Brian McKenna had a clear idea of how he wanted his home to look - but no idea how to achieve it. The American lawyer had three disparate notions in mind: 'comfortable', 'Asian antique' and 'beach house' - to reflect his apartment's Repulse Bay location. 'I really wanted to end up with a place that was relaxed, comfortable, clean and bright,' McKenna says. Although 'Asian antique' and 'beach house' are not obvious bedfellows - especially in a modern high-rise apartment- this is just the sort of project Ruth Rebuck and Greer Howland of Rebuck Howland Interiors enjoy. 'We like putting things together that wouldn't normally go,' Rebuck says. 'Houses tend to be either all antiques or all ultra modern - we like to blend both.' When McKenna rented the 1,000 sq ft two-bedroom apartment, it was an empty shell. The first task Rebuck and Howland tackled was painting all the walls white. 'We wanted to keep as much light as possible,' Howland says, 'and we added fresh colours to make the space look bigger.' Indeed, light floods in and the combination of a clean colour palette and a bird's-eye view of the bay evinces a beach-house feel. With a view to moving back to New York at some point, McKenna wanted to collect a few antiques to take with him. Here lay a challenge for Rebuck and Howland. 'Antiques are often dark, so we steered Brian towards colour,' Rebuck says. They took him on a shopping trip to Macau and advised him on pieces that would enhance the apart- ment and complement each other. At 500 square feet, the living area takes up the lion's share of the flat. Rebuck and Howland broke the space into three areas: dining, lounging and study. McKenna's budget for the project was allocated main- ly to items that would be accompanying him to the United States, therefore standard fittings, such as the flooring and bathroom and kitchen units, were left largely untouched. 'My main criterion was investing in pieces of furniture that I could have for a long, long time and could be used in different apartments,' McKenna says. One area he has invested in is art, some of which was created by Howland, whose work - in ink, acrylics and oils - McKenna liked. Howland also has a background in landscape architecture, so plants are evident throughout. 'We specialise in interior design, art consultancy and landscape design and we always try to incorporate plenty of plants and flowers in our projects,' Rebuck says. 'Especially if the client doesn't have outdoor space, it's bringing the outside in.' McKenna, who shares the flat with two cats (Babu and Cricket), says: 'I am thrilled with the result. I had no real idea how to pull everything together. This is where I found Greer and Ruth most helpful. They thought through a million small things that I never would have noticed but ended up contributing to the overall result greatly.' His favourite room is the study: 'I really like how that area turned out. Because of the limited space in the apartment it has to be functional, but because it is such a focal point of the main room it has to look good and fit in with the rest of the design. 'I also love that the bar has a bit more character than the usual drinks closet. To me it is a great example of making something functional fit the design of the rest of the apartment. 'I realised that when you have limited space it really forces you to think about all aspects of a piece of furniture.' 1 Living area Separating the lounge area from the dining room and study is an L-shaped sofa (HK$12,000), which, like the red-and-white cushions (HK$300 each), came from Indigo (18/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 0540). The fawn cushion came from Ovo (16 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2526 7226) and cost HK$700. The artwork is by Greer Howland Smith ( www.greerhowland.com ), the art-consultancy arm of Rebuck Howland Interiors (tel: 6355 3868; www.rhinteriors.com ). 2 Bedroom With a stunning view of Repulse Bay, the master bedroom is the room that has the most beach-house feel. The headboard and bed frame (HK$13,000 in total), reminiscent of driftwood and made from reclaimed wood, came from Rimba Rhyme (5/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 8330 8100). The pillows, also from Rimba Rhyme, cost HK$2,000 for a set of four. The antique-looking bedspread in muted blues cost HK$2,000 from Inside (Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2537 6298). Ruth Rebuck and Greer Howland installed a rail above the bed from which to hang plant pots. The railing (HK$69), pots (actually cutlery stands; HK$59 each), shelf (various prices, according to size) and lights (HK$150 each) all came from Ikea (various locations; www.ikea.com.hk ). The bedside table, an old tofu barrel turned upside down, cost HK$900 from Mobilias Mei Choi (32 Rua de Sao Paulo, Macau, tel: 853 2835 7625). The artwork is by Greer Howland Smith. 3 Living room detail The bookshelf was made from two antique chests found by Rebuck and Howland and placed one on top of the other to create a seamless piece. The bottom one (HK$10,000) was sourced from Old House Gallery (27 Rua de Sao Paulo, tel: 853 2835 8797) while the top one (HK$6,000) came from Soi Cheong Hong (38 Rua de Sao Paulo, tel: 853 2836 8368). 4 Dining area Rebuck and Howland combined old and new in the dining room, with an antique wooden table and benches offset by a modern chandelier and mirror. The table (HK$16,000) and benches (HK$4,000 for a pair) came from Old House Gallery. The cake stand cost HK$1,000 from House of Style (33 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 3188 4621). The glass chandelier (HK$8,000, from Element Lighting Design, 48 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2573 7772) bounces light into the room, an effect intensified by the large mirror (HK$2,000) from Ikea. 5 Study A corner of the open-plan living room was turned into a study. The wooden desk was Brian McKenna's favourite item at Mobilias Mei Choi but it belonged to the shopowner and was not for sale. However, Rebuck and Howland secured it for HK$3,500. The chair and cushion cost a total of HK$8,000 from Old House Gallery. The two wooden boxes on top of the desk were bought at Mobilias Mei Choi for HK$900 each. The other ornaments were bought by McKenna years ago. The flower holder came from Christofle (Prince's Building, tel: 2869 7311) and cost HK$12,500. Greer Howland Smith artwork hangs above the desk. 6 Boots Rebuck and Howland like to use old items for unusual purposes. Here, a pair of decorative antique fisherman boots (HK$1,000 from Old House Gallery) make a flower pot and an umbrella stand in the hallway. 7 Drinks cabinet An antique Chinese chest has been turned into a drinks cabinet in McKenna's living room. The chest cost HK$7,000 from Old House Gallery. A grouping of glass decanters and bottles look like a long built-up collection but were all bought recently at Hui Chun Tong (10 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2541 2526) for a total of HK$1,200. One of Howland's artworks hangs above the cabinet. Tried + Tested Colour therapy For an inexpensive kitchen revamp, Ruth Rebuck and Greer Howland painted the units with Yellow Days paint, by Dulux, and cutout diamond patterns in blue Water Town paint, also by Dulux.