As the founder of Simon Chong Design Consultants Ltd, tastemaker Simon Chong is many things – a cultural guru, a talented force in the interior design profession, a kind soul and a consummate host. So creative his vision and so attentive he is to detail, that everything he oversees is meticulously planned out and executed to a tee.
This residence in Yuen Long, which he purchased five years ago, is no exception. Seeing a potential investment opportunity in the New Territories, Simon initially bought the property thinking he would take his time doing it up.
But one day, while Simon was sitting in the living area overseeing some construction work, a large, towering oak tree outside caught his attention. With branches and leaves suspending out and seemingly sheltering his abode, he was so mesmerised that at once, he had the revelation that he needed to spend more time in this home away from home. "I realised I could just sit in this spot and stare out at that tree for hours and feel inspired – it’s my favourite part of the home," Simon reveals. He set out to renovate the space immediately.
Simon's main challenge was that he only set aside a moderate budget for the project, so the onus of creating a cohesive, tasteful second home was down to his talent as a curator. He aimed to achieve the right balance of soft furnishings mingled with antiques, lighting and accessories. "I had to go through my warehouse and select my favourite paintings and furniture that would achieve the best combination to fit this space," he recalls. Surveying the characterful interior, which has been mainly divided into a spacious living room on one side, and a kitchen and large dining room on the other, Simon has done an impeccable job.
In the living room, a sofa by Molteni and C is artfully arranged with the designer’s own collection of European furniture and Chinese antiques, while the coffee table from Timothy Oulton holds historic books and interesting ornaments and curios. The white open kitchen is from Leicht and the corresponding rectangular table with dining chairs from Kartell add a contemporary touch to the surroundings. Gorgeous chandeliers from Barovier and Toso make a statement from above, and evocative artwork flanks all the walls of the interior to stunning effect.
Simon is fan of art and often collects what he loves, picking up many pieces from his travels. Wander into the living room and you'll find pieces by French painter Supakitch – whose works are greatly influenced by his childhood – as well as emotive works by Taiwanese artist Yao Jui-chung, while Looking at the Moon by Taiwanese sculptor Chen Shao-Kuan and a three-panelled artwork depicting flowers, birds and grapes by Chinese painter Zhui Gui-zu take pride of place in the dining room. His collection perfectly combines the elegance of the East and the West as well as the inspiration from a variety of art styles, from modern to traditional.
Wherever you look, the interiors of the home are visually arresting, but it’s the exterior space that comes to life whenever Simon has the time to entertain. With the table set with stunning flatware and glasses, the barbeque fired up, and gorgeous lights and flowers setting the scene, his parties are known among his inner circle to be legendary.
Simon modestly plays down these accolades, saying "I enjoy sharing good food and wine with companions in my small, humble place. It’s perfect for entertaining as we don’t need to rush, everyone can relax, and if they are too tired to drive home afterwards, they are always welcome to stay over in the guest room."
Is there anything he would change if he could design this second home all over again? "I’d probably extend the outdoors a bit by building a conservatory," Simon reveals. "It would be the perfect venue for dining or a - barbecue during the summer months."