Family Tides: A home that ably combines opulence and a love of the ocean

The very concept of “home” is somewhat singular. For some, it is a place to partake of a glass of wine in a Star Wars onesie. For others, it peering disapprovingly from bed at a wet Wednesday. For the Chan’s – the Chinese family that commissioned Kowloon’s extraordinary Grand Austin Residence – home is all about fresh air and a nurturing environment.

Natural light is enhanced by the use of reflective surfaces
Natural light is enhanced by the use of reflective surfaces

As a result, Liquid Interiors, an award-winning, eco-conscious Hong Kong-based interior design firm, saw creating the optimum living environment as their priority. In addition to using only health-enhancing building materials, the team also made sure that the ventilation and air purification systems were all performing to a uniformly high standard before the Chan family ever set foot in its new home.

When they finally did take up residence, nothing was left to chance. This saw the indoor air quality being continuously monitored by smart home technology, with real-time data provided on the temperature and humidity levels, as well as the concentration of dust, CO2 and any pollutants in the in-home environment.

The designers installed a circadian lighting system
The designers have installed a circadian lighting system

As with many other mainland families, the Chan’s came to Hong Kong in search of a better future for their children. At the same time, they remained anxious that their new home would truly reflect the family in terms of its heritage and its unique interests.

In order to fully deliver on this, the Liquid Interiors team didn’t just strive to meet the expectations of the parents. They also spent time with the couple’s 15-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, an investment that allowed all their interests and concerns to be incorporated into the finished project.

Marine accents are found throughout the home
Marine accents are found throughout the home

The designers’ attention to detail is more than apparent during any visit to the home. Step into the living or dining room, for instance, and the owner’s love of the ocean almost washes over you.

Taking inspiration from the family’s love of undersea life, a vast salt-water aquarium dominates the dining space, with this maritime theme subtly reflected in the way the connecting living space is accessorised – a crystal ball pendant light fitting, set above the dining table, for instance, has more than a passing resemblance to air bubbles dancing on an ocean surface.

In addition to the living room and three bedrooms, the apartment also includes a study
In addition to the living room and three bedrooms, the apartment also includes a study

Eschewing the usual blue and white excesses, metallic bronze and gold motifs characterise the living space, with subtle blue embellishments – notably a wave-formed vase and tidally-themed pillows and flooring – offering understated ocean notes. Ultimately, through creative colour choices, the designers have successfully fused the family’s sentimental attachment to the sea with a wholly luxurious ambience.

Their touch is no less deft in the daughter’s sleeping space – a suitably princess-modified realm, awash with regal pinks and beiges. In another engaging feature, the traditional canopy bed has been dispensed with in favour a feather engraved wall that frames the bed proper in a suitably dreamy and fairytale fashion. It is a technique that is called upon again in the master bedroom, where a wall of stone-carved cherry blossoms arcs around the parental sleeping space.

Each bedroom is equipped with sound absorbing materials and acoustic treatments of the walls
Each bedroom is equipped with sound absorbing materials and acoustic wall treatments

The son’s room, meanwhile, provides a stark contrast, with both spaces a testament to the individual interests of the younger Chan’s. Here, the use of gladed wallpaper and robust wooden furniture creates a sense of emerging masculine sophistication, while also playfully harking back to an earlier family Amazon expedition.

Seeing the experience as much about learning as wielding tried solutions, Rowena Gonzales, principal and founder of Liquid Interiors, says: “I came to discover a great deal about the realities of renewable energy in Hong Kong. This helped us to evolve the space in a truly humanistic dimension, improving the overall environment and maximising the health benefits for every resident.”

Text: Jaymee Ng
Images: Liquid Interiors