When interior designer Mark Le Feuvre was called in to renovate a 2,500 sq ft home, part of a complex of eight houses in Pok Fu Lam, he received a clear brief.
'The house had been renovated and modernised, but it was cold, with no colour and the furnishings had come from the owners' previous home,' Le Feuvre says.
His task was to make the interior warmer while keeping the decor contemporary and ensuring the space retained the feel of a family home.
The house, which has four floors plus a rooftop, was bought in 2006 and originally renovated by Australian architect Roger Hackworth.
'When I walked in I saw potential,' says homeowner Cate Turner. 'It was extremely dark, had a dark kitchen, lots of black lacquer doors and there were many small rooms. But it was a house - fairly hard to find in Pok Fu Lam - and had huge potential.
'We said to Roger that we wanted our house to be very light, very open and use every ounce of space. He did a great job, installing a glass ceiling in the kitchen and opening up the house to let light flow through. We have virtually no doors in the house, but instead we had sliding opaque screens that allow light through while maintaining privacy.'
After five years in the house with two boisterous boys, now aged 10 and 13, the couple felt the space looked tired and wanted the furniture to be more 'grown up'. That's when they turned to Le Feuvre.
'He just 'got' me,' Turner says. 'He took the time to listen and laugh with me and had some immediate ideas that I loved.'
Le Feuvre was asked to review the house, how it worked and how it had aged.
'The boys had grown up and I wanted them to feel their bedrooms were a haven where they could hang out with friends. The area in the centre of their level needed furniture that made it look less like a landing and more usable, to entertain their mates,' says Turner.
The house is accessed through the basement garage level. Above, on the ground floor, are the dining and living areas, and a kitchen. A glass ceiling in this extended part of the house, which is built into a hillside, allows light to flood down and affords space, normally taken up by windows, for cabinets to be installed on every wall. A bold glass splashback adds an element of drama.
Beyond the living area is a patio with a door that leads to the complex's shared swimming pool.
'One of our biggest challenges was what to do with the courtyard,' Turner says. 'It felt small and the garden had not taken off. Mark came up with the fabulous idea of putting in highly polished stainless steel behind the grate [see Tried + tested ].'
Today, the house is a comfortable haven that accommodates the needs of the busy parents, who hail from Australia and England, and their sons. The boys share the floor above the living room, with bedrooms at the front and back and a communal area in the middle where they can watch television or spend time on the computer.
'Turning their beds into a 'couch' was inspired,' says Turner, explaining that cushions, removed at night, create sofas by day. 'The boys have really appreciated being in their rooms and not sitting on a bed as such. The whole level works so well for them.'
The master bedroom and bathroom on the level above were redesigned, although the original built-in wardrobes were retained. The bathroom, with its expanse of olive green glass lining the walls, is dramatic and complements the colours of the adjoining master bedroom, which is decorated in strong hues of black and olive.
On the roof is a small study-cum-guest room with an en-suite bathroom and a patio offering sweeping views of the South China Sea. 'It has become my haven,' says Turner.
The biggest challenge for Le Feuvre, he says, was maintaining the clean contemporary lines while making it comfortable using personal references, such as family photographs, which have been printed and placed in simple black frames.
He's proud of the results: 'It has life now and feels like a home. It has strong colours but still looks uncluttered and stylish.'
The sofas (HK$73,000 each) and Nuit D'Argent floor lamp (HK$8,400) came from Anterra (5 Blue Pool Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2525 9874). The MYchair (HK$31,500) and console (HK$37,600) came from LeCadre Gallery (11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2526 1068), as did the two Connect coffee tables (HK$29,000 each). On the console is a Sigma table lamp, which cost HK$18,000 at Zodiac Lighting (32 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2832 9987). The rug was custom made at Yarns (26/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2525 2339) for HK$11,800. Contractor Koie Chan of Kodeco Interior (8/F, Man Lee Industrial Building, 13 Kin Hong Street, Kwai Chung, tel: 2884 4223) refurbished and repainted the existing television cabinet for HK$5,300 and out- door Kenkoon furniture for HK$9,000.
The spacious kitchen is flooded with light shining through the glass ceiling. The cabinet doors and the island were replaced by Kodeco Interior for HK$18,750, and the purple glass panels were installed at a cost of HK$5,400. The stools were in situ prior to the refurbishment, as was the flooring.
The oval Elica marble dining table cost HK$92,000 at LeCadre Gallery. The Ligne Roset Sala chairs (HK$5,200 each) came from Anterra. Designer Mark Le Feuvre of Max Property Investment & Design (tel: 9331 9402) had the existing artwork reframed by Kodeco Interior for HK$11,600. The vase (HK$850) came from Ovo (16 Queen's Road East, tel: 2526 7226). The Arco lamp was purchased several years ago.
The olive green glass walls (HK$8,000) were installed by Kodeco Interior, which also installed the Corian counter (HK$7,000). The Gessi shower and basin fittings (HK$82,000, for shower and fittings) were purchased from colour.living (333 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2295 6263).
The world map wallpaper was bought online (a similar version is available for A$170/HK$1,400 a roll from www.wallpapershop.com.au ). The built-in shelving was designed by Le Feuvre and built by Kodeco Interior for HK$7,000. The stool and uplights were bought prior to the refurbishment.
The Designers Guild wallpaper (HK$600 a roll) came from Avant Garde (Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2526 0104). The Artemide bedside lights cost HK$2,000 each at Lane Crawford Home Store (Pacific Place, tel: 2118 3652). The bed was reupholstered by Cloverleaf Interiors, from where Le Feuvre also sourced the soft furnishings (HK$7,000 for a bedhead, skirt, cushions and throw).
Le Feuvre created a sophisticated space for the couple's sons. The wallpaper (HK$760 a roll), by Vivienne Westwood, came from Altfied Interiors (11/F, 9 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2525 2738) and the soft furnishings and bed (HK$12,000 for bed and furnishings) were made by Cloverleaf Interiors (17/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 6801).
The rooftop study and guest room retained most of its original furniture. The Lido coffee table and two chairs came from Artura Ficus (18/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 3105 3904) and cost a total of HK$5,600.
Steeling ideas By installing highly polished stainless steel behind a slatted wall at the back of the patio, designer Mark Le Feuvre gave the small space depth, colour and light, says homeowner Cate Turner. 'The architectural plants have added greatly to the feel and I love looking out there now.'
The durable stainless steel, which needs little maintenance other than cleaning, is bolted to the wall on a frame. Kodeco Interior built and installed it for HK$25,000.
Styling Viv Jones