The challenge, says Caroline Ma of Jason Caroline Design, frequently lies in how to strike a balance. In the case of this Deep Water Bay home, the difficulty lay in blending classical and contemporary elements in a harmonious way.
“You don’t want to make it so modern that it’s not them anymore, but you don’t want to make it so classical that it’s heavy and outdated,” says Caroline, whose clients on this project had specifically asked that Jason Caroline Design give their home a classically European look.
To meet this request, Caroline and her partner in business and life, Jason Yung, incorporated panelling into the design, as well as ceiling mouldings, French railings and traditional furniture and lighting from the likes of Farrington Interiors and Baker.
Wrought iron and wood railings on the staircase also add to the classic feel. “Glass would’ve been very safe for children, but it’s too modern for this home,” says Caroline of the decision to go with these railings after much discussion with the homeowners. “At every point we were talking to them about how far to take the classic look,” she adds.
They got the balance just right in the kitchen, where French country cabinetry in an eggy-cream shade mixes with smooth worktops in a charcoal-grey composite. Here, the designers used one of Mobalpa’s kitchen systems, which is available through Oscar Bath & Kitchen. “It’s a French brand, and it’s got all the motifs you need,” remarks Caroline.
To keep the home contemporary, the designers worked with a light palette – at the clients’ behest – while factoring in gold touches here and there. Again, the use of gold and other shimmering elements was something that required careful thought and balance on the part of the designers. In the living room, the blinds feature a graphic gold print, and in the master bedroom, a close look reveals the presence of gold and silver threads in the curtains, whose weighted folds suggest a more classic silhouette. In the bathrooms, the Bisazza mosaic tiling glimmer, and the powder room is “just a touch more glam” with a graphic, gold-infused mural. And in the living area, inlaid mother-of-pearl behind the TV shines as the sunlight hits it. Advises Caroline, “Don’t be afraid of using gold, just use it tastefully.”
Subtlety is key here, and it’s something that Jason Caroline Design has mastered on this elegant project. The home is glamorous, yet not overtly so. It’s also classic enough to suit the clients’ needs, whilst at the same time, incorporates modern functionality and style in a way that is timeless and far from in-your-face. This is particularly the case with the layout, which is one of Caroline’s favourite things about the finished product. On the ground floor, the space flows smoothly from entrance and courtyard – complete with lemon tree – to the open living and dining space, with the kitchen off to the side of the courtyard. They initially intended to close off the dining area, using French doors, “but as the design went along, we felt we should open it up,” explains Caroline. Now it overlooks the double-height living area, which allows the abundant natural light in the living room to reach the dining room.
“It’s so airy and bright and spacious,” says Caroline of the living and dining area. “The homeowners tell me they’re surprised they’re using the living room so much. They’re very happy here.”
Photography: John Butlin