Yuen Long, in the New Territories, might not be the most obvious place for a girl about town to live but banker Mingmin Huang believes she has the best of all worlds.
Having only a 30-minute commute to her West Kowloon workplace, she gets a daily city fix as well as all the benefits of spending her evenings and weekends in more tranquil surrounds.
“This certainly isn’t regular Hong Kong because all you hear is birdsong – and you get a lot more living space for your money,” says Huang, who moved here a decade ago, after a stint in Singapore, from her native Guilin, in the Guangxi autonomous region.
She was no stranger to the place, having lived in a flat nearby for two years, but she credits a friend for recommending the area in which she eventually bought a house. That same friend also introduced her to Tik Chan, design director at Studio 93.
“I knew I wanted somewhere cosy, with the potential for my father to come and live with me, but other than that I let Tik take over,” Huang says. “He did everything from coming up with a concept to finding all the furniture.”
With 2,100 square feet to play with, on three floors, plus a further 1,500 square feet outside, Chan was given full control of the design. He began by transforming clusters of small rooms – of which five were bedrooms – into larger spaces, flooded with natural light.
As well as an open-plan living and dining area and enclosed kitchen on the ground floor, he built a small side room for lounging and yoga, complete with a picture window that frames the garden. Chan created a guest bedroom with en-suite bathroom, gym and study-cum-music room on the first floor and a large main suite on the top storey. He used a palette of neutrals throughout – shades of grey, brown and white – adding accents of dusty rose pink and matt gold to lend a distinctly feminine feel.
On each floor, bespoke paintings (see Tried + tested below), a key feature of the house, incorporate the same colours and abstract style.
With an absence of partition walls, Chan came up with various ways to delineate spaces, such as dark-wood laminate flooring in the study as a contrast to the adjacent grey-carpeted gym.
In the main suite, a vast white marble dressing table, backed by a double-sink unit, divides the sleeping and washing areas. A wide strip of the same marble flows across the wood floor and runs up the back wall, where shelving has been artfully installed. With the toilet and shower cubicle housed in a separate side space, the effect is of a room within a room, and a luxurious one at that.
“Having a dressing table/sink unit divide the bedroom and bathroom is a more interesting and practical use of space than a wall, but I didn’t want it to feel heavy so I kept it light with mirrors and glass panels,” says Chan.
The house is surrounded on three sides by a private terrace. Chan moved the front door so that entry into the home would be across stepping stones and a garden room, rather than from the car port.
“I wanted to create an entrance with a difference and it feels calming to walk across the stones, which are embedded into white pebbles,” Chan says. “Many of Mingmin’s friends say it is like entering a five-star spa.”
Semi-open to the elements, the garden room, clad in warm brown decking, is a natural extension of the house. Huang’s father designed a trellis that trains passion fruit plants to grow over the slatted roof structure.
“My father is a keen gardener and he came up with the idea of having a natural ‘roof’ over the garden area,” Huang says. “I love this outdoor space because it’s so peaceful but then I go inside and I love everything about the interior, too.”
Entrance The rectangular paving stones (HK$18,000 in total) and fencing (HK$180 per square foot) were supplied by Studio 93. The garden furniture was from Mingmin Huang’s previous home.
Living and dining area The wood-printed floor tiles were HK$53 per square foot from Futura (300 Portland Street, Mong Kok, tel: 3591 9918). The sofa (HK$13,293), floor lamp (HK$3,480) and dining table (HK$12,490) were all from Indigo Living. The coffee table (HK$5,500), dining chairs (HK$2,500 each), mirror (HK$6,250) and painting were all designed and produced by Studio 93. The pendant lamp was HK$5,000 from Artshow.
Main suite The bed (HK$15,000), quilted headboard (HK$10,000), bedside tables (HK$5,000 each) and painting, were all designed and made by Studio 93. The pendant lights were HK$2,290 each from Indigo Living. The bench was HK$2,780 from Unica Interior. The rug was bought years ago.
Main suite detail The dressing table (HK$20,000) and mirrors (HK$6,250) were designed and made by Studio 93. The sconces on either side of the main mirror were HK$1,075 each from Artshow, which was also the source for the ceiling light fixtures (HK$250 each) here and throughout the house. The grey chair was HK$2,190 from Indigo Living.
Main bathroom The marble sink unit (HK$16,250) and mirror (HK$13,000) were designed and produced by Studio 93. The pendant lamps were HK$1,100 each from Artshow. The wood laminate flooring (HK$150 per square foot) was supplied by Boden.
Yoga room The painting is by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thi Hoai Thuong and came from Galerie Nguyen, in Ho Chi Minh City. The marble flooring was HK$400 per square foot and supplied by Studio 93.
Study/gym The coffee table (HK$5,480) and sofa (HK$4,180) were from Unica Interior. The wood laminate flooring was HK$110 per square foot from Hover Timber (671 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2398 3366). The desk (HK$12,500), shelving (HK$29,750) and painting were all designed and made by Studio 93, which also supplied the grey carpet tiles (HK$35 per square foot) in the gym.
Tried + tested
See a pattern? Tik Chan, of Studio 93, found digital photographs of a pink Balinese beach, waves and Earth and worked with a graphic designer to create an abstract computer illustration. Once he was happy with it, he had an artist paint the image in three slightly different forms and colours onto three separate canvases – one for each floor. The canvas in the living room (above) doubles as a sliding panel that can hide the television.