March-May 2020

New Zealand Indonesia Europe Escapes

Pregnancy Planner!

Recipes + Cheap Eats

How our kids continue to learn


2020 has certainly started with a wobble. I hope you are all well and spring brings a wind of change that delivers some positive momentum for Hong Kong. This issue, I’ve been uplifted by the stories of four incredible expat women (page 38). Each of these amazing leaders is driving change through an important social or arts initiative. They are shaping our community and the future of the city. This story reminded me that our expat experience is an inspiration of itself. Being away from the safety net of “home” provides us with a unique energy and a super-charged drive to achieve things we might not in our own countries. We may be in uncertain times, but we must remind ourselves why we are here and grab each opportunity presented to us with both hands. Our Hong Kong experiences can be life-changing; don’t short-change yourself! Our team loves exploring new restaurants, but lately we’ve also been exploring friends’ dining rooms. Entertaining at home is having a moment, so when we caught up with John McLennan from Indigo Living, we asked for his dinner party tips (page 30). I was also lucky enough to spend the day shooting Michelle Koller’s stunning Parkview apartment (page 20). That view – wow! Michelle gave me some advice about the process of redesigning home interiors. If spring is going to be the season of change for you, be sure to read her story. Finally, there’s been a lot of discussion lately about home learning, which we’ve tapped into in this issue. Once again, I’d like to thank the teachers of Hong Kong; your agility, creativity and dedication to helping families maintain their learning during school closures has been remarkable.


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Michelle Koller’s Parkview home




UPFRONT 8 Follow Us Online 10 Readers’ Choice Awards: Find out who won! 12 Hong Kong Pages: Facts, trivia, history and more

Successful hosting at home 30

14 Hong Kong News 17 Managing Money:

Why financial planners can help

HOME & LIFE 20 Home Showcase:

Picturesque views from a Parkview pad

26 Buying Guide:

Bring spring into your space

30 Host Heroes:

Expert tips on entertaining at home

34 On the Market: Properties for sale and lease 37 Co-working Space:

Where minimalism meets productivity

38 Wonder Women:

Four inspirational females and their journeys

46 On the Screen:

Film and TV recommendations

49 On the Page:

We preview the latest great reads

50 Party Planner:

Throw a sleepover success!

School Special 52 Carry on Learning: We chat to schools and

26 Best buys for a pop of colour

parents for tips and advice on how to cope with the recent disruptions

58 Tutor Tips:

Help your kid avoid the study slump

59 People Profile:

Meet the Director of Ampla

60 Pen to Paper:

How to nail the Extended Essay

20 Peek into this pretty pad

61 Helping Hand:

Youngsters making a difference

62 Fashion Forward:

Check out the super SCAD showcase

64 Environment Focus: The importance of mangroves



30 Keeping

your heart healthy

WELLNESS & LEISURE 72 Heart Health: Tips specific to expats 74 Pregnancy Prep:

80 Hair Care:

All the summer essentials

81 Laser Lingo:

How your skin can benefit

82 Best of Base:

We share our fave foundations

A practical guide to getting started

84 Pub Grub:

A top spot to catch a game

76 Young Minds:

The problem of pornography

85 Taste Test:

An ode to San Sebástian 86 Affordable Eats:

78 Teen Talk:

Is your child lonely?

10 pocket-friendly favourites

88 Recipe Corner:

86 Eats that are easy on the wallet

Fail-safe favourites for your repertoire

90 Summer Break: Great getaways in Europe 92 Indonesia Inspo: 3 ideas for a great getaway 94 Borneo Bound: Summiting Mount Kinabalu 98 Destination Focus:

REGULARS 106 Important Numbers 107 Our Advertisers 108 Parting Shot: Lost in Translation

New Zealand insights and reader tips

102 Mad for Mauritius:

Fall in lovewith this IndianOcean gem

90 Escape to Europe this summer

7 MAR-MAY2020

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GET A FREE COPY OF OUR CITY GUIDE! 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.

Scan the QR code or visit: HONGKONG CITY GUIDE 2019/20 Annual$28 A L L Y O U N E E


8 5


















*Free copy of our City Guide is while stocks last and limited to one copy per person, and valid only for Hong Kong addresses.

9 MAR-MAY2020

Results are inandwe’redelighted to announce the winners of the Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 . We’ve highlighted everything from furniture stores to the best brunches in town, so look out for the “Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards 2020” seal on store windows or websites to spot the best products and services that Hong Kong offers. A BIG thank you to all voters for your recommendations, and our partners, Four Seasons Resort Maldives , Avani+ Samui Resort and Mandarin Oriental , Hong Kong for sponsoring amazing prizes for our voters. Congratulations!

HomeDecor Best Interior Designer or Home Stylist 1 ST PLACE INDIGO LIVING Best Living Room Furniture 1 ST PLACE TEQUILA KOLA Best Bedroom Furniture 1 ST PLACE TREE Best Outdoor Furniture 1 ST PLACE EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN Best Antique & Asian Furniture 1 ST PLACE ALTFIELD GALLERY Best Carpets & Rugs 1 ST PLACE MAYA RUGS

Travel Best Travel Agent 1 ST PLACE FLIGHT CENTRE Best Airline 1 ST PLACE CATHAY PACIFIC Best Spa & Resort Hotel in Hong Kong 1 ST PLACE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL Best Family Resort or Hotel (Overseas) 1 ST PLACE JW MARRIOTT PHUKET RESORT & SPA

Wine & Dine Best Romantic Dining 1 ST PLACE JOHN ANTHONY Best Family-friendly Restaurant 1 ST PLACE LIMEWOOD Best Weekend Brunch 1 ST PLACE ZUMA Best Wine Bar 1 ST PLACE LA CABANE Here are some of our winners! For the full list of readers’ choices, visit

Beauty & Spa Best Hair Colouring 1 ST PLACE GLOW SPA Best Facials 1 ST PLACE FLAWLESS

Grocers Best Supermarket 1 ST PLACE CITY SUPER

Best Organic & Health Food Store 1 ST PLACE GREEN COMMON Best Butcher 1 ST PLACE FEATHER & BONE Best Wine Retailer 1 ST PLACE WATSON’S WINE

Best Body Massage & Spa Treatments 1 ST PLACE THE MANDARIN SPA Best Aesthetic Treatments 1 ST PLACE THE FACE SPA

Services Best Movers 1 ST PLACE CROWN RELOCATIONS Best Real Estate Agency 1 ST PLACE CENTALINE PROPERTY AGENCY Best Maid Agency 1 ST PLACE FAIR EMPLOYMENT AGENCY Best Photography Studio 1 ST PLACE JULES, BABY! Retail & Fashion Best Tailor 1 ST PLACE MILK SHIRTS Best Women’s Independent Fashion Outlet 1 ST PLACE LOVEIT Best Women’s Jewellery 1 ST PLACE ANTHEA COOPER Best Swim & Resort Wear 1 ST PLACE OZZIE COZZIE Best Books 1 ST PLACE BOOKAZINE

Health &Medical Best Pilates Studio 1 ST PLACE FLEX STUDIO Best Gym or Fitness Studio 1 ST PLACE PURE FITNESS Best GP & Family Doctor 1 ST PLACE OT&P GENERAL PRACTICE Best Dentist & Orthodontist 1 ST PLACE CENTRAL SMILE Leisure & Kids ' Activities Best Social Club 1 ST PLACE THE AMERICAN CLUB Best Indoor Activity for Kids 1 ST PLACE RYZE ULTIMATE TRAMPOLINE PARK Best Kids’ Art Programme 1 ST PLACE KIDS’ GALLERY Best Kids’ Holiday Camp 1 ST PLACE TREASURE ISLAND SURF & ADVENTURE CAMP

THE HK PAGES 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!

If you haven’t done an island day trip toPoToi, it’swortha look–particularly if you enjoy a coastal hike taking in some quirky geological features and windswept oceanic views. ABOUT PO TOI 5 THINGS WE DIDN’T KNOW

#1 Po Toi is known as the “South Pole of Hong Kong”. Admittedly, we’ve never heard this phrase mentioned in a conversation, but it’s certainly true that Po Toi is the southernmost of Hong Kong’s 260-something islands. #2 It was once home to a community of around 1,000 people, most of them involved in farming and harvesting seaweed. There are still a few families left – and you can still find dried seaweed on the menus of the island’s restaurants (try Ming Kee Seafood) – but the younger generations have all moved to the city, and many of the village buildings are in ruins. The maximum speed (in kph) of the tram today The gradient of the steepest part of the track, in degrees The total number of daily trips taken by the Peak Tram 120 The current capacity of passengers on the tram (95 seated) 139 The tonnes of weight that the tram cables can hold 396 The height above sea level (in metres) of the tram’s upper terminus 1365 The length of the track, in metres 1888 The year the tram was officially opened; the first version was powered by coal-fired steam boilers Before the tram In the late 1800s, after Governor Sir Richard MacDonnell had first built a summer house on the Peak to escape Hong Kong’s seasonal heat and humidity, other wealthy residents soon began to populate the mountain. By 1883, around 30 to 40 families lived there. (Hong Kong’s population at the time was 175,000.) Before the tram came along in 1888, they mostly got up and down the steep paths of the Peak by sedan chair. These chairs would have been carried by their own personal staff, or sedan bearers in uniform. 4.4 The width (in cm) of the cables used to haul the tram The number of minutes it takes to travel from bottom to top 7 22 27 90

The Peak Tram When we ask our readers about some of the iconic things they like to do when guests come to stay, the number one answer is taking the tram up to the Peak. And with views like those, we don’t blame you! Here’s a whole bunch of trivia about the tram that you can regale your visitors with on your next ride, if conversation (or the tram!) happens to stall. In Numbers



Fact File

Sold-out Sunglasses The 1986 John Woo blockbuster A Better Tomorrow , starring Chow Yun-fat and Leslie Cheung, broke the Hong Kong box-office records of the day and influenced local cinema for years to come. It also influenced lots of young (mostly male) Hong Kong moviegoers, who were so enthralled by the Chow Yun-fat character, Mark, that they tried to replicate his look by wearing long “duster” coats and black Alain Delon sunglasses. In fact, Hong Kong stores are said to have completely sold out of that brand of sunglasses within a week of the movie’s premiere.

#3 Speaking of ruins, there’s a famous abandoned house on Po Toi known as “Mo’s Old House”. It was built in the 1930s but nobody has lived in it for decades. Word is that you can visit the ruins to take some atmospheric Insta shots (and to see if the place lives up to its reputation for being haunted), though we’ve also heard a few reports that it is no longer accessible. #4 If you can’t find Mo’s, you will at least come across many of the island’s renowned rock formations, which are named for objects they resemble. They include “Tortoise Climbing up a Mountain”, “Buddha Hand Rock”, “Coffin Rock” and “The Supine Monk”. You’ll also find ancient rock carvings on Po Toi, dating back as long as 3,000 years to the Bronze Age. They were discovered in the 1960s. #5 John Le Carre’s 1977 spy novel The Honourable Schoolboy has scenes set on Po Toi, and it discusses not only the seaweed farmers (it says there are 108 of them left at the time), but also the famous rocks and the island’s southern location. Getting there: A kaito (small ferry) leaves from Aberdeen (one hour) and Stanley (30 minutes) on different days of the week.

More tram trivia... • According to, studies have shown that passengers riding uphill on the Peak Tram can experience a visual illusion, where the high-rise buildings on the right- hand side of the tram look like they are falling backwards towards the Peak. • The Peak Tram plays a part in the 1950s Clark Gable film, Soldier of Fortune (both the opening and closing scenes are shot inside the tram), and it also appears in an episode of long-running TV series The Love Boat . • The tram is currently in the midst of a major upgrade and renovation, which is scheduled to be completed by 2021. The HK$684 million project will see the 120-passenger car replaced with a 210-capacity version, and new tracks laid throughout the line.


Think you know Hong Kong well? There are three bridges (not two!) in

this picture. Name them.

The mystery pic in our last issue was the Golden Pavilion temple in Nan Lian Garden.

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Get your space ready for spring with a splash of colour and pattern! The newest Thread by Thread collection from luxury Italian brand Rubelli has arrived exclusively at Altfield Interiors. These precious and decorative fabrics remain true to the brand’s Venetian tradition, combining contemporary touches with a surprising and attractive colour palette that’s suitable for all home settings. Our favourite design (pictured) isMy Fair Lady, a rich jacquardwithafloralmotif onprecious silk, offered in striking colourways of pink/peach and pink/lemon. 1101, Nine Queen’s Road Central. 2525 2738 | Interiors Brighten Your

Stellar Lips Lips are stealing the spotlight this season! • Spring is all about shiny lips, so apply what you know about shiny skin and make sure you’re prepping your lips to be the best canvas possible. Try Lush’s Unicorn Lip Scrub (HK$110), a magical blend of plum and organic jojoba oils. Order online via • This month sees two new products on the market for extra-shiny, kissable lips. Slick your pretty spring pout with a new Dior Addict Stellar Halo Shine or Dior Addict Stellar Gloss, now available at beauty counters across the city. The new Halo Shine range has a starry centre full of long-wear pearlescent pigments.

Banish Allergens If Mouldy March has invaded your home, it might be time to upgrade your home appliances. LG has a range of purifying household products built to prevent allergen invasions from all aspects. There’s even a portable PuriCare Mini Air Purifier that can be used in the car.




Hollywood Holiday Planning a break in the States? The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA has completed a redesign and restoration of its historic bungalows, designed to feature famous personalities who’ve stayed in the hotel over the past 100 years. Bungalow 9, for example, was inspired by Charlie Chaplin; it includes a library with classic Chaplin books and even a Chaplin cocktail kit.

The team behind Pica Pica has launched a new tapas restaurant, Rubia. Now open on Hollywood Road in Central, it offers exceptional cuts of meat from the Galician Hills of Northern Spain, along with smaller tapas plates, cold cuts and cheeses. There’s also a good range of Spanish red and white wines to enjoy during their extended happy hour from 3 to 7pm.

SEND Support We have good news for families with students requiring additional assistance. International College HK (ICHK) in Sha Tau Kok is setting up the Plus One Centre, a small classroom that will cater for 12 students with pronounced individual needs. They have three places available for students born in 2008-2009. Visit for more information.

High-end Health Retreat Luxury wellness resort and spa The Farm at San Benito has added two new villa types to its property in Batangas, Philippines. These include one-bedroom Bamboo Villas, and one- and two-bedroomMahogany Villas that come with a private pool; the two-bedroom option also has its own pantry and a nanny room. Time for a detox, we say!

15 MAR-MAY2020

New in NZ Robertson Lodges has opened The Residences at Kauri Cliffs, in the North Island of New Zealand. The three stunningly located private residences each have a saltwater swimming pool and four guest bedrooms with private bathrooms and verandas, family-sized kitchens, and spacious living and dining rooms – perfect for larger groups. Enjoy daily breakfast, pre-dinner drinks, canapés and dinner during your stay, while taking in the gorgeous surrounds.

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 different advice for newcomers to Hong Kong. “What do I need to consider as a pet owner if I’m relocating?” Being a responsible pet owner is keeping in mind that things may not go as you expect. Of course, when you move countries, you want it to be with your lovely pets, but there are situations that can make this impossible. Not all pets can be easily relocated. If they’re very old or in poor health, relocating them forcibly is a risk for the flight and the quarantine period. Even if your pets are healthy, there are still limitations that may hinder the move of them to your new country, such as the immigration rules around specific species, the size or type of the house or apartment you’re moving too, and so on. As a responsible owner, you may need to rehome your pets under these circumstances. If you have a trustworthy family member or friend who can help, that’s the best solution. You can ensure a safe new life for your pets and still be able to visit them whenever you’re back home. Alternatively, you can seek help from reputable animal charities. Most of them can keep your pets until they find new owners to rehome them with. Separating from your beloved pets is a tough call. We know it. It’s not a desirable outcome, but you can still do your best to take care of their future by finding a rehoming solution. Got more questions about pet relocation? Contact Asian Tigers for further assistance.

Planning to send your child to school in the UK? Janie Richardson School Search offers bespoke, informed advice to demystify the complex British education system during any relocation process. The service provides families with tailored support and guidance to ensure they find a school that’s the right fit for their child’s personality and needs. A British Education



MONEY MATTERS In this issue, SIMON PARFITT of Pyrmont Wealth Management looks at the hidden value that a good financial adviser can bring.

There is evidence that professional financial advice can make you better off financially, but working with a financial planner shouldn’t stop at managing money. A good adviser puts your life at the centre of the relationship. Here are a few areas where an adviser can add tangible and sometimes intangible value. Financial planning and attainment of goals The foundation of any financial plan should be an appropriate insurance and protection plan, and to have legal documents such as wills in place in case of unexpected disaster. Effective financial planners can add further value using cashflow planning technology to map out a client’s current position and their life goals, and to plan for future income and expenditure – what the future could look like based on potential scenarios. “The Adviser Advantage” is a study by Envestnet, and it shows that a proper financial planning service can add the equivalent of 0.5 percent per annum. Setting goals is one thing, achieving them is much harder. A financial planner’s job is to keep you on track with achieving your goals. Vanguard’s recent “Assessing the Value of Advice” study found that eight out of 10 investors were 80 percent more likely to hit their goals when working with an adviser.

Ask Pyrmont about life-centred financial planning. Simon is regulated by both the HK Confederation of Insurance Brokers (011833) and the Securities and Futures Commission (BGY807). 6017 4140 | | Emotional value The same study found that 55 percent of clients indicated that their biggest perception of value was the relationship with a trusted adviser. Good advisers also provide emotional support in times of market uncertainty and in later life planning. In short, clients feel they get the most value when the adviser is prioritising their needs and when they have the peace of mind that they’re on track to meet their financial goals. Asset allocation and rebalancing Advisers should have the skills required to create effective investment portfolios, allocating the optimal amount of money to each type of asset and diversifying globally. As assets grow differently over time, advisers rebalance portfolios to ensure they’re still fit for your goals. Investors who don’t work with an adviser may leave their portfolio unattended for too long, or tinker with it too often. Both can cause portfolios to become imbalanced and unsuitable for their goals. A Russell Investments’ study, “Value of an Adviser”, found that advisers add up to 1.6 percent to investment returns via effective asset allocation. And Vanguard’s Adviser’s Alpha study found that advisers rebalancing portfolios at the right time can addup to 0.43percent to investment returns. Cost It’s important to be conscious of the ongoing value for money of your investments; gross returns minus total costs equals net return. Evidence- based portfolios backed by academic research can help you achieve the returns of themarket at a fraction of the cost of traditional activelymanaged funds that provide little value for money. Vanguard’s Adviser’s Alpha study reveals that an adviser can add up to 0.92 percent per year in returns by implementing cost-efficient investments. It also highlights why it’s important to be aware of very high initial investment fees and high ongoing costs as these can have a huge impact on the future value of your money.

Investors were 80 percent more likely to hit their goals when working with an adviser

17 MAR-MAY2020

Host Help: Expert tips on entertaining at home

Indigo Living



We visit a mountain retreat brimming with flowing greenery and indulgent fabric. H ong Kong Parkview is something of an oasis – the perfect meeting point of convenience and calm. It’s an easy 10-minute drive to Causeway Bay, one of HK’s commercial pulse-points. However, walking into this apartment you really couldn’t feel further away from the neon explosion happening down the hill.

It’s calm. And so beautiful. The view from this home, and many others at Parkview, is an uninterrupted mountain panorama. Which sounds like a dream, but from a design perspective it can be a tough one – that view is a bona fide scene-stealer! The design of this space contends equally with the view. It’s a luscious home where the green tones of the epic panorama are not only honoured but echoed in the interior. Greenery spills from ginger jars and shelving, luring mother nature off the mountain to nestle among the delicate accessories and sumptuous fabrics. It’s opulent and welcoming, all at once.




Youmust hold on to the items that you truly love!

Finding green-spiration So, who lives in such a vibrant premises? MICHELLE KOLLER, founder of Tequila Kola – she’s been in this Hong Kong apartment for 16 years now. In that time, it’s had many incarnations as a family home. Most recently, as both of Michelle’s children have moved on to university studies and careers abroad, it’s been given a new life. The living room is resplendent with flora. “The inspiration was to do a live wall, as in, all green. The problem with a live wall in a residential space like this is the drainage and the insects – it’s tough to pull off.” So, how did they compromise? “We decided to have as much greenery in the cabinetry as possible. That way, I can highlight and feature my favourite antiques and collectibles.” This solution is a win-win for Michelle. She gets her green wall aesthetic but also the chance to showcase her collectibles. Over the years, she

has amassed a beautiful collection, with pieces from Hong Kong, India and beyond. “It’s a dynamic design. I’m swapping things out almost every week. I have a similar cabinet in my office with a lot of my collectibles there too. I don’t like to get rid of anything! So, I rotate from my office to home.”

21 MAR-MAY2020

How to capture your

If you’re about to tackle a redesign, or you’re even just incubating some ideas for a new look, Michelle recommends creating a mood board. “Mood boards are always good when you’re trying to work through a redesign. Try taking photos of items you like or looks that inspire you and print them out. Create a collage with those printouts, or create one digitally on your computer.” She suggests, “It’s better to work with a visualisation that’s bigger than your phone.” This tangible mood board should also feature fabrics and other samples you like. As you explore and uncover new textures and hues, these can be added. “Some people get intimidated by the thought, but you can start with just about anything. Begin with an A4 piece of paper or two, and start collecting!” Michelle also has some advice for deciding on your final room design. She says the best process for redesign is to “work from the floor up: start with rugs, then cushions, sofas, lamps and walls.”




Old memories in a new context Since moving into this apartment, Michelle has redesigned every few years. Throughout each of these redesigns, she ensures her most-loved items are stored, rather than sold. She enjoys bringing these items out of storage, years later, to see old memories in a new context. One such item is her antique merry-go-round circus horse. The horse was purchased in Jaipur in Rajasthan many years ago. She says, “The original stand isn’t perfect, but I like that. Imperfect is perfect.” “Everything is cyclic; you must hold on to the items that you truly love. Right now, I love that the 80s are back!” The 1980s were a bold time, and that audacious spirit is reflected in the bold orange hues that dominate from the balcony through to the entrance. “My favourite colour is red, but I’ve exhausted red. Orange is still in the same family; they’re related and it works as a transition.” The orange, purple and teal tones in the bohemian pure silk rug work as the perfect link from the gutsy lounge and dining area into the more subdued and sensual fourth bedroom. This room now serves as a media room, with a bifold wall that can be drawn to create privacy when guests come to visit.

Creative apps that Michelle loves It’s not only about old-school mood boards; Michelle can’t get by without these apps. Pinterest: “I use Pinterest a lot! I tend to collect references and items in colour schemes – so, I would collate references in oranges and raspberries together in the one scheme.” Houzz: This is a popular app that can help with anything from a full build to an aesthetic revamp. “I don’t use Houzz as much but it’s definitely worth looking at when you’re in the process of a redesign.”

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Choosing, upcycling, refabricating

He r p a s s i o n f o r reimaging furniture has been a life-long affair. “That’s my background – pattern making and t e x t i l e d e s i g n , ” s h e explains. “Textiles are part of our DNA at Tequila Kola. Textures and textiles are what set us apart.” One of her favourite items is a dome armchair ( pictured ).

Michelle reflects on her sofa choice, a confident orange in an indulgent and richly textured fabric that compels you to touch it. “White looked good and was safe. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it; it was too safe.” She shares some practical advice for choosing the right sofa hue. “A swatch can be hard to work with, so try to find a big cushion or have a floor cushion made in the fabric or colour you want.” This block of colour will allow you to better understand how it will work in the space. When it comes to redesigning or refreshing for a new season, Michelle urges us all to upcycle the furniture we covet. “You don’t have to scrap things; try reupholstering first. You can save the base and give it a second life. Then it’s custom made – no one else will have that piece!”

treated something harshly. “Reuse, relive, recondition,” she suggests. It also sounds like a great way to get reluctant family members to agree to a revamp, especially if they’re attached to a favourite sofa. “There’s no need to give up favourites. In fact, they can be improved upon and given even more longevity with a bit of TLC.”

It’s recently been reupholstered with five contrasting fabrics and stud detailing. “It’s a great reading chair – like a cone of silence!” Refabricating and reupholstering aren’t just about aesthetics. Michelle explains that this type of treatment is the perfect way to give furniture a new lease of life – for example, if teenagers have





Wattis Fine Art | “The gallery in Soho is a treasure trove of beautiful pieces. He’s one of the best map collectors and curators in Hong Kong.” At this boutique artisan gallery, you’ll find recoloured antique sketches and interesting images of Hong Kong at the turn of last century. Eico Paints | “Eico can mix any colour. I often bring in a swatch and they make the exact match. It’s a technical process; they start with white paint and can recreate your chosen colour multiple times. It’s perfect for touch-ups.” Designers Guild | | available in HK at Tequila Kola Many of the indulgent fabrics and wall coverings in Michelle’s home have been sourced through Designers Guild. This stable of fabric designer labels includes Ralph Lauren and Christian Lacroix. Kare Design | | available in HK at Tequila Kola The nest of tables in the sitting area is sourced fromKare Design, a brand that offers unique pieces for design lovers across an extensive range of furniture, accessories and lighting. “Kare Design bars are fantastic. They’re the perfect size for Hong Kong apartments and they come with lots of storage.” Plants “I love to help local businesses – it’s important to support our local industries and appreciate what we have domestically. I like to give my plant-purchasing business to local Wan Chai and Happy Valley flower markets.”

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Step into

As the seasons change, here are some floral patterns, pantone palettes and playful hues to get you inspired!








1 Peonia Grande cushions from Designers Guild, from HK$1,280, Tequila Kola 2 Ceramic stool, $890, Red Velvet Designs 3 Isla fabric collection from Jim Thompson, price on request, Altfield Interiors 4 Ceramic table lamp, $1,550, Red Velvet Designs 5 Vintage ginger-jar lamp base, $2,200, with selection of silk and cotton shades, from $1,000, The Ginger Jar Lamp Co 6 Avanchy bamboo suction bowl with spoon for babies, $180, Petit Tippi 7 Abaca planter basket, $395, TREE 8 Pierre the Bunny, handmade in Peruvian cotton, $650, Petit Tippi





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9 Botanical cabinet, handpainted with bronze handles and exclusively designed in-house, $16,490, Indigo Living 10 Diva bed, $25,270, and bedroom accessories, Tequila Kola 11 Perry Chair from Jacquard, $6,490, Indigo Living 12 Animal Magic collection from No.9 Thompson, price on request, Altfield Interiors 13 Stairs open rack in oak, $8,950, TREE 14 Bamboo silk carpet, price on request, CarpetBuyer








Altfield Interiors 2525 2738 | CarpetBuyer 2850 5508 | The Ginger Jar Lamp Co 9135 0418 | Indigo Living 2555 0540 | Petit Tippi Red Velvet Design 9010 5832 Tequila Kola 2877 3295 |

TREE 2870 1582 |

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BY REBECCA SIMPSON Sad about all the event cancellations in Hong Kong? Turn your FOMO into JOMO (joy of missing out) by getting people around to your place for some fun! W ho better to share expert secrets to entertaining at home inHong Kong than JOHNMCLENNAN? He’s the founder and executive chairman at Indigo Living , a brand recognised

by you (our readers) in our recent Readers’ Choice Awards 2020, where it won a slew of awards, including Best Interior Designer or Home Stylist. #1 Update Your Dining Setting New placemats and napkins are one of the best ways to provide a fresh look for the table. If you have simple coloured dishes, then go for a bolder set of napkins and placemats in a colour coordinated to the napkins. A bold new centrepiece is also always a sure-fire way to give the table a new look and feel. Add some candles as a finishing touch to set the mood and create ambience. With these three simple updates, you’ll feel like you’re dining in a whole new room.




#2 Create Distinct Spaces In a small flat, you need to divide the space for appetisers from the dinner area, if possible. I believe in doing drinks and appetisers in the living room first, amidst comfortable seating and in a casual setting – this acts as the perfect counterpoint for a slightly more formal dining space. After dinner, we move back to the more cosy living area for coffee or a nightcap. This is the perfect way to end the evening, keeping guests circulating and conversations lively. #3 Control the Mood with Accent Lighting Divide the lighting into two zones: overhead, and table- top or floor lamps. This allows you to use the overhead lighting when you need it to be bright all over the room and then you can lower the levels with table or floor lamps that act as task or accent lighting. If you can add a dimmer to the overhead lighting, that also helps and acts as another option – it’s not costly and usually only involves a new wall switch.

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#4 Subtle Scents It’s always nice to walk into someone’s home and catch a subtle scent in the air. Try something light and airy in warmer weather and something a bit heavier when it’s cooler. It’s a disaster to have that scent overpower everything, though. You still want to be able to smell your glass of wine and, of course, the dinner being served. Anything too strong and you risk it taking away from the overall ambience. #5 Be Sustainable and Stylish You don’t need to give up one for the other. Candles are a stylish way to light the table. To decorate the table, faux flowers are unbelievably realistic these days and can be used again and again in different arrangements. The fact they are reusable ensures a reduced carbon footprint, which in the long term is better for the environment. If you prefer fresh, then I’m a big believer in supporting local businesses, so visit your florist and decorate with their locally grown flowers. Try to stay away from single-serve table-top ware (especially disposable plastics) and opt for wooden or ceramic bowls. Lastly, never, never, never serve anything with a plastic straw.




#6 Devise a “Wow” Moment Nothing says ‘bring on the party!’ more than wheeling in a bar cart filled with drinks for the evening or with dessert and cheese at the end of a meal. I personally like to have my bar cart filled with my collection of whiskies and roll it out for guests to pick their favourite and enjoy an after-dinner tipple. The bar cart is so versatile that everyone should have one at home, even if it only holds a small collection of favourite things and a plant until it’s needed for the next party.

Heading Out? For quality of food and service and great value, I love to grab a gang and head to Beef & Liberty in Lan Kwai Fong. It’s relaxed, casual and perfect for catching up with friends. If I’m in the mood to really go all out, I will do it at my homewhere I candesign themenu, cook the food and set the table to impress. Nowhere is better if you don’t want to be in a hurry to have the evening end.

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W hat a Year of the Rat we have entered! The residential market is the most resilient of Hong Kong’s property sectors, and it has started to show some great opportunities with the relaxing measures put in place last October – those measures allow first-time home buyers to borrow up to 90 percent of a property valued at a maximum of HK$8 million (previously $4 million). A new building that can combine both location and price has been and will be very appealing in many ways. Although the streets in Hong Kong have been quiet, buyers are still interested in entering the first-hand market. The secondary market is a different story. There have been weeks where transaction records are at their lowest in years. With this thought, it’s also where the opportunities lie for anyone looking at buying a property in the second-hand market. Great gems can be found! On the other hand, the leasing market is still active, though of course not as active as in previous years. Local moves have been the most active over the past months, and mass market rents have slightly dropped. However, it’s the luxury market where we see most of the correction. With less demand for domestic moves and fewer newcomers, it’s most certainly where great properties can be snatched. If anyone is looking into moving to a different property within the luxury market or at the top of the mass market, now is definitely the time.

Letizia Garcia Casalino Head of Residential Services Colliers International Hong Kong

OUTSTANDING HOME Area: Mid-Levels Central Sale: $46,800,000 Size: 1,071 sq. ft Bedrooms: 3 (1 ensuite) Bathrooms: 2 Web reference: 180724

This well-designed apartment is a bright, high-floor unit with amazing city views and modern decoration and fittings. It’s a newly renovated flat with a fully equipped kitchen and stylish bathrooms, along with excellent clubhouse facilities and a supermarket across the road. Central is a five-minute drive away.





Area: Happy Valley Rent: $107,000 incl. Size: 1,461 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2 Web reference: 180778

Leighton Hill is located in the residential area of Happy Valley. With green surroundings, sport grounds, parks and local stores around it, this is an appealing compound for everyone. It’s a few minutes’ walk to Times Square, too, with easy access to buses, mini buses and trams.

TRANQUIL TERRACE Area: Jardine’s Lookout Rent: $200,000 incl. Size: 1,716 sq. ft Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2.5 Web reference: 181038

A charming terrace house in a small private development, this multi- storey property has a ground-floor garage for three cars. The new Western-sized kitchen features a connected utility area, and helpers’ quarters with separate rooms for a maid and driver. There are multiple living and dining areas with a large terrace finished with sandstone paving and a wraparound patio. Bedrooms are located on higher floors with green views and the top storey has been converted into an optional home cinema.

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CENTRAL & ELEGANT Area: Mid-Levels West Rent: $85,000 incl. Size: 2,160 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2 Web reference: 180815

Conveniently located opposite the Mid-Levels Escalator, this charming apartment has well- proportioned rooms throughout and a large galley-style kitchen with oven and maid’s room. The master ensuite bedroom has a walk-in closet, and can accommodate a king- size bed, while two further double bedrooms have built-in wardrobes provided. One car park space is included.


Located in the center of Happy Valley, this development is within easy walking distance to Causeway Bay and shops. The family-friendly development has onsite facilities including a gym and outdoor swimming pool. The high-rise apartment has a good-sized kitchen with high-end appliances, along with a big balcony.

Area: Happy Valley Rent: $130,000 incl. Size: 2,006 sq. ft

Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Web reference: 180282

For more detail on these properties or to see more options, go to




The link between productivity and minimalism is being embraced by this co-working space. Need a Quiet Place toWork? What makes your approach connect so well with this demographic?

Instead of having a single demographic, our community consists of multiple users. To meet their needs, we adjust our approach accordingly. How we establish empathy is different for each individual. Mostly, it starts with just listening to people. Some members just want to have a chat, while others seek professional advice or a business introduction. Each space at theDesk is unique, just like its clients. Certain elements are consistent, such as our colour palette and material choice. This also includes our operations and customer experience. Consistency establishes fairness and trust; it makes theDesk a safe place for our members. But – and this sounds contradictory – people are unique and our sites differ, from our team to our communities, to our workspace offerings, business approach and branding. They’re all customised and localised. It’s very subtle, but a cookie- cutter approach doesn’t work for our members. How do your spaces differ across Hong Kong?

Not all co-working spaces are about socialisation and blending lifestyle with work effort. At theDesk , they’re taking a different approach: business value delivered with a minimalist design approach. We caught up with OSCAR VENHUIS, Chief Creative Officer, to understand a little more about his vision. Co-working spaces have become famous for social and lifestyle design elements, but theDesk is more about minimalism; why is that? The reason why professionals join our community is that we focus on adding business value, not lifestyle benefits. Our members want to get work done. We provide this environment by removing all unnecessary distractions so they can focus on what really matters at our workspace. Minimalism is neither a lifestyle nor a super- visual style element, but rather it’s the result and representation of the way we think about achieving the extraordinary. Continuous disruption in the workspace is one of the top reasons why people are unable to focus. A workspace full of distractions reduces productivity, whereas our minimal approach gives you the opposite. Less distraction makes focusing and doing complex work easier, and therefore increases productivity. Your mission statement is “Unlock the power of neighbourhood”; how is the importance of neighbourhood reflected in your design approach? How many people know those working one floor up or down from them? Imagine now if you could unlock every single resource around you and how this would change the way we work with each other? Whatwouldyousayisthelinkbetween minimalism and productivity?

Traditionally, co-working spaces serve only their own members. At theDesk, our ethos is to include our neighbours, connecting members with members but with our neighbouring businesses as well. This is what we call our “inclusive community”. For eachproject,we include asmany local or neighbouring resources as possible. For example, our visual identity is developed by our award-winning member Toby Ng Design. This is how we are “unlocking the power of neighbourhood”: we involve members and neighbouring businesses in “designing” and building our inclusive community. It’s a co-creation approach where we solve problems together with our business community. Our business community is a highly diverse mix of locals and expats. They range from successful entrepreneurs to established SMEs and MNCs. Instead of having a single demographic, we have multiple users, and we promote diversity in industry, gender, nationality and more. Describe your demographic; what are your clients like?

Find out more at

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Opening Up Opportunity LINDSEY MCALISTER OBE, JP is the founder of Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation. She’s an effervescent creative force who has impacted the lives of an entire generation of Hong Kong youths. What brought you here? I arrived in Hong Kong over 30 years ago with a background in the arts and lots of energy and enthusiasm. From the moment I put my foot on Hong Kong soil (and had the “angel choir” moment), I knew I’d been brought here to make magic. I’d been travelling in Southeast Asia for a year. The plan was to spend a week or two in Hong Kong and then head back to the UK where I had a job waiting for me with the Arts Council. But, after hearing those angels sing, I knew I had to stay. So, I rang the UK and resigned! I felt so strongly that I was supposed to be in Hong Kong. It’s a good thing that I acknowledged my intuition and stayed, otherwise Hong Kong would have been deprived of all these amazing opportunities for young people.




What has been the highlight of your expat experience? Turning Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation (HKYAF) from an idea into a reality has been the highlight of my life! The idea for the foundation began as a youth arts festival. I’d been trying to get it off the ground for several months, doing very un-strategic things like cold-calling companies from the yellow pages. I’d met Po Chung, the co-founder of DHL Asia Pacific and Chairman Emeritus of DHL Express, at an arts event, and I was invited to his office to make a presentation about the festival. I’d never done anything like that before. But I went in and did my one-woman show anyway. The presentation went well, but I was told to keep him updated on how plans were going. Six months into my mission, I had about HK$500 in a bank account, and so I went along to the bank to ask for an overdraft to make HKYAF a reality. They said no at first, but I was persistent. It took a whole day before the overdraft was approved. From there on, I created a programme of events, invited schools and artists, booked venues and printed a programme that I posted to everyone. After several days, I received a phone call from Po Chung and he congratulated me on making it happen. He enquired who my sponsor was because there were no logos on the materials I’d sent him. I told him about the overdraft I got and he invited me to his office the following day. When I got there, he was sitting at his desk with his cheque book out. “How much is your overdraft?” he asked, and he wrote me a cheque in response. His next question was “Howmuch do you need to make your festival happen?” – and then he wrote another one! That was a fantastic life lesson. What drove you to start HKYAF? When I arrived in Hong Kong, I had a good look at what was being offered to young people in the arts. Although there were quite a few child or youth art projects, the quality was low. These were opportunities that parents had to pay for and most of them were very competitive.

About the foundation HKYAF is a charity that provides access to high-quality, non-competitive, free-of-charge arts experiences for all young people aged five to 25. Established in 1993, it organises inclusive and inspirational projects that reach out to youngsters of all cultures, backgrounds, languages and abilities, and actively creates opportunities for thosewho are disadvantaged and underprivileged. Each year, HKYAF reaches over 800,000 people through its projects, exhibitions and performances. Join an HKYAF event! • Standard Chartered Arts in the Park Standard Chartered Arts in the Park is one of Hong Kong’s largest youth arts festivals and puppet parades, held in November. Join this family-oriented arts carnival where over 3,500 participants from schools and youth organisations come together to flex their creativemuscles with professional artists. They produce vibrant costumes and giant puppets for two spectacular street parades, plus a variety of stage performances and art stalls.

I felt I could offer something better for the community. I wanted to create inclusive and inspirational projects that reach out to young people of all cultures, backgrounds, languages and abilities. I wanted to actively create opportunities for disadvantaged and underprivileged young people. There was a need to offer free-of-charge opportunities for young people so that everybody had the chance to create and experience the arts in a wide variety of genres. You’ve achieved so much that you were recognised with an OBE in 2006. What’s your advice to other women who want to mobilise communities? My advice is not to think too much. I’m not a big thinker. I follow my heart and just dive in. If you sit down and address all the things that might go wrong, you’d never do anything. If you know in your heart (and you really have to know) that you have an awesome idea that will serve our community, you absolutely have to do it! You don’t do this type of work for the money or the recognition. You do it because it’s like breathing. You can’t live without it!

My advice is not to think too much; if you sit down and address all the things that might go wrong, you’d never do anything!

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