A two-bedroom apartment in Macau’s “One Oasis” has been charmingly decorated by Frenchwoman Niky Bauret with repurposed materials and treasures from her travels.
Niky Bauret has lived in Macau for 10 years and during that time she’s gained an understanding of a diverse range of apartments having moved home 5 times!
“I started in central Taipa in Supreme Flower City, then moved to Flower City, then to a tiny Chinese-style apartment in Old Taipa, one of my favourites, so charming, I enjoyed the village feeling – I miss it!” she says. She then moved to Hoi Wan by the Macau Anglican College, “a nice apartment but the outside public areas were awful, like a prison, soul destroying, I stayed only one year.”
Then 3 years ago she moved to One Oasis, a brand new apartment when Tower 11 first opened, there were plenty on the market so at the time the rents were relatively low. Nicky feels that whilst “One Oasis, for me, has too many expatriates” and she tends to prefer a more ‘local’ neighbourhood, still yearning for her old flat in Taipa Village, “it’s convenient for my lifestyle”; she works on CoTai and spends a lot of her free time in Coloane at the Hac Sa beach sailing club there where she’s learning kite surfing. “I’m in the middle of work and my hobby.”
Another of Niky’s hobbies is interior design and she’s clearly poured many hours of thought and creativity into making her current 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home a real gem, a cozy homely refuge that’s quiet and has a view across the estuary that separates Macau from Hengqin Island.
“I didn’t study design, I’m not qualified as such and I have a lot to learn” she explains modestly. But her passion for breathing ‘soul’ into tired, unloved places and giving them renewed life, and likewise with brand new empty homes, has led to years of experience and a portfolio of ‘before and after’ projects – a restaurant in Phuket, a couple of homes in Belgium, a local buy-to-let apartment in dilapidated condition near the Red Market which she oversaw the builders work, then furnished and accessorized it. “It was immediately rented, so the owner was well pleased!”
Then there are her various rental apartments here in Macau. Each time she moves she puts her imagination and innovation to the test, experimenting with new ideas, and new uses of different materials. Her colour scheme is whites, yellow, creams – colours palettes that will make an otherwise small space feel larger. In both the living and bedrooms there’s a distinct beach vibe (perhaps a throw back from her time in Phuket?) … a wood framed mirror, bamboo blinds, shell and beaded containers, rattan baskets, side tables and armchair, pieces of wood pallets which she’s distressed in white and used as a coffee table, applied to the top of an IKEA side board, used as the base to the guest bed and as a wall hanging in the master bedroom.
“I don’t like angular, modern design, that’s not for me; I don’t know how to manage it. My style is much more eclectic, and I use a lot of soft and textured fabrics.” The white sofa and the padded window seat cushion in the living room accessorized with a collection of black and white throw cushions complement this style. As does the group of three framed blackboards hanging on the wall; “I love these … at my 40th birthday party in Old Taipa my friends wrote messages on blackboard paper which I then peeled off and had framed.”
Against the neutral colour palatte and the soothing fragrance and flicker of Ylang Ylang incense candles perfuming the air, Niky adds ‘pop’ with vividly coloured treasures brought home from her trips to Bali, Morrocco, China and India: carpets and beaded boxes from Morocco, a Kilim and a window hanging in the living room from India, a turquoise-painted Chinese cabinet and beautiful painted drum and from closer to home Zhuhai that now serves as a coffee table matched with little rattan stools from Vietnam in a sitting area at the entrance.
In the master bedroom, Niky has ingeniously added interest and a textured-look to an otherwise ordinary white IKEA wardrobe … applying a faux white-brick wall paper to the door fronts and decorative handles. And instead of trying to squeeze in another wardrobe she has given the space behind the bedroom door a cost-saving, simple but charming look using stainless steel rod, soft white hanging curtain, decorated with stunning brass curtain tie-backs with black tassels.
A deliciously textured bed cover and throw cushions with tassels give the master bedroom a soft, comforting and tactile feel. No boring bedside table lamps for this home … in both bedrooms the lamps either side of the bed drop from the ceiling, rattan bell-shaped in the master bedroom, and painted white rattan baskets in the guest room.
So where does Niky hail from and what brought her to Macau? “I’m originally from France, Orlean, South Paris, but I left when I was 19 so I don’t really know the place very well.”
Her hobby at the time was scuba diving and this eventually became her job. “I went to the Caribbean, the island of Guadeloupe, for a few months, which turned out to be 6 years. I was teaching mainly European tourists how to dive. I then went to Phuket, Thailand, where I set up a restaurant after the Tsunami. I was there for 2 years. Then came Macau. “I’ve been with the House of Dancing Water since the beginning, during the set up 10 years ago.
I was first a Show Diver, helping guide the artists underwater.” After 4 years Niky developed a sinus and migraine problem so reluctantly had to give up diving. Now she’s responsible for the communication around the pool, ensuring that the show runs smoothly, that the artists enter on queue. “So I’m still in the aquatics department. It’s very interesting, I really love my job.”
And what about Macau – what keeps her here? She enjoys “the fact that we are really safe. It’s an easy going life style. We can travel everywhere so easily. I like everything except the weather; I enjoy the seasons but don’t like the humidity! And I’m happy in my job, I feel very lucky. As long as I’m needed I will stay.”
And after Macau, what could be next on the horizon? “Corsica. My sister and her family live there. It’s funny; I realized that throughout my life I’ve always lived on an island – first Guadeloupe, then Phuket, now Macau, and then most likely Corsica. Island living suits me. And what will I do there? Something to do with interior décor!” she laughs.
This article was written by Suzanne Watkinson for her regular Home Affairs section in the Macau Closer magazine, for the September-October 2019 issue.
Photo Credit: Suzanne Watkinson