Published by Expatriate Lifestyle on 1 August 2012
Attach a good feel for luxury, wild imagination, intricate attention to detail and spotless creativity to a celestial burst of colours and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous Penang penthouse overlooking the ocean against a spellbinding backdrop with Raewyn McBain’s genius all over it.
A creative mind servicing the financial market, the ‘metal-tiger-cum-fengshui-master’ is in no way short on inspiration, having traversed half way round the world and lived in London, New York and Hong Kong with her Scottish husband, John. Finally settling on calling the “Pearl of the Orient” home, the New Zealand native admits that her love for design, fashion and interiors are hard to miss while the mix of bold colours is the paddle which rows her boat.
“Being very visual as an individual and having spent my career in the financial industry, I specifically choose to live my life with colour as opposed to all the grey and black suits one sees in the trading room,” shares the purple-haired CEO of Pink Tiger Media.
Well, if art is her craft, then Reawyn’s abode is an entire gallery dedicated to showcasing only her rarest of collections. However, decking up 6,500 worth of square feet across two floors was certainly no walk in the park. To get the condominium in a livable condition took about twelve months, while eventually transitioning to a relatively complete state soaked up two years in all.
Beginning at the main atrium with uneven stripes matching the shades of a rainbow, the lavish property opens up into a red and green themed master suite lobby. The twin-tone combination clues visitors in on the green master living suite up ahead which bears the sacred memoirs of her multitude of travels.
Here, Buddhas from Thailand, monks from Burma, Chinese furniture from Hong Kong, artwork from Florida, pencil sketches from London, and portraits of Porsche, Raewyn’s miniature schnauzer, Georgio Armani, her late Persian cat and Prada, also a Persian adorn the room.
The living and dining rooms take on hot pink and silver accents with her dining set resembling a modern concept on a Chinese theme. Applying more intrigue to an already spectacular setting, the bar is fitted with hot pink stools and an impressive collection of champagne. Meanwhile, the kitchen sits on royal blue and white tiles for a cooling effect, matching a London-bought tea set whilst giving off the idea of a ‘moveable island’.
A glorified display of black-and-white, there’s nothing simple about the office which houses a massive yet modern leather desk as the focal point, travel photographs in dark frames throughout and a library boasting an assortment of books and second editions of the owner’s favourites.
Featuring a layout just as captivating, the powder room is quite the tease. When glass floors lit with pink lights underneath, a mirrored ceiling and funky tiles for walls come together, shock and awe usually follow next. Here, the brightest colours are superimposed with circles and crosses representing hugs and kisses to evoke a sense of romance. And the final touch: Indian children’s bracelets embedded into the concrete amid the ambitiously-installed tile work.
The icing on the cake, Raewyn’s three uniquely-designed bedrooms complete the overall eclectic arrangement. Shooting for ‘absolutely-over-the-top’, first up, is a Tibetan-themed orange guest bedroom with antiques including a standing mirror, cabinet and four-poster iron bed.
The modern style en-suite bathroom while exhibiting various ornaments from Tibet comes with shades of orange and yellow and a sparkly silver floor for an unexpected finish. The second guest chamber shows off a royal purple hue to depict a French lavender field where old meets new. Laid out with teak furniture alongside beddings and wallpaper matching the predominant colour code, a ‘dreamy princess’ effect comes to mind. The attached bath features beige textures with splashes of purple and lilac.
Visualise red embossed leafy surroundings and linen curtains with palm leaves for a tropical touch and it’s the sea-front master bedroom that you behold. While the black satin canopy over the bed invites the water element into this intimate space, a secret cupboard, fridge and microwave make fixing up late night snacks a divine encounter.
Finally, designed to unleash the fashionista within, the master dressing room exposes a maximalist approach. A raised glass floor encased with designer shopping bags reflects the host’s most cherished labels, from apparel to shoes to handbags.
“As the apartment was just a shell, we were able to change the layout of some rooms. For example, the library of my office was initially a bathroom and we also extended all five of the balconies.” Adding that she enjoys creating a ‘shock factor’ so that people go, “Wow, what’s that?” – her guests are always left in jaw-drop amazement at how pieces end up in places where one expects to find nothing.