Name: Erin and Ben Hung
Location: Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Size: 580 square feet
Years Lived In: 4 months, owned
You may remember this really cute paper lampshade DIY by Erin Hung, the founder behind the London-based stationery company BerinMade. Having lived in London for a decade, Erin, along with her husband Ben and daughter Phoebe, relocated to Hong Kong a couple of years ago. Downsizing from a three-bedroom apartment to a 580-square-foot apartment (which is already considered a pretty decent size in the city!) was a bit of a challenge, but it was also the perfect canvas for Erin to house all her creative ideas.
Erin and Ben started by opening up the kitchen, creating an open-plan kitchen/dining space/lounge. “We wanted the space to feel more open and bright, for one. We love to entertain and just hate leaving our guests in the living room while disappearing off to the kitchen forever because we needed more guac,” Erin says. “The flat wasn’t really big enough for a decent-sized dining table, nor a dining-sized cooking space. So, we thought, why not combine the countertop space with the dining space?” So the couple opted for a very generous kitchen island where the whole family can cook, eat, and hang out together at the same time.
With some clever rearranging and plenty of storage, Erin has managed to create a light and airy space that really utilizes every inch of their home. The bedroom is particularly interesting, as the couple decided to sacrifice a small room, opening it up to create one big bedroom space. “The way that we had reorganized the bedrooms meant that our room was connected to Phoebe’s room by a little den in between, each partitioned by sliding doors. We had made a decision early on to paint the bedroom walls in pink—it was a two-against-one kind of scenario, which seemed fun at the time, girls against boy,” Erin says. “But now I faced the challenge of styling our bedroom in a stark contrast to a four-year old girl’s room…”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Contemporary chic with a bohemian twist.
Inspiration: It started with envisaging our kitchen—we spend a lot of time around the dining table as a family and also love to entertain, which I didn’t want to give up on just because our flat was small. We wanted a large, light marble countertop in an open kitchen, and I then found the wonderful piece of brown marble for our backsplash, and everything just radiated from there.
Favorite Element: Our brown marble backsplash, which is also echoed in the toilet countertop. It was such a bargain because it’s not currently trendy like other gray/cool tone marbles, but feels warm, organic and chic at the same time paired with brass accessories.
Biggest Challenge: The square footage, definitely, and the worry that there isn’t enough storage. There’s never enough storage with kids, so planning it from the outset was headache-inducing to say the least!
What Friends Say: They always comment on the brass accessories from light switches to the trim around the kitchen cabinets. I had a no chrome policy once we decided on brass (even rose gold got raised eyebrows from me). It did mean everything took twice the amount of time to source on a budget, but I don’t regret it one bit.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our living space actually sits five but that includes sitting on the trunk, poufs and beanbags, so I always try to usher our guests to sit on our sofa before we sit down on the alternative seats.
Proudest DIY: Either the leather strap open shelves in the kitchen, or the geometric planters.
Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the hidden storage platforms we had built under our beds—good storage is one of those things that you don’t notice until you need it and it’s not there.
Best Advice: Invest in good quality paint for your walls. We used an eco-friendly brand called Eico. It doesn’t emit fumes and looks beautiful in all kinds of light.
PAINT & COLORS
Eico Paints — Misty Grey, Blue Grass, Phoebe Rose
Brass Hooks — Anthropologie
Osaka Sofa — Boconcept
Velvet Cushions — Graham and Green
Other cushions — Zara Homes
Moroccan Rug — Thorn and Burrow
Sheep Skin Rug — Cox and Cox
Wooden Trunk — Vintage
Planters — DIY
Framed Photograph — Max Wanger Print Shop
Marble Mugs — NOM
Fruit Plate — Alessi
Corian — Rain Cloud
Lighting base — made.com (Shades were separately sourced)
Sink — Ikea
Brass towel rail — Anthropologie
Marble, tiles and cabinetry — Locally-sourced in Lockhart Road
Velvet Bar stools — Custom made in China
Bedding — Ikea
Chest of drawers — Graham and Greene
Painting — Lulie Wallace
Screen prints by Rachel Castle
Bedding — Ikea
Shelves — DIY
Orange Velvet Pillow — iDecorate
Pink Velvet Cushion — Graham and Greene
Pom Pom lampshade — DIY
Mini Seagrass Baskets — Thorn and Burrow
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