Colour Me Happy

色彩哲學

Squarefoot - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY LEANNE MIRANDILLA PHOTOS COURTESY OF CEDRIC LAI

How an American expat brought her Mid-levels duplex to life with a healthy dose of colour. 一位美籍戶主運用悅目色彩,為其半山複式大宅注入活潑氣息。

For some, home is a peaceful refuge that should be suffused with calming tones and a minimalist aesthetic for maximum restfulness. That’s not the case for US expat Brooke Babington. Every corner of her 1,800-square-foot Mid-levels duplex is filled with colour, whether in the form of bright patterned textiles, playful and humorous artworks or bold statement furniture pieces. "I've always been into and confident with colour," said Babington. "I was an ‘80s child and I just love it."

Babington, her daughter and her dogs have lived in the apartment for around six years but before that, Babington lived in a more modest abode—in a tong lau walk-up—in Sai Ying Pun. Once she had her daughter, however, she quickly realised she needed a more spacious and convenient home. This property, with its ample space, high ceilings and close proximity to Central, more than fits the bill. Privacy—babington only has one neighbour on her floor—and dogfriendliness were also big draws. That the apartment is two stories adds to its allure, too. "Maybe it's because I'm American and I'm used to split-level homes but a duplex feels more like a home," she said, citing the living room as her favourite space in the entire home for its stunning view.

"Right now, my style is ‘Miami Vice’ chinoiserie," she said, admitting that her style changes constantly. "Hong Kong is a major city, obviously, but it's also very tropical, and we forget about that. That's where the ‘Miami Vice’ comes from—that kind of jungle feel. I'm really into greens, purples and oranges right now." And the chinoiserie? That's evident in the Chineseinspired patterns, Chinese furniture, lacquer, and decorative pieces throughout the home—such as the colourful bird cages hanging along one window. While Hong Kong characterises Babington's home here, she's the first to admit that the look doesn't necessarily translate overseas.

有人認為家是個安寧的地方,用色要平和,裝潢要簡潔,才能讓人放鬆心情。不過來自美國的Brooke Babington卻不是這麼想,在她面積達1,800平方呎的半山複式住宅內,到處色彩繽紛,既有圖案奪目的紡織品,也有充滿玩味和幽默的藝術品,亦有設計前衛的家具。Babington表示:「我對色彩的運用十分有信心,我成長於80年代,特別喜歡耀目的顏色。」 Babington與她的女兒和愛犬在這裡居住了六年,在這之前,她住在西營盤一座較細的唐樓內。自從女兒出生後,她需要一個更寬敞和位置較優越的居所。這幢物業擁有充足空間,樓底高,而且鄰近中環,是Babington心目中的理想居停。一梯兩伙的樓宇間隔,私隱度甚高,且適合飼養寵物,可說是錦上添花,當然,複式設計亦是一大優點。她說:「或許因為我是美國人,習慣了多層式家居,覺得這才有家的感覺。」她最愛坐在客廳欣賞開揚景觀。

她說自己的風格經常轉變,「現時是東方邁亞密。香港是個大城市,但我們似乎忘記了它位於亞熱帶,所以我引入邁亞密叢林主題,綠、紫、橙是我目前喜愛的顏色。」至於東方風格,是在富東方色彩的圖案、家具、漆器及裝飾品(例如掛在窗邊的雀籠)中展現出來。Babington的家居設計風格源自香港,但她認為同一種風格未必能放諸四海。設計家居時,地點十分重要,她說:「我正在蒙大拿州興建一座房子,但我不能把現在的設計主題複製到新房子裡,設計要與周遭環境相配合。」

Babington的家居設計靈感來自雜誌及她喜歡的商店,她亦鍾情於Real Living magazine Australia提倡的「舒適、休閒與兼收並蓄」概念、Architectural Digest Shanghai的前衛設計;喜歡到g.o.d、Homeless、Anthropologie和Urban Outfitters購物,她曾經買過一件設計古靈精怪的裝飾品,同時可擺放首飾。

When designing a home, location is key. "I'm building a house in Montana, and I can't have there [what I have here]," she said. "You have to adapt to your environment."

Inspiration for Babington's home decor comes from magazines and her favourite shops. She's a big fan of the "comfy-casual and eclectic" approach of Real Living magazine Australia and the forward-thinking designs in Architectural Digest Shanghai. She also enjoys inspiration shopping at G.O.D., Homeless, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, enthusing over its quirky pieces that are used to hang jewellery, which also double up as decoration pieces.

And, of course, art is essential to such a colourful aesthetic. Babington often peruses the Affordable Art Fair for interesting works and picks up prints from online American art and apparel store Curioos. "I'm always thinking about where I can hang my next picture," she said. "I can't stand being in someone's home and there being no art."

"You should make your home, your home," Babington encouraged. "My taste is not necessarily someone else's taste. You shouldn't be afraid to buy what you like."

That said, Babington advocates getting over the fear of using colour when decorating your home, suggesting incorporating bright accessories or cushions, which can easily be swapped out according to season or to the homeowner's whims. "I've never been shy of colouring my house, and you can always change it," she said. "It's like lipstick."

當然藝術品在構建繽紛美學上十分重要,Babington經常在affordable Art Fair搜羅有趣作品,又在網上挑選Curioos的藝術印刷品。她說:「我經常想該在哪裡放置下一個藝術作品,我實在不能容忍沒有藝術品的家居。」

Babington滿腔熱誠地說:「你要把房子打造成屬於自己的家,品味各有不同,放膽表達自己喜歡的東西。」

Babington主張在佈置家居時要克服對色彩的恐懼,加入鮮色的裝飾品或咕 ,可輕易按季節或心情更改佈置。她說:「我在家中的用色十分大膽,反正是可以改變的,就好像改用其他顏色的唇膏一樣。」

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