In­te­rior designer Jo Lorenz cre­ates a charm­ing, beach haven of a fam­ily home that’s a world away from the Hong Kong hus­tle


When life in this neon-lit, mile-aminute me­trop­o­lis gets a lit­tle fran­tic, some­times all you need is a lung­ful of sea air and sand be­tween your toes to re­gain per­spec­tive. It’s easy to for­get that be­yond the sky­scrapers, al­most half of Hong Kong is made up of pro­tected park­land, all of which is rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­ble by car or boat.

For in­te­rior designer Jo Lorenz and her hus­band, their es­cape from the hus­tle of Cen­tral turned out to be a bit more per­ma­nent than a Sun­day af­ter­noon ses­sion on Lan­tau’s Che­ung Sha beach and sun­down­ers and din­ner at the popular out­door restau­rant, The Stoep. “We de­cided to buy a place here be­cause we needed a sea change from the Mi­dlevels,” says Jo, who heads up her own in­te­rior de­sign stu­dio, La Mai­son de Lorenz. “We thought it would just be a tem­po­rary move, but al­most the minute we were set­tled in, we knew we had found our Hong Kong home.”

The Lorenz res­i­dence is a two­s­torey, three-bed­room house lo­cated in Che­ung Sha Up­per in the south­ern part of Lan­tau. Che­ung Sha, Hong Kong’s long­est beach, is just a stone’s throw away, and the rooftop lounge has glis­ten­ing wa­ter views to the south and emer­ald moun­tain vis­tas to the north. Week­ends are spent swim­ming in the pool or down at the beach, and sip­ping mar­gar­i­tas with their toes in the sand while their tod­dler, Harry, and their pup­pies play.

There is a dis­tinct, part-beach, part-coun­try vibe to the house, and it’s im­me­di­ate the mo­ment you set foot in­side. The first thing you see when you en­ter the house is a vin­tage surf­board

that the cou­ple picked up in Hawaii. This, along with a paint­ing of Di­a­mond Head, Waikiki by Amer­i­can artist Eva Makk, serves to re­mind Jo and her hus­band of their wed­ding in the Aloha State. “While we adore Hong Kong, we didn’t nec­es­sar­ily want it to feel like we were in Hong Kong at home. We wanted it to feel like you were step­ping into an­other time or part of the world the mo­ment you walk through the front door,” says the designer. “So the brief we gave our­selves was to de­sign a pro­vin­cial beach cottage.”

There is a clas­sic, blue and white colour scheme through­out the home that’s rem­i­nis­cent of a Hamp­tons beach house, with the rustic, coun­try-style open kitchen and dining area on the ground floor as the fo­cal point. “We com­pletely re­con­fig­ured the lay­out from four small, boxy rooms to one big, open and airy space with high ceil­ings and big win­dows,” says Jo of the ground­floor living and dining area. “We love cooking and eat­ing, and the kitchen is sim­ply made for peo­ple who love food!” she adds.

Up­stairs also saw some ma­jor ren­o­va­tions in the mas­ter suite; Jo knocked down the walls be­tween a small en suite bath­room and a tiny walk-in wardrobe to cre­ate one large bath­room. “I’m com­pletely in love with

There is a dis­tinct, part-beach, part-coun­try vibe to the house, and it’s im­me­di­ate the mo­ment you set foot in­side

the bath­room. It’s my sanc­tu­ary,” says Jo. “A long, hot soak in the tub un­der the cus­tom stained glass win­dow – with can­dles burning and a glass of red in hand—al­ways recharges my bat­ter­ies.”

Em­pha­sis is placed on out­door living, too, and the fam­ily def­i­nitely makes the most of their re­mote, coun­try­side lo­ca­tion. The living spa­ces lead out to a grassy gar­den area with beau­ti­ful mango, lemon and frangi­pani trees, a vine-cov­ered trel­lis, and a 150-sq-ft paved ter­race where the fam­ily chills out on the cus­tom-made day bed. Up on the roof is an out­door dining and bar­be­cue space, where they have also cus­tom-built a pizza oven.

All in all, it’s taken the cou­ple three years to get the house to its cur­rent state. “We ren­o­vated slowly over time, and while it’s com­pletely ‘done’ we still find our­selves mak­ing more im­prove­ments,” says Jo. “Like the say­ing, ‘a builder’s house is never fin­ished,’ a designer’s house is al­ways be­ing re­designed.”

Now with a baby in the fam­ily, Jo and her hus­band know they made the right de­ci­sion to move out of the city. “We loved living in the Mi­dlevels, but Lan­tau feels more sta­ble and tra­di­tional to us,” says Jo. It’s easy to see the ap­peal of the lo­ca­tion, with its laid-back is­land vibe and out­doorsy life­style that seems a world away from the city’s toot­ing car horns and never-end­ing con­struc­tion work. The designer adds, “Here, we were able to build a home that feels like a sto­ry­book home—idyl­lic, charm­ing and with all the mak­ings of fu­ture nos­tal­gia.”

“The brief we gave our­selves was to de­sign a pro­vin­cial beach cottage”

THIS PAGE: The roof deck fea­tures a cus­tom-built pizza oven

INSET: Nau­ti­cal stripe pil­lows

strike a con­trast against the ver­dant

fruit gar­den


Can­is­ters of spices and dried herbs serve

both a prac­ti­cal and dec­o­ra­tive pur­pose in

the kitchen

THIS PAGE: The home’s clas­sic blue and white colour theme calls to mind a breezy beach house in the Hamp­tons

PRE­VI­OUS PAGE: A vine-cov­ered trel­lis leads to a ver­dant out­door space that has a rustic feel

The bath­room is the designer’s favourite sanc­tu­ary; the open kitchen area was based on rustic spa­ces one might find in a pro­vin­cial cottage


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