David Peereboom of the NFA jewellery brand and Kirstin Mearns of M+ museum have transformed their Sheung Wan apartment into a haven filled with cherished masterpieces

When David Peereboom spotted a “for lease” sign by this Sheung Wan apartment, he was immediately smitten. “I waited at the entrance and requested an impromptu showing,” says the jewellery designer and founder of the Hong Kong-based NFA (No Fixed Address) jewellery brand.

“I remember David calling and saying: ‘I think we’re moving’,” says Peereboom’s wife, Kirstin Mearns, the head of museum commerce and visitor service at the M+ museum.

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The 912 sq ft, one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, which also has an 85 sq ft balcony, is in a low-rise building yet offers beautiful views of a park. “You can see the koi in the pond—it’s like the best ‘park suite’ in a luxury hotel,” says Mearns. The building’s façade was also a draw for the couple: described by Peereboom as a “shiny black beacon”, it features a metal doorway that is “almost architecturally gothic”.

Dutch-born Peereboom and South African Mearns met in an airport in Las Vegas, and first moved to Hong Kong together on July 1, 1997. The couple spent many years in and out of the SAR, permanently relocating here four years ago when Mearns, who previously worked with the Art Gallery of Ontario and on exhibitions with the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, accepted an offer to work at M+, which was then gearing up for its opening. In 2021, Peereboom, who has had a long career in jewellery design, established NFA. The couple had been living for two years in an apartment that they felt didn’t satisfy their “true home sensibilities”, says Peereboom—and both felt the opportunity to move into this home was not to be missed, says Mearns.

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The apartment, which features details originally created by the London-based interior designer Ilse Crawford, is a “nirvana of glass and open space”, says Peereboom. “I love it, because it leaves my mind open to creative expression—it is a canvas of opportunity.” During a six-week redesign period, the couple adapted and personalised the home to their tastes and needs. “I came in with my paintbrush and concepts, turned up the music—and absolutely had a blast,” says Peereboom.

Our art is an expression of our personalities
Kirstin Mearns

Peereboom designed floating walls—which he says “give the space a gallery attitude”—plus plinths that support a series of sculptures and bespoke lighting, all of which highlight the display of an extensive art collection. “Our art is an expression of our personalities; we collect art because we love the works and want to live with them, not to build a collection as an investment,” says Mearns. Meanwhile, the walls and ceilings were painted matt black, a decision that the couple feels brings drama, and which was one of the biggest changes they made. “Besides that, they are just damn cool,” says Peereboom.

It is a gallery-like space where the designer says he can immerse himself in creativity, and where his pieces—the inspiration for which comes from “our subconscious and inner rock star”—are arranged on shelving made of wood and glass. These include In Each of Us, a collection that features a piece dedicated to his brother, who passed away from complications due to Covid-19; and Hollywood and Cross, which was inspired by the apartment’s proximity to Hollywood Road and the cross of a nearby church that can be seen from the windows. The displays are a “daily creative and imaginative engagement—not to mention my wife’s personal jewellery boutique”, the designer says.

A bar, positioned in the centre of the living spaces, features glass and wooden shelving and is home to about 60 local and imported tipples, including a variety of Hong Kong gins. “I believe every home should have a bar—it is a welcome sight when I suffer from ‘designer’s block’,” says Peereboom.

A number of pieces in the home are custom-made, including the bed and a bespoke coffee table created to house a limited-edition book published by Taschen about the Rolling Stones, which is signed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. The bedroom leads to the private terrace, where the couple has barbecues in cooler weather. “Having outdoor space is a luxury in Hong Kong, and we are so appreciative to have a balcony that affords the room to create our little oasis—a Xanadu with properly charred meats and libations on tap,” says Peereboom.

The couple has now been living in the revamped apartment for two years. “The creativity of the works in our home allows us moments for reflection and provides inspiration,” says Mearns. A reimagining of the space was all that they wanted, adds Peereboom. “It only needed a veneer of the Rolling Stones—and Basquiat swank—to make it home.”

  • PhotographySteve Wong
  • StylingRuth Du Cann
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