Creating a dialogue between a home and those living there

Taiwan fashion designer Chloe Chen follows her instincts and goes for the interior styles inspired by her travels, her stories and her daily inspirations. 
Dong Jun / SHINE

The wall displaying a mixture of Chloe Chen’s art collection serves as a centerpiece and is where the whole design starts.

What happens when you give a fashion designer a domestic space to decorate? You get the ultimate chic flat with seasonal inspirations and there is a dialogue between the space, the people who live in it and the furniture and art on display.

Taiwan fashion designer Chloe Chen’s spacious apartment in the center of Shanghai is just that. She follows her instincts and goes for the interior styles inspired by her travels, her stories and her daily inspirations. 

Having lived in Shanghai for 12 years, she has moved home four times, from a temporary living space on Luban Road to a city apartment in Xintiandi, a villa house on Wukang Road to the current flat inside a premium residential compound hidden on Huashan Road. 

She decided to move into the current flat because the compound facilities are ideal for her two daughters, Morgan and London.

“We really enjoy living in this compound as it’s kid-friendly and all the neighbors are nice and supportive. We always share information and help each other,” Chen said.

“In a home, it is very important to have a warm feeling. When I decorate a home, we are the people living here and the vibe must be ‘needs to be lived-in’.”

She believes it’s important that everything has a function and that every object is positioned where it will give the owners the most pleasure. 

 “I’m a designer and I love always creating a new mood, a new vibe so I do enjoy moving to a new home every three to five years,” she said. “I create different interior styles according to my life stages.”

This flat she now calls home is inspired by her recent travels to Morocco and Bali. Chen is in love with the generous space and enjoys using her creativity to make it an even more welcoming home. 

Dong Jun / SHINE

A cosy seating corner in the living room

As an avid decorator, Chen has an eclectic mix of pieces that she’s collected from her travels. Art and design pieces adorn the walls, the cabinets and every possible corner of the living space. She has a knack for mixing and matching different material, styles and colors. It all comes together.

Chen is never frightened of putting different pieces together and never rigidly follows one direction.

“If you want your home to be real and lived-in, it should reflect your memories, your family and your travels,” she said.

“When I design a home interior, I pick a feeling or mood first, similar to my fashion design process. For this apartment, I decided to display my daughters’ artworks with several pieces created by famous artists as I’m a firm believer that art shouldn’t be valued for its price but for a personal connection.

“The wall displaying a mixture of my art collection serves as a centerpiece and is where the whole design starts.”

Chen buys and collects what speaks to her, be it from her travels or favorite furniture shops, and lets those pieces tell her story visually.

“No matter what kind of theme I would like to create in my home, I have always mixed East and West, vintage and modern,” she said.

Her living experiences from Taipei to New York City and now Shanghai are a big help and her love for craftsmanship and design with strong cultural backgrounds is clear.

The work of many designers and artisans from different countries are displayed in the living and dining spaces, resulting in an eclectic mix.

Every time Chen moves, she needs to get rid of part of her furniture collection in order to create a new interior style and mood. 

Dong Jun / SHINE

The cabinet displays an eclectic mix of tableware items Chloe Chen loves to use to entertain guests.

Conveniently, she has a great furniture resource: her sister owns a furniture boutique in Taipei. Chen brought in new furniture pieces for this home to fit in with the exotic vibe inspired by Moroccan and Balinese styles.

All in all, the home reminds her of the trips to the exotic lands and she loves to feel that she is on holiday. But as a city apartment, she still tried to make it contemporary and chic with lots of rustic touches and eclectic hand-crafted pieces that actually fit in perfectly. 

“I search for hand-made objects with a lot of passion and love behind and that’s the reason why I’m so in love with Morocco and Bali, where local people have passion for making beautiful hand-crafted pieces,” Chen said.

Blue walls, wood and neutral shades and touches of yellow make for a nice palette accented with art, flowers, and a few key decorative pieces such as a carpet from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

There are also loads of places to hang out — like the main living area, a seating space looking out the windows and the long dining table where Chen loves to spend time with the family. She specially upholstered the dining chairs for a personal touch.

“Chairs are like shoes,” she said. “They need to not only look good but be comfortable. I have designed shoes for many years and my motivation comes from the lack of the balance between comfort and good looking in the market.”

The resort feeling continues into the family’s private zone of the family room and bedrooms.

Light purple and grey shades dominate the master bedroom because Chen opts for a more feminine, sensual touch.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Some of the family pictures are displayed reflecting the family’s memories and travels.

Ask The Owner

Chloe Chen

Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?

A: It’s a great international city with a mixture of local traditions and global vibes. It’s probably the friends I’ve met in Shanghai from different countries that is the best thing about living in the city. They are part of my family.

Q: Describe your home in three words.

A: Love. Warm. Chic.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

A: Hold and kiss my kids.

Q: How do you unwind?

A: Take a bath.

Q: Where do you spend the most time at home?

A: At the dining table.

Q: What’s the best view outside your window?

A: The beautiful tree-lined streets and old houses.

Q: Where do you source furniture?

A: From my travels.

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