My in-laws bought a house by a lake when my husband was still in his diapers. It was a place where they gathered with their friends and their kids to get away from the city during the long weekends and New York City heat during the summer. When we got married we continued on with the tradition with our friends and family. As time wore on so did the house and a decision was made to tear it down and rebuild a brand new house on the same footprint. By this point I had truly been bitten by the renovation bug and there was no turning back. I was a woman possessed. There wasn't a single antiques or discount homewares store that I didn't visit looking for the furnishing deal of the century. I firmly believe that a house should tell a story of people that live in it. It's not a big house by any stretch of the imagination but it sure holds a lot of love and endless stories.
Here's a unique problem for the tall, small city of Hong Kong: what do you do with too much space? This comfortable three-bedroom flat in an older building was perfect for a recently relocated family of four, but it had a huge entryway that was difficult to find a purpose for. Over time it became a dumping ground for gym bags, shoes and toys — even a practice goalie net for the aspiring soccer stars in the family.
With the clients' needs in mind, I turned this raw space into a multi-function reception area, where the kids could still play but also do their homework or hang out with their adorable puppy, while giving mom and dad a new, peaceful area in which to work, entertain or simply unwind after a long day.
What's the best antidote to two years with an overprotective landlord who won't let you change a thing? A helpful and enthusiastic one who's willing to help you achieve your vision (or at least meet you halfway).
After the lease ran out on our beautiful Hong Kong eyrie, my family and I moved on -- to another apartment in the same neighbourhood we loved, with more bedroom space for our growing kids and (blessedly) an elevator to make the four-story climb easier. The raw space was a bit smaller, but the ability to change the lighting, wall colours and window treatments made it much easier to call the place our own.
The key to living in smaller spaces: more imagination, less stuff. A child's bed does double duty as a storage locker; empty space by the bookshelves becomes a cosy reading nook. New light fixtures changed the entire character of the living room, adding touches of warmth and style. And we still managed to find room for our favourite art and my husband's beloved Eames chair!
Triplex home by the sea
My latest ongoing project is a decorator's dream. Client wanted a complete overhaul and a fresh look for her three-story home. Using the massive painting in the living (which they adore) as a jumping off point, combined with the husband's love of birds and wife's love of colours I created a living room that is both relaxing and glamorous at the same time. Every room needs its touch of opulence, and for this one a game-changing rug from Fort Street Studio brought the warmth and luxurious feel the room was crying out for. The broad, deep sofas complement each other without being matchy-matchy, and the low-slung side chairs invite you to lean in and join the conversation around the coffee table.
My client had only one request for this room. They wanted a comfortable, multifunction family room where they could hang out, read, watch movies and spend rainy days with friendly game of table tennis - mom & dad vs kids. Game on!
For a house as beautiful as this one was, the patio left lot to be desired. But it already had great bones, and once the new outdoor tile was laid the garden started coming to life. New furniture and a rug from Harbour Outdoor along with some beautiful planted azaleas carried it over the outdoor heaven finish line.