Discovery Bay is not everybody's ideal neighbourhood but recently married Kelly and Stanley Lee were looking for something specific: a family home for the children they plan to have.
'We are seeking a good environment for our babies,' says Kelly Lee.
Alain Wong, of Comodo Interior Design, helped the couple realise their aims in the 1,100 sqft Siena Two apartment they bought.
'The owners wanted warm, earth-tone colours but they also wanted a modern style,' he says.
Browns and beiges feature prominently throughout, with splashes of white and plenty of glass and mirrors adding contemporary touches. Light-coloured floor tiles with a wood pattern were used to create a warm feel and natural look. A wooden backdrop behind the television adds another earthy touch.
Wong placed mirrors on the wall behind the living-room couch, to extend the flat's green and marine views.
The layout of the dining area, situated close to the front door, was born of compromise - and a dream. Lee had wanted a formal dining table, suitable for family meals, in the space, but she was persuaded otherwise by her husband, who had dreamt he was at home, drinking at a countertop table with a friend and having a wonderful time, she says.
'After that, he called Alain to ask to have a bar area,' she says. 'Alain is a good designer - this bar-dining table solved our problem.'
Wong built the bar slightly lower than normal, so it would be comfortable to sit at for meals.
Lee's interest lay mainly in the master suite.
'Mrs Lee gave me a picture of a hotel in Korea, where they went on honeymoon,' says Wong.
He used the picture as inspiration for the colours and style of the room. He enlarged the space, at the end of the corridor, by incorporating what was the third bedroom into the suite. Then he filled the extra space with wardrobes, drawer units and a study area. The study-cum-walk-in wardrobe is divided by a glass wall - fitted with pull-down roller blinds - from the bedroom proper. This creates an overall feeling of space and airiness in the suite while making the study discrete.
Wong also created the painting that hangs over the bed.
'They wanted some natural element [in the room], so we did the design on Photoshop and had an artist paint it, using oil on canvas,' he says.
The dining area is her husband's favourite part of their new home, says Lee.
'Last week we had a house warming and he had a drink there with his friends. So dreams do come true.'
1 The walnut bed (HK$18,000) and dark oak headboard (HK$3,800) were made by Comodo Interior Design (2 King Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2808 0991). The painting over the bed was made to order by Comodo.
2 The dressing table, in dark oak, was made by Comodo for HK$4,200, including the mirror. The Eluga armchair cost HK$1,600 from Franc Franc (2/F, Hang Lung Centre, 2 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3427 3366).
3 The entrance opens straight into the dining area, where an L-shaped bar-cum-table, designed and built by Comodo, takes pride of place. The bar (HK$25,800) is made of grey marble and has grey mirrors on the sides, with storage hidden behind. The bar stools cost HK$2,000 each from Marc James Design (16/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2189 7476). The pressed glass light tubes hanging over the counter are by Tom Dixon and cost HK$3,499 each from Aluminium (1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2546 5904).
4 Using crystal white glass and mirror, Comodo created an eye-catching design feature on the living room wall, visually separating the living and dining areas.
5 The third bedroom has been transformed into an oak and glass study-cum-walk-in wardrobe, with a glass wall separating it from the master bedroom. The copy of a Philippe Starck Ghost chair cost HK$2,780 from Marc James Design.
6 Light colours on the walls and floors combined with white furnishings make the living area look spacious. The two-seater leather couch and matching chaise longue cost HK$9,980 for both from Ulferts (3/F, Pioneer Centre, 750 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, tel: 2892 1313). The aluminium floor lamp cost HK$4,800 from Modern (HK) Lighting (206 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2893 6768). The Echo 900 coffee table came from G.O.D. (Leighton Centre, Sharp Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 5555), where it sells for HK$2,580. The white oak audio-video unit was designed and made by Comodo for HK$8,600.
7 The kitchen was designed and fitted by Comodo for HK$32,000 (excluding appliances), using crystal black glass cupboard doors for a contemporary finish. The floor is covered in tiles purchased from Pro-tiles (unit A, 5/F, On Loong Commercial Building, 276 Lockhart Road, tel: 2877 1622) for HK$65 per square foot.
8 In the bathroom, a small, rectangular pane of glass has been cut in the middle of a glass cupboard door over the basin, neatly concealing a television screen. The nine-inch LED monitor cost HK$1,800 from Wan Chai Computer Centre (130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai). The Toto basin (HK$1,380) and Grohe tap (HK$800) came from Hop Lung Building Materials (11/F, 3 Lockhart Road, tel: 2861 3177).
The good and the ugly
Vinyl-backed wallpaper is ideal for humid Hong Kong. It is easier to clean than traditional wallpaper and has a higher resistance to moisture and stains. The downside is that it takes two to three weeks to settle smoothly against the wall, especially on corners. Vinyl-backed, linen-effect paper costs HK$180 a roll at Wallmark Gallery (unit B, 20/F, Kingswell Commercial Tower, 171 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2877 1187).
Tried + tested
Touch of glass
A narrow, rectangular pane of glass in the oak kitchen door allows whoever is cooking to see what's happening in the dining area while keeping odours and mess contained. The door and glass insert were designed and made by Comodo Interior Design (2 King Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2808 0991).
Styling David Roden