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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Perfect Blend: Merging Contrasting Tastes in an Urban Oasis

LifestyleThe Perfect Blend: Merging Contrasting Tastes in an Urban Oasis

Good things truly come to those who wait – a principle that Hong Kong residents Cindy and David Lee can affirm. Their almost two-decade-long quest for the ideal apartment encapsulates patience, hope, and serendipity.

In 2003, the Lees, parents to two boys aged 11 and 14, were drawn to a certain Mid-Levels residential complex. Their attempts to purchase a flat there were unsuccessful, compelling them to continue renting. This beloved building stood out to David for its exceptional facilities, prime location, and breathtaking urban vistas. Cindy echoes these sentiments, noting how they continually compared other properties to this one but none measured up. With many apartments in the complex being family-owned, opportunities for purchasing were infrequent, especially for the coveted upper floor units.

Almost 20 years later, fortune favored them: a spacious 2,600 sq ft unit in that same complex became available. The chance was too good to miss. After securing the apartment, the next challenge was making it feel like home. This was particularly tricky given their contrasting design preferences. David leans towards a minimal, masculine decor while Cindy has a penchant for vibrant Chinese antiques. Aware that combining these without expertise would result in a cluttered, disjointed space, they sought the talents of YC Chen, the creative force behind the design studio, hoo.

Chen’s task was intricate. He needed to cater to both their tastes, ensuring neither dominated. Drawing inspiration from the apartment’s heritage, he coined his vision as “old money,” blending mid-century modern with a retro vibe.

The initial layout, consisting of four bedrooms and two bathrooms, remained, but with tweaks. A defined entrance hall now greeted visitors, boasting art-deco lamps, brushed brass-inlaid archways, and fluted woodwork. By optimizing the living room’s space, Chen ingeniously added a spacious storeroom and, to David’s delight, a secluded “man cave” by extending the fourth bedroom.

To address their design differences, Chen employed a neutral palette as the backdrop. This allowed Cindy to introduce bursts of color through artwork and plants, while also meeting David’s minimalist aspirations. A symphony of natural textures, from a stone feature wall in the living area to fluted wood cladding and opulent marbled finishes, added depth and character. The floor, adorned with chevron-patterned engineered oak, was softened with plush rugs and cushions.

Playing up the building’s circular design, Chen incorporated curved elements throughout. Whether it’s the rounded furniture or the sweeping light troughs, these details exude elegance. Staying true to his design narrative, Chen reiterated themes of curves, fluted wood, brass, and mid-century geometric patterns. The result? An atmosphere that’s not just aesthetically pleasing but also envelops its inhabitants in a sense of serenity.

Reflecting on the transformation, Chen remarks on the harmony he aimed to achieve. He subtly interspersed design elements, ensuring unity without being repetitive. This home isn’t just a blend of Cindy and David’s tastes; it’s a testament to patience, love, and the magic of waiting for just the right thing.


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