East Coast Elegance
Christy Liang’s Mid-Levels flat is a love letter to classic New England charm, writes Leanne Mirandilla
Christy Liang’s Mid-Levels home is a love letter to classic New England charm
“Hong Kong was not a part of my plan,” says Christy Liang. “I met my husband here, so I decided to stay, but my long-term plan was to settle in Boston.” As we chat in her Mid-Levels home, Liang—a former banker— looks so comfortable and at ease that it’s difficult to imagine her anywhere else. Exploring the apartment further, however, reveals that this sense of comfort is in part due to the aesthetic she’s decided to surround herself and her family with.
The Liangs’ abode is a tasteful blend of classic and contemporary. Set foot inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported from Hong Kong to a house in the Hamptons. You’re immediately greeted by a handsome, standalone marble kitchen island that naturally flows into the living and dining areas, which are all tied together with light parquet flooring— something of a rarity in Hong Kong. “I spent my adult life in New England,” Liang says. “I went to school at Harvard. When I was little, my godmother would take me between her homes on the Upper East Side and Newport, Rhode Island. During the summers we’d hop between the Hamptons, Newport or Paris. My home’s design is very much influenced by what I grew up seeing through her eyes.”
The majority of the furnishings, fixtures and even artworks were painstakingly sourced from Europe and the US. Plenty of items—including a coffee table, console and beautiful blackand-gold La Cornue stove—are by American kitchen and homeware brand Williams Sonoma. Hong Kong furniture purveyor The Red Cabinet rounded out the home with custom side tables, cabinets and bed.
For certain brands, the Liangs’ home marked their first entry into Hong Kong—and Asia. “I fell in love with an open kitchen done by British design team Blakes London on the cover of Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom magazine, so I reached out to them,” says Liang. “It was the first time they did an overseas project, but they took a chance on us.”
The fireplace, which takes pride of place in the living room, is also in Hong Kong for the first time. It’s an antique Louis XV piece taken from a 15th-century chateau in France, purchased from antiques dealer Marmorea London and sourced through online antiques shopping platform 1st Dibs. The kitchen counter and fireplace are both Italian Paonazzo marble, a rare variety veined with purple and gold that matched the home’s warm cream walls and brass accents perfectly. “There was a new regulation in the UK where houses aren’t allowed to have fireplaces unless they meet certain standards, so all fireplaces dropped in prices,” she says with a laugh. “I thought— great! That’s my finance background showing.”
While Liang might not have a professional background in interior design, she’s cultivated an interest in it, regularly decorating her flat
when she lived in Boston, and gathering design inspiration on her Pinterest account. Aside from bringing Blakes London in to design the kitchen and Wing Hung Water & Electric Engineering as contractors, she spearheaded her home’s interiors herself— with help from her husband, Ben, of course.
While Liang loves neutrals, her husband is a fan of blue shades, which can be seen throughout the home in the form of celadon Jonathan Adler poufs from Harrods in front of the fireplace and the robin’s egg blue Zoffany wallpaper in the master bedroom’s walk-in wardrobe. “It was really a partnership,” she says. “It’s a little bit like wedding planning. You’re constantly making decisions, arguing, discussing. But by the end of the renovations he could read my mind.”
Liang was six months’ pregnant with daughter Serena during the project and therefore unable to visit the site due to the fumes, so she relied on her husband to check up on it. But she immediately took a more hands-on approach as soon as she was able; she remembers trying to organise everything herself after moving in, climbing up and down stepladders to reach shelves while her husband kept telling her to stop and rest.
Serena’s arrival also led to a bit of interior design rejigging. The apartment was originally designed to have four bedrooms, but was transformed by its previous owners to have two bedrooms and two living rooms. While one bedroom was designated as the master bedroom, the other was to be a study for Ben—now, it’s Serena’s nursery.
Were there any other big changes? “We enlarged the windows to give a bit more texture on the walls,” she says, gesturing to the floor-to-ceiling windows that line both living spaces. In spite of the dreary weather, the home is still steeped in soft natural light. “I didn’t want any curtains because I wanted the greenery to show through. I also wanted the windows to be a bit of an art piece.” The view of verdant trees contributes to the suburban feel, too. Central is close by but the quiet surrounds make you feel as though the buzz of the city is miles rather than minutes away. The flat’s high ceilings add to its open,
airy quality. “For high ceilings you really need to go for old buildings,” says Liang, explaining that the building is around 50 years old. “You don’t get unique layouts like this in newer buildings.”
Liang and her family, however, are looking squarely towards the future. She and her husband want to pass their love of cooking on to Serena when she’s old enough by cooking together in the generous kitchen area, and they dream of eventually fostering children. The abode is typically a hub of laughter and companionship, as the Liangs are no stranger to entertaining friends over for dinner parties or weekend brunch. “We just want this home to be a blessing to other people,” Liang says. And it looks as though it’s positioned to be exactly that.
FAMILY AFFAIR Clockwise from left: Christy Liang chose the Stay chairs by Nika Zupanc for the dining table; beautiful wallpaper from UK brand Zoffany in the nursery; Liang with her daughter, Serena
SIMPLE ELEGANCE The kitchen island was designed by interior design firm Blakes London
REFINED AESTHETIC The area leading to the master bathroom is dedicated to wardrobe space, enhanced with panelling and Zoffany wallpaper