Memories of China
When a Scot living in Singapore discovered that his Chinese wife was reluctant to stay in their London pied-à-terre, he turned to interior designer Daniel Hopwood for help.
“The owner, an old client of mine, had lived in the flat as a student and had worked on it himself,” Daniel explains. “It’s in the eves of a building and, I must admit, it was pretty pokey.”
Daniel’s intervention used a few clever techniques that made the flat look bigger. He also introduced colours and furniture that gave the space an understated Chinese feel.
Friends and family use the flat when the couple aren’t there and so the décor needed to be durable; an important factor to consider too in the design, as the couple were about to have a family.
A wall in the entrance hall was taken down and replaced with a glass balustrade, visually enlarging the sitting room. All the doorways in the apartment were made taller, extending them up to the ceiling, so when open, the rooms flow into each other.
“These seemingly small changes make a major difference to the way the space is perceived,” said Daniel. “With the one wall down and the full-height doors, the flat feels a lot more spacious.”
Other clever techniques to make the space look bigger included recessing radiators into the walls and dropping rugs into oak flooring surrounds so that they’re flush. A large console table in the middle of the sitting room functions as a hall table and, when used with two Chinese stools, it becomes a dining table.
A second bedroom in the apartment was given a multi-purpose function. A fold-down desk was fitted into a void in the wall so that the room could be used as a study. A new connecting door was placed between the master and second bedroom so that it could function as a dressing room.
According to feng shui principles, the television disappears into a panel above the fireplace. By using black lacquer, gold and bronze wallpapers and a “touch of red here and there”, the apartment has Chinese style without being laboured.