December - February 2022

Small Space Solutions Dining Table Décor

School in 2022: Is boarding an option?

Practising Self-care GymRoundup Hair Extensions

Seasonal eats & treats Gift ideas for family & home Bucket-list destinations

... over $28K in prizes in our Readers’ Choice Awards


Big Dr Who fan here. Really big. I shouldqualify that statement by adding that I haven’t watched a minute of the show since I was 12. Also, I kind of had to be a fan back then as we only had two TV channels; it was either Dr Who or Dallas . Still, a fan nonetheless. I mention this because I stumbled upon The Official DrWho Annual 2022 while browsing Christmas books for my kids the other day. And it gave me a little buzz of excitement – I thought of a much younger me, receiving this book as a wrapped gift under the tree; I wouldn’t be able to rip the paper off fast enough! If you’re keen for the same reaction from family members and friends these holidays, you’d better take a close look at the big gift guide in this issue (page 53). We’ve got great ideas for parents, partners and kids, and also for the home. Speaking of homes, wouldn’t it be brilliant if all Hong Kong homes could be like Dr Who’s Tardis? As in, really small-looking from the outside but completely spacious once you step

inside. Sadly, that’s not the case, and many of us have to grapple with a pretty squeezy space. Yet there are loads of savvy methods for making a small interior go a long way – see our series of articles on the topic, starting from page 22. Maybe space isn’t an issue for you, but deciding where to send your children to school is. Have you considered boarding as an option? Hear from Hong Kong families with kids who are boarders, frompage 68.We’ve got half a dozen other features on schools to help you decide too. Then you can rummage around and find other stories to suit your mood: there’s a roundup of festive restaurant celebrations, interviews with expats involved in theatre and performance in HK, a focus on practising self-care in the new year, plus expert advice from doctors (proper doctors – not Dr Who) on a range of health issues. And our bucket list of far-flung destinations is bound to get those travel juices flowing. Finally, don’t miss voting in our Readers’ Choice Awards (page 12)! You’ll not only be supporting your favourite companies in Hong Kong, but you could win one of the amazing prizes up for grabs. Wouldn’t that be nice timing for Christmas? (For the record, I’m asking Santa for The Official Dr Who Annual 2022 .)

Shamus Sillar



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET Group Editor



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EL Updates: Our upcoming events and new releases Vote in our Readers’ Choice Awards and win!

Living in Mid-Levels


Hong Kong News



TIPS FOR SMALL SPACES 22 Size is no object with this clever home makeover

Bringing big ideas to little rooms


Furniture to maximise every square foot


Home Showcase: Inside a Mid-Levels apartment


A buying guide to stylish dining tables Street Talk: A guide to living in Tung Chung What to watch and read this month Prestige Fairs: A one-stop shop for the holidays Our Christmas gift guide for all the family

Four families’ preschool experiences in HK How Mandarin learning has changed at Woodland Meet the global citizens of Hong Kong Academy A real-world work experience programme for kids Fond farewell from a school stalwart Language Learning: French for families! Might boarding be the best option for your child?





A passion for design and architecture Find out how to “hygge” your home! Retail Therapy: Kowloon’s new furniture store











42 Terrific tables!


World-class opera in a cinema near you


Profiles: Three theatre people

74 80

Five steps to a healthy financial year ahead

The Hong Kong Pages: Facts, trivia, history and more Choosing the right divorce lawyer Why using a VPN is a good idea





Artist profiles



WELLNESS & LEISURE 90 The importance of practising self-care


110 Tried & Tested: Reviews of anti-ageing products 112 Festive Feasts: Fab places for celebrations 118 The company bringing cocktails to your cabinet 120 An inside look at a new coffee and chocolate brand 122 Finding French goodies for Christmas 123 Taste Test: A return to Harbourside Grill 124 Seasonal staycations at a luxury hotel 125 Holiday deals and delights at The Murray 126 Is a move to Malaysia on the cards? 128 Far-flung destinations for your travel planner

Where to go for a workout

Newborn Know-how: Flat head syndrome explained Expert advice on a range of health issues



98 Could you be at risk of a stroke? 100 Making positive changes for 2022 102 Fitness Files: A roundup of great gyms and studios 104 Why finding time for a workout matters 105 Missing the ski slopes? Here’s the next best thing 107 Five fashion tips for the holiday season 108 The long and short of hair extensions

REGULARS 132 Puzzle Pages 134 Important Numbers 135 Our Advertisers 136 Parting Shot: Singing

Beatles’ songs with kids


Turkeys and all the trimmings!




EL EVENTS Get access to our online workshops. Each month, we bring you experts to share tips on fitness, wellbeing, home décor, digital marketing andmore! Visit

Are you looking tomake the most out of living in Hong Kong, or do you know someone new in town who needs a helping hand? Whether you’ve just arrived o r you ’ ve be e n h e r e a wh i l e , o u r b r a n d n ew City Guide for 2021/22 offers loads of tips and advice on neighbourhoods to l ive in, property, education, health, dining out and more!

CITY GUIDE 2021/22 Annual $28



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and you’ll also enjoy free access to the digital edition on the Magzter app! $128 A digital subscription is available too, for just $69. Scan or visit

11 DEC21-FEB22


Vote for your favorite businesses in Hong Kong and stand a chance to win amazing prizes. Your votes will help reward businesses that have been doing a great job, and help spread the word about them – plus you’ll be rewarded, too! Prize winners will be notified via email and the results of the awards will be announced online in February 2022! Best of luck! OUR ANNUAL READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS ARE BACK FOR THE FIFTH YEAR!

The Expat Living Readers' Choice Awards is an open platform for you to vote for any of your favourite businesses in Hong Kong. You can vote for as many businesses in the category listed, however multiple entries will not be counted. Terms and conditions and further details can be found at

Voting ends 31 December 2021

COFFEE & CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE with Hinitan Plantation One winner will win “a journey of the senses” coffee tasting and chocolate making workshop for up to 10 guests, worth $12,000! Includes servings of wine, appetisers and light snacks, plus goodie bags for each guest.

LUXURIOUSSTAYCATION at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong A one-night stay for two in a Club Harbour Room with exclusive access to The Mandarin Club, worth $11,000! LUSHSTAYCATION at The Murray, Hong Kong A one-night stay for two in a contemporary- styled N2 Grand Room, including breakfast, worth $2,970.

ROMANTIC STAYCATION at Hotel ICON A one-night stay for two in an ICON 36 City Room with spectacular views, as well as buffet breakfast at The Market, worth $3,000.

Start voting now at


Welcome to Woodland Two new Heads of School have started at the Woodland Pre-School campuses at Kennedy Town and Pok Fu Lam. Hannah Dentten will lead the team at Woodland Kennedy Town, bringing a strong belief in inclusivity and the benefits of creativity for all children; and Charlie Horowitz assumes the role at Woodland Pokfulam, where he is already well known by the community for his work as Education Lead. Best of luck to Hannah and Charlie!

Anniversary Walk As part of its celebrations for turning 30 this year, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong installed an Anniversary Walk to allow the community to view the school’s journey through the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. From modest beginnings, CDNIS has become a leading IBWorld School that’s well known for its academic innovation and a welcoming and supportive community, where athletics, arts and extracurricular activities all play an equally important role in student development. Happy Anniversary to Ben Keeling who celebrates f ive years as Pr incipal of Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong in January 2022. With a community of almost 400 students aged three to 11, Shrewsbury continues to grow, guided by its school motto “ Intus si recte ne labora ”: if the heart is right, all will be well. The traditional anniversary gift of the five-year milestone is wood, symbolising long-lasting strength, wisdom and deep roots – appropriate in the light of the school’s recently published 10-year-plan, “Together We Flourish towards 2031”.

For the Home Indigo Living has launched a new pop-up store in Times Square, featuring the brand’s stylish home furnishings and accessories, plus select pieces from the Christmas 2021 collection. To celebrate the opening, customers are instantly eligible to become Indigo Silver VIP members upon any purchase and enjoy year-round discounts. The Christmas 2021 collection includes two new trends: Christmas Glamour, a lively blend of style and comfort that brightens up any room; and Snowfall Serenity, combining a tranquil, rustic aesthetic with a wintry theme. Shop 805-806, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay.



Sustainable Shopping

Ethikaal is a new online marketplace offering a curated collection of fab sustainable brands that are good for the planet, great for the people making

New at Central Market Haustage andDafu – two concept branches created by sustainable retailer Match Showroom – have opened in Central Market. The new twin stores bring an extra touch of green lifestyle to the revitalised historic location. Haustage is described as the first sustainable fashion and lifestyle design boutique in Asia – it has an existing outlet at The Mills – while Dafu is known for its iconic white sneakers. There are exclusive deals available at both stores until 31 December. | them and beautiful for our homes. The launch collection includes the likes of Soaper Delights (all-natural handmade soaps, deodorants and lip balms), Conspiracy Chocolate (craft bean-to-bar “accidentally vegan” chocolate), and The Impact Box, a sustainable gift box from local brands and non-profits, with a Sustainable Development Goals theme.

Starck Bathrooms White Tulip is the first complete bathroom range created from a single source by Philippe Starck for bathroom manufacturer Duravit. The unusual shape of everything in the range follows the organic silhouette of a blooming tulip, unfolding in an almost sculptural way. The two style collections are “Nature”, with its fresh, naturally inspired bathrooms, and “Culture”, an expression of urban sophistication. Both feature subtle and natural colours andmaterials that help to underline the extraordinary designs. Available from E.Bon, the authorisedDuravit dealer in Hong Kong, at 369 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, or online. 2834 1661 | Come down to Okooko at The Pulse this winter and experience the brand’s signature Heveya Natural Organic Latex mattresses, pillows and luxurious bamboo and French linen bedding. On Level 2, the store’s sleep experts can guide you to a more natural sleep in 2022. Or, if you’re looking for the perfect gift, there are some great deals in December and January for the special people in your life; these include 50 percent off the second pillow, and a complimentary goodie bag worth HK$500. Give the gift of slumber this holiday season! L2, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay. 6286 1132 |

15 DEC21-FEB22

Eco-friendly Skincare ALKMIE, a natural, anti-ageing, vegan, eco- friendly skincare brand fromPoland, has opened its first retail store at Lab Concept, Facesss in Admiralty. It stocks a wide range of clean, harmless, pregnancy-safe skincare products for natural beauty lovers, vegans, pregnant women, animal lovers and environmentalists. Looking for a skin boost before the party season? The ALKMIE Anti-Age Line includes the Nature Is Better 360° Eye Opening Cream, Jelly Lift Hydrolift Booster, Youth On Demand 24H Age Reversing Cream and Beauty Activate Biomimetic Enzymatic Peeling Mask. 2439 9010 |

Home-furnishing giant IKEA has launched the very first Close to You concept store inside the Market Place grocer in Hong Kong’s Discovery Bay. Spanning more than 3,000 square feet, Close to You offers more than 110 home furnishing products together with 120 Swedish signature gourmet items ranging frommeatballs and salmon, to sauces and condiments. The experience is highly digital, with self- pick-up lockers, an interactive screen for home-decorating inspiration and cooking recipes, and more. Find it alongside Bread Pantry at the Market Place Discovery Bay.

Pirata Expands Not one to let a pandemic slow it down, PirataGroup has opened its largest- ever hospitality development: The Sixteenth. The new collection of four restaurants is located in Oxford House, Taikoo Place, and takes its name for the area being the “16th” district of HK. The 18,000-square-foot, 400-seat destination, which includes one of the city’s largest outdoor terraces along with some striking interiors, features two Italian concepts – La Favorita and Tempo Tempo – along with a couple of Japanese eateries, Honjokko and TMK Funk & Rolls.

Cool Bevvies ONLY Vodka Soda is a homegrown brand catering to those looking for refreshing, health-conscious alcohol alternatives. It’smade of the highest quality five-times distilled premium vodka and natural Tahitian lime and yuzu ginger flavours, and is the first zero sugar, zero carb, naturally flavoured premium vodka soda created by Hongkongers. It’s available for HK$30 per can from numerous liquor and retails shops, privatemember clubs and hotels, and on Deliveroo and Foodpanda.



Wholesome Eats Innovative plant-based brand Green Common has unveiled a brand new two-storey flagship inNexxus Building, Central, with a modern and refreshing new image. The ground floor of Green CommonNexxus features a coffee and drinks bar (with oat milk as default!), plus a retail area. The upper floor is a restaurant showcasing Asian fusion cuisine and a vegan wine collection, with a regularly changing four-course tasting menu available for dinner (HK$328). Shop G01 & 101, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road, Central. 2727 6682 |

Food halls have been popping up all over HK lately, offering diverse eating options under one roof. The latest is 70s Food Dining by Vintage House, a casual eatery with six stalls and a dine-in restaurant called Earth. Founder Michael Chan hails from Malaysia, and he brings his old-school hometown favourites to HK, from rich and fragrant curries to stir-fried noodles, as well as Thai, Sichuan, Cantonese and international flavours. The retro vibe is matched by vintage ceiling fans in the lobby and bamboo lamps peppered throughout the space. 46 Granville Road, Tsim Tsa Tsui. 2866 0111 | IG: @70svintagehouse

Morsels at M+ Hospitality group Lai Sun Dining has launched two stylish upcoming dining concepts at M+, Hong Kong’s brand new museum of visual culture, which opened in the West Kowloon Cultural District in November. Mosu Hong Kongwill feature contemporary cuisine from innovative chef Sung Anh, the fine-dining pioneer who earned two Michelin stars for Mosu Seoul, while ADD+ is an all-day dining concept, with everything fromHong Kong classic snacks to fresh takes on global cuisine.

Happy Hour Keen to join a community that supports the local food and beverage sector? Happy Hour Hong Kong is a new, easy-to-use app that helps you find great specials in and around the city, while helping bars and restaurants gain traffic and support. How does it work? Just open the app and explore your surrounding area; you’ll see bars that are open and currently have “Happy Hour Specials”, or you can search for “Exclusive Offers” – plus you get additional offers from the app’s listed bars. And look out for the “Featured” tab on the home screen for recommendations

for the upcoming month. @happyhourhkapp

17 DEC21-FEB22

Proper Pizzas LittleNapoli is an authenticNeapolitan pizzeria – Chef GavinoPilo hails fromNaples – that has newly opened in Happy Valley. The grab-and-go outlet serves handcrafted pizzas fired in a hand-built brick oven from the famous Italian city that deliver the perfect charry crust and a mouth-watering doughy centre. Classics include the beloved Margherita (HK$158) made with DOP SanMarzano tomato sauce, Agerola mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, fresh basil and olive oil. Our pick? The flavour-packed Diavola (HK$178), which adds Napoli salami and chilli flakes for a fiery kick. 8 King Kwong Street, Happy Valley. 6882 1823

On theMove Asian TigersGroupprovides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this instalment of their regular column, they look at the issue of the lonely expat.

“How can I overcome loneliness when I’m living abroad?”

Embarking on a new way of life is exciting and challenging. As a single expat experiencing a new Asian culture, a feeling of homesickness and culture shock can leave you with a sense of loneliness. Don’t worry, there are several ways to minimise this. Expand your social circle: Your newwork colleagues will likely be extremely welcoming and eager to help you settle in. Take the plunge and start connecting with others. Everyone has an interest or hobby, and a shared passion opens the door tomore fulfilling personal connections. Set a routine: Without a circle of close friends to lean on, there’s a temptation to simply head home after work. To avoid falling into this trap, set yourself a routine. Make the most of days off and weekends to plan at least one activity a week. Then build on this to include more social activities over time. Start connecting: If you’re feeling lonesome, you can bet hundreds of other expats have been there too. Start by joining an online expat community before your move and engaging with others. Many communities organise regular meet-ups for new expats, and you’ll also find expat-focused sports clubs and business associations to get involved in. Think positively: Prolonged loneliness can lead to the onset of depression. It’s tempting to throw yourself into your new work role and leave nothing for personal enjoyment. Embrace positive thinking, eat healthily and make time for mindfulness to brush those expat blues away.

More Cruises! Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrumof the Seas, Asia’s newest and largest ship, is currently operating cruise-to-nowhere “Cruisecation” sailings fromHong Kong, and they’ve proven so popular that additional sailings have been added to the schedule. The ship now sails as many as 11 times in January, with new departures in February too. The company liaises closely with HK’s health and tourism authorities to comply with official anti-epidemic measures. To keep up to date with the latest news and to make a booking, visit .

Got any questions about a move? Contact your local Asian Tigers office or reach out via



Table Talk: Top picks for your dining space

Altfield Interiors


Where are you from originally? My mother is Colombian and my father is Scottish. I was born in England, but left as a baby and moved around Asia with my family. Jay is from London and has lived in Asia for the past 15 years or so. Are we right that this isn’t your first time in Hong Kong? Yes, I first arrived in 1997 at age three, staying through primary and secondary school. Growing up here meant that I made wonderful friends from different countries and backgrounds – now I’m proud to say I have friends all over the world. Jay and I met in our high school design class in 2010 and have been together ever since. We both studied architecture in the UK and always planned to return to Hong Kong as we could see the design scene really blossoming. Since officially moving back in 2017, we’ve had the opportunity to rediscover all HK’s oddities and hidden quirks. We love watching this city transform! Where do you both work? I’m an interior designer at BEAN Buro. “BEAN” stands for “Between Exchanges of Architectural Narratives” – it’s a French-Japanese interior architecture studio that pursues really innovative and beautiful design for all project types. I have a leading role in my design team, driving the design concept and story, while coordinating with clients, suppliers, consultants and my own colleagues to deliver beautiful, unique spaces. CHRISTINA STANDALOFT walks us through her cool Causeway Bay pad, where she and partner Jay Jordan – both with backgrounds in design – have carried out a clever, space- savvy makeover. PHOTOGRAPHY COL SIM

Jay completed his Master’s this year and also won the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Student Medal. He was then invited to join ESKYIU, a US-HK experimental design studio, where he now works as an architectural designer. Where is your home in Hong Kong? Causeway Bay. I fell in love with the area via my friends who insisted we hang out here all the time after school, and who showed me how colourful, complicated and fun it can be. I like everything about it: the vibrancy, the 24-hour shops, the accessibility and variety, the noise, lights and energy.




Each design decision we

made was about creating special moments for ourselves and for visitors

23 DEC21-FEB22

Tell us a bit about the location. We’re very close to Times Square. Our building is part of a growing fashionable area just off the main road – a row of preserved colonial- style walk-ups from the 60s and 70s. Our neighbours are designer cafés, artisanal delis and independent boutiques. The area is transforming in a really amazing, grassroots way. We’re also next door to Happy Valley Race Course and the HKFC, and there are a lot of designer furniture brands and homeware stores minutes from our door. As students of design and architecture, we appreciate a lot of approaches. We often test out new styles at work for different clients. However, what we always love to explore is the contemporary, playful and understated, where we try to really appreciate or celebrate a particular architectural element or material by letting it breathe. We love tastefully incorporating curved forms and organic lines, whether it’s in an artwork, accessory or piece of furniture. In terms of colour palette, for this flat we went for fresh and earthy tones to maximise the natural light. There are definitely traces of Scandinavian and Japanese contemporary design inspiration in our home right now, but we’re always learning and evolving. Do you have a particular home décor style?




Though it’s a small flat, the way Christina and Jay have planned the space maximises the feeling of connectedness through the rooms. “Each decision we made in designing the layout was about creating special, particular ‘moments’, for both ourselves and visitors,” says Christina. She runs us through some of those key decisions here. #1 Glass Wall Partition “A full-height frosted glass screen divides the living areas from the private rooms. It’s unconventional, but great for bringing light from the windows deep into the home with a beautiful, blurred effect. When all the doors are open, the entire flat feels like one space.” #2 Open Living Area “The living/dining area adjoins our little open kitchen, separated only by a low, long storage unit that we designed, built and upholstered. It means the entire area is very social – amazing for entertaining or relaxing. Whether someone is cooking, watching a movie or getting dressed for an event, we’re always together in this central space. Big, leafy plants add another touch of life and colour.” #3 Study “This is our first place together, so we wanted the space and freedom to live and work the way we’d like to. That’s why we created a devoted study and wardrobe space, separate from the main bedroom and living area. The study is like our very own mini studio; our material samples, tools, cameras and stationery are neatly tucked away, giving us space to work on our design and craft projects.” #4 Low Cabinet Partitions “Another key thing is how we’ve used half-height display and storage cabinets to partition the spaces while still making them feel connected. By curating these subtle corridor areas, layered with lovely plants, we can make the public living area seem bigger, while keeping privacy in the sleeping and working areas. We achieved the same effect with our bespoke low cabinet that separates the sofa “Each corner and surface is curated with accessories – terrazzo blocks, rattan baskets, brass cups, tinted glass vases, textural ceramics and timbers with soft curving forms that recall different adventures and memories. I love rotating and re-styling to match the weather, season “One of our favourite things is the beautiful mirror we mounted directly opposite the front door. The mirror frames you as you enter, making the space feel larger and more dramatic – it’s a unique portal effect. We also added a playful curvy mirror to the reading corner.” from the kitchen.” #5 Accessories or occasion.” #6 Mirrors

25 DEC21-FEB22

Favourite Spots The couple pick the places in their home that bring them the most joy. Christina: My favourite is my reading corner. As space is so scarce in Hong Kong, I find that a luxury like this – a beautiful, comfy corner to relax in – is often the first thing to be given up. When we were planning the bedroom I wanted a simple space like this: no closet, no storage, just a beautiful, bright space where I can rest, read, or roll out a yoga mat. Jay: I love the study area. Another luxury in HK is having a devoted place to work at home comfortably. We now love working from home, surrounded by plants, beautiful accessories and music. It was also important that the study be visually connected to the main living area, so that even when we’re working, we don’t feel cut off. Combined with the feature art, the furnishings and the huge bright window, it’s a really special space.




Christina & Jay’s

What do you like to do in Hong Kong outside of work? In the summer, we take any chance we can to swim, paddle-board or be by the water. But we also love immersing ourselves in the city; it’s a tradition of ours to just wander around the streets year round, day or night, visiting pop-up shops, galleries, furniture and homeware stores. We’ve been having chilled walks like this since we met at age 16! A decade later, some of our best memories and unexpected experiences and opportunities are from these simple city strolls. As our interests change and expand, so do the different journeys and routes we take, and the way we look at the city. Where’s the first place you’d like to go when borders open, and why? Colombia, the UK and the US, to visit my family and best friends that I haven’t seen in far too long. After that, we’re not sure – after moving into our very own space for the first time, every day has felt like a vacation! We feel lucky.

Homeware & Furniture “A great new discovery for us has been TRIBE by Indigo Living, a great contemporary brand that embraces some really beautiful, emerging design trends while balancing accessibility and affordability. It has great ranges of larger furniture pieces and energetic accessories that have helped us make our new home exactly what we envisioned. Our sofa, dining set and a number of our cabinets are from TRIBE.” “Other great brands that we have visited often recently include: • House for Goodies Restaurants, Shops & Boutiques “Recently, we’ve been spending time visiting Sham Shui Po, a historically rich, but now up- and-coming area of HK that’s full of hidden gems; our favourite boutique is Pause Rewind & Fast Forward, which sells gorgeous fresh and dried flowers.” “Also in Sham Shui Po are a number of independent cafés that each offer a completely new experience, with wonderful and weird interior design concepts. Our favourite at the moment is The Soulroom – we recommend the Earl Grey scones!” “Closer to home, in Causeway Bay, our favourite spots include: • Sushi Tachi • Fleur de Sel (for the best crepes in HK!) • New Feather & Bone in Lee Gardens • Fine Print, and • Shugetsu.” • Slowood • At Home • Homeless • Establo, and • H&M Home.”

27 DEC21-FEB22


Big Ideas

As we a l l know, s p a c e i s a t a premium in Hong Kong – so it pays to use it wisely! Here, inter ior designer JENNY PERRY of Perry Contracting shares some of Small Rooms,

Our projects also usually include a large open kitchen area with an island that can seat a few family members or guests. Cooking has become a larger part of entertaining than ever before, and it’s an activity that retains strong family values. So we want to create spaces that work and flow well as a kitchen but also include guests and family to be part of the fun. Similarly, where space allows, we have recently finished some great outdoor kitchen areas where again the cooking function is open to immerse family and guests in the process. For instance, we’ve created working spaces for preparing individual pizzas close to a pizza oven – it helps for a fun, immersive evening where all can be involved in both the creation and the cooking aspects.

Everyone and everything in a home needs a designated space and location; design around these needs to achieve the best result with the areas you have. In our interior design projects, we understand the need to create focused living spaces for cooking, eating and relaxing. In the last couple of years, this has expanded to involve focused working or study areas – and often for each member of the family. We’ve recently completed a project whereby a living space could be opened up for family use as well as closed off by a large sliding door to allow it to be used for study or work, or those inevitable video conference calls, minimising the noise impact on the rest of the living area and the family.

the ways she maximises s p a c e i n her design projects.




Find out more about Jenny’s work at 9225 6565 | With a built-in niche in the shower area , there’s no need to install any metal shelf later on; the niche can give enough space for all the soaps and bottles you might need. For young families, a built-in bathtub with a shower above is handy, as small kids can have their bath time and parents a shower, all in the same place. In the laundry , there are normally a few pipes underneath the sink, making it a space that’s difficult to use to good effect. Opt for a built-in laundry basket instead. Whenwe look at the space in each room, we look both vertically and horizontally. In the bedroom , for example, if you’ve already used your floor space, you can choose to use the space underneath the bed. And it doesn’t have to be storage boxes; it can be some good-looking wooden framing or shelving that can also hold many items inside. In a lot of apartment buildings in Hong Kong, we have 3.5-metre ceilings. This is all wall space that you can use above your closets – it can be like an extra mezzanine floor for a bed, or for wall shelves. Another element of a bedroom is the bed board . This doesn’t have to just be a board: it can have a shelf behind it, and a small counter top to act in the same way as a bedside table. This will only add around 15cm to the length of the bed, but will hugely reduce the width required for two bedside tables. We also try to design items with different functions that may assist with space-saving; for example, a sitting area with a built bench, and storage underneath the bench, or a built-in vanity table that you can slide back into the wardrobe when it’s not needed. An option in the bathroom is to have a mirror area with storage behind; this can be nicely done with a wooden shelf on the side, and a mirror door on the other side. And, if we run out of counter-top space for the tap behind the sink, we can just place the tap in the corner, or go with a concealed type of tap in the wall.

29 DEC21-FEB22


Space Tricks and tips formaking the most of your space. Solutions Small

#1 Be selective with your colour palette Opt for light and neutral colours as your base palette, with one or two pops of colour for added interest. These can be achieved with artwork, cushions, rugs, curtains or accessories. #2 Add layers Make any small space appear bigger with visual layers and depth. Think various tactile fabrics, carpets, cushions and staggered lighting. #3 Embrace the curves Furniture with rounded edges creates an illusion of infinite space; it opens up spaces and creates a calm flow in small rooms. #4 Remember the corners! Don’t underestimate the power of small nooks or corners; they’re great pockets to place vertical storage, taller floor lamps or even plants. #5 Less is more Clutter is the enemy of a small space. If you want to have items on display, keep it curated and rotate your collections. It doesn’t all have to be on display at the same time. #6 Find your focal points Pick one key focus or statement piece in your home and work around that. It gets too loud in a small space with too many feature pieces demanding attention. #7 Height is always handy Keep in mind that raised furniture on legs or with some space underneath creates the illusion of space and height. #8 Mirrors are a must Well-placed mirrors and reflective or mirrored furniture can help bounce the light around and immediately open up any small space. #9 Choose multi-purpose furniture Last but not least, choose your furniture wisely! From ottomans with hidden storage to side tables with inbuilt speakers, multi-purpose furniture is a key element to maximising your space. Check out some great dual-purpose picks available at TRIBE by Indigo on the next page.

“Shoebox”, “coffin”, “rabbit hutch” – just a few of the endearing nicknames that city dwellers dub their humble abodes in Hong Kong! While the scarcity of space here is nothing new, recent constraints and the growth of the work-from- home culture have certainly added to the strain of small space living. So,howcanwedecorateandfurnishourhomes to maximise each and every square foot? We hear from Indigo Living’s JOHN MCLENNAN on his top decorating tips and functional finds that are ideal for tight spaces.




The Trento desk, $6,990

Made from solid American poplar wood, this desk comes with ample storage and a lift-up mirror, making it the perfect work spot by day and a vanity desk for you to get pampered at for the evening. Sam Lift Up Table, $7,290 Available in walnut or oak veneer, the easily adjustable height of the Sam table means a quick transition from coffee table to dining space for two whenever the occasion suits! Jackson Side Table, $1,990 This smart side table takes charge and brings your devices to life with a built-in speaker and USB charging station. Plat Light with Wireless Charging, $899 Available in yellow and red, this warm light brings ambience and convenience to your space, with a USB Type-C Cable and top platform that can be used to charge any smartphone wirelessly. Reve Double Storage Bed, $9,990 and Bedside Table with Light, $1,390 Ultra-comfy and space-savvy, the Reve bed offers not only a great night’s sleep, but plenty of storage and attachable bedside tables and lights that don’t require any additional space.

TRIBE by Indigo is located at 6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau. 2555 0540 |

31 DEC21-FEB22


Mid-Levels It’s a common story: a person moves to Hong Kong for what they think will be a year or two, only to end up doing a considerably longer stint. For Aussie expat MANDIE FANKHAUSER, that stint is now 21 years – and counting! She invites us for a look inside her Mid-Levels apartment. PHOTOGRAPHY COL SIM




When did you come to Hong Kong, and what brought you here initially? I came here from Melbourne 21 years ago – my work provided an opportunity that I thought would last for around 12 to 24 months. Who would have thought that it would now be 21 years! What jobs have you had in that time, and what do you do currently? I’ve been working in human resources for all of my career in Hong Kong; however, I also have an interiors business – Amandarin Design. I work closely with clients on soft furnishings, staging of their apartments to sell or rent, and lifestyle options and choices including decluttering, storage and more. What do you remember fondly about HK when you first arrived that you may not find today, or that might have changed? When I first arrived in Hong Kong, it was booming! There was a great vibrancy that you felt everywhere you went – the expat community was a lot larger than it is today and you were always bumping into people you knew in restaurants and bars. It was a fun place; the social life was amazing.

Where is your home in Hong Kong? What attracted you to it? I currently live in Mid-Levels – I’ve lived in the area for most of my 21 years, though I’ve also spent some time in Wan Chai and Sai Kung – and 15 months in Singapore. I love living here. It’s a great location where you can get into Central easily but you are also really close to nature with Bowen Road and the Morning Trail right on your doorstep – it gives a nice balance between hectic and relaxed! How long have you lived in this apartment? I’ve lived in two different apartments in my current block, across a period of around two and a half years. Mid-Levels feels like a “neighbourhood” – Robinson and Conduit Roads really form the basis of the area and, of course where the famous longest escalator ends! It really offers a lot – there are coffee shops, eateries and supermarkets so you can easily grab what you need close by. As I mentioned earlier, we also have great accessibility to walking and hiking; you find many people out and about in the mornings and weekends taking advantage of this. Tell us a bit about the location; what’s notable about it, and what’s nearby?

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What are some of the key features of the home?

I decided to downsize to a two- bedroom apartment when I moved to this current place. I love it; it’s cosy and welcoming at around 500 square feet, with a lot of natural light and a fab little balcony where I grow plants. Actually, my apartment is full of plants! Speaking of plants, got any tips on the best way to look after them in an apartment? Plants bring a place alive, but looking after them does require a lot of work! Some things that have worked for me are to make sure you place them in morning sunlight rather than the hot afternoon sun, water weekly as needed (I purchased a water tester to help with this), feed them organic plant food on a monthly basis and also give them constant pampering to help them flourish. Is there a spot in the home that you enjoy the most? I love my balcony; it’s nice to sit out there in the mornings for coffee. Tell us about any changes you’ve made to the place. Do you have a particular home décor style? I ’ve bought my personal style and touch to my apartment by incorporating colour, textures and shapes. My style really differs from room to room – the lounge/ dining area is full of rich colours, textures, paintings and, of course, plants! However, my office and main bedroom are in a more calming palette. What’s your favourite thing about living in Mid-Levels? The vibe, and the people living in the area – you’re always saying good morning to someone you pass in the street!

My style differs from room to room – some areas have rich colours and textures; others are more calming




Tell us about a few items of yours in the home that have an interesting background or story behind them. I’ve collected some lovely artefacts and pieces of art from most of my travels and all of them have a story – but the one piece I really do love is a beautiful brass water feature that I purchased on a trip to South Korea. It’s always admired by people visiting my home. My Hay Uchiwa Chair is a place I love to sit – I bought it about one month ago from a lovely lady who wanted it to go to a good home. The chair is an open shape, designed to represent a traditional Japanese hand fan. It’s super comfy! What do you like to do in Hong Kong when you’re not working? I love spending time with friends, walking Bowen Road on the weekends, doing yoga and meditation, and, of course, working on my design business. Where’s the first place you’d like to go when borders open, and why? Melbourne – my family are there and I haven’t seen them for two years… I can’t wait!

Furniture, Rugs & Homeware Indigo Living Shop B2, G/F, 63-69 Caine Road, Mid-Levels 2317 0368 | OVO G/F, 1 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai 2527 6088 |

Dining & Drinks The Coffee Academics

G/F, 30-32 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels 2723 8808 | Feather & Bone G/F, Orchid, 22 Mosque Street, Mid-Levels 2387 8377 | The Phoenix G/F, 29 Shelley Street, Mid-Levels 2546 2110 |

Staunton & Henry

Miss Amara

Pizzeria Italia 23 Mosque Street, Mid-Levels 2525 2520 |

35 DEC21-FEB22

HongKong-bornSERENAYEUNGcompleted an architecture degree at the University of Southern California before returning home to work on landmarks such as HKIA’s Terminal 2 Skyplaza. Seven years ago, she launched her own company Greyscale, combining interior design with project management services under one roof. Passion Projects Do you have a specific design style or approach? We are makers. Our approach to a project starts with identifying the client’s needs. Be it branding, functional, design, site or even heritage requirements, we believe a great design is something that can truly listen and answer with respect and practicality. This goes back to my most admired architect Renzo Piano, who shared a similar design philosophy.

How has the pandemic impacted your work? You might say we’ve been among the luckier crowd in getting through this challenge over the past two years. At the beginning, we had to battle through the tough times of COVID, where we had a few months of zero work; but we then bounced back with a good pipeline of projects up to now. In any case, we always enjoy challenges – including this one. COVID has brought many different clients from various sectors looking for a balance of design and cost. We have ridden the waves and, especially in the education sector, we do see a trend of being very active, since so many schools are looking for opportunities to upgrade their facilities and attract students to enjoy a physical environment after the fatigue of online learning.

Introduce the company for us: what kind of work do you do? Greyscale started back in 2014, and has grown to a team of eight today, with a focus on the commercial, hospitality and education sectors. I couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing entrepreneurial experience it has given me over the years; my passion has always been design, yet my career has taken me along the route of project management. The biggest takeaway from this hands- on experience is being able to see any gaps or conflict between the design and project management side, and finding the best balance between the two. That’s our forte at Greyscale: creating inspiring design while being realistic on project timelines and budget management.




What are some current design trends you are seeing emerging? Flexibility was once only a “discussion point” in the past, but in the wake of COVID, it’s definitely one of the top priorities now for all sectors – from restaurants to schools and offices. Everyone is looking for a flexibility of space that can cater for different modes of working and learning. The biggest thing in the design industry for 2022, though, will be “sustainable design”. As we slowly recover from the pandemic, I think we’re all coming to realise we cannot take our world for granted. Many corporations and schools have made pledges on their carbon neutral commitment, and this definitely will be a key consideration in the design industry. From creating efficient layouts, to material selection and acquiring green and wellness certifications, this will be a hot topic! You recently worked on a project at an international school here; what was the brief and aim? The brief of the American School Hong Kong was to create a whole new identity for the school’s fifth and sixth floors, for their secondary students. The project started with a masterplan looking at the facilities that would be required for the two floors; these included a learning commons, music rooms, black box theatre, drama studio, multipurpose room, science garden and a dining hall. The transition from being a primary school student to a secondary student is a big thing for young learners, both mentally and physically. The school wanted to give the secondary school students a different identity – create a completely different atmosphere to the secondary area, to distinguish it from the rest of the school. One key feature is the learning commons, which is a hub with a community seating “stage” area where you can lie down to read a book, meet with a few buddies to discuss a project or gather as a class for a seminar. It’s an “Instagrammable” spot where we have also introduced retail café concepts into the design. The lounge adjacent to the commons is where we have brought in a simple “office pantry” space with dining facilities and meeting rooms to cater to various modes of learning activity – from self-study while you have a snack, to collaboration work, social gatherings and more. What are some of the features of the finished project?

Expat Living readers can contact Greyscale for everything from a free “test fit” planning service, or to call on their design and build services for a full project. Find Greyscale on Instagram (@greyscalehk) or contact the team at or via the website, I love spending time with them in nature – going on hikes, playing at the beach, wake-surfing, canoeing and camping. The list goes on when you have two young kids! Speaking of children, what do you like to do with your own family when you’re not working in Hong Kong? Finally, the music room provides a space for large and small ensembles and orchestras, class activities and individual practice rooms. The vibrant colours come from one of the ASHK brand colours, and we’ve strived to create an atmosphere where students will feel inspired and motivated.

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