Furniture: Finding the right sofa, chair, bed, table, wardrobe and more is all it takes to make the right statement
13 August 2014
A furniture shop – like a sweet shop to a child – can be tempting. You find yourself overjoyed with the choice, colours, styles and ambience, often resulting in impulse buys that may or may not suit each room. Then the piece arrives and panic sets in – a bit like your five-year-old self-overdosing on jelly babies all those years ago.
Interior inspiration can often come from making a statement, room by room. Suzanne Harrison finds that one “wow” piece for specific areas might be all it takes to get it just right.
So how do we express our personality in our home decor and still make the right choices? As an expat, you need to think of your Hong Kong life, the temperature, the building type or space (which – as we know – can be small or awkward). This is when you may have to trust in making a statement to avoid overkill. Why? According to the experts, all it takes is one standout furniture piece for one room to bring out its best, as long as it has the ability to fit in with your lifestyle.
Luckily, if there is one thing Hong Kong has plenty of, it’s choice, especially when it comes to original, beautiful and household furniture and wares that become a talking point.
So if you’re looking at your home with a statement piece mindset, always go by the mantra: “If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.” After all, this is your home. You have to look at it, be in it and feel its mood, so you may as well make it a good one.
No matter how long you intend to stay – even if it’s forever – garner some inspiration from the gorgeous, room-by-room furniture items we’ve handpicked from several of Hong Kong’s most respected specialist furniture shops.
In 1949, Arthur Miller – later to marry Marilyn Monroe – wrote his Pulitzer-wining play, Death of a Salesman. This was a time in American society of post-war economic growth, allowing people to spend more on comfort and style, both in the way they dressed and on their homes. It was the end of the art deco period, yet this influence was still apparent in the colour and drama of some pieces.
At the same time, architectural style was becoming more industrialised, sparking an interest in goods using modern materials, while television helped instil an appreciation for global designs and inspirations. The resulting look was a mix of angular sophistication and contemporary comfort.
Cathy Foo of Indigo Living says the company has tapped into this ambience with one of its latest collections, The Miller, named after the playwright. “It’s a collection ideal for small apartment living,” Cathy says. “The pieces have been scaled and designed to fit into smaller Hong Kong apartments.”
There are details that achieve this, such as furniture pieces with legs that take up minimal floor space and doors that slide rather than open out. The colours replicate the feeling of the vintage, Scandinavian-style furniture that seeped into American homes from the 1950s.
Picture Arthur Miller and Marilyn canoodling in your living room on Indigo Living’s Three Seat Sofa, particularly the one in understated olive green. Designed to sit with the wooden Miller collection, the sofa is luxurious and sophisticated. The furniture style is from iconic Scandinavian design, low slung, with curved corners, and raised off the ground. The frame is hand-built and the cover is hand-sewn; the legs and frame are made from solid wood.
6/F Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau
2555 0540 | indigo-living.com
Sleep. Dream. Live. That’s Okooko’s slogan, and one that sounds pretty appealing. After all, a great night’s sleep does elude many of us in this non-stop city. Okooko provides a range of natural products, with furniture designs inspired by the natural beauty and splendid isolation of New Zealand. Its collections span all things bedroom, from furniture designs to sleep technologies and accessories.
At the heart of these are stunning bed designs made from sustainably harvested wood, such as New Zealand native rimu and tawa. Each bed is made from all-natural materials and can be personalised to you or your partner’s sleep comfort, with a specified platform mattress and support.
Among the furniture collection is the Abode Compact Bed, which Okooko representative Yin Koo says “is perfect for rooms where space is at a premium, as its functional design eliminates the need for conventional bedsides.” The bed features an integrated headboard with cubbyhole storage and a flat surface where you can keep necessities close at hand.
The bed comes in a choice of queen- and king-size, and in dark or nature tones, allowing for a variety of personalised details. You can customise further with an ingenious Bodyfit Mattress from New Zealand; these are perfectly suited to Okooko beds and will help you achieve that perfect night’s sleep – in a very stylish setting!
26/F, Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau
2870 1132 | okooko.com
This is one of those furniture pieces you just want to run your hand along as soon as you see it. So imagine the buzz that the recycled solid-elm dining table will create in your dining room?
“A meal shared with family and friends is a priceless occasion,” says Stockroom representative Jojoba Lam on the importance of finding the right table for your home. “This table and its benches can seat up to six, or you can add chairs to the heads of the table and cater to eight. Yet even for dinner for two, the salvaged elm table makes for a comfortable arrangement.”
The country-style dining table is designed by Stockroom itself. It’s sturdily crafted for comfort and practicality, and also looks great; the aged wood has gained a deep, rich patina, and the classic contemporary design is easy and elegant, and would be receptive to many different decor styles – a generational piece of craftsmanship you can take to any part of the world for as long as you grace its shores.
It’s no surprise that the specialty of online furniture group Stockroom is solid wood furniture. “It’s the nature of nature that no two things are created the same in this world,” says Jojoba. It’s a mantra that makes for original, beautiful and timeless furniture pieces.
STUDY / HOME OFFICE
If you work from home, you know how difficult it can be to get the right mix of space and comfort in a study area – and getting the right desk and chair is particularly important in your furniture choice. Bad backs from stiff chairs and lack of work and storage space on a desk can wreak havoc on your workday.
For those who can’t leave the office behind and need a hideaway at home from which to finish their duties or creative aspirations, a functional, timeless and attractive desk and chair is second to none.
INSIDE has the right mix. Soft, calm and unobtrusive is how their study/home office furniture pieces could best be described. Company representative Nhi Ly pinpoints the Tregardoc Desk as a particularly suitable piece for anyone who works from home. In an antique linen shade and at a very suitable size (120 x 60 x 90cm), the desk has built-in drawers and separate storage spaces. Pair it with the space-saving Onslow “linen” chair and you’re set for comfort, style and practicality.
What this simple yet classic furniture line has is the ability to remain the focus of the room yet not overtake it. Throw a bright cushion on the chair, fill the drawers with pencils and pens, add a colourful reading light and get the job done.
Landmark Prince’s Building (2537 6298), Horizon Plaza (2873 1795) and The Repulse Bay (2812 6685) | inside.com.hk
If you have the space, if you plan on spending a lot of time here and if you need to relax, there’s no greater gift to your self and your family than a lovely bath. It might not be a Hong Kong bathroom staple, but the design styles available if you do want to splash out, so to speak, are simply stunning.
“The Centro Duo Oval is pure and elegant,” says E.Bon representative Vivian Tung. “The basic oval shape, the extra depth of 47cm as well as identical backrests and centrally placed waste make it the ideal bath for bathing together.”
Even better is that the bathtub comes in slip-resistant, anti-slip and full anti-slip, with an easy-clean finish and lighting set. Extras such as a waterfall bath inlet or a whirlpool option are also available. Says Vivian: “It’s an eye-catcher in any bathroom.”
E.Bon is known as one of the major suppliers of architectural hardware, bathroom, kitchen collection and designer furniture in Hong Kong. This successful group started as a humble, traditional hardware shop in 1976, so they know their stuff.
Colour, tradition and fine craftsmanship in a rug will transform any room. Finding something unique you can pass from generation to generation makes it even more special. A Sarouk Persian rug fits this description perfectly.
In the second half of the 19th century, a huge market was created for Persian carpets in Europe and in the US. CarpetBuyer’s Corporate Sales and Marketing representative Heena Mir says that many merchants bought the old and antique Persian rugs from all over Iran and exported them to other countries.
“They used the city of Tabriz in northwest Iran to export these antiques to Europe via Turkey,” says Heena. “Some merchants also used the southern ports on the Persian Gulf to export Persian rugs to the US by sea. By the later decades of the nineteenth century, probably around 1880, the supply of these fine antique rugs from Persia was on the low side. Therefore, many of the merchants from Tabriz decided to establish workshops in Sultanabad to produce rugs based on the western demand. Sarouk is a village located 30 miles north of the city of Sultanabad (today called Arak) famous for weaving very heavy body carpets. The wool used in these carpets was of very high quality and hand-spun, so you can still feel the oils or lanolin of the wool even years and decades later as you walk on them; the wool becomes shinier.”
The antique carpets, she adds, are rare and hard to find, but from time to time there are dealers who are willing to sell some of the prize pieces from their collections of many decades.
17/F, Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau
2850 5508 | carpetbuyer.com