Text Ingrid Keneally / Photography Yeung’s Design Interactive The Martinez family's first address when they arrived in Hong Kong four years ago was Repulse Bay's glamorous, 28-storey apartment complex The Lily, designed by British architect Norman Foster. Soon after, however, they found themselves yearning for something less showy, and set out to find a roomy home with a garden. "We wanted a house that was fun and for everyone," says Japanese-American Mina Martinez. With her husband, who works in finance, she found a house in Chung Hom Kok that ticked all the boxes for the family, which includes son Tyler, nine; daughter Tiffany, 12; and two dogs, a Yorkshire terrier and a dachshund. Boasting 8,000 square feet over four floors and a rooftop, the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom rental property was spacious in the extreme. But turning it into an elegant yet functional home required careful planning and professional help. Martinez liked the style of a friend's home in Tai Tam, created by Leigh Chiu, and so entrusted the job to the interior designer. "Chiu gave us picture boards for all the rooms with different colours and furniture," says Martinez. "I had complete trust in her abilities to deliver amazing decor." Inside, the house resembles a chic New York hotel, complemented with framed family photographs nestled among one-off pieces, including a marble sculpture Martinez found in the mainland and a pair of mirrored coffee tables designed by Chiu that bounce light and reflection. The effect is of a sophisticated, pared-back space that is warm and welcoming. Chiu, who prides herself on sourcing quality, regionally produced, custom-made furnishings, says the Martinezes' encouragement was a big part of the project's appeal. "They gave me free rein and I was able to finish the house within eight months," she says. "They wanted a comfortable home for a family of four that loves to entertain." The house, which faces south, affords breathtaking, uninterrupted vistas across the South China Sea from almost every room (the property is situated on a slope). A priority for Chiu was to ensure the open-plan living and dining area was inviting and could accommodate parties. "It was designed so we could entertain and flow out onto the terrace and 1,000 sq ft garden," says Martinez. Furniture and furnishings, were chosen for comfort and include a six-metre sofa Chiu had custom made for the lounge. Rather than discarding treasured pieces from the couple's previous home, Chiu updated some of them to suit the new decor. The Kelly Hoppen for Indigo armchairs, for example, were reupholstered in lush aquamarine Pollack fabric. The rich carpets and striking flooring throughout the house were designed by Chiu, who says, "I love to add layers of texture to rooms." The basement of the house, all the floors of which are connected by a spiral staircase, has been turned into a recreation room, with clever shelving for board games (see Tried + tested ). Also on this level is a guest room with an en-suite bathroom that looks into an internal garden. Immediately above is a media room and Tiffany's room, and one floor up from there is the kitchen, living/dining area and garden. On the top level is Tyler's room and the master bedroom and balcony, plus an inviting nook, where a white leather chaise longue, sourced by Chiu, is reserved for time out in the company of gentle mountain views. Martinez recently held a fundraising event that saw 100 guests gather comfortably in her living room. "Leigh knows that I love to entertain … so she made the furnishings to suit," says Martinez. "Leigh's taste and ability to design a cohesive, chic yet functional space are what people seem to respond to when they walk into our home." Living room (above and below) The mirrored coffee tables (HK$15,400 each) were designed and made by Leigh Chiu Designs, as was the bamboo rug (HK$65,000). The Kelly Hoppen chairs, from Indigo Living, were bought years ago and reupholstered with Pollack fabric from Altfield. The shelving and storage under the television came with the house. The mirrored boxes and white ceramic vase came from Global Views ( www.globalviews.com ), in the US. The sixmetre sofa (HK$62,500) and cushions were custom made by Leigh Chiu Designs with fabric from Altfield Interiors (11/F, 9 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2524 4867). Behind the sofa, the handblown-glass table lamps (HK$8,300 each) were from Sankon Interiors (1/F, Lockhart Centre, 301 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2543 3880). The white-and-chrome side table and the lantern between the table lamps were bought a few years ago from Indigo Living. The sculpture by the window came from You Shi Home Decoration (1/F, Light Industrial Products City, Meiyuan Road, Lowu, Shenzhen, tel: 86 755 8221 3597). Dining room (below) Illuminating the room is a bronze and crystal chandelier (HK$49,000) from Bradley ( www.bradley-usa.com ), in the United States. Leigh Chiu Designs (13/F, Ying Pont Building, 69 Peel Street, Central, tel: 2559 1250) made the grey-stained sycamore wood, 10-seater dining table (HK$32,400), white snake-patterned vinyl-covered mahogany chairs (HK$3,500 each), macassar ebony wood and silver-leaf sideboard (HK$35,000) and cowhide rug (HK$57,000). The Ralph Lauren Duke Bar in rosewood and polished chrome was acquired years ago from Ralph Lauren Home ( www.ralphlaurenhome.com ), in the US. The candleholders were bought some time ago from Indigo Living (various locations; www.indigo-living.com ). Top-floor detail (below) The white leather chaise longue, side table and standing lamp all came from Modern Design 100 ( www.moderndesign100.com ). The orange and white bamboo rug was custom made for HK$12,000 by Leigh Chiu Designs. Guest bathroom (below) The guest room and en-suite, which were not part of the revamp, enjoy views of an internal garden. Terrace (below) The living areas flow out onto the terrace and garden. The woven-plastic outdoor furniture set (HK$195,000) was custom ordered by Leigh Chiu Designs from Hein Chrispijn Metamorfose (Zone 4 Buaya, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines, tel: 63 32 341 4475). Master bedroom (below) The bed (HK$16,500) was custom made by Leigh Chiu Designs with fabric from Clarence House ( www.clarencehouse.com ). The parchment and mahogany bedside tables (HK$34,200 for the pair); leather-and-mahogany bench (HK$14,300); and daybed (HK$22,400) were designed and made by Leigh Chiu Designs. The glass lamps (HK$28,000 each) came from Portaromana ( www.portaromana.co.uk ), in Britain. Under the board walk Mina Martinez wanted the recreation room to have the atmosphere of a clubhouse, and to have all the family's board games within easy reach. So an existing wooden shelving unit, which came with the house, was dedicated to Scrabble, Monopoly, chess and the like, adding colour and a sense of fun. The dining table and chairs were bought years ago from Indigo Living. The woollen rug was custom made for HK$13,000 by Leigh Chiu Designs. The pendant light (HK$1,050) came from Stockholm Lighting ( www.stockholmlighting.se ).