Touch of pink

Design is a personal thing. It's not uncommon for clients to commission a designer for multiple projects given good rapport—and sometimes that connection spans generations. One homeowner was so pleased with interior design studio hoo's work on her home that she suggested her mother commission them a few years later. "A lady in her 60s wanted a retirement home, a final home where she will stay for a very long time," said YC Chen, founder and creative director at hoo, who designed the 2,300-square-foot abode together with senior interior designer Natalie Tsoi.

Despite being mother and daughter, the two women's tastes are fairly disparate. While the daughter's flat was more minimal, Chen and Tsoi decided to take a more classic, timeless approach with her mother's home. "We wanted it to feel elegant and ladylike," said Chen, "so we went with a modern classic or mid-century modern style, with little vintage touches here and there, and French mouldings throughout." Neutrals, whites and warm woods serve as a backdrop to touches of pinks and golds, while florals are balanced with more geometric patterns and shapes, making for an aesthetic that's feminine without being overwhelmingly so.

Since the brief was relatively open, Chen and Tsoi were granted a considerable amount of creative freedom. The challenge came in balancing the homeowner's private spaces with areas that would accommodate family gatherings and overnight visits. "Her daughter and grandchildren actually live in the next building," said Chen, explaining that the apartment also functions as something of a second home for the homeowner's extended family.

To achieve this balance, Chen and Tsoi completely renovated the home, knocking down all the walls and redoing the layout. The rejigged apartment features a master suite and master bathroom, of course, but also additional storage spaces, a guest parlour room, and an open lounge for family gatherings that can easily be closed off with curtains and converted into an impromptu guest bedroom. A spacious dining area and kitchen are perfect for big family dinners. hoo created bespoke cabinets and the pattern for the flooring, while furnishings were sourced from across the globe—particularly from European and North American locales such as New York, London, Italy and Denmark. With such different sources, much of the project's eight-month execution time was dedicated to ordering and assuring the delivery of furniture pieces.

Of particular note are the Louis Poulsen lighting pieces in the lounge and master bedroom, and mirrors by Gubi. "We were quite nervous because there were a lot of different elements," confided Chen, "and we wondered how it was going to look all together, but it came out well." Tsoi was particularly proud of the parlour area and the eye-catching wallpapers (Ellie Cashman Dark Floral II in the powder room and a soft cream floral print from Altfield in the master bedroom).

The end result is a calming yet comfortable space where the homeowner can peacefully enjoy her twilight years in the company of her loved ones.