The House of Two Cultures

The House of Two Cultures

My Chinese client, for whom I had already done two houses, rang me from Hong Kong one day and asked me a simple question: ‘Are you busy?’ I’d said ‘Of course no, I’ve got nothing to do whatsoever’. This time, as I suspected he wanted me to go to china that week to see him, which I did.

The house had been pulled down and the floor plan had already been done. As far as this client, is concerned, I know exactly how he wants to live, even given that it’s a different life in china than it had been when he lived in England. The considerations in terms of space were that my client is an important figure in China, and therefore a certain amount of ‘ambassadorial’ entertaining was going to be taking place.

The entrance of the house is very like one in an 18th- Century English house which leads into a very large hall which I decided to use over-scaled carved Chinese Chippendale consoles and looking glasses. This was the first of many instances where I deliberately mixed the two cultures in one house.

All public rooms are very large but the drawing room is massive- big enough to have substantial seating areas at both ends, plus another seating arrangement in the middle. The drawing room is the showiest room of the house so the cushions are all satins and silks, picking up the colours of the rugs and of the paintings that are hung above the two sofas.

Book published by CICO books.
Photography by Simon Brown.