Colour, colour and more colour. That was the brief given to the designer by the owners of this Robinson Road apartment.
Trading company owner Jose Salazar, who hails from the Bahamas, and his Australian banker wife wanted a 'very vibrant' interior, says Johnny Leung of Chinc's Workshop.
The couple, who bought the property in April last year, also requested colonial-style decor and a sleek, modern kitchen for the flat, which, Leung says, hadn't been decorated for 30 years.
Leung wasn't convinced all these elements would work together in the 1,500 sq ft apartment, mainly because of its size. He says: 'We switched to a cottage feel because a colonial style requires more balconies and higher ceilings. It's a style that could be quite clunky if it's not in the right type of property.'
Sticking to the main brief, Leung sourced some brightly coloured tiles with bold patterns that, he says, are Mediterranean and Moroccan influenced, and used them in two places: on the countertop of the built-in shoe cabinet to the left of the front door, which opens directly on to the main living area; and in the en-suite bathroom. Says Leung: 'The cabinet top is the first thing you see when you enter the apartment. When the client comes home, it's where they put their keys or the newspaper, so I wanted it to be an area that is immediately uplifting. You can also see it from the other side of the apartment, when you walk out of the bedrooms. It's like a piece of art.'
In the main living area and the hall, the flooring is walnut and has been treated with charcoal to create 'a smoky effect that will look even better over time'. One of the walls has been papered with what Leung calls 'monogrammed' wallpaper in two shades of blue: 'colourful but not overwhelming'. The rest of the living area is papered in taupe, with a subtle metallic thread running through the pattern to add texture.
Leung says people are often afraid of using wallpaper in Hong Kong because they think it won't be as durable as paint in the heat and humidity. But, he says, with paint, unlike wallpaper, cracks can appear over time. 'Wallpaper is a very refined way of decorating,' he adds.
To extend the cottage style, Leung created false ceilings of white wooden decking, which conceal the wiring for the lights. Also, storage space throughout the apartment is hidden behind white-wood panelling that, Leung says, creates a vintage look but with sleek, clean lines, which he calls 'shabby chic with a contemporary touch'.
More colour has been added with custom-made throw cushions on the sofas and beds, which, Leung says, is a way to introduce colour to a home and update it inexpensively: 'It'll refresh an area in an economical way,' he says.
The patterned tiles on the west-facing balcony, which enjoys verdant views, are intended to co-ordinate with the tiles elsewhere in the apartment and new railings were dipped in acid to create a weathered, aged effect.
Salazar likes to cook and he wanted a 'masculine' kitchen, says Leung, who installed marble-style worktops and used a brown and bronze colour scheme. Attention to detail extended to the handles on the cabinetry from India (via Ap Lei Chau) and a bronze mesh pattern on the laminated cupboards. Leung says the overall effect is meant to convey a luggage compartment on an old train.
The master bedroom is on the same side of the flat as the balcony and the bed is positioned to take full advantage of the view the couple enjoys so much. The dramatic red bed is complemented with a contrasting shade of wallpaper that also has fine metallic stripes running through the pattern. This is on one wall only, again because Leung wanted it to be colourful without being overwhelming.
'While each room must work separately, it must also have cohesion with the rest of the property. The home has to work as a whole. I think it's important to have a sense of cohesiveness to create the right ambience,' he says.
Which leads us to the en-suite bathroom and its striking tiling - 18 types - which, Leung says, are not in a regular pattern because that way your eye is not attracted to the same part. That would be 'boring'.
1 Living room
The sofas and ottoman were bought from Ovo Home (16 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2526 7226) about two years ago. The cushions were custom made by Fabricsmith (182 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2790 6490) for HK$500 to HK$700 each with fabric from the Bolero series by Clarke & Clarke. The curtains were also custom made by Fabricsmith and cost HK$13,800. The wallpaper, by Romo from Wallpaper Plus (9/F, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3525 1785), was HK$15 a square foot. The rug was bought from Ovo Home a year ago. The wooden flooring came from BeautyFloor (272A Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3427 8640) and cost HK$70 a square foot. The balcony tiles (HK$100 a square foot) were from A La Mode (17/F, Tak Lee Commercial Building, 113 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2576 6332). The balcony table and chairs (HK$5,500 for the set) were from Everything Under the Sun (9/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2554 9088). The artwork, by Spaniard Marc Jesus, was bought in Brazil years ago.
Designed by Chinc's Workshop (20/F, Oceanic Industrial Centre, 2 Lee Lok Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 2812), the kitchen incorporates a countertop made of Samsung Silestone that cost HK$1,795 a square foot. The Formica cabinetry was custom made for HK$56,400 by Wing Art (9/F, Dannies House, 20 Luard Road, Wan Chai, tel: 6346 8821). The kitchen drawer knobs were from Shambala (2/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2555 2997). The Schock sink (HK$4,300) was from H2O Pro (332 Lockhart Road, tel: 2834 1661) and the tap (HK$2,680) came from Hop Lung Building Materials (300A Lockhart Road, tel: 2802 2274). The Piemme wall tiles (HK$105 a square foot) are by Valentino and came from A La Mode.
The shoe cabinet was designed by Chinc's Workshop and custom made by Wing Art for HK$9,800. The tiles on the countertop came from J Power (157 Lockhart Road, tel: 2596 0001) and cost HK$135 a square foot. The chair was bought a couple of years ago from Ovo Home. The wallpaper is by Romo from Wallpaper Plus and was HK$15 a square foot.
The bookshelves were custom made by Wing Art for HK$29,200. The desk was bought from Ovo Home two years ago and cost HK$13,000. The wooden shutters were custom made by Fabricsmith for HK$5,800.
5 Television wall
The wallpaper, from Wallpaper Plus cost HK$16.50 a square foot. The television cabinet (HK$11,000) and chair came from Ovo Home. The Philips RoomStylers wall light (HK$480) is available at TriLight Zone (2/F, Fast Industrial Building, 658 Castle Peak Road, Lai Chi Kok, tel: 3568 6897).
6 En-suite bathroom
The countertop tiles are the same as those on the living room shoe cabinet. The Hansgrohe shower (HK$10,600) came from Hop Lung Building Materials. The handmade stainless-steel basin, imported from Thailand, can be purchased via Hop Lung Building Materials for about HK$2,500. The Moen tap (HK$1,600) came from Shun Lee (277 Lockhart Road, tel: 2598 0688).
7 Guest bedroom
The wallpaper was from Wallpaper Plus and cost HK$15 a square foot. The bed (HK$22,000) and the bedside table (HK$6,000) came from Ovo Home. The artwork is by Salazar. The slim bedside lamp was a housewarming gift.
8 Master bedroom
The queen-size bed in red alcantara was bought from Ovo Home two years ago for HK$25,000. The cushions were custom made by Fabricsmith in Bolero series fabric by Clarke & Clarke and cost HK$500 to HK$700 each. The curtains (HK$9,800) were also custom made by Fabricsmith. The stool was bought a long time ago from a Queen's Road East shop that has since closed. The bedside table is the same as the one in the guest bedroom.
Tried + tested
The door to the en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom appears to be part of the wall panelling, as do the wardrobes, which were custom made by Wing Art for HK$54,000. The designer did this because the bathroom door is quite close to the foot of the bed and he wanted to create the illusion of space in the bedroom by incorporating the entrance into a streamlined design.
Styling Fox Daniels