DANISH fashion designer Pernille Leschly Halle practices the design philosophy she preaches by filling her Shanghai home with her personal style and sensibility.
The creative director and designer of ready-to-wear label Style Butler was born into a family of fashion designers. In 2004, she decided to give a voice to her creative streak and started a women's fashion label to express her perception of style and serve women with elegant pieces made from the highest quality fabrics.
The interior style of this 500-square-meter villa she shares with her husband Jesper Halle and two children in Qingpu District is very much in tune with how she creates for her fashion brand. "I like to pay attention to details that are unique, mixing vintage finds, antique appliques but reviving them with a modern and relevant expression," Halle said.
The couple have been living in Shanghai for six years, with the first two and half years staying in Xintiandi and Xujiahui areas.
"Our current house and compound was under construction when we found it," said Halle. "The exterior is designed by SCDA from Singapore and combines an Asian tropical look with clean, minimalist architecture.
"Being newly built, it allowed us to design the interior totally according to our wishes," she said, adding that they were looking for a house for the family to thrive and the kids to grow up.
"A garden, lots of space and close proximity to schools were the main criteria," she added.
The couple had to design and build up everything from scratch, including walls, floor heating and air conditioning. "As a fashion designer it was a great challenge for me to create the perfect home base for my family."
They did everything, including moving walls around to connect the kitchen with the living area. In Denmark, explained Halle, the meeting point for the family is always the kitchen, so they wanted to combine this with rest of the living area.
Once the renovation plan was settled upon, the couple devoted themselves to decorating. "I wanted the living space to reflect an aesthetic of calm and elegance, mixing an old world Art Deco atmosphere with more streamlined and modern touches to give it a contemporary spin," Halle said.
They spent time working on the color scheme, focusing on white combined with natural colors, such as wide plank wooden floors. Certain rooms like the bedrooms have an additional tones, like very soft grey with a purple tint.
The lived-in look also comes from an eclectic mix of furniture throughout the house. Halle wanted furniture with individuality, even with faults, to add personality and create a unique and warm living environment.
Thanks to the couple's vision, the family now enjoys an open-plan living area connected to the kitchen. Open shelving in the interior adds to the breezy, homey feel and keeps things neat, despite having two kids.
It could be a result of being away from her homeland of Denmark that influenced a very Scandinavian atmosphere, admits Halle.
At the same time, the home has to be functional and tranquil, she adds.
"Shanghai is a big noisy city and it is important for us to have a place where we can shut the door and feel completely at home."
Q: What's the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: The speed at which the city is developing is amazing. Shanghai has truly become an international metropolis.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Warm, open and functional
Q: What's the first thing you do when you get home?
A: Give a big kiss to my two kids.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I spend time with my family and friends.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: The kitchen counter is the central point for the family - here the kids do homework, we eat our dinner and serve drinks and snacks when friends drop by.
Q: What's the best view from your window?
A: My roses! They're finally growing beautifully up my wall as I envisioned.
Q: How do you scent your home?
A: Believe or not, we bring cleaning material from Denmark! The scent reminds me of growing up at home.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: The family wall that I made. We have photos of all family members and friends. We all look at it frequently and send thoughts to our loved ones back in Denmark.
Q: Where do you source furniture in Shanghai?
A: Casa Pagoda on Taikang Road, Kenas at Shangahi 1933, Hu & Hu Fine Aintiques on Caobao Road.