A three-storey villa in Sha Tin has been remade as a dwelling for a family of four, with dazzling vintage features.

A Renter's Paradise
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A three-storey villa in Sha Tin has been remade as a dwelling for a family of four, with dazzling vintage features.

Revamping a sprawling house of some 3,500 square-feet to accommodate four people comfortably is no easy feat, especially when those people are the renters. Making it reflect the personalities of the people living in it raises the bar even higher.

Mille and Steven, the owners of the three-storey Sha Tin abode, also have particular needs. Having lived in the house for several years, the young couple have embarked on a new chapter of their life in a newly renovated home with their young son and daughter.

“The owners value family and me-time a lot. That’s why ‘cosiness’ and ‘airiness’ constitute a huge part of the design brief,” says Meng Jing, founder of Common Room Home Living, the design firm manning the renovation.

The home occupies the top three levels plus a split-level terrace in the low-rise building. On the first floor, the children’s study room and the living room flank the main entrance; a cosy snug spot for indulgent reading lays by the darkly painted fireplace.

A mother of two herself, Jing understands well what a family craves for in their abode, one of which, she says, is an ample amount of storage space. This proves even more essential when the owners are ardent readers with a colossal collection of books.

“The clients used to store their books in a bulky dark-wood bookshelf. We sourced a lighter and slimmer bookcase that can lay up even more volumes,” Jing explains.

The flexible modular shelving system in point, the Vitsœ 606, was designed by Dieter Rams in the 1960s and remains popular today.

The storage hides holes at the back of the sofa and has been specially curated for the two LEGO-loving kids. Besides offering easy access to the colourful plastic bricks, the open-plan layout and the absence of a coffee table in the living room provide the little ones with plentiful play areas.

With a penchant for fine music, the owners’ cherished instruments – a golden trumpet, a retro piano clad in wood veneer and an acoustic guitar by the fireplace – instantly uplift the ambience of the space and bring in a very personal and distinct aura along with a lifetime of memories.

Music and art often go hand in hand, so it’s no wonder the owners are also partial to antiques. The design team has, in fact, sourced and acquired rare and unique vintage furniture extensively at auctions. This has included a vintage sewing basket from the 1960s, now repurposed as a small side table that also holds accessories; and next to it a well- recognised antique daybed by Dick Cordemeijer.

“Sourcing the furniture during the pandemic has turned out to be a challenging task,” Jing says. “It’s hard to manage as we have to constantly update the suppliers. Luckily, the clients are patient and willing to wait.”

A standout piece is the retro folding chair in the entrance foyer which resembles something from an old-school cinema and injects a touch of whimsy into the space.

The material palette is also important. The design team opted for calming white hues and natural elements, in tandem with pops of houseplants to bring the outdoor vibe in.

The pristine white backdrop, Jing explains, highlights the artworks at home. Upstairs, fronting the large mirror in the dining room, is the Villemot for Campari 1977 vintage poster that wafts out an air of sophistication.

With the renovation inaugurated in 2020 and completed early this year, the team had to recalibrate the design to suit a work-from-home culture.

“As video conferencing becomes a norm, the owners requested more storage in their work station as well as an adequate background for video calls,” Jing says.

On the upper floor, the master bedroom adopts a slightly darker colour alongside walnut wood and linen bedding to set the tone for a more relaxing and laid-back atmosphere. By contrast, the kids’ bedroom, which has closets with rattan doors, emanates a lively ambience with its simplicity and brightness – a style that’s consistent with the mid- century modern vibe throughout the abode.

“Mille and Steven are open-minded and have given us lots of rooms for creativity. Our conversations often left both parties inspired,” Jing says. “We are currently renovating the rooftop and I really look forward to seeing the family enjoy summer on their beautiful home ground.”

Tags: HongKonginteriordesignhousehomeairy
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