One of the beauties of Hong Kong is that it is truly a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. The city still clings on to some of its colonial past at the same time as being a modern Chinese metropolis attracting visitors and residents from all corners of the globe. The Hungs are a family who truly exemplify the “global nature” of the city. Mum Joanne was born and bred in Hong Kong, most of her family still live here and she is rightly proud and passionate about her heritage and her roots. Her husband Sam was also born in Hong Kong, but was educated at a British public school and university and is a perfect example of Hong Kong’s combination of the best of East and West. Joanne invites us for a peek inside her stunning family home in Southside.
It is in the next generation where the lines become a little more blurred. Joanne has been blessed with three beautiful daughters, who she lovingly refers to as her A, B and C – in reference to Abigail (17), Bethany (13) and Charis (11). They were all born in Hong Kong, spent their childhoods in the family home in South Bay and attended Bradbury and South Island Schools. “They really don’t act like local Chinese girls,” admits Joanne. “I wanted to send them to the local school to learn some Chinese first but my husband thought there was no need. I try to speak to them in Cantonese but really they are very English. All their friends are international expats and many of mine are now too.”
Eldest daughter Abigail is now a pupil at Cheltenham Ladies College in the UK, which, after some minor settling-in problems, she is loving. “My husband was educated in the UK and he really liked the school system there so we took advice from the Dolphin agency who helped us find The Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Abigail has been there for four years now and is doing quite well; it’s very different to the relaxed atmosphere she was used to at South Island but actually ten percent of the pupils in her new school are originally from Hong Kong.”
Instigating a change
The family has lived in the same flat in a quiet cul de sac in South Bay for the past 19 years but it has recently undergone an extensive seven-month renovation. Like most things in Joanne’s life, the Southside home has now been infused with Western tastes. “Before, the house was very Chinese – all dark wood everywhere which I liked as it’s my heritage, but the girls hated. Now it’s all gone. I admit it was time for a change, for the girls and for me.”
The new interior design was very much a family collaboration but they employed the services of local interior designer Nicholas Wong and his colleague Liza Neilson to advise and carry through their vision. The agreed style from the start was “classic contemporary”; something that was practical for a busy family as well as being clean, bright and fresh. The result of this creative meeting of minds is a truly stunning four-bedroom home that makes full use of the views over Repulse Bay and the abundance of light flooding in from both sides of the apartment.
Joanne is now one of the lucky few in Hong Kong to have a kitchen that is spacious and light enough for her family and friends to want to spend long periods of time. Her brief to Nicholas and Liza was to create something bright and white so the units chosen were simple white wood with chrome handles and light marble worktops. The sink unit is moulded Corian. In the centre of the kitchen is a large island unit accessorised with handmade French Astier de Villatte ceramics stocked exclusively at Lane Crawford and a glass domed cake stand, complete on our visit with Sift salted caramel cupcakes. “I love to cook but my daughters now say they hate Chinese cuisine,” admits Joanne.
“I am starting to learn to cook western food, mostly Italian, but at the moment I am still pretty lousy.” Speaking of food, a favourite restaurant of the three girls is Classified, but Joanne and her husband adore Thai and Indian food so they often go to Spices which is just a short walk from home, or they drive to Hin Ho, the one-Michelin-starred local curry restaurant in Shau Kei Wan. The only touches of Asian style that remain in the whole house after its seven month renovation are Joanne’s collection of blue-and-white porcelain, one much loved antique piece from Oriental Home and some newer ginger jars from Chapin House. A glass cabinet underneath them is stacked to the ceiling with stunning pieces of contemporary homewares including botanic print mugs from Town House and a collection of fish plates from Lane Crawford.
A feeling of space has been achieved by opening up the whole of the living, dining and study areas and linking them with the use of a similar colour scheme throughout. Sliding glass doors between the kitchen and dining room add to the open-plan appeal. The dining area has a slightly French country feel due possibly to the wood panelling underneath the dado rail and the plantation shutters on the windows. The 10-seater dining table was bought at TREE and the chairs from Indigo. The stunning hanging lamp above was a find at OVO.
The living area, which enjoys stunning views over Repulse Bay beach and beyond, has a natural colour scheme, though interest has been added to the TREE sofa with a selection of green toile and geometric patterned cushions from Offspring. The tiny African figures on the console table and the stunning antique-style clock were bought on one of the family’s many overseas adventures. One of the only antique pieces in the flat is actually a modern design classic, an original Le Corbusier black leather sofa that Joanne has owned for more than 19 years. The flat is very obviously the home of girls but Sam does have some of his own treasures on display in a series of glass cabinets in the study area. The regiments of miniature British army soldiers, for instance, were all bought at King and Country in Pacific Place.
It is in the bedrooms where all three girls got to indulge their creative sides, choosing colour schemes, wall coverings and accessories. Abigail who is away at boarding school has the largest room with her own ensuite. Her brief to Lisa was to create something “shabby chic” which has been achieved with the use of tongue-and-groove panelling, plantation shutters, a stunning floral bedspread from Inside and accessories sourced in The Village in Kennedy Town. The master suite is equally beautiful with a palette of neutrals and pale greens. “I originally wanted something neutral but Liza convinced me to pick the olive green and the wallpaper,” admits Joanne. “I totally trusted her ideas throughout the flat so didn’t really need to get involved much and I am so delighted with the result.”
The wallpaper on the back feature wall and throughout the house is from US company Thibaut, one of the oldest wallpaper manufacturing companies in the world and represented in Hong Kong by Tat Ming in Wanchai. It was also in Wanchai where Joanne went to find fabrics for blinds and chair coverings, most of them sourced at New Bedford Interiors. The Hungs’ home is now the perfect place for their three girls to enjoy their teenage years; it’s a home that has been transformed with inspiration gained from shared experiences and travels. The perfect combination of old and new, East and West.
Furniture and accessories
Indigo Living | Horizon Plaza (6/F)
2555 0540 | indigo-living.com
INSIDE | Prince’s Building
2537 6298 | inside.com.hk
King & Country | Pacific Place (Shop 245)
2525 8603 | kingandcountry.com
Lane Crawford Home Store | Pacific Place Home Store |2118 3398 | lanecrawford.com
New Bedford Interiors | G/F, 67 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai | 2520 0330
Nicholas Wong | 9250 5254
Offspring Home + Kids Horizon Plaza (15/F) | 2518 7771 | email@example.com
Oriental Home Horizon Plaza (20/F) | 3542 5336 | firstname.lastname@example.org
OVOhome and OVOstudio G/F 16 Queens Road East, Wanchai | 2526 7226 | ovo.com.hk
Tat Ming Wallpaper Wanchai | 2910 2268 | tatming.com
Town House Prince’s Building | 2845 0633 | townhouse.com.hk
TREE Horizon Plaza (28/F) | 2870 1582 | tree.com.hk
Classified Wanchai | 2528 5500 | classifiedfood.com
Hin Ho Curry Restaurant | Shop 11, G/F, East Way Tower,59-99 Shau Kei Wan Main Street East, Shau Kei Wan | 2560 1268
Sift Patisserie Prince’s Building (2/F) | 2147 2968 | siftdesserts.com
Spices The Repulse Bay | 2292 2821
The Cheltenham Ladies’ College (UK) |+44 (0)1242 520691 | cheltladiescollege.org
Dolphin UK Education Suite 604, 6/F, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central | 2524 5503 | dolphinukeducation.com
South Island School | 50 Nam Fung Road, Aberdeen | 2555 9313 | sis.edu.hk
See more in our Homes section