As is so often the case in Hong Kong, Melanie McLaren and her husband, James, spent every weekend for months looking for the right rental apartment.
But when they saw their current abode on Old Peak Road, they knew that is was just right. It was the perfect location. We can walk to Central, but also to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, and straight up The Peak from outside the door.
Aside from that, the four-bedroom duplex offered ample space for what was then a growing family – and they were given the opportunity to make it somewhat their own, which is not always the case when renting. The flat was overstuffed with furniture and had dark walls in the main living areas, says Melanie. The master bedroom was also wallpapered entirely with a pattern of giant dogs.
Things have certainly changed. We were fortunate that the owners agreed to renovate to a high standard. We have a lot of art and were keen for the walls in particular to be a blank canvas.
I absolutely love the curved windows. They add character and make the house feel incredibly light.
Art has long played a role in the lives of both Melanie and James. Highlights in the couple’s collection include a bronze sculpture by Giancarlo Tramontin, which stands on the windowsill in the master bedroom upstairs, and a wooden camel picked up on honeymoon in South Africa.
The 3,700sqft flat spans two floors with a study, kitchen, bathroom, laundry and living/dining area downstairs, and four bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a storage room upstairs. An open staircase lends the apartment a lovely feeling of space, further accentuated by the beautiful curved windows both downstairs and up.
Aside from the contemporary art, there is a mid-century modern aesthetic throughout, with a mix of vintage furniture collected over the years. The couple have collected pieces while travelling in Australia and the UK, and also have a couple of chairs from Africa.
Hong Kong has played a role, too, with vintage European dining chairs and a cocktail trolley, as well as a Matthew Hilton desk, sourced from Lane Crawford, while the wall display cabinet in the sitting area was custom made in a replica of an original piece found by Jing Meng, founder and owner of Hong Kong vintage furniture store Common Room.
While the children – a toddler and a newborn – have their own space, its design is consistent with the rest of the apartment. For the children’s area we wanted to keep things clean and bright to make it somewhere that they would feel at home, but also with a hint of the look we have across the rest of the flat, so we have tried to include at least one piece of furniture in their spaces which fits the general look of the entire flat, adds Melanie.
The couple has made the Hong Kong apartment their own, allowing their art to shine alongside a feeling of airiness and space. I absolutely love the curved windows. They add character and make the house feel incredibly light. They look out onto both green and city views, which I think really capture what is best about Hong Kong.
This story was originally published in our October 2018 issue as ‘Picture Perfect.’ For more stunning homes in Hong Kong and abroad, grab a copy of our 38th Anniversary October issue, on newsstands now.
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