Leigh Tung- Chou mixes style with child-friendly elements for a residence suitable for a young family
Leigh Tung-Chou’s home is a spacious abode that combines ample space for her young family with more formal areas for entertaining
With boy-girl twins and a younger daughter, all yet to reach their teenage years, Leigh Tung-Chou and husband Stanley Chou’s home in Hong Kong achieves the right balance of being elegant yet family-friendly.
“I told Stephen James, our interior designer from Plan 3, that I wanted a home that was evocative of the apartments in New York, where I grew up. However, I didn’t want to make it so formal that my three young children couldn’t enjoy the space,” says Leigh, who juggles her duties as a mother with her roles as a co-chair of the Hong Kong Ballet Guild, member of the Hong Kong Ballet’s board of directors and director of the philanthropic Tung Foundation.
One case in point is the play area, near the formal living room that’s linked to a study room for the children. Both are decorated in cheerful tones of blue and green, matching well with the white furniture. “My three kids are never doing anything at the same time, so we wanted enough room for them to pursue activities on their own,” says Leigh. “I wanted them to have their own personal space, as well as a room where they could study and play together. The children’s playroom is one of my favourite areas, as it’s very cheerful and bright.”
The children’s area is also located close to Leigh’s study, enabling her to multitask. “It helps me to keep an eye on them, especially if they aren’t studying when they should be,” says Leigh with a laugh.
The home includes two living rooms. The cosy and casual one has a TV, and is where the family spends time together every day, while entertaining is done in the more formal one. Both rooms feature a mix of earthy shades such as eggplant and
“I liked the juxtaposition of a dark colour with a lighter shade”
chocolate brown, with the lighter colours of celadon green and ivory white. “I liked the juxtaposition of a dark colour with a lighter shade,” she recalls.
Leigh likes mixing it up when it comes to textures as well. The living room features several bronze statues from Taiwanese artist Ju Ming’s renowned Tai Chi series, as a counterpoint to the soft furnishings and the ruby red lampshades atop the Murano glass chandelier in the adjacent dining room. “I love how the pieces are cast in metal but depict a movement that is dynamic,” she says.
The statues are among the numerous artworks featured around the house that were picked out by Leigh and her husband, with a focus on contemporary pieces by Chinese or US artists. “We buy all our Chinese contemporary art after consultation with my aunt, Alice King from Alisan Fine Arts gallery,” says Leigh. “I really respect her taste and judgment. She has an excellent eye, and she has been very kind and generous with sharing up-and-coming talent. We learnt a lot about contemporary Chinese art from her. Her daughter and my cousin, Daphne, now runs the gallery and advises me on art.”
“My three kids are never doing anything at the same time… I wanted them to have their own personal space, as well as a room where they could study and play together”
The painting closest to Leigh’s heart, however, is one by Chinese artist Xu Lei, which hangs above the sofa in the formal living room and was a wedding present from her cousins some 15 years ago.
“Xu Lei was an up-and-coming artist then and he is quite established now. I like his surrealist approach to animals; he does a lot of paintings featuring horses and cats. The one I have is of a reindeer wearing a hat, which I thought was really playful.”
Also in the living room is a large photograph of the Oxford University library by famed German photographer Candida Höfer—a choice inspired by Stanley’s fond memories of time spent at the school one summer. In the dining room is a long painting by James Nares, whose work also hangs at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It features intriguing wide strokes in green; the couple find it appealing because of the calligraphy-like quality. A piece by another New York-based artist, Elliott Puckette, features graceful white lines etched onto a bluewash background with a razor blade, and adds colour to the playroom.
“With three young kids at home, the house is constantly in movement,” says Leigh with a smile. “We love filling it with art. But first and foremost, it’s a home for our young family.”
FROM LEFT: THE STUDY ROOM IN THE CHILDREN’S AREA; AN ELEGANT ARMCHAIR IN LEIGH’S STUDY
OPPOSITE PA GE
A PAINTING BY NEW YORK-BASED ARTIST ELLIOTT PUCKETTE HANGS ABOVE THE SOFA IN THE CHILDREN’S PLAYROOM
OPENING PA GES
THE FORMAL LIVING ROOM FEATURES A MIX OF EARTHY SHADES SUCH AS EGGPLANT, BALANCED BY LIGHTER COLOURS SUCH AS CELADON GREEN
OPPOSITE PA GE
THE FORMAL DINING ROOM IS BRIGHTENED UP WITH CHINAWARE FROM HERMÈS AND A PAINTING BY US-BASED ARTIST JAMES NARES
THE COSY FAMILY ROOM FEATURES TWO LITHOGRAPHS ABOVE THE PIANO BY RENOWNED CHINESE ARTIST ZAO WOU-KI
THIS PA GE
FROM LEFT: MONOGRAMMED TOWELS IN THE GUEST BATHROOM; THE MASTER BEDROOM
OPPOSITE PA GE
JUST LIKE THE PLAYROOM, THE CHILDREN’S BEDROOMS FEATURE A CHEERFUL DECOR OF WHITE FURNITURE MATCHED WITH AN ARRAY OF BRIGHT COLOURS