Mindful Design with Kaye Dong
Awareness of who we are and what we want in life is an ongoing journey of self-discovery; something Australian-born, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Kaye Dong knows only too well. The mother, foster mother and multifaceted businesswoman (Founder and Managing Director of wellness platform The New Moon, design firm The Good Studio, and non-profit charity K for Kids Foundation) looks at life through multiple lenses, yet sees no need to compartmentalise her roles.
Instead, a passion for wellness, design, spirituality and care for others is integral to everything she does. “It’s all connected by the same values – being kind to each other, creating a more compassionate world, doing things that are meaningful and purposeful, always being there to serve others.”
Dong is a firm believer in living authentically through design. “When design blends function and form with emotion, purpose and meaning, it can truly enhance our lives,” she says. This passion can be traced back to childhood. “I was always drawn to the power of design and of beautiful things. I remember always moving things around the house with my sister and pretending to be designers.” As she started travelling more and opened her eyes to the wider world, that passion for beauty continued to flourish.
“I believe that mindfully designed homes look after the health of the people who live in them. I definitely feel that my home takes care of me. It nurtures my soul and keeps me grounded.”
Today, her home in Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay is living proof of how a space can anchor and nurture physical and emotional health. From the tonal colour palette to natural materials to soothing, organic forms, the focus is on care, serenity and poise. “I believe that mindfully designed homes look after the health of the people who live in them. I definitely feel that my home takes care of me. It nurtures my soul and keeps me grounded.”
Everything inside was curated and designed with intention. “I can say with confidence that I love everything in my home,” says Dong. “Family photos, photos of our foster kids, artwork, collectibles from travels, our piano, all spark joy because they bring back lots of joyful memories.” Her growing crystal collection and crystal singing bowls also hold special meaning and uplift the space. “Feng shui also plays an important role in my life and brings in positive qi so that I feel energised and balanced.”
The challenges of the past few years have reinforced Dong’s desire to pursue a more contemplative way of living, creating calming, restful spaces and using honest, natural fibres and sustainable materials. Yet, it’s no perfect showcase either. “I share my home with my husband, daughters, foster children, dogs, cat, bird and turtle. Needless to say, it is a household that is full of life, energy and occasional chaos and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
For Dong, wellness is a way of being, and every day she makes a conscious decision to lead a happier, healthier and fuller life. “As a mother and foster mother, it is important to me that I model what it means to live in alignment with my values. Only when I take care of myself, can I take care of others.”
Q / A :
What inspires you?
Different things inspire me.
Travel, especially when I have a chance to travel on my own. I have made three trips so far without my family and they have all been transformational.
Alex, my husband. Although he travels a lot, when we do have the chance to engage in deep conversation, I am always amazed by his perseverance, passion and vision.
All my kids (biological and foster); they show me what it means to live.
People who are relentless in their pursuit for creating positive change in the world - they inspire me to continue serving and creating positive change in my own community.
What does home mean to you?
Home is my sanctuary; my happy place where I feel safe and have the freedom to be my most authentic self. Home is where we, as a family, make memories and form emotional bonds. Family happiness is my top priority. A happy home is where we can feel secure, a place to rest and restore, where we have the freedom to create and play, where we can form lifelong memories with our family and friends.
“As multifaceted human beings, it is not always easy to summarise in a sentence or two, who we are and what we do. For me, it has been and still is, a journey of self-discovery and unravelling of different layers of my unique story.”
Describe your interior style?
“Pair down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry” - Leonard Koren.
My style has changed over time and continues to evolve as I journey through different chapters of my life. Right now, I have a deep desire to lead a more mindful, gentler, wellness-focused way of life and my design style reflects this.
Your personal wellness routine?
I like to start my day very early, usually before the sun rises and the most important part of my morning routine is the moment before my feet hit the ground when I express my gratitude for another day. The rest of the morning consists of meditation, journaling, listening to a podcast, cold shower, smoke cleansing of the home, and sending the kids to school. I am usually in Central by 0815 to start my work day. Mornings are invigorating and full of joy and set me up for a really great day ahead.
My evenings, on the other hand, are much slower and more calming. We usually all go to our rooms by 8pm on a school night. I shower, prepare my clothes and bags for the next day and am usually in bed by 9pm. When in bed, I reflect on the day and listen to an audio book. My evening routine helps me ensure that I get at least 7 hours of quality sleep. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen, but that is my goal.
The most important piece of wellness advice you can give?
Make wellness your highest priority. Wellness means something different to everyone and depending on which season of life you are in, your priorities will shift. Invest in frequent quiet time alone to clarify what a happy and fulfilled life looks like to you, and then identify which areas of your life are out of balance and need attention.