It would be assumed that an apartment at the premium Peak One owned by a Miss Hong Kong pageant winner must be sumptuous and glamorous; however, her new residence is anything but.
A stark contrast to its extravagant lobby, this home for Chan’s family of four is unpretentious, homey and practical in a way that when you first step into the living room, you can instantly tell this is a demonstration of a stylish mum sacrificing for her beloved sons.
Chan, the first runner-up at Miss Hong Kong 2008 and Miss Chinese International 2009, has become an actress for TVB and an emcee for many public events in town.
She was married to her boyfriend of eight years in 2011, and gave birth to her first son Auryn, and a year later came Andrick – it was a time when the highly educated beauty queen turned into a stay-at-home mum.
With two kids, Chan was annoyingly picky when it came to selecting a home.
To her, it doesn’t only mean factoring in the neighbourhood or the layout, but more importantly, it had to have a balanced feng shui arrangement in the house that benefited everyone in the family.
That meant a Wen Chang area (study area) for the children, a money area for dad, and an area for herself to facilitate her career in the entertainment industry.
But after three months and 50 apartments, Chan became frustrated in hunting for that perfect nest for her family; and was worried she may never get the perfect one.
That was when her property agent rang her and introduced her to this apartment.
“It was like love at first sight,” says the beauty queen mum with a sparkle in her eyes.
“I believe in fate. I’ve looked at several units at Peak One before and this apartment wasn’t available back then, but I knew this is the place I’ve always wanted when I first set foot here,” she says enthusiastically, as if she is madly in love with this hard-found home.
“When it comes to hunting an apartment, you have to stay positive and believe you’ll come across an ideal one eventually. Don’t give up too soon.”
This 1,395 square-foot residence has four bedrooms, including one master suite for the couple, one en suite bedroom for the older brother, one for the babysitters and one study room.
Andrick, still a toddler, sleeps in a baby cot next to his parents. Inside Auryn’s room is a double bunk bed, upper bed for Auryn and a lower bed for another helper.
Sitting against emerald-green hills, this apartment on the eighth floor has a floor-to-ceiling window in the living room capturing a wide canopy of trees and lush green, which, according to Chan, is home to birds, butterflies, cicadas and even monkeys.
“I like green space. The view here is spectacular as the green view sprawls across the entire apartment. It has layers, making me feel like I am living in the wild,” she says with gusto.
To give a natural ambiance to the interior, Chan is planning to place a planting corner next to the window as an extension of the greenery scene outside into the indoor space.
But for now, enjoying this magnificent view by the window is a playing area and a ball pit dedicated for the children, just because “my sons like to sunbathe in front of the window”, she laughs.
“With kids, it’s difficult to chase after the lifestyle and tastes that I used to long for. Now, I tend to keep things simple.”
The only extravagant item in the room is the chandler ceiling light fixtures, only they are not hers.
“I intend to replace them with something simpler, maybe spheres hanging down.”
Dominated by toys, LEGO and kids cars, the living room leaves little space for Chan’s own storage. The most prominent part of the home that best reflects her character is a white cupboard dedicated to her beloved Le Creuset kitchenware and cookware collection that she has been collecting since she first lived alone at age 25.
“It’s important to lay out all my stuff because it will remind me of what I already possess and stop myself from buying more.”
An avid cook, Chan is most at ease talking about her all-inclusive kitchen, and a floor-to-ceiling well-stocked cabinet filled with nutritional drink powders and flavoured sauces.
To Chan, this hidden storage behind the kitchen entrance is just like a jewellery box to a little girl.
She is also well-versed in healthy eating where she sticks with a list of food formulas – from a shake for breakfast to the serving of rice for dinner.
To cite an example, Mānuka honey is a daily must-have for the kids to combat unseen germs; black sesame powder is essential in her breakfast to prevent hair loss after giving birth; and the portion of mixed grains and white rice is fixed and varies across all family members.
Nearing the end of our meeting, Chan is gracious enough to serve up a batch of homemade dumplings and a plate of sizzling hot egg tarts in the living room, where a tender moment is on display – dad is already home playing with the kids while mum is helping them with the food, and it’s only four in the afternoon.
Perhaps, with the right guy and the right home, it’s a privilege to be a happy matron.