1,992 sq.ft neutral home with natural light done right
While the Kowloon Peninsula doesn’t boast the breathtaking sea views or gorgeous coastline landscape of its southside island counterpart, to the surprise of many an area on its northwest edge hides a stunning retreat from the bustling paces of the frantic city.
In one of the territory’s liveliest districts, a 1,992 sq.ft penthouse and rooftop was completely revamped to create a zen home for a young couple. Inspired by the minimalist approach of Scandinavian aesthetics, interior designer Keith Chan of local studio Hintegro blended simplicity with modern textures and soft hues, and adopted innovative solutions to optimise space where it was in short supply.
Since one of the homeowners is a graphic designer, it is no great surprise that the apartment demonstrates a good eye for colour and proportion.
Modern shades of green and contemporary wooden fixtures, panels and metallic details are prominent features throughout, with Chan skilfully reflecting the couple’s tastes while imparting a sustainable home lifestyle for their physical and emotional wellbeing – a value that is integral to his studio’s design ethos.
The dining area commands attention from the moment one enters via the foyer. A Nagi dining table and bench in light cherry wood faces the stunning city view, with the large grill-less window not only offering uninterrupted views of Stonecutters Bridge and the Rambler Channel, but also allowing ample natural light to spill generously througout the room.
Chan’s open layout plan allowed for a continual flow of sunlight and energy to spread across the living space. At one side, the room seamlessly connects to the kitchen. With an island counter doubling as a bar top, the kitchen area has been designed as a less formal dining spot and convivial space for guests to interact with the host. A white Silestone countertop adds a subtle touch of luxury alongside matching white wall cabinets that expand on the perception of space by reflecting light with their neutral tones.
Other installations, meanwhile, provide a stark contrast to the lighter shades of the walls, including warm olive green hand-brushed cabinet doors, bar panels, and wall tiles by Living Ceramics and Mutina.
Functionality in tight spaces often sprouts versatility, especially in the kitchen where preparation, cooking and eating can demand ceaseless movement. For this reason, Hintegro brought a U-shaped layout to the kitchen while providing vertical storage, a wine fridge and Miele steam oven fitted perfectly into the white wall cabinets.
Modular design and multi-functional spaces are further showcased in the living room, where a large balcony door – shaded delicately by sheer curtains – offers ample sunlight. Thanks to a sound system by Bowers & Wilkins, and a wall-mounted flat screen that blends in as part of the home décor, the homeowners and their guests can enjoy their entertainment in relaxing comfort.
Further underscoring the apartment’s versatility, part of the lounge can be swiftly transformed into a guest bedroom by means of a sliding door featuring Japanese shikkui diatomaceous earth plastering, a zero- to low-VOC (volatile organic compound) alternative to more chemical-laden materials. Furnished with an ergonomically designed, custom-made, offset three-seater sofabed from Establo, which folds up with a comfy, curved backrest during the day, this lounge-cum-bedroom en-suite offers a cosy and private resting space for guests – complete with vertical shelving units for books and storage, and a contemporary Bouquet pendant lamp by Le Klint for illumination.
Meanwhile, matte black metallic frames along the sides of the sliding door and columns accentuate the wooden wall panels, cabinets and floor, drawing perfect symmetry with the balcony and window frames.
Moving towards more intimate spaces, the master bedroom is an expanded reconstruction of two rooms torn down to become one large bedroom en-suite. Amid Shikkui diatomaceous wall plastering, a matte black metal headboard highlights the bed as the focal point; situated next to an expansive window and a platform upon which a cup of morning brew might rest idyllically beside a novel.
Given the couple’s love of movies and books, Chan and his team were careful to provide plentiful storage and shelving. These units add a modern yet elegant feature to the room, while a multitude of design books and magazines impart a sense of culture, art and character. For a home cinematic experience, a drop-down projector screen was installed into the ceiling, providing a convenient, space-saving solution for the couple’s nightly TV and movie fix.
Just beyond, a study comprises a dual-sided work area of his-and-his personal spaces and two office chairs, the HÅG Capisco 8106 and one from Herman Miller Sayl.
Even accessing the rooftop is a delight. From the foyer, massive vertical windows lead up to the top of the stairs in an enthralling highlight that evokes a sense of dreamy wonder and calm. Equipped with a sound system and a counter with sink and fridge, this outdoor space is perfect to host friends and families for an al-fresco lunch, sit-down dinner or a breezy get-together over cocktails. With green foliage adding a contrasting sense of nature to the busy Kowloon skyline, “this rooftop is truly a hidden gem within a concrete jungle,” says the designer.
Given its location, the penthouse provides an ideal zen retreat from the chaos of urban life, while not diverging too far from the city. What it lacks in square footage, it makes up through cleverly designed modular, transformable rooms and open layouts. Large windows with their uninteruppted views welcome the first rays of the sun, elevating the spirits and the mood of its fortunate dwellers.