Dervla Louli Musgrave’s home is, in many ways, a reflection of the people and places that she holds near and dear to her heart. Her eclectic Midlevels apartment houses a treasure trove of unique trinkets and furniture that was lovingly collected over time and sourced both locally and across the globe.
Building this sanctuary was no overnight wonder. For the longest time, the only piece of furniture in Dervla’s apartment was a bespoke green sofa designed by her friend Kate Macklin of Italian Solutions. “I hate buying something for the sake of it”, Dervla explains. As she was accruing furniture and other unique finds for her apartment, Dervla came to realise that most of it was coming from across the world.
Her matching pagodas were shipped from Blue Carreon’s boutique in the Hamptons, her Beni Ourain rugs were discovered in Marrakech and her large clam vase was transported from Bawah Reserve in Indonesia, a partner to her luxury wellness platform, Compare Retreats. But, once the pandemic hit, this changed rapidly. “I became much more focused on supporting local artisans like Yue Kee Rattan factory and Artura Ficus,” says Dervla. The former made her matching pedestals and urns while Artura Ficus crafted the large wedding cabinet, étagères and Dervla’s scalloped bed.
As a creative and the founder of Compare Retreats, Dervla rubs shoulders with some of Hong Kong’s most detail-oriented aesthetes, including floral designer Gemma Hayden Blest, interior designer and founder of Ellermann Flower boutique Diane Nittke and Feng Shui expert Thierry Chow. Many of her friends imparted their expert knowledge of interiors and design to help Dervla craft this space she calls home, offering insight on pattern, products and colour palettes.
Indeed, colour also plays an important role in shaping Dervla’s home. “I’m quite nostalgic about colour,” she admits. The front door of the house is embellished with a golden bee knocker and is painted the same shade of navy as the door at Kilshane House, the venue in Ireland where Dervla got married. This door opens into the dining room where a sleek, swirling marble table by Permanent Resident is framed by plush blue velvet chairs designed by Dervla to match “Clouds”, a painting by Paule Marrot. A deep indigo shade seeps into her son Dawson’s room, making its way across bedding and onto bathroom wallpaper – the Scalamandre zebra print is one that you may recognise from “The Royal Tenenbaums”. “The apartment is very blue as you can see,” Dervla laughs. “It’s something that happened by accident while I was pregnant with my son Dawson – I gravitated towards blue fabrics, wallpaper, books, paint, clothes, and even art.”
One such art piece is the futuristic turquoise NFT of Victoria Harbour by Harry Pack that Dervla bought when she was eight months pregnant in quarantine. Another is a Poolside Glamour print by Slim Aarons, with the blue and yellow palette of the photograph serving as the inspiration behind Compare Retreats’ brand identity and colour story. Curiously enough, and rather fittingly in 2022, Instagram was a resourceful tool for Dervla to discover new and exciting interior finds, from her art pieces to her two matching pagodas. Dervla even credits the platform with giving her inspiration to create her Suzani Ottoman. “I saw one very similar on Singapore-based interior designer Elizabeth Hay’s Instagram and was inspired to turn the blue Suzani I had in my closet into a multi-functional piece for our living room.”
Each and every decision Dervla made putting together her apartment was done with careful curation and intention. “I used to be very indecisive when it came to interior decor. I think it’s because I felt it was so much more permanent than fashion, for example,” she explains. But now, Dervla allows her space to remain in a measured state of flux, allowing pieces to come and go so that her home may evolve and grow as she does.
Photography: Carina Fischer
Styling: Christie Simpson
Makeup Artist: Percy Chung
Hair Stylist: Vivian Ng