Dynamic couple's cool, collected, wide-open space
Nothing is more effortlessly cool than an industrial-style living space. They are often occupied by people who live a dynamic lifestyle, such as Elisa Harca and Daniel Murray, who enjoy spacious warehouse-type interiors.
The couple, who hail from London, have lived in Hong Kong for seven years, where Harca runs Red Ant Asia, a digital marketing agency, while Murray is a photographer.
They both work from home and need a lot of space and an abundance of natural light.
Harca revealed they lived on Hong Kong Island when they originally moved there but ventured further out of the city center into other parts of Hong Kong where bigger spaces were cheaper.
“We also love to live in local areas as we feel we are more part of the local vibe, versus living in an expat bubble,” she said.
Murray is an excellent property researcher. He found the current location online and on first viewing the photographer knew immediately that it would work as an ideal home and work space for both of them.
The neighborhood in Kowloon is a busy local area with an industrial side to it. It is also very close to some of Hong Kong’s biggest country parks and trails, which they love.
The couple’s 150 square meters’ fifth floor corner unit home is full of windows. It has an undisturbed view of trees and the abundant light makes the plot an attractive proposition.
The initial condition of the apartment wasn’t too bad but they had to build a kitchen and install hot water heating for the shower unit.
“We always loved a warehouse/industrial-style living. The property we own in England is in east London, at a place called Bow. It’s a converted match box factory, but it’s way smaller than what we have now in Hong Kong,” Harca said.
The couple prefer an open-plan area as it makes the space multifunctional.
“We are pretty minimalist and try to have what we need, but with a few extra touches to create a nice atmosphere. Being expats, we always live in the mindset that we might move, so we don’t want to over invest in furniture that we would have to ship somewhere. We like the idea of owning little and living a lot,” Harca said.
They moved in with their dog Russ in November 2019. There is greenery on one side of the apartment and buildings on the other side.
“We decided to have a lot more plants than normal. The plants not only look amazing and make us feel very relaxed, they are also good for air purification.
“We chose plants that are really good purifiers. For example, we have a snake plant, spider plant, the monster and Areca palms. Then we have some fun plants, such as a money plant, a cactus, a herb garden and aloe vera,” she said.
Harca describes their interior style as minimal, collected, green, simple, cozy and a little bit random.
The whole space is an open plan, so it’s not a classic design of rooms,” she said. “There’s one main room, with a very industrial feel, and only the bedroom and bathroom are separate rooms.
“In Hong Kong, it’s very hard to find nice, cool and interesting furniture at a good price, and many people resort to Ikea. We try not to do that, so instead we leverage the circular economy and source most of our items second hand. We have some really great pieces, such as a great wooden bed frame, a lovely red sofa bed, some beautiful vintage mirrors, all of which were all sourced pre-loved. Of course, we do have to buy new ones sometimes, but we prefer to find it if we can.
“We love wood, as it feels natural and homey. We like modern shapes and designs so we look for items that reflect this. The kitchen is very much an ‘industrial’ style but without all the extra fancy trimmings that ‘chefs’ might use.
“On the cooking front we are also very minimal and simple. We eat healthy and fresh.”
The hues of green, brown, grey, dark grey with a few pops of color dominate the overall space.
Harca said they have a limited artwork collection because they would be difficult to transport if they move.
“But we have a few pieces that we love,” she said. “Our very good friends and neighbors run a street art festival called HK Walls and we have some pieces from their artists, such as the Korean artist Seenaeme, and one of our friends is another great street artist called Stern Rockwell, who kindly gifted one of his originals to my husband Daniel for his birthday.
“And, of course, we have some of Daniel’s work. His street shots of Hong Kong we especially love, as Hong Kong has a very iconic streetscape due to its unique architecture and fabulous neon lights. Each of the works we have means something to us. And for most of them we either know the creator or the person who has sold it.”
The couple love their home to be clean and tidy, without looking unlived in.
“But more so it’s the people who inhabit it — do they make you feel welcome, do they feed and water you in a hospitable way, do you have fun when you go there, and being an animal lover, a home with a dog is the best type of home to me,” she said.
In terms of creating ambience, Harca loves to use candles.
“I’m lucky to work with some amazing brands, such as Cire Trudon, so it’s a real treat to have them in my home. My friend owns a fabulous boutique, Kapok, and he has an amazing selection of candles, so I indulge in buying nice candles for home as the sensation they offer is unbeatable.”
Ask The Owner
Q: What’s the best thing about living in Hong Kong?
A: It’s the best of both worlds — it’s city and countryside all in one! Hong Kong is 70 percent nature and is one of the world’s best cities in terms of job opportunities, interesting people, food and access to Asia. So, you can have a great lifestyle in terms of city vibes and within 10-20 minutes be away from the hustle and bustle and out hiking one of the amazing trails or enjoying one of the beaches.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Spacious, bright and green.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
A: Cuddle my dog.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I love doing sports, so it’s usually some kind of activity such as a hike, a hit class, a yoga class, or in the summer wake surfing – and now we are in self distancing, I am tuning into my favorite yoga studio online classes, followed by a movie and red wine.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: At my desk (because I work a lot).
Q: What’s the view outside your window?
A: The beauty of Hong Kong – nature with big green trees and tall tower blocks in their cute pastel colors.
Q: What’s your favorite object in your home?
A: My plants, my dog and husband.
Q: Where do you source furniture?
A: We thrift it and get most of it pre-loved.