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
Canisters of spices and dried herbs serve
both a practical and decorative purpose in
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