A good rapport with their interior designer was the key to success for Kate and Philip Spanton when they undertook the renovation of their three-storey, 3,300 sq ft townhouse in Pok Fu Lam. Having worked with Mark Le Feuvre on several other properties – a holiday home in Thailand, their previous home in Hong Kong and two houses in Sydney, Australia – the trio had an understanding that made transforming the house relatively stress free.
“[Mark] has got to know me, understand my likes and dislikes,” says Kate, who is Australian. “He really worked hard because my husband and I can have quite different tastes and approaches, and he managed to beautifully combine our separate thoughts.”
Having outgrown their home in Pok Fu Lam’s Bisney Road, the couple looked at more than a dozen properties in the neighbourhood before viewing the spacious townhouse, which “offered something a bit unique”, says Kate.
“Having been three apartments turned into a single house meant there was a great courtyard and rooftop – what I saw was an opportunity to live as we would in Australia and bring the outside into the house to make it a lighter, brighter space.”
See two other homes designed by Mark Le Feuvre:
After buying the three-bedroom property, the couple rented it out for two years before starting renovations in 2014. The ground floor, which had been broken up into separate kitchen, dining and living rooms, became an open-plan living area that reveals the wraparound terrace from every angle. The windows were significantly enlarged and generous sliding doors were installed to make the most of the views of the exterior. The locations of the kitchen and dining room were swapped to connect the former to the 1,200 sq ft terrace through a set of French doors.
“We wanted to make sure the place was hugely light – the use of mirrors in the courtyard provides not only a sense of space but also reflects light back into the house,” says Kate.
In keeping with their quest for brightness, a palette of pure white and three subtle shades of taupe were used for the interior and exterior while light-coloured solid oak flooring was laid throughout.
Key to the open, airy feel inside is the staircase, which was originally enclosed and featured a heavy metal balustrade.
“To get [the staircase] to look clean, simple and sharp was one of the toughest challenges,” says Le Feuvre, who removed its interior wall and replaced the balustrades with clear glass panels that seem invisible.
Upstairs, the middle floor is the “teen space”, where the couple’s two teenage boys can hang out with friends without too much parental intrusion. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one en suite) and a family room-cumwork space are on this floor. Taking over the entire top floor is the master bedroom, dressing area and large en-suite bathroom. Storage has been significantly increased, says Le Feuvre, and the wardrobes that line two walls of the bedroom were built in for a streamlined look.
The homeowners and designer agree the greatest success of the renovated house is the outside area.
“I love the way it has become part of the house – it’s an extension of our living space,” says Kate. “My younger son walked in and said, ‘Wow mum, it’s an Australian house, just in Hong Kong.’ I knew just what he meant.”
Living room The sofas (HK$49,620 for the pair) were custom made by Cloverleaf Interiors (17/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 6801) and the wing chairs (HK$36,200 for the pair) were made by Altfield Interiors (11/F, 9 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2525 2738). The Swing standing lamps by Vibia (HK$33,055 for the pair) were found at Apartment (62 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 2198). Designer Mark Le Feuvre (Max Property Investment and Design, tel: 9331 9402) had the rug (HK$59,200) made by Le Carpet Studio (26/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2525 2338) to complement the room’s blue and teal palette. The coffee table consists of three separate tables (HK$87,000 in total) and was purchased from Le Cadre Gallery (11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2526 1068), also the source for the console table (HK$37,600), on top of which stands a Danseur lamp (HK$15,827), by Porta Romana, from Altfield Interiors, and a bronze sculpture, by Matteo Pugliese, from Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery (20 Ice House Street, Central, tel: 2580 0058). On top of the bespoke storage unit beneath the television, which can be hidden by a sliding panel, is a sculpture purchased in Holland and a Salperton lamp (HK$13,115), by Porta Romana, also from Altfield Interiors.
Dining area The marble Elica dining table, from Le Cadre Gallery, came from the Spantons’ previous home, along with the eight Sala dining chairs, from Ligne Roset (16 Blue Pool Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2891 0913), which were reupholstered in a deep purple Designers Guild fabric from Avant Garde (100 Queen’s Road East, tel: 2526 0104) by Cloverleaf Interiors. The Tri pendant lights (HK$36,335), by Resident, were bought from Nest (www.nest.co.uk). The painting was bought several years ago in Holland.
Kitchen Le Feuvre installed a low window between the upper and lower kitchen cabinets to add light to the room and bring the greenery in. The bespoke kitchen (HK$812,650) was built by Boffi (69 Blue Pool Road, tel: 2577 5764).
Terrace The outdoor area was designed by GreenRoof Asia (9/F, 258 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2719 3383). The pots were from Belgium’s Atelier Vierkant (www.ateliervierkant.com). The Trento dining table (HK$37, 500), by Manutti, came from Zzue Creation (26/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2580 0633); the Holiday chairs (HK$21,650 for five) are by Dedon (32/F, Sunlight Tower, 248 Queen’s Road East, tel: 2529 7233); and the built-in bench seating was constructed by Victo Design (2/F, 427 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2893 8898).
Office The Cassina sofas (HK$146,000 for a pair) and a Spin chair (HK$42,700), came from Anterra (5 Blue Pool Road, tel: 2525 9874). The standing lamp (HK$36,900) was from Ligne Roset. The perspex Fontana Arte coffee table (HK$13,800), by Loop, came from Apartment. The rug (HK$11,800) was custom made by Le Carpet Studio.
Master bedroom The bed came from the couple’s previous home. The oversized headboard (HK$18,160) and bedside tables (HK$2,800 each) were custom made by Victo Designs. The bed-end bench (HK$9,020) and chaise longue (HK$19,150) were made by Cloverleaf Interiors. The Penta pendant lights (HK$28,320 for the pair) were from Apartment and the bamboo rug (HK$36,900) was made by Le Carpet Studio.
Master bathroom The Kool XL basins (HK$7,200 each), by Glass Design, were purchased from ColourLiving (333 Lockhart Road, tel: 2510 2666).
TRIED + TESTED
Float an idea Because the stairwell had a party wall, the Spantons were concerned about noise, particularly because the interior walls were to be demolished. Interior designer Mark Le Feuvre came up with a solution that addressed the practical issue in an elegant manner. By adding a false floating wall and insulating the cavity between with a recycled paper-based product, the stairwell was effectively sound-proofed. At the same time, Le Feuvre was able to create an unobtrusive inset handrail in keeping with the minimalist aesthetic of the glass and wood staircase. Discreet lighting at the top and bottom of the floating wall can be adjusted according to the homeowners' requirements. The bronze sculpture, by Matteo Pugliese, was acquired from Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery (20 Ice House Street, Central, tel: 2580 0058) and the pair of horns came from Indigo Living several years ago.