In the 19th century, a group of Mormons crossing the Mojave Desert saw in the Yucca brevifolia ’sgreen-tipped branches the upstretched arms of the prophet who had led the Israelites out of the wilderness. Out of perhaps the second greatest story ever told cameth the name Joshua tree, the spike-leafed curiosity that grows wild only in that corner of southern California. Magical versions of this Biblical tree can also be found in the four-bedroom, 5,000 sq ft holiday home of Hong Kong’s Cheung family. Tucked into a harbour suburb of Sydney, Australia, the three-storey home, refurbished by Laura Cheung last year, is graced with colourful “Joshua Desert” hand-painted wallpaper on a ground-floor wall. Its design is special for another reason: a couple of years ago, after a trip to the area with her now husband, she says, “I fell in love with the Joshua tree and went back to do the collection of wall coverings. The year after , we got married there.” Cheung is the founder of Hong Kong luxury home-decor brand Lala Curio, whose raison d’être, she says, is to “support Asian and Chinese arts and crafts, and make them relevant and venerable again”. Part of a close-knit family, she had no difficulty decorating and furnishing rooms for her brother and sister, plus the entire top floor for her parents, complete with a study and balcony. Although traditional Chinese decorative arts are in her blood, and her mother has a love of Italian furniture, Cheung was keen to add “exotic” elements. For inspiration, she looked to the Philippines, where her family has partner factories, and Africa, whose arts and crafts her father collects. A nod to the past: inside a 1930s home in luxury enclave in Kowloon About the house itself, she acknowledges, “It was in excellent condition when we bought it.” The 1950s dwelling, which borders a reserve and overlooks a small beach, was rebuilt a decade ago by Shahe Simonian, of Zanazan Architecture Studio. The “almost-modernist house”, as the Sydney-based architect describes it, enjoys rooms that feel open but have a sense of enclosure. Helping to achieve that cosiness is a divider with built-in fireplace separating the dining and kitchen areas from a sitting room. The overhaul opened the rooms to the landscape while lending the lowest level a degree of introspection and making idyllic Middle Harbour views the stand-out feature elsewhere. To add a personal touch to the interiors (“everything was beige on grey”), Cheung turned to embellished wallpaper (“sort of our signature”) both downstairs and in the bedrooms. Her own is a Gustav Klimt-esque gold delight, tempered by pastel triangles and embroidered with pearls. Sister Anne ’s appears more traditional with its blue-and-white chinoiserie motifs, but look closely and you’ll spot random quirks: empresses float Mary Poppins-style beneath umbrellas, take selfies and carry macarons in a nod to Anne’s Jouer Atelierpatisserie, in Wan Chai. “We believe the details you get from fashion should also be found on wall coverings and in interiors,” says Cheung, who is clearly not afraid to mix not only cultures but also colours, patterns and eras. In the television room downstairs, parchment goatskin armchairs made in the Philippines sit beside curtains of earthy Congolese Kuba fabric.Both are slightly outdone by a television cabinet with new doors saluting mid-century style with gold-leaf panels offset by bold rectangles in black and red. New kitchens were also installed in their original locations, on two levels. The choice of materials on the ground floor reflects its intended user – Cheung’s brother. His room, like the kitchen on the same floor, features Tasmanian blackwood and is as simple and earthy as the main kitchen upstairs is bold and decorative. There, blue cabinet doors with brass highlights are teamed with antiqued glass on one side of the island. The flair and flourish found in every room extends playfully outside. On the ground-floor terrace, leading to a swimming pool, wire pendant lamps illuminate a vibrant wall, in front of which is a peacock chair. Whimsy makes its presence felt here, too, and not only in the tall tail feathers of the peacock that form a magnificent arc. The “big chair”, as Cheung calls it, is painted gold. “It’s a Lala Curio colour,” she says. “It’s impossible for us to do anything not decorative.” Sitting room The sofa, pair of armchairs and cluster of tables were from Vittoria Frigerio . The African stool was from Qooltango , the Cheung family’s mainland China-based company. The rug came from Fort Street Studio while the corner table and the bespoke shagreen coffee table came from Lala Curio . The floor lamp was from Bert Frank . Main kitchen A new kitchen was built in the original location by Jayen Innovations . Brass finger pulls remove the need for knobs or handles on the blue doors. The pendant lights came from Bert Frank. Dining room On the first floor, the dining area shares space with the kitchen and enjoys views of Middle Harbour. The dining table was from Cattelan Italia ; the dining chairs from Furlani ; and the ceiling lights from Bert Frank. The outdoor armchair came from Ethimo . The outdoor console was built years ago. Kitchen Jayen Innovations built a small, second kitchen on the ground floor, using Tasmanian blackwood complemented by marble mosaics. The bar stools were bespoke designs by Atelier A and the pendant lights were from Bert Frank. Television room Gold leaf was applied on site to turn an old TV cabinet into an artwork that pays homage to mid-century style. The pair of parchment goatskin chairs were bespoke pieces made for Lala Curio in the Philippines; the magazine rack between them is a 19th century piece found on an antiques-sourcing trip to Belgium. The coffee table, from Ethimo, and the sofa, from RigoSalotti , both came from Italy. The floral cushions and Japanese obi velvet pillows are from Lala Curio. The rug and the Kuba fabric used for the curtains came from Qooltango, as did the East African headrest in front of the fireplace. Corridor Between the living area and a bedroom is a long corridor decorated with Joshua Desert wallpaper from Lala Curio. The wooden bench, on the left, was from Atelier A; the trolley from E.Murio , in Cebu, the Philippines; and the African stool from Qooltango. Laura Cheung’s bedroom Lala Curio wallpaper, from the Pizza Puzzles collection, adds zing to Cheung’s bedroom. The shagreen dressing table is a bespoke Lala Curio item made in the Philippines. The bench at the bottom of the bed was from Vittoria Frigerio. Anne’s bedroom Behind the bedhead, by RigoSalotti, is quirky wallpaper, hand-painted on Thai silk, from Lala Curio’s Chinoiserie Village collection. The shagreen bedside table is a bespoke Lala Curio design. Tried + tested Gold standard Also known as the Manila or Philippine chair, the peacock chair has been the prop of choice for everyone from Morticia in The Addams Family to Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks, soft-porn star Sylvia Kristel and Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton. The wicker classic is again having a moment and updated versions are being produced, such as this gold, regal style with an extra-high back. The chair, available from Qooltango, also comes in black and natural hues. The African stool is also from Qooltango. The pendant lights came with the house.