Chantel Shafie is a jewellery designer crafting bespoke pieces in a spectrum of colours. But Chantel extends her creative vision well beyond just jewellery, using her gifted eye for design to fashion her dream home in Midlevels. “In another life I would love to have been an architect”, she laughs. “I was fulfilling a dream being able to design my home from scratch”.
When Chantel and her husband Dan first looked into renting the apartment in 2018, it was completely derelict and hadn’t been renovated since it was built in 1960. The 3000 square foot space had formerly been used as a storage facility and a personal TCM kitchen for a property tycoon. “Parts of the ceiling had fallen down, windows were missing, there was no functioning kitchen…”, and the list goes on. Chantel spent 6 months on the large-scale revamp, building up some rooms while tearing down others – she removed one wall to create a breezy open veranda, adding sandstone tiles and a glass balustrade to take full advantage of the picturesque view.
After turning the place inside out, the only distinguishable features remaining were the original iron windows that Chantel painted black and a retro turquoise bathroom suite from the ‘60s. The rest of the space was transformed into a vision of colour and texture, with Chantel incorporating prints and patterns to her heart’s content.
Themes of nature are evident throughout, from the leafy polypropylene rug on the verandah and rattan accent pieces to her green headboard and the leaf-patterned pillows in her bedroom. There is no shortage of actual foliage either, with potted plants placed in every corner of the flat while the veranda teems with palms and bamboo trees. Amidst the green, Chantel’s leopard print obsession lurks throughout – “It’s neutral, I swear!” she jokes. A leopard print velvet upholstery lines the chairs in her bedroom and the cushions in her living room, bringing a groovy jungle feel to her room while adding a pop of fun and pattern to the sleek living space.
In seeming contrast to the earthy greens that suffuse the flat, the bespoke cabinetry designed by Chantel and the plush couch the living area are saturated in a deep, cobalt blue, while the hallway linking the living space with the bedroom is peppered with bursts of patterned yellow. But somehow, it works. The velvety blue and geometric prints bring an Art Deco pop, and combined with the bright yellow, are the interiors equivalent of dopamine dressing. “Life is dull without colour!” Chantel exclaims. “I naturally am drawn to colour and pattern, and as I always add layers to my interiors, as time goes on they tend to become even more colourful than anticipated.”
Chantel’s art and sculptural chandeliers play a strong role in grounding the space and adding that elevated, personal touch. The large print above the sofa is by Massimo Listri, a photographer known for his expert manipulation of perspective and dimension in grand, majestic spaces. “I saw it many years ago in an exquisite home feature on Architectural Digest and I waited a long time to purchase it. I needed to have a wall that would do it justice.” The raw, unfiltered lines of Alexander Calder was also something that Chantel couldn’t pass up on: “I have been obsessed with his work since I was a child. When I saw one appear at auction a few years ago I knew I needed to have it.”
Other objets de vertu include a pair of antique Mid-century modern crystal chandeliers by Val Saint Lambert. The first one Chantel discovered during high school, when she stumbled upon a little antique shop and was mesmerised by the ornate chandelier hanging in the window. She recently decided to find another one to make a pair, which is when she discovered its high-value vintage status. “I did manage to find another but it was almost 50 times more expensive,” she admits. “Needless to say I take very good care of both my chandeliers now!”
Like her home, Chantel’s bespoke jewellery designs are colourful and meticulously crafted. At any given time, the designer is working on 15-20 different pieces, communicating closely with some of the oldest and finest ateliers in Hong Kong to bring these creations to life. “They make everything by hand mostly using long-forgotten techniques. I’m very humbled and grateful to be able to work with them”, she adds. The pandemic brought a change in Chantel’s clientele, with increasing numbers of customers seeking important pieces “just because”. “I find it incredibly exciting”, says Chantel. “Women are now deciding to create fine jewellery for themselves and be part of the bespoke process rather than wait to be gifted it,” emphasising how being a part of the design journey allows customers to connect that much more with their jewellery.
Chantel’s jewellery is also versatile and convertible, with charms and pendants that can be worn as a necklace, a bangle or even as earrings. And just like her home, they’re one of a kind.
Photography: Natalie Dunn
Makeup Artist: Kamen Leung
Hair Stylist: Vivian Ng
CreditPhotography: Natalie Dunn