SENSE &ZENSIBILITY

Chines Workshop blends a minimalist Zen look with gorgeously tactile surfaces for a home that’s at once clean, warm and inviting.

Designing a Zen-inspired home is a bit like training for a ballet performance: all the blood, sweat and tears go into making the whole thing seem entirely effortless. As any dancer or designer will tell you, however, the easier it looks, the more work would have been required to achieve that effect. Chine’s Workshop takes us backstage to find out exactly what it takes to design a beautifully minimalist home.

“The clients wanted their home to be very simple,” emphasises Johnny Leung, one of the designers of Chine’s Workshop. “They didn’t want any artwork. It was to be very clean. Very simple. Very Zen.” The Kowloon home certainly evokes an air of meditative living. Simple lines, warm, wooden surfaces and a clean, uncluttered look define the space. Beneath the calming design, however, a lot of thought went into making sure that the home would not only be easy to look at, but also to maintain.

“One of the main requirements the clients had was that the home should be able to withstand [the wear and tear caused by] their two big dogs,” Johnny points out. This meant that wooden flooring wasn’t an option — a problem if you’re going for a Zen look. Chine’s worked around this by using tiles for flooring, and countered the cold look of tiling by incorporating wooden furniture and panels throughout the home for a touch of warmth.

In the dining room, for example, grey stone tiles are offset beautifully by the wood of the Shambala dining table, as well as the bench and chairs the designers sourced from Lane Crawford. Johnny also used wood veneer panels for the wall, choosing a slightly green shade. “They needed to get some green in the space… especially since the clients didn’t want plants inside the house,” explains Johnny.

Creating a Zen space that was minimalist yet warm was no easy task — it was “one of the main challenges of the project’*, Johnny admits. “The tiles and the lack of greenery made the space cold and uninviting, as a result we decided to use wallpapers in very warm solid colours for a homey, cosy feeling,” he says. “Vibrant colour was a no for this client, so we chose different textures for all the materials used.”

As for the layout of the home, Chine’s Workshop kept it open and flowing. They removed the doors to the kitchen so that the space would be more connected to the dining area. “We used these wood veneers that wrap all the way into the kitchen, so it feels completely integrated even though it’s a separate space,” Johnny explains. Similarly, the designers used the same wood throughout the master bedroom all the way into the open bathroom’s shower, so it feels like the spaces merge seamlessly.

The designers overcame the design challenges to create a home that’s inviting, calm and meditative. It’s a home that feels effortlessly dreamed up on an inspired afternoon, with all the tranquillity of a wood and stone Zen garden.

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