Test Adela Brunner / styling Anji Connell / Photography John Butlin
1 Living area A faux fireplace (HK$21,000), designed by Keith Chan and supplied by his company, Hintegro (20/F, Block B, New Trade Plaza, 6 On Ping Street, Sha Tin, tel: 3689 4604) separates the living and dining areas. The logs (HK$600) came from Brighten Florist (1 Flower Market Road, Mong Kok, tel: 2787 2203). The blind (HK$7,500) and curtains (HK$8,500) were all from Excellent Decoration Materials (1/F, Hutton Square, 28 Bute Street, Mong Kok, tel: 3427 2132). The Turin sofa (HK$18,990), Riverdale Leaf rug (HK$12,590) and Fracture rectangular mirror (HK$4,490) were all from Indigo Living (6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 0540). The coffee table (HK$12,000) and side table (HK$6,500) came from Commune (thecommunelife.com). The industrial wall lamp cost HK$2,000 from Etsy (etsy.com). The mini Eiffel Towers were from the Wongs’ previous home.
Once they've flown the nest, most adults never return to live in their childhood home. Not so for businessman Ken Wong. After completing higher education in Toronto, then starting his career and a family in the city, Wong came back to Hong Kong two years ago with his wife, Jess, and two boys, Julian, now eight, and Oscar, three.
Coincidentally, Wong's parents were looking to downsize, so they moved out of the 2,300 sq ft family home in Ho Man Tin and the younger Wongs moved in.
2 Hallway The black-and-white triptych also came from the Wongs’ previous home. The console (HK$2,290) was from Indigo Living and the bowls were HK$1,200 for the set from Tequila Kola (17/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2518 3193). "This building is about 60 years old and my parents were among the first occupants. I grew up here," says Wong. "With two young boys, we felt we needed a fairly spacious apartment but that is very hard to find in Hong Kong. This block is old - it doesn't even have a lift - but the benefits are large apartments and high ceilings."
Wong's parents hadn't altered the five-bedroom, four-bathroom flat since they moved in, so a complete renovation was called for. Ken and Jess had spotted interiors they liked, by designer Keith Chan, in Post Magazine, and after an initial meeting decided that he was the man for the job.
3 Dining area The glass Wu table (HK$14,000) and dining chairs (HK$4,500 each) were all from Ovo (16 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2526 7226) and the glass vase was HK$700 from Brighten Florist. The Octo 4240 pendant lamp, by Seppo Koho, cost HK$10,000 at Manks (36 Sau Wa Fong, Wan Chai, tel: 2522 5115). The sliding door into the kitchen (HK$50,000) and the audiovisual unit and shelving (HK$77,800 in total) were designed by Chan and supplied by Hintegro.
"We had certain requirements and ideas and Keith was good at listening," says Ken Wong. "Unlike many Hongkongers, we don't want to renovate every few years so we were looking for a design that would stand the test of time rather than something trendy.
"We wanted classic and contemporary elements as well as space for the children to play."
4 Kitchen The spacious kitchen (HK$240,000, including the island) was designed by Chan and supplied by Koda Kitchen (1/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen’s Road East, tel: 2899 2878). The High Stools, by Space Copenhagen, cost HK$7,000 each at Manks. The Aplomb pendant lights (HK$6,000 each), by Foscarini, were sourced through eBay (www.ebay.com).
Although the Wongs brought hardly anything with them - just clothes, photographs and a few personal belongings - they wanted to recreate a home environment similar to the one they'd enjoyed in Canada. Open planning was key and a large kitchen was particularly important because Jess loves to cook.
"Hong Kong people usually go out to meet their friends and family but we prefer the Canadian way of entertaining, at home," says Wong. "We wanted a welcoming home where our guests would feel instantly comfortable."
5 Master bedroom The bed (HK$17,000), headboard (HK$15,000) and desk unit (HK$22,000) were designed by Chan and supplied by Hintegro. The bed linen, cushions and bedside lamps all came from the Wongs’ previous home. The curtains (HK$7,500) and blind (HK$2,000) were made by Excellent Decoration Materials. The desk chair (HK$3,000) came from Unica Interior (13C, Wong King Industrial Building, 2 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong, tel: 2889 2696).
The Western-style kitchen has plenty of storage and a central island with bar stools upon which guests can perch and chat to Jess while she cooks. Mindful of cooking smells permeating the rest of the apartment, Chan came up with a sliding glass door that, when closed, would keep the kitchen visible and connected to the rest of the living space. Two panes of glass were used - one large sheet would have been too heavy to carry up the stairs - and Chan separated them with a wooden strip, which is purposely bold to prevent Julian, Oscar and their friends from accidentally running into the glass.
6 Master bathroom Chan designed the sink unit (HK$15,000), the wooden tray over the bath (HK$2,500) and the mirror (HK$7,500), all of which were supplied by Hintegro. The Toto sink (HK$3,300) and bath (HK$4,000) came from Galaxy Bathroom Collection (Bulkin Centre, 332 Portland Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2399 0028). The ceramic brick tiles (HK$10 each) and the tiles on the side wall (HK$70 per square foot) were from Anta Building Material Supplier (311A Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2180 6950).
"The thing I like about Keith is his way of combining design and practicality," says Wong. "Everything in the apartment looks good but is functional, too."
Other Canadian touches include the faux fireplace, complete with logs, which acts as a partition between the dining and living areas, and subtle wall panelling.
"I like to work with clients who give me a lot of input and a sense of their personalities," says Chan. "My job is to take the information they give and the requirements they have and figure out how to incorporate them into the overall scheme so that it makes sense."
Unlike typical Hong Kong homes, in which small rooms run off a corridor, the Wongs' flat is divided into two halves: living and sleeping. The master bedroom features a spacious en-suite bathroom, two study areas and his 'n' her walk-in wardrobes; nearby is the boys' playroom and bedroom.
7 Children’s bedroom The bed (HK$8,000), shelving unit (HK$20,000), desk (HK$5,000) and whiteboard-covered partition doors (HK$10,000) were all designed by Chan and supplied by Hintegro. The bedspread, cushions and clock were all brought from Canada. The Jules desk chair (HK$549) was from Ikea (various locations; www.ikea.com.hk). The Eames-style DSW table (HK$600), DSW chairs (HK$600 each) and elephant stool (HK$800) were all from Unica Interior. The white oiled oak flooring was HK$50 per square foot from Elegant Flooring (313 Lockhart Road, tel: 2891 2209).
The latter is a masterstroke in planning. What looks like one large room with a bed at either end can be partitioned off with sliding doors (partially covered on both sides with magnetic whiteboards for the display of art) and transformed into two smaller ones.
"Our goal for the kids' room was to create something separate but connected and Keith came up with the great idea of a sliding partition," says Wong. "The boys can see each other and do stuff together but if they fight or need their own space, they can shut themselves off. It is good if one of them is having a friend to sleep over or if they are both having lots of friends to stay and it is all about long-term planning, too. They are quite different ages so it won't be long before Julian wants his privacy."
Jess came up with the vibrant colour scheme, which is repeated in the shared bathroom, and the idea for the white oiled-oak, Scandinavian-style flooring that gives the room a young, energetic vibe.
8 Children’s bathroom The speech bubble mirrors (HK$5,000 for two), the sink unit (HK$15,000) and the “O” alphabet drawer handle (HK$200) were designed by Chan and supplied by Hintegro.
The renovations took six months to complete and the Wongs are thrilled with the result. But what about the previous occupants?
"My parents are traditional Chinese and the way we decorated the apartment was a real eye-opener for them," says Ken Wong. "But they really like it.
"We have spare bedrooms for them to come and stay and they enjoy the family space, the eating in and the whole aspect of socialising at home.
"It is a big change for them but even they agree, it's a change for the better."