Category: My work

A new year, a new you. A new decade, a new…?

I’m sure I echo everyone else’s sentiments by remarking on how fast last year seemed to fly by…let alone the whole decade. I still think of the 90’s as a few years ago…how frightening! I am so excited about the possibilities for this year though, starting the new year in my own business venture is quite thrilling. I won’t bore you with my resolutions…or lack of….but I will fill you in on a few plans and news.

1) The Studio Annetta website will soon be finished! A bio and the beginnings of a portfolio will be available online by the end of the month, so anyone wishing to hire me will be able to take a look. My contact details are already there, and a more comprehensive CV / Portfolio is available upon request.
2) As part of my portfolio I will be uploading the remainder of the “Studio Apartment” renovation project I posted about last year here, here and here for everyone to finally see (Thanks for your patience!), along with a project I’ve been working on recently.

3) Move into an office space. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying working from home, especially while the weather is so cold. And as much as I love having my two cats here with me all day…I’m discovering that is not easy sharing a space with two animals who have a mind of their own. Between them wailing at me for food or cuddles or more food and perching themselves on my lap or the desk (their preference is between the keyboard and the monitor, or right on top of the mouse…) its not an environment conducive to working at the moment. And then there are the multitude of books, magazines and samples that have overtaken our spare room. So this goal is definitely a priority…and I certainly wouldn’t mind if it ended up looking something like the space below.

So stay tuned for more news and updates, and thanks as always for tuning in!

Gallerist Patrick Seguin‘s stunning Paris apartment photographed by Marc Seelen for Elle Decoration (UK) Feb 2010 issue.

Studio Apartment update

a sneak peek of what’s to come…

* Sorry guys, this might be all you see for a while…I’m holding off on posting any more images because I’m hoping to get the full project published later this year….hope you can wait til then!

Busy busy busy…

To say I’ve been busy these last few weeks is somewhat of an understatement. The studio apartment I’ve been working on is due to be finished this weekend, and all the furniture and appliances we’ve purchased will be delivered the following weekend. We spent last weekend shopping for furniture, mostly in Ikea because of budget restraints, but we did buy a few little pieces from Lane Crawford when they were on sale a few months back, including

2 Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen

a lovely Jielde task lamp for the bedside

and a funky little Tivoli i-pod docking station..I think I want one of these for me!

I promise to post some photos once it’s complete…


Here are a few of the photos I took at the studio apartment over the weekend. Work has come to a standstill because of the impending Chinese New Year holidays…so these might be the last photos for a few weeks. But I’m excited…they’ve made real progress!

Looking in from the front door – to the left is where the new walk-in-robe will be…and a glimpse of the new opened up space and new window.

Its very much a construction site… but I’m excited by how much bigger it looks already without the internal walls, and one large window instead of two. Unfortunately the temporary balustrade they built outside the window is still there so its hard to get an idea of the full view…

From this angle you can see the new, slightly larger bathroom on the right…and the space where the kitchenette will be on the left (where all those power sockets are in the wall)

Looking into the new bathroom…

Looking out into the living space from the bathroom…

And the roof….the old ugly light fittings are gone, the floor has had a new layer of concrete, the concealed light fittings are almost there…and we now have the structure of the cabinetry that will house a sink, mini-bar fridge, washer/dryer and the hot water system. Its going to be a nice place for a BBQ when the weather gets better here!

Studio Apartment – the before photos

I’m so excited to be able to share with you this solo project that I started working on a few months ago.

The apartment is tiny, only 420 sq ft (about 40 sq mtrs), but one of it’s redeeming features is that it has a private rooftop the same size. It’s located in a quiet (well, quiet for Hong Kong) cul-de-sac in an up and coming area.

My client, an expat bachelor, approached me via my blog just after he purchased the property late last year. With the apartment being so small, and he not owning really any furniture to speak of, we’ve completely gutted the place and are starting again from scratch. How fun!

These are the photos we took before construction started just before Xmas….

Looking in through the front door…horrible tiled floors (a pet peeve of mine). From here you can see into the second bedroom. Yes, that’s right. The previous owners managed to squeeze 2 bedrooms into a 420 sq ft apartment…

One of the tiny bedrooms…although even from these you can see the green outlook from the windows – a real rarity in Hong Kong, and something we intend to maximise as much as we can.

The second tiny bedroom..

The cramped living space, and the nook that was the kitchen. Yes, past tense. They took out the kitchen and put it on the roof!

I’m not sure what to say about this bathroom…I’m pretty sure the pictures speak for themselves…

And last but not least, the roof. You can see the high rises the building is surrounded by on one side, and the green mountainside on the other. We intend on having cooking facilities on the roof still, but there will definitely be a kitchen inside!

The contractor has already started construction, its been gutted and the new internal walls have now been built. After checking out their progress on Sunday the most exciting thing for me was seeing the new windows. I forgot to take update photos – but I’ll be back again this weekend to check on their progress so I’ll post some new shots of it then, so stay tuned!

ups and downs…

Remember me talking about the house in Australia that we own? The one we bought, moved into, gutted and renovated and then left – never to return – all in a matter of 6 months? We sold it. Last month. I’m a bit sad to say goodbye. But I’m more sad that we never got to finish the renovations. That little house had a soul of its own, and I felt I owed it the decency of being completely restored. I guess it was just not meant to be. Such is life, hey?

So this post is a tribute to the house that was to be my first real estate purchase, my first home as a married woman, and where I had hoped to raise my children. It may have been the first, but it won’t be the last.

Looking down the hallway into the house from the front door. Lovely paint job, and what we later discovered was 3 layers of linoleum flooring…with newspapers dating back to the 50’s underneath.

Looking down the hallway in the opposite direction, facing the front door. A complete transformation, no? We completely gutted the place, so all plasterwork, architectural trimmings were replaced…the leadlight above the front door is however, original.

The front room of the house which, originally as a Victorian would have been a sitting room of some sort, was our master bedroom.

The original skirtings and doors had been taken out, so we replaced them with with more historically correct features, and replaced the ceiling rose. We also replaced the front window – which was rotting – with a historically correct replica, although one that was higher allowing more natural light into the front of the house.

The second front room…which we had planned to use as a nursery eventually….

also had a new window frame and ended up as someone else’s sitting room.

The original fireplace had been taken out by the previous owners, as well as all of the original mouldings and architectural features…

so these were also replaced. This room became one of my favorites – during the one and only time I saw it!

These pics were taken by our Real Estate Agent for the sale of the property, so while I can claim credit for the design of the renovations, I cannot however claim any of the decoration inside. All of the furniture belonged to our tennant.

Thanks for letting me give you a tour. I hope it won’t be too long until I’ll get to give you another…

Our new apartment – after shots

Finally, I can share the after photos! Let me just preface this post with a disclaimer. I am in no way declaring that this space is a) finished, b) fabulous, or c) furnished! Of course it’s going to look bigger with no furniture in it, but I am not quite ready to share those photos with you… So, in the meantime, at least take a look at the multitude of sins that a few tins of paint have managed to (mostly) cover up…..

Living Room – again looking from the front door. Yes, it still looks like a bowling alley, but I think the space looks more open and consistent. As you can clearly see, I opted for a light colour, rather than chocolate brown – which I had also considered. I didn’t go the dark colour road because, while I think this space is a great candidate for a rich dark colour, we would’ve had to repaint the place once we were done and ready to leave. And while I had no idea just what a task was at hand when I was chosing the colours, I’m glad I took this path because believe me, I am not painting anything again in a long time!

The second major change is the sisal carpet we had laid wall to wall in the entire space. Mostly to cover up the ghastly tiles in the kitchen/dining, but mostly because as the spaces are joined I wanted them to feel more like one large (and long) space, rather than two smaller connected spaces.

It may be hard to see in these photos, but there were cupboards along one wall which we’ve converted to bookshelves (as seen on the left side of the below photo) – the doors came off easily and a few coats of paint have allowed us to open up the room ever so slightly, and to display the books my husband and I have amassed between the two of us.

This view (above) is looking back at the entrance from the living room. Those beyond ugly light fittings are still with us, temporarily, until I find a suitable replacement.

From the dining room looking back into the living room. Kitchen is to the left, but as a rental we weren’t able to change that or the bathroom, so we have to live with those as they are. Barely visible are the wires for the surround sound system (the black speakers were expelled) that will be installed at some stage (with small white speakers!).

This photo to me shows the greatest amount of change. The front bedroom before was so terribly ugly, and now its actually one of the nicest brightest rooms in the apartment. This photo doesn’t show much, but to me its what is not there that makes it so nice (the old bed and built-ins the landlord removed for us).

There is still a bit of work left to do, and lots of cleaning. I’m still finding areas to touch up with paint, and paint spots that need removing. But we’re getting there. Next on the to-do list is to get a few pieces recovered so I can perhaps share some real after shots, fully furnished…

My Loveseat

Reading Stylecourt‘s guest posts about Ruthie Sommers and Carla Lane and their vintage furniture rescuing on Design Sponge today made me even more depressed that there are not many vintage goods stores here. When I was in Melbourne one of my favorite pass times was checking out second hand, vintage and antique goods stores for pieces to rescue. Most of them have since found other homes – mostly because I’ve moved so many times (twice internationally) – but also because my tastes change so fast. That’s the beauty of buying cheap and cheerful though, you don’t need to spend a fortune, so it doesn’t need to be a lifetime investment. One particular piece I’ve rescued has become a companion, travel and otherwise. The antique Sheraton-style loveseat that is now at the foot of my bed was picked up from a vintage furniture store on High Street in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. This was the condition it was in when we first saw it….

When I said I wanted it my husband first reaction was to call me crazy. Then, because he’s learned to trust me on these things, he relented. And we bought it. It took a bit of deliberation to finally chose a fabric, but once we’d agreed and had the frame restored and the seating re-sprung we finally got it re-upholstered. Didn’t she scrub up nice?

It might be a while before he lets me do that again, the cost of the fabric was more than the cost of the loveseat and the upholstery put togehter! Oh well, she’ll always be with us, so I think it was a good investment. If anyone is interested, the fabric is from Zoffany – “Rossini” VEL01008.

As you can see these photos were taken two years ago now, just before we moved to Hong Kong, in the midst of renovating our little Victorian townhouse…for someone else to live in..*sigh*(hence the nasty looking floorboards and rubbish bags etc.)