American Dream: Exposed concrete and reclaimed wood bring a rustic modern warmth to a cool Californian home

San Francisco is known for its eclectic mix of residential architecture, from Victorian-era homes to modern high- rises. Among the city’s diverse array of living spaces, one home stands out, in terms of both distance and mood. Situated away from the urban noise, overlooking redwood trees with peaks beyond, its design pays homage to the beauty of the surrounding landscape while embracing a laid-back, cosy atmosphere.

Dubbed ‘Golden Villa’ by its interior designer, Yana Prydalna, the house perfectly encapsulates her signature rustic style. The colour palette is an artistic conception of autumn’s golden breath. Ukrainian-born, Sacramento-based Prydalna is inspired by nature and the depth and texture of natural materials, devising concepts that encompass wabi-sabi, modernism and minimalism.

Full of exposed concrete walls, wooden beams, and an abundance of natural light beaming through large windows, Golden Villa is actually a converted warehouse. The young couple who own it moved here to escape fast- paced city life, desiring a home that felt warm and inviting while reflecting their love for the great outdoors.

A large, airy living area greets visitors entering the home and serves as its focal point. A large white modular sofa reclines around a reclaimed wood coffee table, forming a comfy space that can be arranged in different sitting configurations depending on the occasion. At its centre, the irregular, round- edged low table is a talking point – it has a raw texture and is propped up by spheres.

The double-height living space is a wonderful blend of light colour and warm wood. The strong industrial vibe of the concrete walls is softened by the beams high overhead that instils charm and character. It is these triangulated timber trusses, in particular, which transform the whole space.

Everything about the décor here is impressively distinctive yet very simple. Huge pots placed on a ledge just below the rafters serve as unconventional artworks. Down low, another ledge holds ceramic objects of various sizes and is raised from the floor by an artistic arrangement of logs.

Straight, clean lines are softened by bohemian touches of wicker and jute in a wonderful combination of cool and warm materials. Pretty plates and woven table mats are displayed on the walls. Polished concrete, decorative plaster, natural textiles, wood and wicker harmonise with the earthy tones of the outside environment, creating an ambience that is both natural and contemporary.

An open-concept kitchen and dining area is located just off the living room, making it easy for the couple to entertain guests while preparing meals. The kitchen features custom- made shelves crafted from reclaimed wood, a farmhouse sink and a butcher-block island that also serves as a dining table with circular wooden- topped bar stools on one side. Huge wicker pendant lights add to the warm, natural vibe. A wide window along the back wall affords views of the forest.

Moving onto the bedroom, the designer wanted to create a serene, relaxing space that would help the owners unwind after a long day at work. Built- in wooden closets with ribbed-glass doors flank a desk, where a computer brings the modern world into a rural setting.

The bedroom walls are painted in an earth tone, picking out one of the colours of the throw pillows on the bed. Adorned with a plush duvet, the bed rests on a large, round jute rug. This rustic charm spreads to an oversized wicker lamp hanging down at one side of the bed and an artisanal blanket laid across a wicker chair. A sleek wooden ceiling fan and angle floor lamp have a more modern feel. This is a bright room during the day – a wall of windows doubles as a door out to the stone patio, where a pool allows for a dip amid a classic American pioneer scene of woodland and mountains.

The couple’s bathroom is the most unique space in the home, with concrete slabs serving as minimalist fixtures. Reflecting the view from the window opposite, two door-sized, wooden- framed mirrors behind a twin vanity give the illusion of opening the room to the outside world. In the absence of bathroom cabinets, a long wooden shelf gives a place for toiletries. The bathtub is hewn from concrete and pampas grass placed in one corner brings feathery greenery inside.

Golden Villa is not just carefully styled and curated as an isolated living space; it is the epitome of aesthetics resonating with the nature around it. The juxtaposition of natural and manmade materials, of wood and concrete, of warm and cool, creates a delightful blend of vernacular and modern design that transcends time.

Photos: Yana Prydalna

Wabi Savvy: Serenity and the beauty of imperfection shine in a Singapore flat with a Japanese spirit

In Asia’s bustling modern cities, where innovation thrives and life proceeds at breakneck speed, there is a growing appreciation for the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. This design concept celebrates a quiet beauty grounded in imperfection, authenticity and transiency. Serenity abounds in a Singapore apartment embracing the wabi-sabi worldview. Spanning just over 1,000 square feet, the tranquil living space belongs to a young working couple who envisioned a home where stillness and simplicity inform the aesthetic. Designed by Max Lee of SG Interior, it encapsulates a distinctive Asian style with grace and elegance.

Stepping into the flat, you are greeted by a minimalist foyer that sets the tone for the wabi-sabi experience. The walls are adorned with textured wallpaper in earth tones, reminiscent of natural elements. A simple wooden bench invites you to take off your shoes and immerse yourself in a world of calmness and peace.

An absence of excessive furniture and clutter is noticeable when moving into the living area, where rattan chairs and rattan planters evoke a soft, gentle vibe. The highlight of the room is an irregular-shaped niche where shelving shows the beauty of natural imperfections. The wooden shelves house a number of intriguing sculptures, which in turn are mostly uneven in form, as well as a few books, a clock and photo frames. They diffuse a warm light that accentuates the irregularity of the recess and draws attention to the objects placed within it.

Positioned beside this niche, an oversized sofa provides a cosy and inviting spot for relaxation. Carefully selected artworks decorate the walls, their muted colours and organic shapes reflecting the simplicity and serenity of wabi-sabi. A feature wall behind the dining area has a rustic design with large, rough strokes forming an abstract pattern, and a large window lets in abundant light, brightening the space.

Despite the size limitations of this home, the owners wanted a fully functional wet and dry kitchen. Indeed, both the kitchen and the dining area seamlessly blend functionality with aesthetics. The kitchen cabinets are made of reclaimed wood, showcasing a succession of unique grain patterns and knots that tell stories of their own. Handmade ceramic bowls and plates dot the countertops, each displaying charming irregularities. A rustic wooden dining table paired with rattan chairs creates an intimate space for shared meals, encouraging a sense of togetherness and an appreciation of the present moment.

The master bedroom is synonymous with the art of repose. By removing a wall, Lee succeeded in altering the original layout to extend its size and ensure sufficient space for the couple’s belongings. Once the proposal was approved, the entire renovation took about three months.

Dressed in linens of earth tones, the bed is placed on a high platform – a simple step that not only highlights its importance but also provides the optimum vantage point from which to reflect upon the surrounding aesthetics.

Walls are painted in soothing neutral hues that enhance the natural light filtering into the bedroom. A light-coloured rug offers a contrast to the dark wooden floor and matching wardrobes that maximise storage on the wall opposite the bed. A wooden ceiling fan with irregular wings echoes the non-uniform spirit of the apartment. Ceilings throughout the apartment are kept plain, and in the absence of false ceilings instil an airy feeling of additional height.

Even the bathroom embodies the wabi-sabi philosophy. The walls are adorned with handcrafted tiles that proudly show their individuality through imperfections and irregularities. A shower area invites you to indulge in prolonged rejuvenation, while soft, warm lighting conjures a sense of serenity to encourage restfulness and self-care.

A major challenge for the design studio was disguising the plethora of plumbing pipes so that they meld with the prevailing aesthetic. This home is a haven of natural tranquillity amid the frenetic urban environment. From the minimalist entrance to the understated bedroom and the placidity of the bathroom, every corner of the apartment exudes quietude and balance. Embracing its wabi-sabi spirit allows those dwelling within to appreciate the beauty of imperfection and impermanence, to find solace in simplicity, and to cultivate a deeper connection with the passage of time.

Photos: SG Interior Studio

Sydney Sanctuary: Rich veins of colour bring modern warmth and serenity to a remodelled Darlinghurst flat

Overlooking the beautiful Sydney skyline and adjacent to the harbourside suburb of Woolloomooloo is this Darlinghurst apartment, an epitome of elegance and sophistication. It is located in a historic neighbourhood that has been revitalised, and likewise, this home is situated in a redeveloped period building.

The original layout of the flat was stripped and rebuilt to create a more open and contemporary flow, with outdated features replaced and rich colour and texture implemented throughout. The makeover, envisioned by Sydney-based Kaiko Design Interiors, reveals a practical and inviting space, reflecting the taste and needs of the homeowner who does enjoy entertaining but most of all seeks serenity.

A keen eye for detail and a commitment to excellence are evident throughout this stylish and functional haven. A key aim of the new layout was to transition from the buzz of the city into a home that provides a peaceful escape from its surroundings. This is achieved through the use of colour – darker, warmer hues dress the walls, floors and upholstery in a departure from the minimalistic approach of many of today’s living spaces, instilling a cosy, welcoming mood.

In addition, repeated lines and grooves were implemented in response to the building’s architecture, where external louvres of the façade cast dynamic shadows at different times of the day. These patterns are echoed throughout the apartment, becoming an essential design theme rather than just an occasional feature. They are reflected in the joinery, the wallpaper and the rugs and cushions.

The living room appears more spacious than its true size since a pair of glass walls frame the wide window that stretches along the top half of the far wall. This expanse of glass offers panoramic views of the neighbourhood that are revealed slowly as you move into the room, part of the deliberate gradual move from the peaceful inner sanctuary to energetic outside life. A spacious balcony adjoining the living area serves as an extension of the space and maximises its natural light.

Venetian blinds rather than curtains at the windows also lend brightness to the space, despite the plethora of dark colours. A large sectional sofa rests in the middle of the lounge, while the apertures serve as a backdrop for the sitting area. In a dynamic touch, a white checkered rug complements the dark wooden floor.

A fireplace and other concealed elements throughout the apartment bring a sense of luxury and subtle comfort. A bold emerald-green artwork on top of the fireplace gives the illusion of a large crumpled piece of paper and serves as a focal point upon entering the apartment. The open kitchen on one side of the living area continues the essential design statement of blending dark colours with natural tones. Here, marble slabs with prominent veining in cloud-like patterns create a mood that is both intimate and dramatic.

The solid-wood dining table is positioned in front of a large abstract painting, so the two contrasting pieces appear like an interesting installation. The metallic tones of two lustre lights hang low above the table, not only providing light for evening meals but also making the ceiling look higher and compensating for the absence of dropped ceilings in the flat.

The main bedroom is a dynamic space in which different things catch one’s attention each time you move through it. It extends into the balcony through a glass wall, which lets in abundant light or can be closed off entirely by a row of bronze curtains. This dark hue with a touch of shimmer matches the rich gleam of a colour palette spanning brown, cream and dark grey.

Ingrained with subtle swirls, the wallpaper behind the padded bed headboard adds layering and texture, and this motif is picked up on the floor by a decorative custom-made rug. The harmony of colour and texture offers a sense of immersion, which plays back to the designer’s original vision of creating a refuge from the city.

The doors of each room, including the bathroom, are as high as the wall, creating a sense of grandeur in this relatively small space.

Simply designed, the bathroom focuses equally on practicality and aesthetics, with dark floor tiles providing contrast to marble wall tiles and a plain white ceiling.

Despite their unique features and design, all the spaces in the flat have a common warmth enhanced by a clever weave of underlying patterns and textures. Affording an inviting respite from the vibrancy of city living, this home is a compelling blend of beauty, comfort and mystery. Photos: Kaiko Design Interiors – Darlinghurst Apartment

Pearl Next Door: Part Gallery, part secure storage but all retirement idyll, Pearl Court has an undeniable allure

Almost everyone, regardless of wealth or social standing, imagines themselves retiring to a genuinely unique location—a sumptuous haven where their years of hard work will be amply repaid. One lucky Hong Kong couple feels that the peace of their retirement years is nearly certain now that they own a luxurious flat in Kowloon Tong’s Pearl Court complex, even though for many it may still remain an elusive paradise. Not to be outdone, though, they have also enlisted the help of two of the top interior designers in the area, Alain Wong and Ada Cheung of Comodo Interior and Furniture Design, to make sure their retirement getaway lives up to their high standards in every manner.

Nestled amid the beguiling calm of Beacon Hill in Kowloon Tong, Pearl Court’s setting is far removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong, with a genteel suburbanity permeating every artfully-crafted nook and ingeniously-integrated cranny. The sense of discreet refinement only intensifies when you first cross the threshold of this admirably spacious 1,846sq.ft apartment, which leisurely comprises two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study, a living room, ample storage space and a state-of-the-art kitchen.

The architectural requirement was to create a place that was a combination of luxury house, gallery, and secure storage because the newly retired owners were eager to dedicate their time to their growing fine art collection. To achieve this, the design team decided to leave a large corridor between the bedrooms and study and the public areas, especially the living and dining room. This gave them the extra wall space they needed to properly appreciate their prized acquisitions.

As well as display areas, these art collectors also required ready access to secure storage. While the price paid for this was the loss of a guest room, the integration of automated shelving and retrieving facilities were all but essential given the residents’ advanced years.

In another bold move, the designers converted part of the existing living room into a second bedroom. Not only did this create a cosier communal space, it also allowed a number of structural supports to be discreetly recessed as part of the feature-fitted wardrobes.

The intelligent placement of light-wood furniture and the tasteful use of light-colored wall veneers effectively allayed any worries that the reduced living room area would appear small. The large balcony doors also helped to alleviate any unwelcome feeling of excessive congestion by letting plenty of natural light into this cozy shared area.

Wherever possible, the designers also took full advantage of any pre-existing nooks and recesses, typically bedecking them with shelving or display spaces as a way of optimising the number of show points for the owners’ many artworks and literary resources. As a result, even the dining area features a prominent display cabinet, complete with a bench where visitors can perch on as they admire the items on show.

Moving on to the bedrooms – in the specified separate his-and-hers varieties – the focus is solely on comfort. The headboards in each bedroom are finished in veneer and light grey fabric, creating a rich, warm restive ambience. A more elegant touch, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the wood-textured wallpaper, replete with bronze and steel detailing.

The study room, by contrast, is notably more frugal, with its minimalistic aesthetics allowing the space to truly breathe. It does, however, contain artfully hidden resources, with a folding guest bed tucked away within an apparently nonchalant storage space.

The bathrooms also adopt this simple style. Even with their sophisticated overtures (see the marble countertops and large bathtub), these rooms are clearly designed with the needs of their post-retirement occupants in mind. Bright lighting options and carefully placed support bars are used in this fashion, but their usefulness is never allowed to overpower the subtle curves of the rooms.

Pearl Court’s ultimate success, of course, is unquestionably the provision of a home that serves as a vibrant art gallery as well as a chance to live artistically.

Photos: Comodo Interior and Furniture Design

Space To Grow: While not grand in dimensions, this Kowloon apartment lacks nothing in design elegance or desirability

When it comes to living in Hong Kong, space is always at a premium. With soaring property prices, more and more people are looking for smaller, more efficient living spaces that can cater to their family’s growing needs. Home to a couple and their newborn baby, this King’s Park Villa apartment in Ho Man Tin fits the bill by utilising its maximum capacity. It has been carefully designed as an ideal environment for a small family and their ever-changing lifestyle.

The interior experts at Taste Design were entrusted with realising the owners’ dream home and so began a six-month labour of love. Comfort and utility of space were the main focus when reconfiguring the layout. The mood has been kept natural and elegant, encompassing all the necessities while avoiding any kind of visual clutter. Thus, the apartment, which spans 1,258 square feet over one floor, can adapt promptly to the changing dynamics of a new family.

Upon entering the flat, a warm-themed, spacious living room bedecked in neutral tones welcomes you through a retractable glass partition between the foyer and the lounge. A long, slim cabinet of dark wood is placed beside the main door, matching its colour and allowing handy placement of keys and other essentials for expeditions outside.

Two large floor-to-ceiling windows brighten the living-cum-dining area. One of these is curved, which presented a major design challenge, but was successfully overcome by a seamless blending of the rounded area into the uniform straight lines of today’s residential architecture. The window curvature serves as an attractive backdrop for two bright blue contemporary armchairs placed at right angles to the far end of a comfy grey sofa. Light-hued floor-to-ceiling curtains match the room’s overall colour palette and cover the window frames to give a sense of extra volume to the walls.

The sitting area is maximised with a tidy arrangement of loose furniture including the square armchairs, sofa, two round textured poufs and a central coffee table of inter-layered circles. Soft lighting and carefully curated décor create an ambience of calm and tranquility.

A gleaming round dining table topped by a lazy Susan and surrounded by curved upholstered dining chairs is placed in front of the other wide window, allowing plenty of light while eating. The use of metal and marble throughout the space not only adds to the aesthetics but also hints at the practicality and longevity of the owners’ choices. A wooden feature wall behind the dining area breaks the visual monotony; shelves on each side flank a concealed storage cupboard and display artistic and whimsical collectibles, many with an animal theme.

A collage of striking photographs adds contrast and interest on the adjacent wall, while an eye-catching chandelier constructed from gold and silver shards hangs overhead, adding to the warm glow of this cosy spot for family meals. Beside the main living space is an enclosed kitchen, where wooden cabinets and marble tiles on the walls and floor echo the general preference for natural materials. There is ample space for cooking, laundry and storage, while a bedroom and bathroom off the kitchen provide privacy for the family’s helper.

A wide marble hallway leads past another glass partition to the rest of the home. On one side is a study lined with shelves of books and framed photographs. A pair of desks affords ample space for the couple to sit and work quietly side by side. Since it faces the guest bathroom across the hall, the study can be turned into a convenient guest room when needed.

Next comes the nursery with lively pastel wallpaper and a cot surrounded by baby toys for a joyful vibe. Once again, discreet inbuilt storage has been designed to enhance the utility of the room and keep it clutter-free.

The door to the master suite is right next to the nursery for quick access when the baby wakes up at night. Here, a simple décor enhances the space, with storage neatly offered within a low white cabinet underneath the TV wall facing the bed. A feature wall of contrasting dark wood is unconventionally an extension of the dressing table rather than behind the headboard of the bed. The entrance to the walk-in closet also blends into the dark panelling, while the closet itself is an extension of the bathroom wall.

The ensuite bathroom is rather irregular in shape, but the designer has masterfully utilised this unique triangular layout by making the smaller end into a walk-in shower. It is a compact, bright space with a pale wood floor and off- white textured walls that almost have an outdoor bathing feel, reminiscent of villa accommodation in Bali.

Size does matter increasingly in Hong Kong living, but with clever design and a creative meld of elegance and practicality, even the less generous proportions of newer residential buildings can be transformed into ideal and adaptable homes for growing families.

Photos: Taste Interior Design Ltd.

Air of Refinement: Beauty and functionality flow in harmony through the open spaces of this Island South residence

Nestled amid lush greenery and overlooking the blue sea, a 2,789-square-foot flat in Residence Bel-Air on the Pok Fu Lam waterfront affords its lucky residents a serene and picturesque environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Home to a couple with two daughters and a son, the apartment reflects the personality of each family member through meticulously designed interiors.

The residence offers spacious living areas throughout, allowing everyone to enjoy a comfortable and luxurious lifestyle. Within this open-plan layout, fine décor and details instil a feeling of sophistication and refinement. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, allowing residents to bask in the beauty of the city’s skyline and natural scenery. The natural light is maximised, so there is a sense of openness that makes the apartment seem even more spacious and inviting.

The living room exudes elegance and comfort, making it the perfect space for relaxation and socialising. The design concept harmoniously balances aesthetics and functionality, with soothing neutral tones such as beige and cream interspersed with pops of dark colour in accent pieces that add visual interest and intriguing contrasts.

The lounge has ample space for family and guests to unwind. It features a large, plush sectional sofa with a round coffee table which breaks the monotony of angles. A wide bar runs parallel to the sofa while the dining space is at its back, making the living room a multipurpose area especially suitable for large gatherings. Tall windows permit natural light to flood in and provide stunning vistas to those chilling within; a balcony lets residents get even closer to the outside spectacle.

The bar boasts a white marble wall and a marble kitchen island with a statement lighting fixture hanging above it. A delicate white-frosted glass chandelier atop the dining table also serves to accentuate the beauty of the entire lounge.

A see-through glass frame next to the dining area visually connects the hallway leading to the master bedroom. Tall pots of plants punctuate every space hinting at the owner’s love of natural beauty.

The master bedroom follows a minimalistic theme, emphasising only the essentials of the space. Storage is on the side, adding further functionality and freedom from clutter. Wide windows open onto a balcony with spectacular views of the ocean and the nearby islands. The en suite plays a game of contrasts as its black marble floor and walls are at variance with the white and gold fixtures.

The daughters share a bedroom where two adjacent single beds make a cosy space for sisterhood to bloom. Facing the beds is a feature wall with a widescreen television for the girls to relish movie nights in their beds. Pink headboards and bright colours give the room a hint of feminine energy, and the same colour palette can be seen in their bathroom.

The son’s room is designed to function both as a play area and a bedroom. A mezzanine has been added to distinguish the spaces, the lower floor being designated for toys and games.

A capacious study with two separate tables enables the youngsters to delve into their homework undistracted. Next to it is a brightly appointed guest room. Like all the bedrooms, the guest room also features a television for everyone to enjoy their own entertainment.

The whole apartment is created to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing, and its location in a prestigious neighbourhood known for tranquillity and superb views makes it the perfect abode for a modern Hong Kong family.

Photos: Taste Interior Design Ltd.

Wonder in the Woods: A Happy Valley home embraces nature with wooden walls imbuing warmth, depth and feeling

Nestled in the picturesque neighbourhood of Happy Valley is an apartment that perfectly embodies contemporary elegance and soothing aesthetics. Radiating charm and sophistication, the living space is swaddled in wood – from the wooden floor to the wall panels to the furniture. Cool modern style seamlessly meets the warmth of natural materials in the intricate details of this exquisite space.

Designed by UK-based firm TG Studio, this home is a thoughtful blend of East and West. Upon stepping into the stunning living room, one is immediately greeted by the captivating sight of wooden walls encompassing the entire space. This panelling adds depth to the room, showcasing the perfect marriage of contemporary design and natural elements. The walls, with their rich, warm tones, create an inviting atmosphere, instantly making occupants feel at ease and connected to nature.

Complementing the wooden walls, the colour scheme of the living room revolves around warm and earthy tones that exude vitality and tranquillity. Grounded by carpeting underfoot, soft hues such as sandy beige, warm browns and gentle creams dominate the space, while splashes of muted green bring a touch of serenity in contrast. These carefully chosen colours ensure a harmonious ambience, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.

The furniture is a testament to the remarkable artistry and design acumen of the apartment’s designer. In a delightful blend of functionality and aesthetics, the wooden pieces integrate flawlessly with the overall design theme. With clean lines and understated elegance, each piece adds a hint of sophistication to the room while maintaining a cosy and comfortable atmosphere.

The focal point of the living room is a large, plush, L-shaped sofa upholstered in a luscious dark- grey fabric accompanied by two comfy armchairs in cream. This centrepiece provides an inviting spot for relaxation and socialising. Completing the seating arrangement is a pair of sleek wingback swivel armchairs in ochre adorned with contrasting throw cushions. The chairs are cleverly positioned to encourage both intimate conversations and effortless flow throughout the room. Given the elevated height of this apartment block, wide bay windows offer spectacular night views of the city and a source of abundant natural light during the day.

Adjacent to the lounge is a dining area that is partially hidden behind a wooden wall creatively cut into sharp shapes. The long dark grey dining table is embellished above with two giant glass chandeliers whose geometric design reflects the interior’s primary theme. At the other end of the living space, a wooden wall acts as a partition to frame a bar and cosy den.

The bright yellow bar counter is the focal point within this darkened area, and it is offset by an array of niches in the walls which display wine bottles. A plum-coloured sofa sits opposite two large ottomans with a glass table in between, making it a perfect place to unwind at night with a drink or two. The kitchen is kept simple with all-white cabinets and gleaming marble walls.

To bring the outdoors inside, potted plants are positioned around the lounge, kitchen and even the bathroom. This vibrant greenery adds life and freshness, while also promoting a natural atmosphere conducive to relaxation and well-being. Furthermore, carefully placed ambient lighting fixtures accentuate the wooden textures, creating a homey, welcoming vibe once the sun sets.

The master suite is spacious – its ample proportions would not seem out of place in a palace – yet an abundance of earthy tones spanning the upholstery, walls and floor make it seem invitingly snug. Rows of windows along both sides of the room allow light to flood the space in the day, acting in glorious contrast with the mellow colour palette.

Walls have indentations that not only work as storage space but also enhance the attractiveness of the décor. A study table sits on one side, while casually displayed artworks on the other provide lively colour and contemplation. The vastness of the bedroom allows freedom to change the layout as one likes to add variety to luxurious living, while the splendid white ensuite bathroom with its hillside views would cheer the spirits on the bleakest of mornings.

Seamless Serenity: Open concept, dual layers, expansive views – this redesigned Kowloon peninsula penthouse is top draw

Modern, minimalist styling throughout a remodelled penthouse at Royal Peninsula in Hung Hom, Kowloon, reveals a masterclass in subtle extravagance. Entrusted to award- winning firm Grande Interior Design, the renovation of this 1,787-square-foot duplex apartment showcases a beautiful blend of aesthetics and practicality. Comfort merges with a unique design to epitomise sophistication and elegance.

From towering glass façades that offer awe-inspiring views to a meticulously designed floor plan that maximises space, the architectural brilliance here is captivating. High ceilings, an open-concept layout and seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces create an ambience that exudes both grandeur and tranquillity.

In the open-plan living quarters, plush sofas, custom-made cabinets and carefully curated décor reflect the discerning taste of the residents while ensuring optimal comfort. The materials used are premium, the furnishings are exquisite and the artwork is stunning. An interplay of subtle colours and natural light enhances the sense of serenity.

Light shades of wood for the floor and stairs, and bright white paintwork on the walls and ceiling follow the living room into the dining space and then the kitchen area. This luminous colour palette is highlighted by functional spotlights as well as a variety of lighting features to suit different activities. An airy frame ending in black- bronze pendent lamps drops down from the ceiling towards the grey marble-topped dining table, serving to mark the division between lounging and eating.

Modular furniture crafted from natural materials adorns the living area and allows for a flexible layout. The feature wall behind the TV has display shelves for art pieces and wooden cabinets for storage. Bronze lines running vertically along the back wall give a delicate layering to the dining area.

Parallel to the dining table, the designer has added an open bar area, with a wooden counter and high stools. It delineates the open kitchen equipped with spacious cabinets and attractive appliances that make preparing meals an enjoyable experience. Dressed in white and touched with marble, this area is coherent with the living and dining spaces.

A former bedroom on this floor has been transformed into a multifunctional space by adding an upper level. The double-level design provides an area for entertaining and shared family activities below, and a guest bedroom with a private bathroom above, accessed by an internal flight of steps. It is another versatile feature of a home unhindered by boundaries.

The staircase from the lounge that leads up to the more private second storey of the penthouse blends harmoniously with the interior by disappearing into the wall after the first landing. An earthy colour scheme distinguishes the master bedroom. The bronze lines of the dining area reappear, etching the wall behind the bed, while the grey fabric wallpaper provides texture. The bed faces an expansive window that affords stirring views of the urban outdoors.

To suit the needs and lifestyle of the owners, the master suite spans a bedroom, study, walk-in closet and ensuite. A darker wood veneer creates a mature yet cosy environment. The closet is equipped with a dresser and high wardrobe to maximise storage, and the ensuite is furnished in relatively brighter tones with an abundance of glass and marble.

Adjacent to the master bedroom is their daughter’s room, where lighter earth tones evoke a more youthful ambience and textured wallpaper imparts a tranquil vibe. The ensuite here, which echoes that of the master bedroom, is accessed through a sliding door. A high wardrobe and tall mirror enhance the practicality and feeling of spaciousness in a compact closet.

The seamless flow of space and light throughout this apartment instils a sense of integration and intricacy. It is a home offering commanding views and a calming presence that makes you feel on top of the world.

Photos: Grande Interior Design

Ingrained Elegancy: Wood flows throughout this idyllic apartment in Coloane, Macau, where modern luxury meets Japanese serenity

It is no less than a wonder to create a calm sanctuary amidst one of the most buzzing neighbourhoods of Macau. A luxury apartment in Sky Oasis, just south of the Cotai Strip, achieves this ideal. Envisioned and executed by award-winning Hong Kong-based firm Max Lam Designs, it inspires an inward journey of peace and contemplation.

The location of the property is, first and foremost, ideal for occupiers who are looking for a break away from the bustling casino life that Macau is known for.

The interiors span a generous 3,000 square feet and embrace an oriental theme. Nature’s influence is evident in the different textures of stone, pebbles, granite and wood. The hues and colours used to realise these Eastern aesthetics are also evocative of nature.

macau residence

An aura of tranquillity is apparent upon setting foot in the residence. Delicate floral accents punctuate the foyer, where a large vase elegantly sits in a recess embellished with wooden slats, and soft lighting emphasises the contrasting wall finishes. A gold-thread painting by sculptor Raymond Pang is displayed by the entrance, across from an ink piece by San Chiu Yan – two of a handful of artworks specially commissioned by the design team for this project.

Expanses of warm, light-coloured wood and trellis structures feature throughout a striking décor, in which minimalism is balanced by intricate details for a modern-luxury take on traditional Japanese interior architecture. The monotony of the wooden walls, floors and ceilings is broken by the varying tones of the finishes, each casting different reflections of light from the same source.

Nature comes to the centre of the living room in a light-grey branch-patterned rug, alongside a sober sofa and two coffee tables with stone tops. The orange-tan leather seats of two armchairs with wooden frames and arms bring shots of colour to the neutral palette. At the end of the room, balcony doors open to a cosy space where a swing provides the perfect vantage point for watching the night lights of Macau.

macau residence

In the dining area, an installation of decorative wooden planks cocoons an unconventional dining table – a wooden bench flanked by a mix of wooden stools and sleek leather-upholstered chairs. Two large spherical lunar-like lamps hang above, allowing the family to enjoy well-lit meals. Framed calligraphy set at ground level provides artistic food for thought.

On the opposite side of the room stands a stone-topped, metal-framed bar counter. Illumination from underneath the bar’s wood-block base and the shelving unit behind it emits a soft, moody glow, the perfect ambience for a drink or two before dinner.

sky oasis apartment

A semi-open area adjacent to the master bedroom has been converted into a beautiful tea room replete with Chinese ink paintings and delicate teaware. The lack of windows in this part of the residence was a major design challenge neatly solved by creating this serene breathing space. The tatami floor cushions, low table and sliding door of the tea cabinet give it the feel of a true Japanese home.

The wall dividing the tea room from the living area features a curving wood installation and a ceramic vase by Ryan Hui holding a graceful ikebana.

sky oasis apartment

The master bedroom is enchantingly illuminated by indirect lighting that precisely traces the ceiling. A stone-feature wall, sakura-patterned wooden screens and a bespoke Art Deco-style vanity table are harmonious manifestations of understated elegance.

Similarly, two further bedrooms are visions of naturalistic refinement, with minimal furnishing and light design throughout. The craftsmanship of the wooden floors, walls and fittings is outstanding, effortlessly following the natural patterns of the grain. In one room, the headboard of the bed is a huge, accentuated wooden circle edged with light that appears like a sacred halo.

sky oasis apartment

Whether relaxing in the bedrooms or entertaining in the extended living area, this zen-inspired space offers an idyllic retreat from busy daily life. Through masterful design, it instils inner calm and promotes mindful reflection.

This unique residence is truly a treasured gem thanks to the stylish finishes in the extremely tranquil surroundings that is Coloane. Every little detail has been given great thought in order to produce a final product with stunning clean lines and fittings of the highest taste.

Photos: Max Lam Designs

Floor Show: The pull of a customised rug or three at home cannot be overestimated

Rugs are a neat way to lay down extra colour, texture and glamour in your home, effortlessly elevating the interior decoration while protecting the floor. If you welcome their uplifting warmth – both to your feet and your spirits – why not get one or more bespoke creations that will perfectly complement the size and palette of your empty spaces? Customised rugs offer endless design options, and as you step across them every day, they serve as continuous reminders that you have been part of making something beautiful and unique.

Also Read: Creative ways to transform your walls with bespoke wallpapers

Rug Your Life

Taking pride in converting any artwork into an alluring floor covering, Rug Your Life works from your own drawing or a painting you saw at a museum or gallery and absolutely loved. In fact, the company is best known for its rugs based on the works of 20th-century modern artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and more.

Customised rugs
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Rug Your Life 

Once the starting image has been chosen and sent to Rug Your Life, measurements, shape and cost are discussed. At this point, you will finalise the material from a range of options including wool, linen, silk and mohair. The company will also advise on the appropriate weaving technique based on your design choice and budget.

If your artwork has intricate details, Rug Your Life founder Nayla Ventura recommends going for a Tibetan knot rug as this technique allows the weaver to replicate any design down to every minute detail. This hand-knotting technique results in the softest, densest and most durable rugs. On the other hand, hand-tufted rugs are great for simple designs, take less time to be made, and are easy to maintain. The latter is also more budget-friendly:10 square feet of hand-tufted rug costs about HK$95,000 compared to HK$142,000 for hand-knotting.

Customised rugs
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Rug Your Life 

No matter the design or type of weaving, Rug Your Life creations are sustainably handmade using the finest materials. Each rug takes between six and 14 weeks to be finished, depending on the size and technique, but to add to the anticipation of its delivery to your home, you will be sent pictures twice a week of it being made.

To order, email

J&P Carpets

If you aspire to highlight your room with a luxury rug that would be right at home in a five-star hotel, then why not get customised rugs from a company that actually makes them for top hospitality groups like the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood and Shangri-La. Established in 1993 by John Yu, J&P Carpets crafts high-quality rugs using hand-tufting and the Axminster technique. The latter, a mechanical method based on traditional Oriental carpet weaving, suits large-scale projects, while hand-tufted rugs are a better fit for residences.

persian vs turkish rugs
J&P Carpets at Shangri-La Paris

J&P can custom-make rugs in any size, shape, design or colour using this technique whereby a weaver handcrafts the rug with the help of an electrical tufting gun for a faster and more affordable process. A 25-square-metre rug fashioned from 100% New Zealand wool – the most commonly chosen material – will cost about HK$23,500 and takes less than five weeks to complete.

Customised rugs made from the wool of New Zealand sheep have a smooth, warm texture, and are less prone to tearing, indenting by heavy furniture and other damage. You can also ask for your wool rug to be combined with other materials such as bamboo, bamboo silk, viscose and nylon for extra strength and durability. With good care, such rugs can last for up to 15 years; they are also easy to clean. Pure silk is another highly sought-after raw material since it delivers a supremely soft and exquisite rug that can go up to HK$300,000 for a 25-square-metre piece.

handwoven rugs

Once you have pinned down the perfect physical attributes for your rug, the design team at J&P Carpets will send you pictures of how it would look, followed by a sample so that you can get a feel of it. After you are completely satisfied with its visual and tactile features, the rug will be made and delivered to your home in just over a month.

To order, email or call or WhatsApp (852) 9139 8010

Custom Rugs

One of the go-to rug makers for interior designers and architects, Custom Rugs is also ideal for individuals who need extra assistance in getting customised rugs for their homes. Choosing the right design from the myriad of options available can be overwhelming and exhausting, so the company goes the extra mile to make decisions less burdensome. They will advise on the style, size and colour scheme that is right for your tastes and décor, and help you choose the perfect material from options including, but not limited to, silk, bamboo silk, merino wool and viscose. Browsing through their wide selection of rug designs which can be personalised serves to focus undecided minds.

handknotted rugs

Once the appearance and feel of the rug are set, Custom Rugs gives customers the option of three weaving techniques – hand-knotted, hand-tufted or hand-loomed. One advantage of hand-loomed rugs is their sleekness – there is less of a risk of tripping over a slim edge than a thick one. They are also reversible and absorb sound. For the premium weaving technique of hand-knotting, the company usually opts for the Persian method. Compared to Turkish double-loop knots, Persian single-loop knots gives a more refined weave and a higher knot count; a weaver can pack anywhere between 85 and 500-plus knots per square inch, allowing for the simplest of designs as well as the most intricate. Depending on the design and the size of the rug, it takes from six to 12 weeks to be made. A 12’ X 10’ fine Merino wool rug with an intricate design that will require 400 Persian knots per square inch can even cost HK$108,000.

To order, email or WhatsApp (852) 9822 0006

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