Laab fits kitchen cinema and gym inside a 30 sqm hong kong apartment
Tiny hong kong apartment featuring a very creative and functional interior design
A Small Hong Kong Apartment That Is Big On Style Post Magazine

A Small Hong Kong Apartment That Is Big On Style Post Magazine A Small Hong Kong Apartment That Is Big On Style Post Magazine

“Even if I don’t wear them, it makes me happy just to look at them – they’re so pretty!” she laughs.

The bench (4,480 yuan) was sourced through Taobao and the Tibetan singing bowls came from the couple’s previous home. The Lumio lamp (HK$1,900), which resembles an open book, was from Lane Crawford.

“I am very particular,” Leung says, with a laugh, adding that she had agreed to visit the flat initially just to mollify her long-suffering agent, who had arranged an early viewing. “On paper, it looked too small for me, but I walked in and fell in love with the potential for a walk-in closet [carved out of one bedroom].”

Tan gutted the apartment and changed its layout. He combined two tiny bedrooms into one and downsized a large bathroom, relocating its door near the kitchen to a more convenient entry point outside the bedroom.

She had admired a friend’s apartment, which had been designed by Dylan Tan Dar-luen, of WOM Concept, so he was her obvious choice. She and her partner, German businessman Peter Klein, found temporary accommodation in Tin Shui Wai – everything closer was too expensive – and they moved out for 3½ months.

Kitchen The cabinets (HK$107,600) came from Royal Kitchen Design Company (3 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2573 3993). The shoe and display cabinet in the entrance (HK$9,280) was custom made by Hoi Tsun Decoration Design Engineering. The stepping stool was bought years ago.

Bedroom detail Stored in the platform space are out-of-season clothes, sporting accessories, bedding and luggage.

Living room The sofa and ottoman (HK$37,000 in total) and rug (HK$6,099) came from BoConcept. The Ambit pendant lamp (HK$3,800) was sourced from Muuto. On the balcony, the corner seat (HK$1,400) came from Ikea and the foldaway tray table (HK$500) from Habitat. In the bedroom, the divider unit with a red Venetian-plastered door (HK$28,000 in total) supports a small desk and wardrobe and was made by Debi Yeung Design.

Making the most of the light was a key part of the design. Glass walls allow daylight into the kitchen and dining area, and into the only bedroom. Lau also played with angles to allow more light into the kitchen and entrance. He placed the kitchen wall at a subtle angle, to draw the eye towards the windows, an effect highlighted by the timber box.

Shoe cabinet A cabinet by the main door houses Leung’s designer shoes.

Wijnand van Hoeven and Pierre de Rooij’s Causeway Bay flat designed by Louis Lau of Ample Design. Photography: Steven Ko

“We wanted to lower the windows but [building rules] wouldn’t allow this,” van Hoeven says. “We looked at lots of places and picked this one for its location, right at the heart of the action, and for its high ceilings and open view over Wan Chai. The new layout gives us a huge amount of light.”

Because the apartment is relatively small, Tan opted for a single colour theme – a neutral palette of white, charcoal and black – throughout. Oak flooring lends warmth and texture as well as the sense of tranquil simplicity so desired by Chu. Extending this uniformity to the bathroom, Tan installed printed ceramic tiles that resemble wood.

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Timber box Dividing and defining the living space is a warm wooden box, custom made by Ample Design for HK$32,000. The Boen timber floor came from Equal. Ample also constructed the glass-fronted display cabinet for HK$6,000.

Leung didn’t move in with any of the furniture from her old apartment (“except that carpet Debi hates”) and instead helped Yeung-Salansy furnish the compact interior from scratch. Their natural rapport is evident: “Debi’s direct and I like that,” says Leung. “I respect and trust her advice.”

TRIED + TESTED Smart glass Although the apartment sits on a high floor, the homeowner felt the large kitchen window left the apartment too exposed. A blind or curtain would have been a fire hazard and blocked out light. Instead, Debi Yeung-Salansy installed a glass panel (HK$45,000) in front of the existing window that can change from transparent to translucent at the touch of a button.

We ripped everything out and started again, installing storage everywhere we could

“The front wall is at an angle, along the line of the street, so we aligned the dividing glass wall between the living area and the bedroom with it. The angle of the kitchen wall makes the space feel larger,” Lau says.

Dining areaLau sourced the Jeu de Mur-Mur wallpaper by Casamance (HK$23,312) from Wallpaper Plus. The concrete-topped dining table cost HK$12,080 from Euro Sofa Mondo. The felt and oak London chairs were HK$3,692 each from BoConcept.

“Its proximity to the water, the trams run­ning into the city from just outside the door, the friendly vibe, the boardwalk, the local shops and restaurants – they all reminded me of where I used to live,” she says.

“Round, square or rectangular models would have been too big for the space, especially with chairs around them,” Tan says.

The glass wall (behind the television) allows natural light into the bedroom, which has a retractable blind for privacy. The Eric Lafforgue photograph of a North Korean traffic policewoman was bought through yellowkorner.com after a trip to the country in 2014.

The white-lacquered Chinese-style side table was from The Red Cabinet and the pair of red fleur-de-lis jars on it were from Tequila Kola. The Fold wall lamp by Foscarini cost HK$4,280 from The PLC Group.

A frequent traveller, Leung was also keen to use technology to her advantage, which is why “smart living” features have been installed throughout the home. A touch of a button on her phone or iPad allows her to turn on the lights and air conditioning from anywhere in the world.

Lau effectively used the wallpaper as a mood board, specifying distressed and industrial materials, including concrete, black metal door frames, wired safety glass and brick- and retro-look wall tiles for the bathroom and kitchen. Adding chic to the shabby, he created a sleek timber box running the width of the apartment, forming a continuous loop around the walls, floor and ceiling, in warm contrast to the hard materials.

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The fabric wall (HK$8,800), by Ample, softens the space and acts as a headboard. The bedside table (HK$2,560) came from Style 50s and the Tolomeo Faretto wall lamps (HK$2,320 each) from Artemide.

Bedroom The bed with bedside tables (HK$20,500) was custom made by Hoi Tsun Decoration Design Engineering. The illustration was bought in Poland in 1999. The wall lamps (HK$550 each) came from I. Lighting & Switches (388 Lockhart Road, tel: 2803 5012), and the Caravaggio pendant lamp by Lightyears (HK$2,355) was from Manks.

When Kaitlyn Leung Kan-yen first looked at apartments in Kennedy Town, three years ago, it was the vibrant neighbourhood’s similari­ties to the Canadian city of Toronto that appealed to her.

The main challenge was the lighting. It wasn’t possible to install a dropped ceiling and Tan didn’t want too many down lights. He got around the problem by incorpor­ating lighting on top of cupboards and into various shelves and recesses. Chu’s challenge is the ongoing exercise in organisation.

Bathroom The compact bathroom was finished to a high specification, but for greater privacy 3M film was added to the window.

With windows on three sides and two small balconies, the apartment had what Leung – a Hong Kong-born financial exec­utive who moved to Canada after high school and returned in 2006 – was looking for, and she signed on the dotted line to become the first person to take possession of an apartment in the high-rise on trendy Davis Street.

Ample designed the kitchen cabinetry, which Kitchen Square (200 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2838 6218) supplied and installed for a total of HK$145,000 (excluding appliances). The patterned tiles (HK$2,000) were supplied by Nam Kee Building Materials (86 Hop Yick Road, Yuen Long, tel: 2475 5061).

Dylan Tan of WOM Concept used neutral colours and quality materials to conceive a minimal but welcoming home. Photography and video: John Butlin. Styling: David Roden. Photography assistant: Timothy Tsang.

“The original layout had quite a few design flaws,” Tan says. “For example, the bathroom was as large as the bedrooms and the toilet was the first thing you saw when you entered the apartment. What possessed someone to design that?”

“We loved it immediately,” van Hoeven says, pulling out Lau’s artist’s impressions. “[The finished apartment] looks almost exactly like his drawings. We’d worked with Louis before and he said, ‘Trust me,’ so we did. We barely changed a thing.”

“I had a spare room in my old apartment but probably in 10 years only two visitors to stay. Debi pointed out what a waste this was and encouraged me to think about the space in my new apartment in terms of my every­day needs.”

But the perfect home remained elusive until she walked into a 540-sq-ft, three-bedroom apartment in The Hudson early last year.

First there was wallpaper. Not just any wallpaper, but an attention grabbing mural of an artfully distressed wall, peeled back layer by layer to reveal graffiti-sprayed and ornate tiles, crumbling plaster and raw brick. Pasted onto one wall of this Causeway Bay apartment, it is the statement piece on which the design hangs.

Kitchen Lau specified Lamitak – a hard-wearing plastic laminate from Singapore – in a distressed finish for the kitchen cabinets, paired with a quartz Silestone countertop.

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Leung also wanted to modify the space to provide storage elsewhere.

“This ultra-modern style isn’t anything like I had before and I was initially worried about finding space to fit in the things I had kept,” she says. “I still have to remind myself not to just buy blindly and to be disciplined about keeping everything tidy but now I love the absence of clutter.”

Clean lines The bedroom door is lined with timber strips, so that when open it doubles as the second wall of the timber box, mimicking the opposite wall and aligning precisely with the edge of the timber floor. Louis Lau, of Ample Design, designed the concealed door (HK$9,500) and television cabinet and metal-and-glass wall (HK$12,000 in total). The ceramic koi fish, by American artist Mark MacKay, came from Maui Hands, in Hawaii.

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Living room detail The concrete feature wall in the living area, which extends on to the small balcony, was built for HK$20,000 by Debi Yeung-Salansy’s contractor, who also built the television cabinet (HK$2,800).

“We ripped everything out and started again, installing storage everywhere we could,” Lau says.

Entrance A keepsake red ginger jar sits above the front door, which continues Louis Lau’s playful approach to angles throughout the flat. Mirrored cabinet doors help to bounce light into the entrance hall and segue into the wired-glass bathroom door and timber-door shoe cabinet, all custom made by Lau’s Ample Design.

Dining area The glass-top dining table (HK$3,800) was fabricated by Debi Yeung Design, as was the side table (HK$2,500). The upholstered dining chair (HK$5,500) came from BoConcept and the NMO Barcelona wall clock (HK$7,950) from Homeless.

Bedroom A raised platform accommodates extensive storage. The large chest of drawers (HK$22,000) was custom made by Debi Yeung Design. In front of the window seat is a pair of sheepskin rugs (HK$459 each) from Ikea. A small window is artfully covered with a painting (HK$3,500) that fits into a track built into the headboard so that it can slide easily for access. The headboard and hydraulic system (HK$18,000 in total), which lifts the entire bed to access the storage space underneath, were designed by Debi Yeung Design, as was the bedside table (HK$1,200), which doubles as a dressing table. A pouffe (HK$2,400), from Choi Designs, fits snugly underneath. The copper pendant light (HK$979) was from BoConcept.

Bedroom/study detail The blinds were HK$4,600 from May On Decorative Products (37 Fleming Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2598 0031) and the table lamp was HK$399 from Ikea. The desk with marble top (HK$10,720) was custom made by Hoi Tsun Decoration Design Engineering and the chair was HK$1,739 from BoConcept.

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The flat’s Dutch owners, Wijnand van Hoeven and Pierre de Rooij, wanted a loft-style treatment for the neglected, 580 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment in a 47-year-old building on one of the busiest roads in Hong Kong. It was the wallpaper that clinched the commission for interior designer Louis Lau Chin-ki, of Ample Design.

Entrance The charcoal pouffe (698 yuan/US$111) and wooden coat hooks (320 yuan for all three) were from Taobao.

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“The only thing that gives the game away are the thin lines of grouting between the tiles, which you wouldn’t have if it were a real wooden floor,” Tan says. “In the shop, they just lay the tiles flush against one another and you’re so amazed that they look so much like wood that you forget you’re going to need grouting. Then again, I’m probably the only one who notices.”

Living room Concealed behind the timber panels and grid of concrete boards are cupboards, made by Ample Design, which also built the double desk (HK$11,200). The office chairs (HK$2,500 each) were from Organic Modernism.

Which is why one small bedroom was set aside for a walk-in wardrobe and the other two knocked together to create a generous bedroom. The apartment’s 3.65-metre ceiling height allowed Yeung-Salansy to build an elevated bed platform that afforded generous storage space for her client’s sports equip­ment, extra bedding, luggage and other sundry items.

“I wanted a minimalist approach in order to be more spiritual and knew I would have to be very disciplined and say goodbye to most of my things. But, when it came to it, I struggled with getting rid of my stuff,” Chu admits. “I love music but there was no room for my keyboard so even that had to go. I had to constantly tell myself there was no point keeping things I didn’t wear or use.”

Having seen Debi Yeung-Salansy’s work featured in Post Magazine, Leung got in touch and was immediately impressed by the designer’s perspicacity.

The pair may not agree on the apart­ment’s highlight, though. Leung’s favourite spot is a shoe cabinet accommodating 70-plus pairs of designer shoes.

Softening the loft look in the bedroom is an upholstered wall behind the bed in the same dark turquoise as the sofa. Other materials in the room reflect those in the rest of the apartment: the wired-glass and black metal wardrobe doors are the same as the bathroom door, and timber-strip panels echo the box in the living area, extending across the ceiling and down one wall, where they hide more storage. The ceiling panel partially hides a structural beam that bisects the room. “It’s bad feng shui to sleep with your head below a ceiling beam,” Lau explains.

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Living area The custom-made wall cabinet (HK$26,560) and cube stool (HK$1,800) were from Hoi Tsun Decoration Design Engineering (20/F, Superluck Industrial Centre, 57 Sha Tsui Road, Tsuen Wan, tel: 9655 7465). The sofa (HK$10,950) and coffee table (HK$3,950) both came from Tree.

“I got to the point where I wanted to declutter my life, both physically and mentally, so this was my landmark project to change my life,” she says. “I’d collected so many things over the years and wanted to clear everything out and start afresh.”

Inset from the walls and ceiling, the box provides plenty of hidden storage. Suitcases are tucked into the cupboards above the timber ceiling and there are more concealed cupboards behind one timber-strip wall. On one wall of the bright living area, a grid of concrete boards hides yet more storage.

Bathroom The wall tiles (HK$168 each) and wood-effect floor tiles (HK$134 apiece) were all from Imperiale Ceramiche (163 Lockhart Road, tel: 2877 3008). The custom-made mirror cabinet (HK$9,950) was by Hoi Tsun Decoration Design Engineering.

The sofa (HK$26,795) was from BoConcept. The Dansk easy chair (HK$7,920) and Trent Teapoy coffee table (HK$5,000) were from Marc James. The extendable black wall lamp (HK$7,840) came from Flos.

Because the apartment was new, and the bathroom and kitchen were finished to a high specification with Miele and Siemens appliances, changes to those areas were unnecessary. At Leung’s request, however, Yeung-Salansy installed a feature wall in the main living area that extended on to the balcony. The concrete surface of the wall helps to connect outside and indoor areas. And on the bedroom side of the wall, it provides, you guessed it, even more storage space.

A striking statement wall makes this Causeway Bay flat unique.

“This apartment is only 70 square feet larger than our previous place,” van Hoeven says. “But here we have two desks not one, are able to walk around the bed and have space for a dining table that can seat four. Louis used every square inch. We even have storage space left in some cupboards.”

Bedroom The bedroom is all about storage, with wardrobes behind the wired-glass doors and timber-strip panels, and beneath the hydraulic lift-up king-size bed (HK$12,800), all by Ample Design. The bed base is mirrored to give the impression it is floating.

The only thing that couldn’t be changed was the size of the apartment’s only windows, which run the width of the living area.

But that wasn’t before Chu channelled her inner Marie Kondo, the Japanese organising guru, and gave away or threw out every­thing she owned, apart from clothing, an illustration bought in Poland almost 20 years ago, the television set (she’s not a TV person so couldn’t see the point of getting a new one) and a wine fridge.

He made the kitchen slightly larger and, by replacing a cumbersome shoe cabinet by the front door with a streamlined floor-to-ceiling alternative, was still able to create a proper entrance. He also built a wall of cabinets behind the sofa to give the couple ample storage and to delineate the living area from the dining nook. The furniture was either bought specifically or custom made, an example of the latter being the oval dining table.

Bathroom Lau kept the bathroom bright white to maximise the light from a tiny window into an air well. The bevelled brick and patterned tiles are a nod to the wallpaper in the kitchen-diner. All the tiles, including the hexagonal floor tiles, were from Nam Kee Building Materials. The wall lamps (HK$2,560 each) were from Manhattan Lighting (20 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2572 5111).

That level of detail is evident elsewhere. For example, the double desk in the living room has angled drawers to fit neatly against the angled front wall and a pull-out shelf that allows the printer to be tucked out of sight. Lau used the small walls created by insetting the timber box to carve out display niches for the couple’s favourite artworks: a tulip painting – a reminder of the Netherlands – in the dining area and a glass-fronted cabinet for ceramic pieces in the living room. A beloved red ginger jar has its own shelf above the front door.

Wine not The compact Vivant wine fridge (HK$998 from Fortress) is ideal for small apartments. Dylan Tan, of WOM Concept housed it in a specially designed niche built into the side of the main wall of cabinets, making it easily accessible from the dining table but unobtrusive.

Renovating her 490 sq ft home in Whampoa had been at the top of Winnie Chu’s wish list since she bought the apartment in 2001. However, life and the demands of a full-time job – Chu is a town planner – got in the way and the thought of a complete makeover, along with the temporary move that would entail, was overwhelming. That is, until late last year, when Chu decided upon a career break and took the decorating plunge.

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The cowhide rug was HK$2,290 from Ikea. The engineered oak timber flooring was HK$65 per square foot from Top Floor Engineering (376 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3568 6263). The canvas paintings came from Taobao.

This apartment is only 70 square feet larger than our previous place. But here we have two desks not one, are able to walk around the bed and have space for a dining table that can seat four. Louis used every square inch.

We even have storage space left in some cupboards

A large built-in cabinet, with a chest of drawers on one side and a small desk with further storage on the other, separates the bedroom from the rest of the apartment while still allowing plenty of light to flood through. One of two doors was blocked off and shallow shelving created on the bedroom side for yet more storage.

I got to the point where I wanted to declutter my life, both physically and mentally, so this was my landmark project to change my life

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