Monday, March 31, 2008

shoe cabinet.

i think i will knock this off for my shoes. I like how the fabric conceal my babies.

Apparently, my stilettos are sexy enough to command a total stranger to want to take them off for me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I saw Rebellion: The Livinenko Case today. Interesting perspective on Putin.

In other news, my French rooster changed my approach to my living room. I was going to make my space minimalistic, white, almost cold. But crown molding and black wrought iron rooster is just calling lemon glass, or even blue-gray.

Friday, March 28, 2008

animal farm.

(slaving away at work and the phone rings)
Gi: Hello?
Auntie P: Hey, it's me. The furniture store besides ours? It's closing down. I think you should come and take a look.
Gi (going crazy with Sky PerfecTV! packages, don't ask): ok.

So this thing is huge, at almost 2 feet by 1.5 feet in size. It's the funniest, more irreverent wall sconce I've seen. Now this is going into my den. Now my den will definitely go à la français.

Puppy will now have a friend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zaha Hadid - Chanel Mobile Art

I attended Zaha Hadid's Chanel Mobile Art show today during lunch.

No, it is not a Chanel-brand-touting, couture-admiring glitz-show.

It's a bag-inspired installation. No photographs were allowed in (and they won't do the show justice).

I urge all of you to go if you have a chance.

The most amazing thing about this show is the experience and the space itself. The mixture of light and darkness, silent ambiance and obnoxious noise. Anyone who attended this show, expecting to see Chanel couture though will be disappointed.

See the enlarged 2.55 chains? :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

the perfect sofa.

I think I know what I want with my sofa now. Instead of static-y metal legs, I will opt for solid wood legs. I like the stitching detail, going to work out the colour scheme. Thinking avocado coloured with some nice white stitching or a nice dove gray.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

living room.

What I am thinking about for my living room. The black bars are doors. I plan to reduce my furniture to a minimum. I will have a L-shaped chaise instead of a normal sofa. The dining table (the rectangle with the two circular halves) will be a fold-out table. Gotta work out the math later :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

prefinished, engineered, exotic, bamboo... nah.

I am loving and keeping my solid wood plank floor. Warm to your feet in the winter and cool in the summer, they require little maintenance except a good mopping and polishing every few months. These days they are very expensive to install and I am glad my unit has these rather than unsightly tiles, veneered MDF-clapboards and the likes.

Friday, March 21, 2008


In Hong Kong you get four days of Easter holidays. My entire family (immediate and extended) are out of town (I can't take time off, crunch time at my company is January to April) so I kept myself busy on Good Friday.
One of the advantages I have is that my space is small but has very high ceilings. I plan to take full advantage of that by making low-height seating, leaving ample room on my walls for giant artworks. I plan to invest in paintings soon :)

In other news, I was also cleaning up my rental place and changing bedsheets. You can see how the whole bed's base is a custom-made trunk:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

my name is puppy.

eero aarnio puppy to you too.

He will definitely do great things in my shoebox, impacting my colour decisions in my living room.

On a separate note, about my closet comments:

Gi: Seriously seeing your ex when you just woke up won't be cool.
M: Well yea, especially if you don't know how he got there. You know, drunken black outs then you see him when you wake up the next day.
Gi: ... but what if it is the ex you never slept with before?
M: That's better right? you don't know if he was good before and you certainly don't know how well he did the night before if you cannot remember how he got there in the first place.
Gi: Good point.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The fugly closet - ideas

After posting last night I dreamed, and dreamed some more. I thought about the closet, the primed closet... then Ikea Hacker came along.

These people are very creative with their Ikeas! I love Ikea, I love their organization thingys, their kitchen gadgets (much cheaper than Stark/Alessi)... I bought these floral appliques from them a while back on a whim:

They are flexible and you can adjust the height and direction of the flowers... they were fairly cheap.

And then I thought about sticking them to my closet:

Or maybe just all three on one side.

Then I thought and dreamed more and I realized I do NOT want to wake up and see the following immediately:
  1. bright things
  2. shiny things
  3. dizzy patterns
  4. ex-boyfriends
  5. my own, just-awake, frumpy self
Then I saw these amazing wallpaper from Graham Brown Wallpaper:

Imagine these on those closet doors!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The fugly closet.

I hate this closet. This meleage of vaneered chipboard, glass and aluminum strips really stand as a class of its own:

The thing is, I don't want to throw it out. Although I am not an environmentalist, it fits the space nicely. Sure there's a good 3" gap between the 2nd bay window and the closet, making it the perfect culprit for dust and lost earrings collection. But look, it reaches my 9' ceiling and I can put a (much-needed) ladder between that gap. The bonus is LIGHT-WEIGHT sliding doors and there is a lot of storage space. If I ask my family to build me a closet of the same dimensions, they will go ahead and make me something fancy schmancy in solid hard wood and If I begged hard enough, I can get pearl inlays, ladle work, you name it. It will weigh about 5 tonnes and I'd have to get someone else to remove this sucker before I get a new one.

I don't know what to do with it yet though, so I decided to try to knock all the gross brown crap out first on photoshop:


Monday, March 17, 2008

The bedroom - colours

As I mentioned before, I really don't have the heart to toss out the furniture in my bedroom... It's too wasteful to throw out perfect furniture. While I like the quilted headboard, I really don't like the checkered closet.

The interesting architectural detail around the headboard tempts me to try colours!

I really like the gray and pink combination. I saw these bedspreads at francfranc

They would look amazing together!

I decided to take things one step further:

It adds a nice, feminine touch to my space.

Alternatively, flowers seem to be a bit... softer? somehow it feels less boxy.
What do you think? Pink all the way?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The shoebox.

We measured out the place today!

I bought the place in 10 minutes flat back in January so I never looked too closely at the details. I spent 1/2 hour there today. My father was helping me measure out the rooms as I took photos.

The den

The den is larger than I first thought. It is a little over 11 ft in length and 9 ft in width. There is a 1 1/2 ft extension where the window is.

I purchased this unit for this view:
I am pleasantly surprised to discover I have a flowerbox (!!!) I look forward to planting herbs like basil and thyme out of this space :)

The bedroom

There is something very tranquil about the bedroom. The room is fairly large ( 13 2/3 ft length by 7 1/2 ft width). The current owner did some work on the wall to fit a 5 ft headboard. The other side of the room featured a big closet:

The current owners will leave everything in the bedroom. I don't have the heart to throw them out. While this closet is not what I'd prefer, I will see if I can make it look nicer... The checker meet glass look is boring, bad.

The kitchen/bathroom

The kitchen is fairly large.
It's obvious the current owners do not cook :)

The bathroom is very, very small:

Project bathtub would not happen in this shoebox, sadly :p

Now the little wheels in my head are spinning at hyper-speed! I am so ambitious about this space!

Friday, March 14, 2008

My first bespoke room

The story

My father decided, within 48 hours after my plane touched down in Hong Kong, to sell his property. Closing was in thirty days and renting seemed to make the most sense. We weren't sure where I would be working and their old place was in a district I HATE.

In two days' time we rented this apartment in Prince Edward. The building was crappy. The apartment itself was quite sunny though and rent was cheap.

The challenges

My room had a few technical challenges. First, the landlord decided it was a good idea to add a built-in closet that will cut off 1.5 ft by 6 ft from my already small (7 ft by 9 ft = 63 sq. ft ) room:

The closet blocked part of the window, making it impossible to add curtains. We had no plans to stay in this space beyond our two-year lease so there was no reason to remove the closet.

To make things worse, there was a structural column in a corner of the room to the right of the other window.

I must, MUST, sleep in a bed that is at least 3 1/2 ft wide. I also needed a vanity table.

The only way to work around these problems while maintaining my sanity was to design furniture that maximized my space as much as possible.

The solution

The bed
I needed storage any way I could get them. The built in closet gave me no options but to push my bed against the side wall. I designed a headboard that doubles as a storage unit. The headboard was designed to fit against the column. I've added extra storage by adding a side door that closes by magnet and a spring-hinge. I store my winter boots in there once the season is over.

The base of the bed was an effective storage system. There are two big trunks to store my seasonal beddings under the mattress. Four drawers are added to store my clothes.

The vanity was interesting. I was moving countries (from Canada to Hong Kong) and I had a lot of small trinklets and farewell gifts from friends I still love dearly. I wanted to display them and the theory was that I would see them daily as I prepared for my day on my vanity table.

The truth was, while the table was very good at displaying them, it was just too, small. 1/2 the desk was permanently covered by things like makeup brushes and the other half were often covered by bills, bank statements, etc. The table became a piling heap and my oval mirror and cheap plastic trolley became my vanity instead:

My board game boxes became my makeshift counter and a disposable bowl housed most makeup items I used daily.

The colours

As my first bespoke space, I made a few mistakes with colours. I know that in my new apartment, I will stick to a lighter colour palette. The matte walnut wood (no, they are not vaneers), while gorgeous in wood grain and colour, made the space smaller. The black and beige roman blinds added to the claustrophobia. I should have picked that fabric in the all-beige variety instead. I tried to lighten up the room by opting for beige/white bedsheets. It helped somewhat but it felt bland. I purchased the heart pillow from Ikea to try to pack a punch to the room.

The conclusion

Overall, I live comfortably in the space. I will most likely take the vanity to the new space, while the bed will be re-configured for my parent's new space. The headboard of my bed will be knocked off and remade to fit their new space better.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I was at an advertising awards gala last night for JCDecaux. After the nice food and awards, I was heading home from the Conrad and it struck me: a giant retail space like Pacific Place is frightening at 11 at night. There's minimal lighting, most escalators are off, the otherwise crowded shops are empty.

People make spaces "work", and that's how I feel about interior design. Furniture and decorations are not merely art, they are designed to be used: a home is designed to comfort, a mall is designed to sell.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What cheered me up last night

I was feeling super-mopey yesterday. I was heading home and before I boarded the bus, I saw this:

The store is closing down so this display item is on sale. I think this will work very well in my bedroom :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

bespoke shoe box - the floor plan

This is the floor plan of my apartment complex. I purchased the "B" unit, facing the Northeast.

The previous owner took down the wall between the two small bedrooms and closed up one of the doors. The two windows that face the North (one in the living/dining room and one in the bedroom) will face the ocean (and highway below).

I will be going to the apartment for measurements this weekend. I already have sketches of how my space will look, I will post them shortly :)

bespoke shoe box

Design is my life. My family works in the interior design business. I grew up breathing furniture (literally), doodling on old faxes as I hung out in their furniture stores. Doodling and drawings led me to pursue a career in design. Working in this field for a few years now, I've learned to take criticism openly and be equally candid about what I think about other people's work.

In January this year, I decided to take the plunge and purchased my first apartment in Hong Kong. My father chuckles every time I bring it up in conversation. To him, the space is too small (442 sq. feet) to do anything with it. He calls it a shoebox. But I am determined to craft this shoebox of mine, a space that fits my taste and lifestyle – just like a bespoke suit.

Join me as I document my progress, along with other design-related things I see daily :)