Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Studio apartment: solution to space-starved Hong Kong flats

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “Even though a sparrow is small, but all its vital organs are present”. In design terms, a sparrow is a well-designed studio flat, which is functional and trendy, and meeting all the needs of its owner despite its small size.

To achieve this, there are three considerations—openness, flexibility and a minimalist design.

Knocking down all the walls might be a risky move to take, but with the right ideas and design, you can turn your apartment into a cosy and sleek pad.

One of the best ways to open up space is to turn your kitchen into an open kitchen. In this apartment in Whampoa Garden, not only does the open kitchen make the flat physically more spacious, it also draws natural light from the window in the kitchen into the apartment, making the space brighter and more comfortable.
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One of the biggest no-nos for small apartments is clutter. If your home has a large array of AV equipment, consider concealing them like this apartment in Convention Plaza, Wan Chai. AV equipment, including a large, roll-out TV screen are all hidden in a cabinet behind the apartment’s sofa, but with the touch of a button, these gadgets rise from the cabinet and are ready for use. The lift mechanism can be purchased from Hong Kong Hardware Supplier. 
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Along the same thread, furniture pieces also need not be rigidly fixed to a certain spot. Flexibility can greatly enhance space, as demonstrated by the retractable counter top by Formica on the island kitchen in the same apartment. Custom made by Clifton Leung Design Workshop, the island also provides drawer space and houses a wine fridge.

The rule of simplicity does not only apply to the furniture, but should also be incorporated to the colour and lighting schemes, as well as choice of materials.

For example, the design of this apartment in Sai Ying Pun is inspired by a simple gallery. It features smooth surfaces, a limited number of natural materials and diffused lighting. White-stained oak floors mirror the white walls and white sofa by Indigo, while laminated plywood was used for the custom-built sliding doors, cabinets, bedroom platform and shelves, all designed by Clifton Leung Design Workshop.

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If you prefer bolder colours, consider these walnut floorboards by Junkers, which complement the black, white and lilac walls and furniture in this apartment in Healthy Garden, North Point.
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Similarly, in the Whampoa Garden apartment, a warm lighting, featuring track lights that are hidden underneath floating cabinets, and a cream colour scheme, which only includes white and beige, are used, giving the space a minimalist and serene atmosphere.
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Another way to enlarge a space is to play with mirrors. In this apartment in the Arch, Kowloon, mirrors are installed behind the bed and above it. Not only do they make the bedroom seem more spacious and help natural light bounce around, illuminating the space, they also allow the sea view to be seen not only from the bed but also from other parts of the flat. Just remember to use greyish mirrors as the reflection would be too much otherwise.
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While the apartment is open, that does mean you have to give up on privacy and lack of demarcation of space.

For example, in this apartment, light wooden floor boards are used for the living room and master bedroom.
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Another way to play with demarcation of spaces is to consider elevating certain spaces, like in this apartment in Happy Valley. The bedroom, home office and bathroom are raised, indicating a sense of privacy.
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A sliding door can be easily installed between the rooms such as in this Mid-levels apartment for privacy. When the divider is open, the apartment is bright and airy, but it can also be closed, giving users of the room some privacy.
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Alternatively, you can also consider using frosted glass to create semi-open spaces between rooms. In this apartment in Sheung Wan, the home office and kicthen are divided by glass partition, giving privacy to the occupants, while allowing sufficient light to enter the spaces, making them appear more spacious.
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Clifton Leung Design Workshop official page:www.cliftonleungdesignworkshop.com


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