Creative Director Meng Jing, of Common Room Home & Living, creates a liveable and functional abode in Kau To Shan for a pair of power couple, and it has a sensational fireplace as a centrepiece.
When we chat, Meng Jing brings up the stoned fireplace right away. “Like many of my clients, the couple specifically asked for a fireplace. I see it becoming a huge trend in home decor this year, thanks in no small part to the many gorgeous, photogenic fireplaces gracing the Instagram front page.”
She’s referring to the five-meter-high, full-functioning steam fireplace at the heart of the Kau To Shan house: it isn’t a roaring open fire, but the natural stone stacked on the mantelpiece and the 100-year-old pine bar (Meng has it shipped straight from Yunnan to Hong Kong) makes the hearth ultra-cosy and the living room just the perfect place for entertaining in. And have I mentioned the floor-to-ceiling alcoves snugly flanking the ingle?
“The fireplace serves as a visual anchor of the whole residence. That reclaimed wood mantle cover was actually the supporting beam of a house in Yunnan,” she explains. How do you source it? “I like mixing and matching the old and the new to add a tad of history to the space. Otherwise it’s like an overly sterile ‘showroom’. We have specialist supplier providing us with all kinds of vintage pieces.”
All of Meng’s projects have a retro aura to them unlike anything you’ve ever seen: a pastel colour palette, mid-century-style wooden furniture and lovely greenery dotting here and there. Stylish and yet never compromising on their liveability.
No wonder when the pandemic struck the city, a pair of business couple approached her to remake their 3,000-sq.ft. house into a tailor-made space that answers their needs for everyday living, socialising and relaxation.
“The two are always on the go, doing business around the world, and they seldom stay in Hong Kong for a prolonged period of time. The house is intended more as a holiday retreat for when they visit the city than a full-time home,” Meng recalls.
“Cosy”, “chill”, and “natural” constitute huge parts of the brief. The first task, according to Meng, is opening up the floor plan. The fact that the couple has an adult son studying overseas and currently not residing in Hong Kong means that there’s more than enough space to play with functionality.
Set atop a rolling mountain overlooking the azure sea in Kau To Shan, the residence houses a total of three levels: a garage beneath the ground floor, a living/dining room and a kitchen sit on the ground level, along with three bedrooms and a rooftop on the upper floor.
“The couple likes to invite friends and family over from time to time. There’s plenty of space in the inviting living/dining room and the rooftop to gather around with food and drinks.” Imagine sipping your wine oh so elegantly while leaning against the mantlepiece, making all manner of high-brow banter to while away the night.
Once the couple has had enough of the guests, they can easily escape and retire to the private realms upstairs. Very suitably, Meng goes for a neutral tone and cosy decor for the master bedroom and guest room.
The adjacent Japanese-style tea room is something made for the lady of the house: emitting a darker ambience, it gives off a much different look and feel from the rest of the house. “The wife enjoys doing yoga, meditation and the art of tea. The subtlety and serenity makes it the perfect place to just sit back and indulge life’s quieter moments.”
Says Meng: “Interestingly the couple weren’t in a hurry to do renovation early on. Having lived across the world, home is pretty much everywhere they go. But then came Covid and they’ve come to realise how important a well-designed, pleasant home is. Don’t we all?”