An open-plan oasis
A light, airy abode tucked away amidst the hustle and bustle of Central, Louisa Lawless’ bright, open-plan flat is serving up some serious home décor inspo!
Having moved from a coastal city just outside of Sydney in 2006, we chat to the founder of luxury, jewellery storage solutions, TRUNKED, to see how she has since adapted to Hong Kong, her tips for using a neutral palette (with pops of colour!) and how she has used her extensive background in interior design to turn her apartment into a home.
Pssst… Louisa is also giving away one of her gorgeous trunks, so be sure to scroll down to see how you can enter!
Tell us about your background and where you’re from?
I’m Australian – I grew up in Wollongong, a city an hour south of Sydney, it’s a beautiful coastal town with a down to earth culture. After completing university I did a gap year teaching English in France. I then moved back to Sydney and started working for an Interior Design firm called SJB. This was the start of my love affair with all things design.
Fast-forward a few years – I met my husband in Sydney in 2006 and within six months of dating we moved to HK, It’s been a whirlwind ever since!
Since living in Hong Kong I have worked for two of the top interior design firms; Hirsch Bedner and Gettys and then after having my first child I started to freelance. I recently launched TRUNKED by Louisa Lawless, primarily a trunk company that designs and manufactures luxurious, functional and chic jewellery storage solutions.
Where do you live and why? How did you choose this flat as your Hong Kong home?
We live on Tregunter Path in Mid-Levels, which is very convenient and easy. We have a beautiful green outlook from every window overlooking The Peak, it’s so quiet and peaceful yet still close to the hustle and bustle of Central.
Before moving to this apartment, we lived on Hollywood Road and then in the thick of it in Causeway Bay – both were so much fun when you have no children but once kids came into the picture we wanted somewhere a little more family friendly.
From the first moment I saw the apartment, I just loved the open-plan living and it felt like a home rather than an apartment. It has lots of natural light and a beautiful green outlook, which is rare in HK!
The apartment is a great size, we have three young kids and we wanted room for them to run around. It’s big enough that you feel like you can escape to another room and still have your own space.
What are the best and worst things about living where you do? What makes the area that you live in different from other neighborhoods in Hong Kong?
The best thing is definitely the convenience and the space. In our building there are lots of families with young kids so our kids are easily entertained with lots of playdates. The building has a great playroom and swimming pool which is very convenient. The only negative is that most of our social environment is very close around Mid-Levels, so you tend to be a little lazy.
Tregunter Path is unique in that the density is relatively low, you feel away from Central but close enough that everything is within five to ten minutes. As a busy family, saving time becomes precious!
How would you describe your own personal style?
It’s modern relaxed glamour. I love modern furniture in a neutral palette and then accessorising it with pops of colour.
My style has naturally evolved, before having kids I loved our home to look immaculate, everything perfect and in the right place. After kids it’s a whole different ball game and I love the fact that our place looks like a home and not a show flat.
Where have you taken inspiration? Did you initially have a theme in mind?
Being an Interior Designer I am always looking through magazines and going online to find inspiration. I wanted our place to be light and spacious while still feeling sophisticated and polished.
I also love Kelly Wearstler’s work – I am one of her biggest fans.
Which room are you most proud of? Why?
Our living / dining room! It’s the pivotal room of our house and the place where we spend most of the time together. I love the open-plan living, and that it is light and airy.
For the dining area, our big solid wood bookcase is the feature. It is filled with all gorgeous homewares and books from our travels. I love our two black dome pendants that hang over our dining table and our Bertoia dining chairs. Simple, modern classics!
For the living area, we have an off-white cowhide rug which anchors the room. Our sofa was custom made to fit the space and it’s so comfortable and modern. The two blue velvet chairs bring some glamour into the room. I have lots of art hanging around the room – it brings the colour into it.
What has been the biggest home improvement you’ve made? Any tips and tricks for easily updating the look of a room?
When we moved in we made a few cosmetic changes like a fresh coat of paint and new lighting – both of these made a huge difference.
The main thing we did was install a new kitchen. We love to cook and entertain. We wanted our kitchen to be open-plan, spacious and light. I love the white cabinets & bench tops it feels so fresh and clean.
What’s your favourite piece in your home?
My beautiful ‘New Yorker’ Jewellery TRUNK of course! It’s the star piece in my bedroom and it steals the show.
It holds all of my jewellery and accessories and it’s also a beautiful statement piece of furniture. It’s big enough to hold everything but not too big that it dominates the room. It’s sophisticated and beautiful!
What about your choice of furniture? Why did you choose these pieces?
I wanted modern comfortable pieces. I love the modern classics; like the Bertoia dining chairs, The Barcelona Chair and The Eames Lounge Chair. They will never date in my opinion.
I also love to mix different textures and finishes, I don’t like it all to match and be the same. Having a contrast gives it an edge and balances it all out.
Where is your favourite place to shop for homeware in Hong Kong?
My favorite places are Apartment 49, Lane Crawford Home and Indigo Living. I also try to buy something little from every place we travel to. I love to look around our home and be reminded of our family experiences. Art and accessories are what transforms a house into a home!
Describe your dream flat.
This apartment but with a massive walk-in-closet added just for me!
How have you made your space work for you?
It’s always a work in progress; I’m always playing around with it and changing things around. I drive my husband crazy. I think the longer you live somewhere and the more you change things around the more you make the most out of the space.
Read more: 7 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Space
Any tips for combining style with functionality?
Using open or floating shelves is a great way to achieve this. Not only does it look good but you can show off your beautiful art and accessories.
What advice would you give before you move in? Any tips for styling a home?
Measure the apartment before you move in and plan your space properly!
Tips on styling – I think if you stick to a neutral palette for the furniture, walls & floor you can’t go wrong. Use colour and texture on your soft furnishings and artwork that will give it the ‘wow’ factor. Also if you really love a furniture piece then make it fit and work around it.
All the beautiful images were taken by the extremely talented Hong Kong wedding photographer Ali Ghorbani of Ali G Studios. Follow him on Instagram @aligphoto and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AliGStudio