Country Retreat

When interior design studio E F Design was tasked to transform this house in Tai Po into a family home, chief design director Eric Fung's mission was to introduce a simple yet stylish design that would harmonise well with the abode's charming countryside surroundings.

"The existing structure was already quite practical for a family of four," recalled Fung. Residing in the 1,300-square-foot house are a young couple and their two daughters, aged six and 18. "Only minor changes were made to create a greater sense of space." Fung knocked down walls in the master bedroom's entrance and between the foyer and the garage, substituting them with glass partitions to create a greater sense of space with the added effect of flooding the home with natural light.

A sliding glass partition also seamlessly connects the kitchen and the living room—which are undoubtedly the heart of the home. It's the couple's favourite space due to its impressive glass roof, which allows for hours of romantic stargazing at night. "Twenty years ago, the husband promised he would take his wife to see the aurora and buy her a house in Tai Po," shared Fung. "With this house, they can stargaze every day before going to see the actual aurora together." Less idyllic is the heat this feature causes in the summer, but Fung modulated this with an electric awning above the roof and two hanging fans.

The open kitchen is also ideal for the family's love of spending quality time together and with friends; the couple is known to enjoy hosting barbecues and cocktail parties. The home's generous garden—with its barbecue, lounge and outdoor dining area—is also perfect for gatherings, taking full advantage of the home's beautiful rural setting. The outdoor area's design echoes the interiors with its natural tones.

Keeping with his clients' desire for a peaceful, minimalist home, Fung utilised wood and earthy hues along with the occasional touch of black and white to tie everything together. Most of the furnishings, too, are made of natural materials such as wood and marble. The occasional geometric piece and plush carpet also adds texture and interest.

Fung also took the husband's interests into consideration when coming up with the home's design, particularly in the garage. "The husband particularly likes nature and sports, which greatly affected the overall tone of the house," explained Fung. "He is a cycling enthusiast and fond of kick boxing, so I designed a place in the garage where he could hang his punching bag and rest his bicycles." The wife, meanwhile, prefers relaxing at home when she isn't hosting parties for friends; she enjoys being ensconced on the sofa while listening to her daughters play the piano. Whether resting and recuperating or indulging in hobbies, the Scandinavian-style space is a true refuge that provides a peaceful, leisurely retreat where the family can focus on what matters to them the most—spending time with each other.