to do the same at home. It is the story behind it that makes it unique to you.”
That passion for discovering beautifully designed items is reflected throughout her home, which accommodates furniture and decorative pieces, such as glossy black bamboo dining chairs of her own design, and “investment buys”, including the George Smith sofas made for her and James.
“If you are going to spend money on an item, spend it well,” she says. “For instance, people often buy poorly made mid-priced sofas and then want to change them after only a few years. It’s so environmentally unfriendly as well as a total waste of money.”
Young first became interested in design while at university, when she interned at House and Garden magazine in London. Her father, however, encouraged her to pursue a banking career, which took her to New York and London before she came back to Hong Kong in 2000. Young’s return to interior design emerged a few years later, when friends saw and liked how she had personalised her and James’ first home, in Mid-Levels. They requested a similar, individual look for their own places.
“When I look at the items in our own home, I always think of the people or stories they represent,” she says. “I like to know that our custom-painted ceramic dragon stools came from the same workshop that has made ceramics for my family for three generations or that the light-blue cushions in the window bays are made from vintage fabric that is block printed using bean paste in southeast China.”
The couple’s current apartment features two separate sitting rooms (one created by the landlord by enclosing a balcony), which, Young says, is ideal for their young family because it gives the adults a separate space in which to relax or entertain. The children’s sitting room is decorated in a neutral palette, with a simple daybed and custom-designed low coffee table. An oil painting of boats on a beach – a wedding gift from Young to her husband – adds a burst of colour.
Young says she was drawn to the apartment’s light-filled rooms, which she decorated using soothing neutrals and cool blues to create a peaceful environment. The children’s two bedrooms are painted in bolder hues while a third bedroom, transformed into Young’s office, features glossy-charcoal-painted walls.
The apartment’s generously sized rooms also offered plenty of opportunities to display the family’s favourite art and decorative pieces, which include a sizeable collection of Chinese artefacts.
“My parents met and married here, as did my grandparents. My great-grandparents traded through Hong Kong although my Chinese family originated in Guangdong, while I’ve been here on and off my whole life,” Young says. “It’s home.”
Young places emphasis on living with design that reflects who she and her family are.
“It is about creating a home. Some of our design pieces have bumps and dents from where the children have used them as target practice while playing Buzz Lightyear but I want them to feel this is their home, a place they always want to come back to.”
Living room The sky blue sofa and armchairs, upholstered in Colefax and Fowler’s Evesham fabric in Old Blue, were bought years ago from George Smith. The white coffee table is a bespoke piece made by Sasha Young Design. The green and blue silk cushions are made from vintage ikat fabric while the Chinese cabinet and side tables came from a previous home. The wool and sisal floor rug was custom made by Choi Designs (4/F, Dominion Centre, 43 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 6816). The Porta Romana standing lamp has been discontinued but the current collection is available from Altfield.
Living room detail An antique Chinese wedding chest sourced years ago from Zhuhai doubles as a cocktail cabinet. Young has collected the blue-and-white Chinese ceramics from various workshops over the years.
Dining area The dining chairs (HK$4,200 each) were designed and made by Sasha Young Design. The wooden sideboard and pair of Indian prints came from Altfield. The plates (HK$470 to HK$895) are from Wright & Smith’s 5 Blessings collection. Young updated a matching pair of lamps from India Jane, in London, with bespoke lampshades made by Soong Arts (6 Square Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2549 0615). The bronze horse sculpture is by Zimbabwe-born artist Nicola Toms while the Persian hand-painted bowls were bought at the Conrad hotel’s Christmas fair. The cockatoo ornament was from Rockett St George.
Home office The Eico glossy dark charcoal wall paint is from Young’s own collection for Okooko. The desk (HK$649) and filing cabinets (HK$399 each) came from Ikea while the ergonomic chair (HK$5,980) was from Homeless. The pink painting is by British artist Luke Martineau.
Master bedroom The bed was custom made years ago by The Red Cabinet. The custom-designed headboard was from New Bedford Interiors (67 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2520 0330). The cushions are made with Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam’s Sabu Celadon fabric (about £150 per metre) and Samuel & Sons trim (available from Altfield). Young designed the matching stools at the foot of the bed. The campaign-style chest of drawers and the bedside tables, a pair of antique altar tables, were bought from Shambala many years ago, while the matching lampshades were by Soong Arts. The Eico wall paint is from Young’s own paint collection for Okooko.
Children’s bedroom Matching Ikea beds (HK$1,740 each) are paired with custom-design headboards and valances made by Sheryia Curtain. The wall paint is a bespoke colour mixed by Eico Paints. The Jim Thompson Tiger Tiger fabric (about HK$500 per metre) used for the bed’s bolster pillows and window blinds was sourced from Altfield. The armchair cost HK$1,790 from Ikea. The vintage Blanc de Chine porcelain lamp is topped with a Jim Thompson silk shade from Altfield.
Bathroom The ikat towel was a gift from Young’s mother. The white ceramic Chinese stool was from Indigo (HK$1,490) while the woven basket came from a previous home.
TRIED + TESTED
Her cup of tea Inspired by a traditional British library, Sasha Young designed seats with storage beneath, plus a retractable shelf, for the sitting room’s window bays.
“I like to sit here with a cup of tea,” she says. “The sunlight would bleach most furniture or lacquer trays but this table-tray slides away and is completely invisible when not in use.”