Ask Hong Kong’s many expats why they decided to make the city their home, and one story resurfaces time and time again: the intent was simply to visit but then they never wanted to leave. The same was true for artist Amelia Sidwell, who first arrived in Hong Kong during a three-year trip across Asia. “I thought about making Japan my home for a while but it was a freezing time of year so I came to Hong Kong for some warm weather,” she recalled. “I met my partner and ended up staying. It’s a very vibrant city and a great travel hub.”

The couple first lived in Central and after spending a year there, they decided it was time for a change. “I grew up by the beach in New Zealand,” explained Sidwell. “Living in Central, I felt disconnected from nature, but here we have a whole mountain of trees to look at and we can walk to the beach. We definitely feel happier where we are now.” Their new home is a 2,000-square-foot apartment in Southside overlooking the Aberdeen Country Park; a white, airy space that Sidwell has infused with an artsy, tropical vibe.

“My personal style is earthy and bohemian, with a dash of the 1970s depending on what mood I’m in,” said Sidwell. “I think our home has a jungle beach vibe and matches my style pretty accurately.” Plants, artworks and curiosities surround wooden tables and woven chairs in the living and dining area, while the windows look out onto the surrounding trees. There’s also the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom, guest bedroom and bathroom and Sidwell’s art studio, where she creates her resin and ceramic artworks—many of which are inspired by nature and the sea.

When conceiving her home’s interiors, Sidwell took inspiration from a beach house in New Zealand where she spent most of her summers. “I’ve always been interested in interior design so I looked forward to doing up my home myself,” she said. “I wanted things that were there not only because they make the place look good but because they hold personal memories and give purpose to our household.”

Many pieces in Sidwell’s home come with a story. There’s the natural walnut wood slab dining table which was custom made by a furniture maker Sidwell met while selling her artwork in Discovery Bay. The table, which faces the living and dining area’s stellar view, is where Sidwell paints, dines and entertains friends. Sidwell’s artwork— including her first ever piece of resin art— is displayed throughout her home amidst works by other artists, including a surfboard by Donald Takayama brought back from Ishigaki and a coffee cup set from Chiang Mai by artist Nu Pottery, a personal friend of Sidwell’s. “I think it’s good to have a clear plan of the skeleton of your home at the beginning,” advised Sidwell. “Over time, you will naturally accumulate pieces and if you have a good base, you’ll have space to bring these in and change things up from time to time.”

Since Sidwell is an artist who does half her work at home, it’s essential for her living space to be calming and positive. Sidwell’s studio is colourful, with a comfortable chair and a large industrial table. Practical considerations, such as having enough storage to reduce clutter and ensure a clearer headspace, are important as well. “Our house is filled with inspiring art, plants and fantastic light,” said Sidwell. “I think all these factors help with my creativity in
some way.”