issue th Greatprizes tobewon!
EXPLORING From Iceland to Thailand & Vietnam
PublicHoliday dates for2020
Home design is one of our favourite topics here at Expat Living. We could talk for hours about everything to do with the spaces we live in – renovations, design, homeware, furniture, fixtures, fittings; ah, we love it all! Creating this home-and-property-themed edition has been a great distraction fromwhat’s happening in the real world. I hope the pages afford you the chance to grab a cup of tea and enjoy a break from the news on our phones. There are many positive stories to escape into, even if you aren’t obsessed with property like we are. If you’re looking to spend time in a home away from home, for example, we’ve got recommendations for beautiful resorts in Thailand, Vietnam and beyond. Plus, Christine Amour-Levar shares her inspiring trip to Iceland on page 88. What an adventure! We also caught up with artist Lorette E Roberts, who has launched a new book of her beautiful paintings. This time, she’s focused on boats, and we captured some of her personal aquatic memories of Hong Kong. Back to beautiful homes… we shot an amazing property for this edition, tucked away on Shouson Hill. It’s a gorgeous place that has been completely gutted and transformed from its original state. Now it’s a European-inspired masterpiece complete with a marble- framed pool. Have a sticky beak on page 20. Design is also functional, in the way it plays a role in our schools. I visited the Canadian International School of Hong Kong where they’ve redesigned the Early Years centre. Read about it on page 64. You can also listen to Zoe Heggie’s advice for preschool parents in our brand new podcast, “Schools in Hong Kong” – find it at expatliving.hk/podcasts. Above all, have a great Christmas and a wonderful start to 2020! PS: Thanks to everyone who took part in our Readers’ Choice Awards. We’ll be posting a full list of winners on our website in January, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!
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UPFRONT 8 Follow Us Online 10 Win a Holiday in Vietnam! 12 The Hong Kong Pages: Exploring the territory’s past and its present 14 News HOME & LIFE 20 Home Showcase: European inspiration on Shouson Hill 28 Win a Luxury Bed Set worth $32k! 30 Trending: The rise of furniture rental 32 Store Spotlight: Reinvention of an HK classic 34 Buying Guide: Dining décor we love 36 Home Inspo: Meet a luxury resort designer 40 Street Talk: What it’s like living in Sai Kung 42 On the Market: Properties for sale and lease
Jump into this renovated beauty! 20
46 On the Screen & Page: Festive entertainment for all 49 School’s Out: Winter camp fun! 50 Artist Corner: Capturing the city’s waterways 51 Shopping Spotlight: What’s on at Prestige Fairs? 53 Gift Guide: Perfect picks for your loved ones 60 Around the World: A look at NYE superstitions 64 Campus Tour: CDNIS’s new digs 65 School Placements: The shortage is over! 66 Creativity & Careers:
53 Gift ideas of all shapes and sizes
A school that’s helping connect the two
68 Investing Insights:
40 Laidback life in Sai Kung
Expert advice for your dollar
69 Moving Money:
Tips and recommendations
70 Charity Focus:
Refugees and the internet
An epic adventure in Iceland 88
WELLNESS & LEISURE 74 Stress & Unrest:
REGULARS 106 Important Numbers 107 Our Advertisers 108 Parting Shot: A seismic shift
80 We put these restos to the test
Reflecting on current affairs
76 Heart Health:
A warning for long-distance runners
78 Heavy Lifting:
How to prevent injuries
80 Taste Test:
Two spots worth a visit 82 Recipe Corner:
Fail-safe favourites for your repertoire
84 Out of Office:
Maximising the 2020 public holidays
86 Hotel Style:
7 spots with décor that dazzles
88 Iconic Iceland: The land of fire and ice 94 Destination Focus:
Villas and views in Vietnam 100
Thailand insights and reader tips
100 Vietnam Views: A designer destination
7 DEC 19-FEB20
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HONGKONG CITY GUIDE 2019/20
Are you looking to make the most out of living in Hong Kong or know someone new in town who needs a helping hand? Whether you’ve just arrived or have been here a while, you’ll find loads of handy tips and advice on neighbourhoods to live in, property, education, health and more in the 2019/20 edition.
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9 DEC 19-FEB20
WELLNESS & LEISURE
inVietnam! ... a beachside holiday
To celebrate our 50th edition of Expat Living , we’re giving a lucky couple a three-night stay in a Classic Terrace Suite at the luxurious InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, including breakfast! About the resort Hidden in the myth-filled hills of Monkey Mountain in the heart of the Son Tra Peninsula nature reserve, the five-star InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a work of art as much as it is a resort. Set in 39 hectares of stepped gardens leading down to a private beach, dramatic views of the sea can be enjoyed from all 201 rooms. Every inch of this luxury resort is the stunning creation of star architect Bill Bensley, encapsulating the essence of Vietnam. Gourmet travellers will appreciate La Maison 1888, which is led by world-renowned Michelin-starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire, while those looking for a genuine wellness retreat will love the HARNN Heritage Spa set in a private lagoon. Travellers can also treat tired feet to the ultimate pedicure by “podiatrist to the stars” Bastien Gonzalez, as global leaders put the world to rights at The Summit, the resort’s impressive conference centre. Billed as a place “where myth meets luxury”, it’s an easy drive from the resort to the memorbale UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hoi An, Hue and My Son, making it a perfect base for those seeking a cultural experience that connects them to central Vietnam.
HOW TO ENTER: • Follow us on Instagram (@expatlivinghk) and Facebook • Visit expatliving.hk/competitions and answer the following question in no more than 50 words:
“Why do you want a holiday in Vietnam?”
Entries close on 31 January, so hurry and enter now!
For more info and to read about our editor’s recent stay at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, see page 100!
HEHKPAGES Our regular feature where we investigate Hong Kong’s past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers!
ON THE ROAD AGAIN There are more than 860,000 registered vehicles in Hong Kong, whichmakes for an incredibly busy network of highways, streets and lanes – many of which have an interesting backstory. Here’s our look at 10 pieces of road-related trivia in HK. #1 The longest road in Hong Kong is Castle Peak Road – which, incidentally, celebrates its 100th birthday in 2020. The 51.5km road runs from Kowloon all the way to near the top of the New Territories. #2 And the shortest? Well, there are some tiny lanes that aren’t navigable by car (one example is Wa On Lane off Aberdeen Street), but the shortest street that vehicles can use is Lok Kwai Path in Shatin. It’s 12 metres in length. #3 Tsat Tsz Mui Road in North Point has a tragic background to its name. It means “seven sisters” and refers to a tale of seven Hakka girls who lived in the original village at this spot. When young, they pledged to remain sisters for life, and to die on the same day without getting married. After the girls’ parents arranged a marriage for one of them, they committed suicide together on the beach the day before the wedding. The urban myth developed around a group of seven large boulders located along the shoreline here. #4 There’s a Hong Kong street name that consists of an English name spelt backwards. Know which one? Well, a Mr Alexander once lived along a particular Mid-Levels terrace, and today the thoroughfare is known as Rednaxela Terrace. Nobody really knows why, though the error is usually blamed on a scribe who was accustomed to reading Chinese from right to left.
Founding a Ferry The name Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala may not roll off the tongue, but it’s an important one in the history of one of Hong Kong’s iconic companies. Dorabjee was an Indian parsee who arrived here in 1852 as a stowaway on a ship travelling from Bombay to China. From those humble origins, he went on to become a hotel entrepreneur, founding the King Edward Hotel and perhaps as many as three other properties in Hong Kong. In 1880, Dorabjee launched a ferry service across Victoria Harbour with a steamboat called the Morning Star – the “star” in the name stemmed from the symbol of his Zoroastrian religion. The trip between Pedder’s Wharf and Tsim Sha Tsui took between 40 minutes and an hour. By 1890, there were four ferries making the journey. Over the next ten years, British-Indian businessman Sir Catchick Paul Chater bought all the boats from Dorabjee, and in May 1898 the Star Ferry became a public company. Today, around 26 million people each year ride on Hong Kong’s iconic green-and-white Star Ferry. The fleet’s nine boats ply the eight- minute route from Central to TST and back again all day, with passengers paying just a couple of HK dollars or so for the privilege.
5 things youmightn’t know about pineapple buns... A pineapple bun (or bo lo bao ) consists of a soft sweet bun topped with a harder crumbly cookie- style crust made of sugar, eggs, flour and lard. When cooked, this crust on top cracks open, giving the
#5 That same street is famous not just for its backwards name, but as the temporary home of José Rizal, the Filipino nationalist hero of the 19th century. During his time in Hong Kong (1891-1892), he ran an ophthalmology clinic on D’Aguilar Street, Central. #6 Russell Street in Causeway Bay has six times been named the most expensive retail street by rental value in the world. It last regained the crown in 2018, replacing New York’s Fifth Avenue, thanks to an average rental per square foot of almost HK$21,000. Not quite so luxurious is the street’s old nickname of “Mouse Street” or “Rat Street”, which it got for the excessive rodent population that was drawn to all the traditional wet markets once found here. #7 The one-way High Street in Sai Ying Pun was originally called Fourth Street. Why did the name get changed? If you’ve ever been in an elevator whose numbers skip straight from three to five, it’s the same reason: the number four is considered unlucky because in Chinese it sounds similar to the word for “death”. (Fear of the number four, by the way, is known as tetraphobia.) #8 A large number of Hong Kong street names have a maritime theme. In Shau Kei Wan alone, there are five streets that start with “Hoi” (“sea”). Elsewhere, you’ll find Ferry Street, Pier Road, Shek Wharf Road, Shipyard Lane, Boat Street and over 100 more. #9 Chinese translations of English street names sometimes go astray, as evidenced by Fir Street, whose Chinese name translates as “Pine Street”. Meanwhile Pine Street is known as “Cedar Street” in Chinese, and Cedar Street is “Cypress Street”. #10 Yes, parts of the 1960 Hollywood film The World of Suzie Wong were filmed in Hollywood Road, but the street isn’t named for the famous Los Angeles movie enclave. The name has less glamorous origins, deriving from the family home in Bristol of Sir John Francis Davis, the second Governor of Hong Kong. Also... • The highest speed limit of any road in Hong Kong is 110 kilometres per hour on the North Lantau Highway. • There are over 2,100km of roads in Hong Kong. • Glenealy is one of the few thoroughfares in the city without “Street”, “Road” or a similar suffix. It just goes as “Glenealy”. • Hong Kong has approximately 1,300 vehicular bridges, and 15 major road tunnels. • Many Hong Kong streets (or surrounding areas) have nicknames; they include Cat Street, Dried Seafood Street, Antique Street and Herbal Medicine Street.
bun a pineapple-like appearance on top. That’s where it gets its name – there’s no actual pineapple in the ingredient list. We’re sure you knew that fact, but here are a few other things about this delicious bakery snack that you mightn’t know!
• “Pineapple Bun” was once nominated as a typhoon name but rejected on the grounds that it would sound silly in otherwise serious news reports of the storm. • The famous snack appeared in animated form in the 2004 film McDull, The Prince of the Pineapple Bun with Butter . • In 2014, the pineapple bun made it onto the government’s list of 480 “items of living cultural heritage” (along with entries such as fire dragon dances, kung fu and the making of snake wine). • A Japanese variety of the pineapple bun is the “melonpan”, whose top resembles a rockmelon or cantaloupe. • Among the famous places to buy the buns in Hong Kong is Tai Tung Bakery in Yuen Long, which has made around 1,000 of them daily for well over 70 years.
Think you know Hong Kong well? Where is this photo taken? The village shown in our last issue was Po Toi O in Sai Kung.
13 DEC 19-FEB20
Celebratory Eats & Drinks Looking for dining ideas for Christmas, New Year’s, CNY and beyond? Keep an eye on all our news and updates of restaurants, bars and more at expatliving.hk/ wine-and-dine !
Tangerine Road is a clothing label that offers slow fashion capsule collections inspired by travels in Asia and beyond. Italian founders and designers Sofia Zanchini and Paola Bianchi share a passion for travelling and discovering hidden textile treasures and the craftspeople behind them. Their Fall-Winter collection, Singapura, is inspired by a wander through the Singapore Botanic Gardens. facebook. com/thetangerineroad Bold Walls Amelia Carter has a no-fear approach to colour and texture. This is what makes thewallcovering collaboration between this London-based interior designer andAltfield such exciting news. Together, they’re introducing 15 new colours to Alfield’s existing range of grasscloth, showcasing pretty pastels and vibrant jewel tones. Oh so pretty! altfield.com.hk
A UNIQUE EXPRESSION OF P
Wine Gifting These months are all about gifting. If you’re looking for a red wine, we found one that might be a good option. The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a winemaker’s blend of coastal Californian grapes. Grapes for this wine are selected from the best estate vineyards. Each individual lot
2 0 1 6 K E N D G R A N C A B E
New Spot For Visitors If you have guests in town for the festive season, take them to Hue. This modern Australian restaurant is a newbie on the TST scene, tucked upstairs in the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The harbour views are as impressive as the food, plus there are fab cocktails and over 100 glasses of wine by the glass; it’s also just a mere stroll from the Star Ferry. huedining.com.hk
“...laced with chocolate an good under structure, G - Antonio Gallo
is kept separate, barrel-aged and crafted – boutique winery style. It’s a nice gift and a story all in one. Grab a bottle at City Super. jacksonfamilywines.com
Crafty Buys If you love Etsy and you love Hong Kong, we know you’ll love Qraftie.com , a new HK-based online marketplace for buying and selling handcrafted goods. This fab new website is packed full of gorgeous artisanal homewares, fashion, beauty products and more. We love these handmade cement coasters with local city scenes on them. Buy a set of four for $235.
Residential Resilience! A new report by Colliers International shows that, despite Hong Kong entering a technical recession in Q3 2019, real estate experts believe the residential housing market will stay resilient during the market down cycle. This is good news for those holding property in Hong Kong. In the report, Colliers experts suggest, “We recommend buyers look at popular secondary projects as market liquidity should increase due to the new housing policies allowing a higher loan-to-value ratio.” Read the full report at colliers.com/hongkong/ insights/colliers-flash .
American hotel brand The Standard, known for its pioneering design, launched The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives in November, marking the brand’s debut in Asia. The island retreat offers relaxation, social activities and vibrant cultural experiences for couples, groups of friends and singles looking to recharge in paradise. Guests are spoilt with a selection of curated and cultural experiences – from indigenous basket weaving, to moonlight cinema beneath the stars and pool parties at the beachside infinity pool. Special offer: Make a booking by 20 December to enjoy opening rates from US$395 per night in a private villa, with buffet breakfast. standardhotels. com/maldives/properties/huruvalhi MALDIVES
15 DEC 19-FEB20
ISLAND GETAWAY Travelling to Abu Dhabi for work, a holiday or a layover? Get out of the city and visit Zaya Nurai Island. A 10-minute boat ride from the city, the private island resort has beach, estate and water villas, all with pools. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer loads of natural light and views of the ocean. Guests can enjoy activities such as wake surfing, jet skiing and fishing trips, while day passes are also available for beach and pool access and boat transfers. zayanuraiisland.com
On theMove Asian Tigers Mobility provides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this regular column, they provide all kinds of different advice for newcomers to Hong Kong. “What happens in Hong Kong over Christmas?” Santa Claus is coming to town! While many expats go back to their home countries for Christmas, many stay in Hong Kong – including newcomers experiencing their first Christmas here. The good news is that if you are staying put, there’s plenty to do. The territory embraces any chance to celebrate, including in December. For one thing, the Christmas lights are stunning. Most of the buildings on the harbourfront are decorated with glittering bulbs. If you’re on the Kowloon side, start walking from Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, then follow the glitter towards the waterfront and Tsim Sha Tsui East. On the way, you can appreciate the splendid displays along the water – those at 1881 Heritage and the Peninsula Hotel are highlights. If you’re on the Hong Kong Island side, begin at Statue Square and check out the fantastic displays at shopping centres including The Landmark, Pacific Place and Times Square. No matter which side you’re on, you can enjoy beautiful displays with your friends or family. Finally, if you haven’t found time to purchase any gifts, you might like to explore the Prestige Christmas Gift Fair in the Conrad Hong Kong Ballroom on 16 December. You can choose from thousands of gifts from around the world. It’s open to the public, with free admission! For more on the festive season in Hong Kong, visit asiantigers-mobility.com/ feel-the-holiday-vibe.
Beautiful NZ! As part of its new campaign, “100% Pure Welcome – 100% Pure New Zealand”, Tourism New Zealand has launched a year- long content series called Good MorningWorld, with locals across the country sharing a welcome message every day. You can share your own adventures in the country by filming yourself saying “Good morning world” from a cool spot in New Zealand and sharing what you’re up to. When you post it on Insta or Facebook, tag @GoodMorningWorldNZ and #GoodMorningWorldNZ. tourismnewzealand.com
50 Years Strong The German Swiss International School is celebrating its 50th anniversary – congrats to staff, students, alumni and the whole school community. Celebrations are happening in many different ways, including a “school spirit week” and an Evening of Celebration at Ocean Park. Exciting times! gsis.edu.hk
A New Face Emma Sutton has b e en appo i n t ed Assistant Principal at Shrewsbury School Hong Kong. London born and educated, Ms Sutton was attracted to Shrewsbury’s “purpose-
built, specialist provision”. “Children are at the heart of everything it does,” she says. “I’m so excited to work with such a talented community of people who are just as passionate about learning as I am. I fell in love with the rich culture and spectacular geography of Hong Kong. Beaches, hills, cityscapes – what more can you ask for?” shrewsbury.edu.hk
Volleyball Action Sports fans should head out to Hong Kong Academy (HKA) in February to catch the SCISAC Volleyball Tournament. For the Southern China International Schools Athletic Conference, six international schools participate, fielding teams across three different sports: volleyball, football and basketball. HKA will host the volleyball round in February, with 150 student athletes involved. The games are really competitive, and the finals on 22 February will be a great family day out.
4 December Boarding Open Evening at Harrow Hong Kong Speak to current boarders and alumni, learn about what pastoral care really means, meet the House Masters and House Mistresses, and get a better understanding of the boarding provision. 6pm. harrowschool.hk/admissions/ visit-us/open-evening 7 December Discovery College Family Fun Day Head over to Discovery Bay for a day of fun with the family. The school will have international food stalls, student performances, fun games and more! discovery. edu.hk For more school and family events, head to our online calendar, expatliving.hk/whats-on .
Donate Your Books! Bailey Cherry, a student at the Canadian International School in Hong Kong, has created the perfect solution for donating books in our city. We’re proud to introduce her amazing charity initiative, reBooked. This non-profit enterprise provides a platform for repurposing pre-loved children’s books in HK by collecting second-hand books directly from families, providing a convenient and free service that discourages wasteful disposal. Book donors receive store credit with each book donated, as a token of appreciation. rebooked-hk.com
For more school content, including deep dives into curriculums and international schools in Hong Kong, visit expatliving.hk .
17 DEC 19-FEB20
Dine in Style: Great tables for a festive Christmas and CNY
DINING TABLES • HOTEL DESIGNS • GIFTS FOR EVERYONE • PROPERTIES FOR RENT STOCKS VS EQUITY • NEW YEAR SUPERSTITIONS • LIFE IN SAI KUNG
DEC 19-FEB 20 Modern History on The Hill
BY REBECCA SIMPSON
HOME & LIFE
We discover a modern European masterpiece on Shouson Hill.
21 DEC 19-FEB20
S houson Hill rises steadily from the beach at Deepwater Bay, stretching into Hong Kong’s blue skies in all its green glory. Named after a Qing Dynasty official, the hill played a role in protecting residents during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941. More recently, it fetched a record-breaking real estate price of US$755 million for a luxury modern residential site. In short, this is a beautiful neighbourhood with a fascinating history. That sentiment is directly transferred to this expat home, which is a stylish contemporary property with an interesting past. Looking around this modern space, it’s hard to imagine that a mere two years ago, it was a bona fide time capsule from the 1970s. The current owners bought the home from the original owner who had lived on site since 1974. That family had maintained the property without renovating. The space remained virgin, with all its original 70s fixtures and fittings. It was a time-warp of tight rooms with small borrowed windows (to keep the monkeys out). The retro garden hosted a wooden bridge over a koi pond with a rock formation where 50-year-old bonsais nestled. What a glorious design delight it must have been to explore!
Suki is from Hong Kong Dog Rescue (“Always adopt, don’t shop!” say her owners)
DEC 19-FEB 20
HOME & LIFE
Changes galore But all that 70s bliss was short-lived. A new era was about to dawn in this fabulous home, created under the tasteful eye of a new owner. Within a year, the site had been gutted down to the studs. What remains of the original structure is merely a two-storey box. Even the stairs were relocated from the centre of the home. A new, modern vision was created. And it’s quite a vision. The home opens from a private gate onto a stark cement staircase that provides an immediate contemporary moment for guests. Turning a quick corner, you then land in a courtyard with the main residence to one side and the utilities and maids’ quarters on the other. The dramatic courtyard plays backdrop to a cluster of three enormous ginger jars in classic blue- and-white ceramic. They’re strikingly elegant and the perfect introduction to this poised Hong Kong home. Despite the elegant Chinese welcome, there’s a distinct European feel to this space. French archways provide a refined and classic outline to the glass wall that backs the length of the house. They arch over and over, mirrored thrice in the outdoor veranda that affords a generous shaded area, ideal for entertaining or capturing a quiet moment.
23 DEC 19-FEB20
DEC 19-FEB 20
HOME & LIFE
Currently, Venetian plaster walls take centre stage throughout the home while new artwork is being seconded. In any other home, stark walls might feel empty; here, the textured, hand-plastered Venetian detail provides a forgivable distraction. Completed by a local French-trained artist, the walls feature three layers of plaster and a finishing wax, making them easy to clean and durable for the city’s high humidity. Kitchen and entertaining In contrast to the light walls is the dark and dramatic European kitchen, which is by Arclinea by Foster. The bench-tops are a foodie’s dream, made from husk that’s turned into a laminate, so budding chefs can prep straight on the surface. (Those who are heavy-handed with a knife needn’t fear; these benchtops can even be resurfaced if damaged.) This kitchen is built for entertaining. There’s a double oven and warming draws, plus a deep sink and a large island with generous prep space. The owner reflects that the area has been a complete success; in her opinion, it’s because they took their time and created this space with absolute purpose. The thought has really paid off.
25 DEC 19-FEB20
Marvelling at marble The outdoor space is simply gorgeous. Stepped down from the rear of the main house, the pool and garden give the residence an illusion of height. The marble lattice design by the pool provides an exotic accent, which is framed by green hues and clean lines. It’s a calm area, albeit a child-free one on the day of our visit – one can imagine how very full of energy it is on weekends. Marble by the pool is a bold choice in a family home, but this smart owner has had the material treated to provide a textured non-slip surface. It’s beautiful and functional. In fact, I’m told that this pool-side accent is crafted from a sizeable single marble block sourced to service the pool, bathrooms and maid’s quarters. While the lawn is green and lush on the daywe shoot the house, the grass has been a hard-fought battle. A word of advice from the owner: wait for your build to be completed before you lay any turf. The run off from their site killed the original lawn and they were forced to start again, despite the gardener’s gallant efforts. Still, the gardener deserves full marks, as this garden feels very established. The banana shrubs are thriving and already producing banana-smelling flowers in the springtime. The lemon trees are abundant with fruit, ripe for a mid-afternoon G&T by the pool. And the bamboowall upstairs provides a green screen of privacy and a serene visual for the terrace.
Family first Upstairs is a family-focused space. The genius aspect of the design here is the way the sliding doors help to transition the three bedrooms and living space into one large family area. It’s the perfect stage for lazy Sunday mornings, with a communal lounge and TV for making everyone feel connected while still having their own space. For a family on the cusp of the teen years in Hong Kong, it’s a unique and smart design.
DEC 19-FEB 20
HOME & LIFE
Owner Recommendations Building contractor Woody Corporation Limited | 6697 0011 “Our superstar Project Manager was Ringo Cheung. His team were responsible for the overall house, including doors and windows, master and kids’ bath cabinets, TV cabinets, desks and closets in the kids’ rooms, and the helper/ utility areas.” “This father and son teamwill take care of you; Gilbert Hung (the son) was amazing with the grass and the trees outlining the garden, including sourcing and trimming – everything.” Plaster walls Elsa Jean Dedieu | elsajeandedieu.com “Elsa hand-crafted the Venetian plaster walls throughout the whole house; she’s lovely and a true talent trained in Paris.” Marble Jes Stone Marble Design & Engineering jesstone.com “Our agent was John Ng; he and his team did the pool in a non-slip marble pattern, plus the bar marble, powder roommarble, and kids’ and master bath marble.” Garden Goodco Nursery Company Limited 2488 8228
Kitchen Arclinea Italy (HK supplier: Essere) essereholdings.com/arclinea-en “I recommend our agent, Rafael Yeung.” Taps Colour Living | colourliving.com “You can order direct from Italy – and I suggest you always wait for the sales!” Sliding doors iLiving Hong Kong (Raumplus-Germany) iliving.hk “Our agentMichael Fung organised the dining area’s four panel doors with inside pantry shelves, plus the kitchen sliding doors, master bedroom sliding pocket door, and Anta building material supplier | antahk.com “AndrewWang was our contact; he sourced the upstairs wood tile (R-11 Europe, grade non-slip), the garden walls, front walls, master bathroom walls, kitchen walls and utility room splashback. Andrew is currently updating the stairs with tiles from Spain and Italy.” Master bathroom sink Neutra | neutradesign.it/en/neutra-bathroom “This was created from a single piece of marble and was the best price I could find.” our daughter’s sliding glass wall.” Building materials & tiles
27 DEC 19-FEB20
... a queen-size mattress, pillow and bedsheet set from Okooko by European Bedding, worth over HK$32,000 !
HOME & LIFE
Enter our competition and you’ll stand the chance to win a queen-size Heveya Natural Organic Latex Mattress II (worth $26,500), two Heveya Natural Organic Latex pillows (worth $3,000) and queen-size Heveya Dream Package bamboo sheets, including four pillow cases, a duvet cover and a fitted sheet (worth $2,776)! !
About the company Okooko by European Bedding is a one-stop bedding store that carries natural organic latex mattresses, adjustable slatted bed bases and accessories, all made of natural and sustainable materials. The brand provides a customisable sleeping system whereby bed base, mattress and pillow work together to provide excellent back support for all builds, sleeping positions and personal preference; plus, the mattresses come with a 100-night trial! About the mattress Natural latex’s elasticity is well-known to provide excellent sleeping comfort. As it moulds to the contour of your body, it also gives great support to ensure proper spinal alignment for a restful sleep. Okooko by European Bedding uses only 100 percent certified natural organic latex in its Heveya mattress – no pesticides, fertilisers, heavy metals, VOCs or other chemicals. On top of being naturally anti- mould and dust mite-resistant, it comes with a removable and cleanable cover made of luxurious and soft bamboo fibre and filled with organic cotton padding. So, you can rest easy knowing that you sleep in a healthier environment. New in store are 100 percent bamboo lyocell sheets in the Heveya organic range. Aside from a silky smooth and soft feathery texture, the bamboo fibre is naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, while also being breathable and temperature regulating. So, they’ll cool you down in summer and keep you cosy in winter – perfect for Hong Kong!
13/F, The Plaza LKF, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central 6286 1132 | europeanbedding.hk
... simply followus on Instagram(@expatlivinghk) andgo to expatliving.hk/competitions to let us knowwhy you think an organic latexmattress will help you sleep and live better. Increase your chances by liking the@okookobyeb Instagrampage and sharing the post!
29 DEC 19-FEB20
HOME & LIFE
New homes, new start-ups According to KATE BABINGTON, Managing Director of TREE, expats moving to Hong Kong on contracts are increasingly embracing rental services. Kate shares some insights into the trend and how her company is meeting this customer demand: “Hong Kong is a growing economy with a buoyant property market, and it continues to hold a high expat city ranking that fosters a demand for temporary furniture solutions – without compromising on style. We set out to close a gap in the market by providing new residents, corporations and landlords alike with bespoke solutions completely tailored to their space and needs.” The city’s thriving start-up scene is also embracing rental. “Since the launch of this side of our business earlier this year, we’ve provided furniture rental solutions for pop-up shops and events,” says Kate. She also foresees a growing demand for stylish rental furniture particularly suited for temporary offices. “Gone are the days of dull, drab cubicle spaces: small-scale corporations are now wanting to create a chic yet functional space that encourages employees to collaborate and think more creatively. This shift towards rental furniture as opposed to purchased gives companies the flexibility to move from place to place with ease.” How it works TREE’s rental service helps turn the blank canvas of a new rental into a home with natural furnishings. The team provide an initial consultation to determine your style and budget, and the layout of your Hong Kong rental. They also work with any existing furniture you may be bringing with you. From here, a bespoke package is created with the flexibility to extend the package if your contract changes. Interested in learning more about renting furniture for your Hong Kong residence or business? See more at tree.com.hk/ services/rental.
We discover how renting furniture is an easy way to capture a locally infused aesthetic.
BY REBECCA SIMPSON
The sharing economy has changed a lot about our lives. Today, “ownership” is a concept that is less on trend than ever. In fact, according to PwC, the sharing economy will be worth US$335 billion by 2025. To put that into context, only five years ago, in 2014, it was worth just US$14 billion. This trend has some tangible benefits for our planet. As we all know, less is more when it comes to utilising natural resources. Our egos are also benefactors of this trend; items that were traditionally out of our financial reach are now accessible when we pay for them by the day. One of the sharing economy’s great success stories is Rent the Runway, where women rent designer fashions instead of buying them. Interestingly, this idea has now made its way to the home design industry. The concept of renting homeware makes sense, too – especially among global nomads and modern expats who may not be settled in one city for a designated length of time. It’s no surprise to hear that high-end furniture rental is very popular among millennials and expats in Hong Kong. And why not – we rent handbags, cars, holiday homes and beautiful houses.
BY REBECCA SIMPSON PHOTOGRAPHY KIN HO PHOTOGRAPHY
Getting Started Like most small business stories, that anecdote captures a moment in time that was poignant and genius. What followed was years of very difficult work securing all the pieces of the puzzle required to make that dream a reality. “It was a labour of love to get it off the ground initially,” says Kate. Part of that struggle was a lengthy process to achieve Hong Kong (and European) safety standards for the ginger jar bases. Another was finding the right suppliers for the fabrics. The last step involved identifying the craftsmen who could create the lamp shades. After much searching, Kate discovered a supplier in Jaipur, India, who creates a striking woodblock cotton, another in Uzbekistan who provides the stunning silk ikat, and a third in China for the silk dupion and indigo cotton. She now delivers these to the family-run business in China. Here, artisans transform that material into her famous lamp shades. “It’s a true family business with an artisan approach. It’s not what I expected frommanufacturing in China, but it was refreshing to see a tour of the factory,” discloses Kate. “They are very accommodating and caring. I was surprised by their commitment to me as a small business.”
A few years ago, on a last-minute trip up to China with some girlfriends, British expat Kate Sbuttoni came across a pile of ginger jars that would change her life forever. A decade earlier, she had purchased a double happiness ginger jar on Hollywood Road. Like many of us, she’d coveted that piece of blue and white ceramic, but this pile of jars would open a brave new world. “We saw these jars and my friend suggested we have one made up into a lamp. I thought, why stop there,” says Kate. “I was looking to tap into my creativity and channel my energy into something. And so, The Ginger Jar Lamp Co. was born.” A light-bulbmoment leads KATESBUTTONI to deliver a bright twist on the classic ginger jar.
My creativity has come alive while living in Asia. The colours and the artists – it’s such a rich, rich place.
HOME & LIFE
Mixing & Matching We love experimenting with different combinations of ginger jar bases and bright lamp shades using the “Mix & Match” tool on Kate’s website. This fun application allows designers and design enthusiasts to see the visual pairing of every base and shade available in the range. Kate says, “It always surprises me what combinations people come up with – and it can be very refreshing. Recently, a lady chose a coral bottom and a teal sari top. Try the tool on the website; use it to play around and experiment.”
Visit www.gingerjarlampco.com/pages/ mixandmatch to try it for yourself.
Embracing Bold Ginger jars have become an iconic homeware choice for expats in Asia. They’re a beautiful, classic and functional additional to many homes. Kate’s clever spin on this classic is versatile. She’s added a pop of intense colour, which she encourages decorators to consider. “Blue and white is such a classic design staple. No matter your interior scheme, it’s a beautiful style. Today, the move towards the maximalist colour aesthetic is only gaining momentum. People are becoming bolder – even my husband is going bold!” She urges us all to be brave: “Your time in Hong Kong is a great time to try something different. It might spark something new. If your interior scheme is very neutral, all the more reason to have a little pop of colour. Something like a teal lamp shade can lift a room without being too ‘in your face’.” She continues: “A lamp is functional and serves a purpose, so you can get away with being bolder. A pop of colour in the corner of a room will not completely unbalance an overall calming look.”
33 DEC 19-FEB20
Whether you’regathered around a proper dining table or perched at your kitchen counter, make sure you’re sittingpretty! in Style Dining
HOME & LIFE
1 The Pearwood Collection wallpaper from Cole & Sons, Altfield Interiors, 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk 2 Cheers coasters set, $238, Goods of Desire, god.com.hk 3 Fine wool and silk carpets, price on request, CarpetBuyer, 2850 5508, carpetbuyer.com 4 Cheerio bar stool, $4,980, Tequila Kola, 2877 3295, tequilakola.com 5 Oak dining table, $8,980, Tequila Kola, 2877 3295, tequilakola.com 6 Vancouver dining table, $21,590, BoConcept, boconcept.com 7 Hong Kong Classic Map laminated placemat, $78, Goods of Desire, god.com.hk 8 Vector dish, $1,259, BoConcept, boconcept.com 9 Osaka dining table, $14,980, Tequila Kola, 2877 3295, tequilakola.com 10 Milano dining table, $29,790, BoConcept, boconcept.com 11 Le Printemps du Mekong wallpaper from Pierre Frey, price on request, Altfield Interiors, 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk
35 DEC 19-FEB20
HOME & LIFE
DREAMS BY MELINDA MURPHY Fairmont Peace Shanghai. Siam Kempinski Bangkok. The Westin Jakarta. Waldorf Astoria Shanghai. Four Seasons Singapore. The names read like a bucket list of places to visit on your next vacation. So, what do these luxury resorts have in common? The woman behind their design.
From fashion to interiors Paula didn’t always want to be an interior designer. In fact, she thought she was going to be a fashion designer, but one summer at the Parsons School of Design in New York convinced her otherwise. She instead got a degree in Studio Art from the University of California (Santa Barbara), but she really didn’t know what to do with it. With an Irish-American father and a Japanese mother, Paula grew up as a third-culture kid, living all over the world: Okinawa, California, Brazil, Scotland, and a boarding school (TASIS) in England. “My high school advisor had been a curator at The Met. She asked me if I’d ever thought about interior design, but I dismissed it. I thought all interior design
No t many pe op l e have their dream job, but PAULA O’CALLAGHAN really does. She’s a senior associate at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), the top firm in the world for
designing hotels and resorts. “I remember one night, I was on a commuter train in Tokyo. I’d started reading interior design magazines on the train and I saw a huge spread on HBA – it was a big article about one of the hotels they’d done. I was so impressed, I decided right then and there that I wanted to work for that company; this was the type of design I wanted to do.”
Photos from The Westin Jakarta
HOME & LIFE
was Laura Ashley.” Who could blame her? It was the late 80s and Laura Ashley was everywhere. But when she saw the spread in the magazine years later, her advisor’s words came back to her, so she signed up for a correspondence course at the New York School of Design. It was 1990 – the days before the internet – and she took the classes while teaching English in Japan. She told the man she’d eventually marry, Mike, that she wanted to be an interior designer and work for HBA. Paula had a goal. Savannah So, they moved to Savannah, Georgia. Why Savannah? Because she liked the look of the city and the lifestyle it offered, and it was cheaper than going to school on the East Coast. She ran an art gallery while taking classes at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). When she graduated, she went after her dream job. By this time, Mike had moved back to Japan, and Paula wanted to be closer to him so she cold-called the HBA office in San Francisco. She told them she had a bunch of interviews lined up and blustered her way into an interview. Truth? She only had one other interview, but there was no way she was going to San Francisco and not getting the interview with the company of her dreams.
37 DEC 19-FEB20
HOME & LIFE
The interviewer later told her that her third-culture background and unusual accent made her the oddball he had to meet. Once she got in the door, she put on the full-court press. “I told my interviewer he should just take me on as an intern. ‘You don’t even have to pay me; just give me a desk. After six months, if you think I’m useless, that’s okay. At least I can use HBA on my resume, but I guarantee you you’ll hire me. It’s a win-win for us both.’” The job was hers in four months. She’s now been there 22 years. Traveller not tourist Paula’s job now involves overseeing 10 to 15 major projects at once – everything from reviewing the initial concept to flying to a factory to review lighting and furniture. Each project usually takes four to five years, but she’s been working on the Four Seasons Singapore for 15 years. She’s on the road a lot. You’d think with the list of places Paula has helped design, she’d get to stay in fabulous resorts all over the world, but that’s not really the case. She’s also stayed in her fair share of ratty places – envisioning a glamorous resort while visiting dusty job sites or resorts in the early development stage. And she gets to be the guinea pig for hotels that are soon to be opened. “The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai had been renovated and the owner asked me to stay in the heritage block. I wasn’t thrilled as I was the only one on the whole floor. It kind of creeped me out
so I slept with all the lights on. Then, in the middle of the night, the TV turned on full blast and I heard something being dragged on the floor above me. I was sure it was the construction crews only to find out the next morning that nobody was working above me that night. It still spooks me even now.” Even so, Paula does like working on older buildings, bringing them back to life. Another hotel in Shanghai, the Fairmont Peace Hotel, had originally been The Cathay Hotel, with an incredible atrium that had been covered up over the decades. “It was just amazing to find the original atrium still there underneath the gypsum and acoustic tile. Then we had to convince the owner to bring it back to the original hotel footprint.”
Above: Fairmont Peace Shanghai Below: Four Seasons Singapore project
HOME & LIFE
up and thought, ‘If I’d died the day before, what would I have achieved? What’s left of me? Is there any legacy? Would anybody actually miss me?’ I came back that day and told my husband we were having a baby.” Within a year, Paula had her first daughter, Vivian, at age 36; a second daughter, Violet, followed when she was 40. Paula took two years off, living in London, being a stay-at-home mum. Eventually, she yearned to work again, so she rejoined HBA. “I’d taken two years off and felt like I needed to play catch-up in a highly competitive field. I’d get up at four in the morning and start working right away, work until late at night and work weekends. Eventually, it caught up with me. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2015 at the same time my helper was battling terminal breast cancer. I was lucky and caught it early.” Life lessons Paula has obviously had to push very hard to get where she is in a male-dominated field, but she now has a slightly different view of life. “Work is important, but I take great pains to build in a work-life balance. I run. I exercise. I have breakfast with the kids. It’s life first, then work. I now start work when I head into the office; when I leave the office, I leave the work behind.”
Achievement and family When Paula finishes her job, she has something to show for it: a beautiful hospitality destination. “You feel a sense of true achievement when you see the finished product. What’s really strange is when I go into a hotel I worked on 20 years ago and never got to see open. It’s an odd déjà vu moment, because I recognise part of it and yet so much time has gone by.” Paula never really planned on having children, but two things in 2003 changed her mind: her mother’s slow death from bone cancer and the bombing of the JWMarriott in Jakarta. Paula was in the adjacent building when the bomb exploded, killing 12 people and injuring 150. “Those two events really affected me because they got me thinking: ‘Who is going to be by my deathbed? It certainly won’t be my business associates.’ The morning after the bombing, I woke
Top: Siam Kempinski, Bangkok Above: Teaching
English to Japanese businessmen, 1991; Paula’s family, 2008
39 DEC 19-FEB20
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