Having lived in their Happy Valley flat for years, Richard and Annie Lung decided in 2015 that it was time to call in the experts. Although their 1,313 sq ft home had served them well, they felt the rooms were boring and lacked a cohesive design, so they engaged the services of interior design firm hoo’s Yu-Chang Chen and Natalie Tsoi Kit-wing, then moved into a hotel for six months.
“The original apartment had three bedrooms and two bathrooms but we demolished everything except the kitchen to give the home the best functionality for Richard and Annie’s needs – they didn’t have the luxury of keeping two spare bedrooms unused,” Chen says. “We wanted to make every square foot of space work for them.”
Allowing for a master suite, the designers used the rest of the retrieved space to create a den for Richard, a dressing room for Annie and his ’n’ her bathrooms.
Chen and Tsoi were given carte blanche to come up with interior ideas but it was mid-century modern that won. The design style, which had its heyday between the 1930s and 1960s, is all about clean lines, gentle organic curves and an uncluttered look. To that, Tsoi added a Parisian twist.
“Annie and Richard are a young, professional couple who travel a lot, so they have been exposed to the different styles and brands available, and were very open to all our suggestions,” she says. “The mouldings on the doors and walls in the living area and in Annie’s dressing area have a distinctive French feel, as do the white, slatted window shutters.”
To contrast with their previous decor, the Lungs asked for colour. They chose a pale lilac for the panelled walls in the dining area, which is complemented by boldly coloured artwork and soft furnishings in grey, black, midnight blue, teal and emerald green. Elsewhere in the flat, the colour scheme is black and white, notably in Richard’s den and the bathrooms, which echo the Gallic theme.
A black-and-white marble wall in the living room breaks up the panelling. Tsoi proposed a feature wall to add interest in the master bedroom, and the couple went with monochrome wallpaper depicting a traditional line drawing of clouds.
“Annie and Richard were quite brave with their decor choices, like using the pale purple for the main wall panelling,” Tsoi says. “The bedroom would have looked dull with a plain wall and although the wallpaper pattern is quite alternative, it gives drama to the space without overwhelming it.”
The lighting is striking but not over the top, too. Moroccan-looking copper pendants over the dining table add warmth and offset the teal dining chairs. A handmade French ceiling light in the living area, black wall lamps in the den, and bedside hanging lamps lend a sleek Mad Men-esque feel to the home.
Although earmarked for Richard, the den offers the couple a more intimate living space. Rather than a television – their set is now in the den – a bio-ethanol fire was installed as the main focal point in the living room.
The den is fronted by a glass partition, framed in black, which allows light into the corridor, and makes this section of the apartment appear larger.
“If we had installed a regular door and wall, the corridor would seem very dark, cramped and blocked off while the den would feel much smaller,” Tsoi says.
She describes the project as being “super easy”, with open-minded, enthusiastic clients and a straightforward brief. The biggest challenge, she says, was adapting the home for the clients’ three cats. Where possible, she tried to source scratch resistant furnishing fabrics and incorporated a clever cat flap into the master bedroom door (see Tried + Tested below).
It has now been two years since the Lungs and their cats moved back into their apartment, and it looks as pristine and on trend as when it was new finished.
“Mid-century modern is a great choice of style – it is fresh, contemporary and doesn’t date,” Chen says.
Entrance The Randaccio circular mirror by Gubi was HK$7,700 (US$985) from Establo, and the Lyle console table by Pinch (HK$30,000) was bought from Lane Crawford. The ash-engineered flooring was HK$102 per square foot from Joyful Sky.
Living area The handmade Serge Mouille ceiling light cost HK$27,000. The wall panelling (HK$30,000), shelves (HK$5,000) and low storage unit (HK$21,000) were all custom built by hoo. The Favn sofa by Fritz Hansen (HK$72,000) came from Manks. The side table was HK$20,000 from Egg Collective and the Nelson Bench coffee table was HK$7,000 from Vitra. The rug was HK$9,000 from BoConcept and the Masculo chair by Gubi (HK$11,000) came from Establo. On top of the storage unit is a bioethanol fireplace by Safretti (HK$29,000) from K+I.
Dining area The sideboard was custom built by hoo for HK$27,000 and the lamp on it was HK$7,500 by Bert Frank. The Orient P2 pendant lights by Lightyears were HK$6,120 each from Manks. The Dining Table One (HK$18,000), Beetle chairs (HK$8,000 each) and Cobra wall lamp next to the front door (HK$3,500) were all by Gubi from Establo. The photograph came from Yellow Korner.
Den Hoo designed and built the glass doors (HK$20,000) and the audiovisual unit (HK$18,000). The TS table by Gubi (HK$4,300) came from Establo.
Master bedroom The bed (HK$18,000), headboard (HK$15,000) and chest of drawers (HK$25,000) were all custom built by hoo. The Bestlite BL6 bedside light was HK$4,600 from Establo. The green FRI armchair by Fritz Hansen was HK$23,000, from Manks, and the wallpaper by Cole & Son was HK$11,000, from Altfield. The picture came from hoo’s own collection.
Dressing room The dressing room storage unit (HK$15,000), bathroom sink unit (HK$15,000), mirror (HK$10,000) and French-style doors (HK$20,000) were all custom built by hoo. The Georg stool (HK$3,000) was by Skagerakand the Vasco heated towel rail was HK$12,000 from Oscar.
Bathroom The sink (HK$5,600) and toilet (HK$25,000), both by Toto, came from Hop Lung Building Materials (298 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2802 2296). The sink unit (HK$10,000) and mirror (HK$10,000) were both custom built by hoo. The Vasco heated towel rail (HK$12,000) came from Oscar.
Tried + tested
Freedom flap To enable the three resident cats to roam freely around the apartment, Natalie Tsoi, of hoo, devised an “invisible” cat flap in the door of the master bedroom. The bottom panel has been cut out and hinged, which allows the cats to push through it when the door is closed, yet keeps the look uniformly stylish.