Plenty of research and planning goes into purchasing a home of one’s own, but signing the contract is just the beginning of the process.
Like many of the best things in life, a home requires ongoing cultivation, whether taking care of small repairs or doing a complete overhaul. When the time came for one couple to redo their home’s air conditioning system after five years of ownership, they also took the opportunity to renovate their home for the first time. Considering that they had only given birth to their first son when they first moved in, but that their family had since expanded to two young boys and a baby daughter, it provided the perfect opportunity to transform their abode into a more kid-friendly one.
Driving up the winding, greenery-filled street leading to the apartment building, one feels simultaneously removed from the bustle of the city while remaining a short drive away from its centre. In the end, the combination of the beautiful natural scenery and central location had them quickly snapping up the property. While the building itself might not look much different from the typical high-rises in the area, entering the flat reveals a home with a character all of its own – an aesthetic that was achieved last May after the couple embarked on the home’s first proper renovation.
The couple found interior designer Peggy Bels’ work through some friends and quickly tasked her with the project. Having worked on residential and commercial interiors across Hong Kong, Peggy is well known for her contemporary, minimalist style, which features pared-back elements – think wood floors and numerous shades of grey, such as those on brushed concrete walls. Peggy incorporated her style into the spacious Mid-Levels flat while also accommodating the couple’s desire to make their home more spacious and comfortable.
The design features a muted palette of neutrals, monochromes and – of course – lots of grey. "I used different shades of grey mixed with different finishes, as well as a wooden floor and soft fabrics for warmth and elegance," explains Peggy. "I’m always careful to choose warm greys. I also mixed light greys with darker greys to allow lighter colours to pop, and to create contrast and depth." Grey features in the flat’s mostly custom-made furnishings in details such as cushions and textiles, and even in the door to the children’s playroom, just off the living room. The occasional pop of colour infuses liveliness into the space. "We used some strong colours for the playroom for it to be more fun," says Peggy.
In order to make the home more spacious, Peggy changed the flooring in the home to a light wood, keeping it consistent throughout. Previously, mismatched flooring in different rooms – tiles in the kitchen and wood in the living room – made the space look chopped up. She also transformed the kitchen into an open one, though she added a sliding door to prevent smoke and other aromas from wafting into the living area if the need arises. Walking through the front door into the living room-slash-kitchen gives one an immediate feeling of spaciousness. The airiness of the home is further accentuated by the wide, curved picture window that shows off the spectacular view of greenery and the city.
In addition to the new kitchen, Peggy also converted a study just off the living room into a playroom for the children. Aside from these changes, however, the flat’s layout mostly stayed the same – the heart of the household is the open living area and kitchen, while the master bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet and home office nestle at the end of a long corridor for a sense of privacy. Along the corridor are guest bedrooms and the children’s bedrooms.
"The homeowners are both working and their priority is their kids," explains Peggy. "They like to spend free time at home with them, or outside doing sports and other activities." In their comfortable refuge perched in the hills of the city, it’s easy enough for the couple to leave the demands of their busy lifestyle behind, so they can spend quality time with their family as soon as they return home for the day.
Photography: James John Jetel