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Creative Spaces: Mandy Lee

For this edition of Creative Spaces, The Style Sheet steps inside the home of the food blogger and cookbook author behind The Art of Escapism Cooking, Mandy Lee. Born in Taiwan and raised in Vancouver before moving to NYC, Mandy relocated to China with her partner in 2012. The change made her unhappy, and she began using cooking as an outlet. In Mandy’s words, it was a project that turned out to be a ‘a phoenix rising out of tormenting flames’.


‘For me, it was important that my home here in Hong Kong was a space that calms me down. I didn’t enjoy living in Beijing, and I wanted to create a space that felt like a sanctuary,’ Mandy explains of the Happy Valley abode she’s been living in for four years with her husband and brood of three dogs.


‘I also love dark spaces — they make me feel safe somehow — hence the dark green walls in the kitchen,’ she continues. ‘It wasn’t a paint colour that I could find in Hong Kong, and I ended up finding a paint company called eicó and with them I went through a long process of custom mixing paints together to get the perfect shade.’

Food blogger and cookbook author Mandy Lee’s Happy Valley home artfully blends old and new, with found objects throughout
Food blogger and cookbook author Mandy Lee’s Happy Valley home artfully blends old and new, with found objects throughout
In Mandy Lee's home, rustic vintage pieces complement more modern finds, with natural materials such as ceramic and metal featuring strongly
Rustic vintage pieces complement more modern finds, with natural materials such as ceramic and metal featuring strongly
As someone who finds dark spaces calming, Mandy Lee settled on a dark green that predominates through the kitchen spaces
As someone who finds dark spaces calming, Mandy settled on a dark green that predominates through the kitchen spaces

As a lover of vintage, Mandy has incorporated Chinese colonial furniture and more modern Art Deco pieces to create a balance of old and new. ‘For example, my coffee table used to be a door,’ she says. As for her favourite item in her space? ‘A large, broken vase. I bought it in China and it smashed during the trip over. I glued all the pieces back together, but there’s still one more part missing, and I liked it better this way. It feel like it has so much more character. So much so, I was very close to smashing a second vase on purpose! My husband thinks I’m crazy.’

 

If Mandy’s plaster walls look familiar, you might have seen similar versions on @jerseyicecreamco. ‘I’m totally copying Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co!’ she says. ‘I found them on Instagram and I love their style. If I could hire them, I would! Their signature feature is plaster walls, something I wanted to replicate here. I couldn’t find any contractors in Hong Kong who knew how to, or were willing to, apply it, so my husband and I did it ourselves. It was back-breaking work. It took almost a year to plaster the whole place, and we were living in here at the time, so it was quite a project!’

Mandy Lee incorporated Chinese colonial-era pieces complemented by Art Deco influences
Mandy incorporated Chinese colonial-era pieces complemented by Art Deco influences
Three dogs share the space with Mandy Lee and her husband
Three dogs share the space with Mandy and her husband
Mandy Lee's space is highly textural, with wood panelling and furniture offset by brass and ceramic accents
The space is highly textural, with wood panelling and furniture offset by brass and ceramic accents

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