Bathroom The White Gloss Metro Tiles (£19.95/US$28 per square metre) were bought from Walls and Floors and the black-and-white Devon concrete feature tiles (£28.98/US$41 per square metre) from Tons of Tiles. The Large Diamond Brass Pendant Light (£220/US$308) was from Graham & Green.
[Dalston is] busy all the time, day and night, so I really wanted my house to be a sanctuary, away from all the hustle and bustle
“I do a lot of work remotely and don’t find it at all difficult,” Connell says. “With all the technical advances, you really don’t need to be on site all the time. However, Mary Kate and I go back a long way. I’ve worked on a previous house for her and we’ve shopped together for art pieces and furniture. She thinks she doesn’t know what she wants but when presented with choices, she knows instantly what she likes and doesn’t.”
I wanted to highlight the apartment’s art-deco roots without going over the top
Inside a kid-friendly Hong Kong flat, inspired by a nearby waterfall
Kitchen The cabinets (£3,675/US$5143) were from CK Kitchens. The black doors were painted on site. One of Toong’s biggest extravagances was the flamed-granite worktop (£2,233/US$3125), which was supplied and fitted by Surrey Granite & Marble.
Elsewhere are paintings by Australian artists Craig Ruddy and John Olsen, and large photographic prints of the family taken by Mark Morffew when they were living in Tokyo and Hong Kong (first in an ocean-side penthouse in Tai Tam, then a sprawling contemporary loft in Wong Chuk Hang).
Chapman’s eye for design is evident in the art and decorative pieces the couple have collected over the years. A striking series of paintings by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama – collected after a trip to Naoshima island, in the Seto Inland Sea, which has become a destination for art lovers – flanks the four pairs of glass doors leading from the ground floor onto a deck and the garden.
It is important to buy something to remember, otherwise money gets spent and later you can’t remember what it went on
From New York to Hong Kong and back: art-deco apartment a tribute to businesswoman’s travels
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We never buy on impulse. It makes more sense to select classics that you can live with forever, that will never look dated
For one bathroom, she decided on white tiles in combination with small diamond-shaped black ones for a distinctly Gallic feel; in the other are show-stopping paisley tiles that are almost identical to the black-and-white wallpaper in the hallway.
Dining room detail Lily Pond, by Australian artist John Olsen, came from Art Gallery Schubert, in Queensland.
Master bedroom The bed was from Catherine Memmi. Chapman found the Circum mirror (about £300), by Danish brand AYTM, in Places & Spaces. The rug came from her home in Hong Kong. The Costanza table lamp was bought years ago.
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Dining area The circular teak and tiger wood dining table was custom made by Denas Art Curio & Antique Furniture (42 Jalan Kemang Timur, Kemang Bangka 1, Jakarta, Indonesia, tel: 62 21 7197269), and transported to Hong Kong in two pieces as check-in luggage; the upholstered dining chairs were made by Choi Designs (4/F, Dominion Centre, 43 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 6816). The Allegretto Assai pendant light (HK$55,000) came from Foscarini.
The half-moon table came from Dynasty Antiques, in Macau, and the black lacquered candlestick lamp was bought from Altfield. The huanghuali and burlwood chest-on-chest came from a shop that has since closed; on it sits a lamp with a Buddha head base, bought from Simone Figueiredo Luz, in Brazil. The painting above the lamp, Peasants At Dusk, by Megan Karlen, came from Beauregard Fine Art, in New Jersey.
“We never buy on impulse,” she says. “It makes more sense to select classics that you can live with forever, that will never look dated.”
Entrance The stained-glass door opens onto a minimalist entrance hall that leads into a formal dining room on one side and a library on the other. The pendant lamp came with the house.
In the bedrooms, Toong installed basic wardrobe frames from Ikea and then designed MDF doors for them. “I had the doors made myself but there’s also a company called Superfront that makes MDF doors for Ikea units,” she says.
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Living area The gold wall fixtures on either side of the artwork above the fireplace were bought from Flair, in Florence, Italy. The black plantation shutters from International Blind Contractors, bookshelves by Think Fabricate and fireplace mantel by architect and designer Thomas Sansone from TAS Design (937 West 28th Street, New York, tel: 1 917 861 1748), were all custom made in New York. Anji Connell set the design direction to ensure cohesiveness.
“I’ve moved it around to a few properties and it works really well in the corner here,” she says. “But I love it so much I would make a house work around it.” Conscious that the mid-century furniture and smoked-timber floors throughout the house were extravagant choices, Toong pinched pennies in other rooms. The bathroom walls are clad in affordable Metro tiles, which Toong had laid in a chevron pattern so that they appear “more designer”.
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Purchases for their new home were limited to a modernist-style glossy white marble coffee table and a Clio armchair, both from B&B Italia.
“Mary Kate’s collection of art and objets is stunning and, when mixed with her European furniture, they give a wonderful lived-in feel,” Connell says. “It’s not contrived in any way but is a real, comfortable home, filled with memories.”
“It is important to buy something to remember, otherwise money gets spent and later you can’t remember what it went on,” she says.
A nod to the past: inside a 1930s home in luxury enclave in Kowloon
It’s no surprise that Hong Kong-bred, London-based architect and interior designer Sharon Toong wanted to live in the buzzing Dalston district. Filled with trendy restaurants and bars, the area is so famous as a haunt of young creatives that even hipster magazine Vice dubbed it “London’s coolest hangout”.
One of her trademarks is the use of pendant lights, which feature in every room. “They create a good focal point and help bounce light around,” she says. Toong’s favourites are the three Frandsen copper ball pendant lamps in the stairwell.
The rental had been renovated to a high standard, with pure white walls and heated oak flooring in a simple, minimalist palette, so all the family had to do was unpack, an exercise they completed in 48 hours.
Living area Milo, the family’s labradoodle, has a Mungo and Maud dog bed on each floor. The family photographs are by Australian artist Mark Morffew. The Magis Tavolo XZ3 dining table and chairs came from Skandium, in London.
Connell also suggested borrowing the black-and-white graphic design on the fabric of a Parisian stool as inspiration for several rugs. These provide continuity, tying various spaces together.
Entrance The ancestor painting was bought from Hoi Lung Arts (50 Rua de Sao Paulo, Macau, tel: 853 2834 0063). The pendant light was from Dany Art Deco, and the black-and-gold Mylar damask medallion wall covering was from DesignYourWall. The rug was custom made through Liora Manné, in New York. In the living area, the black marble Hand-of-Buddha chair (US$4,700) was bought from Kalakriti, in Agra, India.
Mural Toong commissioned British illustrator Andy Council to paint this mural, complete with Two IFC and the HSBC Building, on her garden wall. Council also gave Toong a print of the painting, so the artwork can be part of her future homes.
The black, wall-mounted, swing-arm Potence lamp (£799/US$1118) is by Jean Prouvé for Vitra and came from twentytwentyone. The two small Tom Dixon Mirror Ball gold pendant lights (£300 each/US$412) were from Heal’s. The round mirror (£60/US$84) came from Ikea.
Another plus point was that the 840 sq ft property needed only limited structural changes. Toong removed two awkward walls of glass bricks that divided the living room and kitchen to make the ground-floor space open plan. Upstairs, she enlarged the two bedrooms by moving the bathroom from a prime corner position to sit between the rooms.
“This is the first house we lived in together and is where we lived when we got married, so the mural is a history of us,” Toong says. Inside the house, the most important thing for Toong, who founded interior design studio House of Sylphina in 2015, was stamping the home with her signature style. “My style is generally urban and when I style a property I like to mix contemporary and vintage pieces,” she says.
The pentagonal table was from Mountain Dandy, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the United States, and the Julya lamp on it came from Simone Figueiredo Luz, in Brazil. The high-gloss gold table came from a store in Portland, Oregon.
It’s this mixture of high-end and affordable, mid-century and contemporary that makes Toong’s house unique. “The house is very efficient and has everything we need,” Toong says. “But it also has character.”
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An ancient ceramic sculpture from Arch Angels Antiques, on Hollywood Road, and contemporary Japanese and Chinese ceramics serve as reminders of their life in Asia.
Jackson’s collection of art and accessories balance the monochrome palette by adding coordinating pops of colour. The coral of a woman’s headscarf in a painting on the dining-room wall, for example, matches a lampshade and statuette below it.
As a counterpoint to the shiny, modern lighting, the interior designer filled the house with vintage pieces of furniture. While some of these, such as the side table in the kitchen, were affordable pieces Toong found on eBay, others were sourced through antiques dealers. The 1950s corner cabinet in the living room is particularly close to her heart.
The desk (£450/US$630) was from 20th-century furniture specialist The Peanut Vendor and the Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair (£920/US$1,287) came from Coexistence. Toong installed an internal window above the stairs to let light filter downstairs.
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“Antiques brought my studies of Chinese history to life and learning about art unlocked the culture,” Jackson says.
“It’s important – especially when you have teenagers – to have a break-out area,” Chapman says. “It doesn’t need to be a huge space, but there must be somewhere, like my library, to go when I want some peace and quiet.”
Bathroom The Antipasti Mosaic Majestic Grande floor tiles in Nero were bought through Ann Sacks. The Casey Art Deco Undermount Console Sink was bought from Signature Hardware and the mirror-shelf-light unit came from Boffi.
The greatest challenge was to resist the temptation to fill the large, empty spaces. Chapman, who trained as a lawyer, says she and her husband try to buy furniture and art as lifetime investments and not to suit just one house.
Jackson agrees. “Most of my furnishings are souvenirs of my travels. Every piece, every room tells a story of where I’ve lived.”
Mary Kate’s collection of art and objets is stunning and, when mixed with her European furniture, they give a wonderful lived-in feel. It’s not contrived in any way but is a real, comfortable home, filled with memories
The two sofas originally came from Altfield but Mary Kate Jackson gave them a new lease of life with slipcovers in fabric from Holland & Sherry. The coffee table was custom made by Dynasty Antiques (Rua de Santo Antonio, Edificio Long Cheong, Macau, tel: 853 357 629). The two slipper chairs were bought from Dany Art Deco (154 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, Paris, France, tel: 33 1 49 45 09 97). The black-and-white stool was bought from Michele Aragon (21 Rue Jacob, Paris, tel: 33 1 43 25 87 69) and later re-upholstered in Pierre Frey’s Gotham Cardinal fabric.
The three Frandsen ball pendant lights (£146/US$204 each) were from Heal’s. The table lamp (on the floor) is an IC T1 High (£328/US$459), by Michael Anastassiades for Flos, and came from twentytwentyone.
Toong thought finding a quiet bolt-hole in Dalston would be a challenge, but one of the first properties she saw when she began house hunting in 2014, 13 years after moving to Britain, was a two-bedroom, two-storey house on a quiet private road. Far enough from the neighbourhood’s noisy bars yet close to the nearest train station, the house was a hidden gem.
The pair worked together largely by sending each other photographs of ideas and occasionally having Skype calls, through which Connell could check on progress.
Dining room The Citterio-designed Max dining table and chairs, from B&B Italia, were bought years ago, as was the trio of ceiling lamps, from Santa & Cole. The Japanese tableware was from Living Motif, in Tokyo.
Gail Chapman designed the black and white check rug for a previous home in Hong Kong. She bought the PK61 coffee table and PK22 lounge chairs, by Poul Kjaerholm for Fritz Hansen, years ago with an inheritance. The Japanese lantern next to the fireplace was bought from an antiques shop in Tokyo.
Kitchen Four double doors lead from the kitchen onto the deck and garden. Infinity Nets (2004), one of a series of three paintings, is by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
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The New York apartment of Mary Kate Jackson. Photography: Richard Caplan
Master bathroom The bathroom is clad in silver-grey marble. Chapman added a limited-edition print by Adrian Lockhart, a wedding gift to the couple.
Library The painting is by Archibald Prize-winning Australian artist Craig Ruddy and was bought from Richard Martin Art, in Woollahra, Sydney. The Victor sofa from Flexform and the standing lamp from Sedia, in Sydney, were both bought years ago.
The generously sized entrance hall leads onto a library on one side, a formal dining room on the other and a large kitchen-living-dining area directly ahead. Sliding doors close to create intimate spaces when need be.
Hong Kong landmarks such as Two IFC, the Bank of China Tower and the HSBC Building are featured in the design. The mural also includes the London building in which Toong first met her husband (at architecture firm Stufish’s office, near Kings Cross) and the Dai Show Theatre, in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, which they both helped design.
Inspired by the home of a friend who was living in a colonial “black and white” house in Singapore, Jackson installed black shutters throughout her flat and chose white decor with black accents as her overall theme. She installed diagonally laid checkerboard flooring in the kitchen, which replicates the art-deco style in the foyer of her apartment block.
A pair of 19th-century Chinese candle stands from Mingei Antiques (50 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2524 5518) sit on a chest of drawers bought years ago in Paris. The bedside lamps were from Rooms to Go, Fort Myers, Florida and the paintings, by a relative, were a gift. The stool was bought in Miami, Florida, and the rug was picked up on a trip to Istanbul, Turkey.
Plans to scale back, however, evaporated the instant they walked into a six-bedroom 5,000 sq ft house in London, perfectly located for Richard’s office in the City and Chapman’s frequent Heathrow Airport runs. She blames their uncharacteristic change of heart on the natural light that floods each room, as well as the bonus – a garden for their labradoodle, Milo.
But the mural also has a more personal meaning for Toong. “I grew up in Hong Kong and my husband grew up in Sacramento, California, so in the mural there are buildings from both those places,” she says.
“Anji was fantastic about steering me to spend wisely but even she agreed that the [paisley] tiles would be a good design investment,” Jackson says. “They make a feature out of an otherwise boring little room.”
The apartment’s previous owner had combined two one-bedroom units into a single spacious property, and installed warm Brazilian cherry wood flooring throughout. Jackson liked the layout, with the communal living areas at the heart of the apartment and the two bedrooms and two bathrooms on opposite sides, but decided that the living, dining/kitchen and bathrooms all needed a makeover.
Exterior The pair of charcoal ceramic pots on either side of the entrance alcove were from Petersham Nurseries. Classic wooden shutters allow plenty of light inside while retaining privacy.
Experiencing another continent for the first time can affect a person. Businesswoman Mary Kate Jackson discovered just how profoundly when she moved from New York to Hong Kong in 1993. Having never lived outside her native America, she was required by the company she was working for to understand Chinese culture and customs with a view to conducting business. She immersed herself in the culture, studying Mandarin, Chinese history, religion and literature; learning brush-stroke painting; and taking cooking lessons.
The wine fridge came from Sub-Zero and the pendant lights were from Lighting by Gregory. The Wicked Women of Disney print series – Maleficent, Evil Queen and Cruella De Vil – was a gift from Disney.
“We initially didn’t like the bathroom because it was over-marbleised but we added some art, fresh flowers and black towels that help to tone it down,” she says.
Living room The vintage corner cabinet (£480/US$672) is Toong’s favourite piece of furniture and was bought from Fandango Interiors. The Mags Straight Sofa (£1,751/US$2,450), by Hay, is from Made in Design, and the lamp (about £35/US$49) from Ikea. Toong found the coffee table (£45/US$63) on eBay.
“We thought downsizing was going to be straightforward – simply shedding a few large items, like our grand piano, and relocating to a chic, smaller apartment in the city, but nothing went quite as planned,” says globetrotting Australian entrepreneur Gail Chapman, who recently moved from a seven-bedroom house in the Kent countryside, to southwest London.
The shelf cost about £300 to install. The Bentwood Ash bed (£225/US$315) was from Muji and the pendant light is a Junction Grand Chandelier (£189/US$264) from Heal’s.
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While hanging a mirror was the obvious solution to increasing the feeling of space in the relatively small living room, Jackson wanted something more unusual. Connell came up with the idea for antiqued mirror panelling, cut into pieces of various shapes. Installed behind a working fireplace and a piece of art, the mirror wall provides a focal point, adds depth and interest as well as seeming to double the space.
Toong wanted her small garden to pay tribute to Dalston, so decided to commission an artist to paint a large, graffiti-style mural. After plenty of research, Toong fell in love with the work of Bristol-based illustrator Andy Council. “He’s famous for doing cityscapes in the shape of dinosaurs,” Toong says. “My husband [Maciej Woroniecki] and I both trained as architects, so we thought that was really cool.”
The family relax together in the kitchen-living area and garden. Upstairs, the six bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms, while a spacious gym and study take up the top floor. The only room that Chapman balked at was the master bathroom.
Dining area and kitchen This was originally the darkest room in the house, so Sharon Toong brightened it up with pendant lights and white furniture. The Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chairs for Vitra (£345/US$483 each) came from Coexistence; the fibreglass tulip-style table (£399/US$558) came from Ønske; and the vintage side table (£30/US$42) was sourced through eBay.
Master bedroom The Baltic Blue Japanese Kabuki Suede wallpaper was sourced from Phillip Jeffries and the polar white suede Alison king headboard with contrast piping came from Ethan Allen, in New York. The large elmwood chest next to the bed was bought from A Hyun Furniture (#736-8 Hannam-dong Yongsan-ku, Seoul, South Korea, tel: 82 795 6098).
Terrace/garden Chapman bought the pair of Stingray rocking chairs (HK$21,920 each) from Manks in Hong Kong. The outdoor sconces came with the house.
“In my mind, even though we’ve moved to a similar-sized house, we’re still on track to downsize our possessions,” she says.
One of Chapman’s favourite pieces is a Fritz Hansen PK61 table and PK22 chairs she bought in Hong Kong with part of an inheritance left by her grandfather.
Fast forward a decade and Jackson found herself coming full circle, living back in New York in a chic 1,600 sq ft apartment on Park Avenue that she had bought in 2010. In 2013, she embarked on a renovation, with Hong Kong-based interior architect Anji Connell setting the design direction and fusing Jackson’s disparate collection of “lifetime souvenirs” into a cohesive whole.
She and husband Richard, a banker, have led a peripatetic life since 2002, when they left Australia for Tokyo. After six years in Japan, the family relocated to Hong Kong before upping sticks again, in 2014, to move to Britain. The couple’s children left the nest last year.
At your service Mary Kate Jackson converted a walk-in cupboard into a butler’s pantry, traditionally used in Victorian times as a bridging space between the kitchen and dining room, to store the family’s silverware and formal china. Positioned off the dining area, this New York version was constructed specifically to fit a framed Dubonnet poster bought in Paris and a hanging shelf was constructed to fit the space.
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The mural by artist Andy Council includes depictions of Hong Kong landmarks.
She also travelled extensively in the region, visiting Japan, India and Indonesia, among other countries, picking up items to remind her of where she had been. From Hong Kong, she moved to Paris, followed by stints in Amsterdam and Florence.
“I wanted to highlight the apartment’s art-deco roots without going over the top and Anji did that but also brought everything into the 21st century,” Jackson says. “She added that little spark of life that makes all the difference.”
Kitchen Jackson installed the checkerboard flooring and countertops when she renovated the apartment in 2013.
Despite having deviated from their original plan, the couple still consider the move a downsize, a fact Chapman reminds herself of frequently.
The sofa, armchairs and rugs were bought years ago in Hong Kong. The Lithos Calacatta white marble-top coffee table (£2,500/ US$3,574) was designed by Antonio Citterio and came from B&B Italia. Also designed by Citterio for B&B Italia was the Mida storage unit (HK$126,000) in front of the world-map wallpaper (£30 per square metre), which came from Mr Perswall.
Study Toong turned the master bedroom into her study and furnished it with a Stella three-seat sofabed (£2,040/US$2855), from sofa.com; Lennon Chandelier (£149/US$209), from made.com; and Scandi Rug (£80/US$112), from Rockett St George.
My style is generally urban and when I style a property I like to mix contemporary and vintage pieces
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Shelf improvement When Sharon Toong, of House of Sylphina, squeezed the bathroom between the two bedrooms, it meant installing a network of new pipes, including a soil pipe that runs through the master bedroom. “To hide it, we installed this shelf that runs all the way along one wall of the bedroom,” Toong says. “You can put all sorts of things on the shelf. You can have collections of books or small prints there; you can even have one large artwork there, propped up against the wall.”
But the very things about Dalston that appealed to Toong – the creative community and the nightlife – also make it a difficult place in which to live. “It’s busy all the time, day and night,” says Toong, who grew up in Mid-Levels. “So I really wanted my house to be a sanctuary, away from all the hustle and bustle.”