How 2 apartments in Hong Kong became 1 with a zen vibe and versatile spaces where “everything communicates with each other”

“This aligns with our clients’ desire to turn their home into a soothing environment with a sense of simplicity,” she says.

The key requirement was that the only bedroom had a king size bed. Another feature is work from home. The couple kept a second bathroom for guests and as a laundry room, and used the remaining space to create a 221 sq. foot with separate closets for him and her and a bathroom with a deep soaking tub.

It also allowed for the creation of a one-stop home office on the site of the former living room of the second apartment. Located behind the bedroom, this light and airy workspace provides the perfect environment for creative thinking, out of sight and sound from the main part of the house, with a large window overlooking the outdoors.

The kitchen was only renovated in 2015 but something was missing – a central island. Leaving the kitchen walls intact, the solution was to create a new, wide workbench and breakfast bar right inside the front door, taking the place of the dining area in the original apartment. Wong considers this one of the best features of the renovated apartment.

“If I come home with my groceries, I have somewhere to dump them while I sort it out,” she says.

A refrigerator and wine cellar are built into a newly built-in cabinet along both walls, and a bench is handy for leveling ingredients while you cook.

It also came in handy for the couple’s recent obsession with Lego, as well as their art framing hobby.

Completing this section is a seat that can be used as a place to store shoes and a dainty full-length mirror that slides out of an alcove next to the refrigerator, allowing you to check your outfit one last time before leaving the house.

Entering the adjoining dining and living areas, one can fully appreciate the visual symmetry of the interior design palette.

Nearly every wall hides a pantry, artfully designed to blend in with the woodwork, or built into a structural element that cannot be removed.

The tones are muted, as is the lighting scheme, the relaxing evening atmosphere is enhanced by built-in LEDs that change colors from cool to warm.

The choice of flooring was also strategic. Wood seemed appropriate for the desired warm and natural aesthetic, but with the couple planning to adopt a cat, ceramic tile was deemed more practical. Lai suggested a textured chevron pattern tile from Italian ceramic brand Fapnest, which makes the room feel more spacious thanks to its smaller profile.

“Smaller floor tiles fill the room with a richer pattern, but they require more time and skilled craftsmen with attention to detail and leveling,” she says.

The couple say the flow of their revamped living space suits their needs well, and the relaxed atmosphere they wanted is achieved because “everything is talking to each other.”

Despite some limitations created by structural walls or columns, Chu says the designers did a great job of integrating them for a useful function. For example, a long but narrow niche at the entrance to the second apartment has turned into a comfortable dressing room.

“Architecture partially solves problems,” he says. “With creativity, the obstacle becomes a feature.”

Living room

A corner of the living room is used to display works of art and books. One side is filled with shelves and a flat art display surface that also masks the structural shear wall behind. On the other hand, a wooden perforated board allows for seasonal decorations such as Christmas decorations. Wood trim provides the integrity of the living/dining area.

There is a print on the left Flower (1999) Yayoi Kusama bought from a gallery in Shanghai’s M50 art district. The smaller prints on the right are by Dave Kinsey (dkinsey.com). The Osaka sofa was from BoConcept (boconcept.com).

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Entrance detail

The walnut veneer entryway has a designer look and a practical function. There are hooks for coats and umbrellas, storage space for shoes and a retractable full-length mirror (not shown).

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Dinner Zone

Located in the former living room of the original owners’ apartment, the new dining room receives light and views from two large windows. The DC series American oak dining table and two chairs were made by Meta Home (metahomehk.com), while the oak bench was made by Muji (muji.com). The overhead pendant lights came from a previous client’s apartment. Fapnest textured floor tiles were made by Dolce Vita (280 Portland Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2698 1368).

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

bar counter

The new multi-purpose island bench is finished in lamina, an Italian porcelain material that architect Lisa J. Lai of Tati Studio (tati-studio.com) says has cost and sustainability advantages over marble and stone. It came from Po Kwong Stone (pokwongstone.com). Storage is hidden above and below the TV niche. On the other hand, a half shoe cabinet can be used as a desk for a quick email check. All furniture in the apartment was from Sky Decoration (skydecorationhk.com).

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Home Office

The writing desk was a housewarming gift. It is complemented by a screen print by Rob Sato of Giant Robot in San Francisco (now closed). On the shelf above is Figma of The Scream by Good Smile (goodsmile.info), a framed work from a friend, and the Butterfly Garden, a memento from Penang, Malaysia.

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Wardrobe

The dressing room used to be the kitchen of the newly acquired apartment next door. Full-length hanger space is on the right in a black-tinted glass cabinet by Sky Decoration, while on the left, half-height cabinets provide extra storage while hiding excess plumbing. An opaque glass door at the end lets in light from the study outside.

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Bedroom

Charcoal gray accents give the bedroom moodiness. An upholstered headboard sits behind the king-size bed with custom-made Sky Decoration storage underneath. Nearby are bedside lamps from the couple’s previous apartment. Here, as elsewhere in the home, window sills provide built-in storage.

Photo: Lisa J. Lai

Checked + checked

A place for everything Maximizing storage space in every possible nook and cranny is one of the clever tricks of this interior design project by Lisa J. Lai and Choi Siu-kwan ([email protected]).

In the bedroom, the overhang of the half-bay window has been widened to become a dressing table, and the lid of the drawer swings open to reveal a vanity mirror. Beneath this built-in wood cabinet is a piece of recessed LED lighting that adds warmth and ambiance to the entire apartment.

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