Monday’s Masterpiece – good things, small packages

So one thing we discovered very quickly about living in Hong Kong is that living space comes at a serious premium.  Our 600 square foot apartment is actually pretty huge by HK standards, even though the entire space would fit into our master bedroom back in Cayman…

So given these size constraints, it’s obviously imperative that every single square inch of your space is maximised, de-cluttered and generally thought-about-really-well.

I recently came across this 914 square foot apartment designed by Johnny Li here in HK, and was so impressed with the way he’s made the most of the space I thought I’d share it with you folks today.

The main design feature seems to be STORAGE STORAGE STORAGE: even this picture window leading through to the kitchen incorporates shelving.  The white corian countertops and cabinets keep the space feeling open and airy and a sliding door can totally isolate the rest of the home from cooking smells etc. 

In the living room, the blue wall was built in to conceal more storage space behind it, and relatively small-scale furniture was used to avoid overpowering the space:

Using built in cupboards and wardrobes is such a great way to minimise the floor space taken up and keeps the scheme looking neat and uncluttered.  The wall mirror on the LHS here also opens up the space by bouncing light around and visually enlarging the hallway.

On the RHS, this banquette seating again makes the most of a little niche in the kitchen and provides extra storage under the benches and overhead.  If you move the dining table away, the two benches can be fitted together to form a guest bed – genius!

The ceiling over the bath is another large scale sheet mirror, again helping to bounce light around and ‘raise’ the ceiling, and another nice touch is the fact that the bath area can be opened up to the bedroom, creating an almost spa-like feel.

More built ins in the bedroom maximise the feeling of space and openness, while the lack of headboard on the bed stops the white wall being too cluttered and choppy, and keeps the impression of space and size.


House Beautiful also featured a while ago a studio loft in New York owned by design consultant Ellen O’Neill, that I stored away in the ol’ memory banks for future reference.  All the neutral colours in the space keep it very uplifted and open (also helped by the fantastic architecture of the space – those windows!).  Also LOVING the ABC Carpet & Home giraffe rug…

Painting the walls and floor the same colour (Ellen used automotive paint on the floor) tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger, as you’re not sure where one surface stops and the other starts. 

Also small-scale furniture such as these narrow club chairs, and mini slipcovered reading chair really maximise the space.

She custom ordered the daybed and toile screen to ensure the perfect size for the room:  

And used various pieces of furniture that can multi-task – from this antique farmhouse table that works as a desk and dining table, to the daybed used as a bed and also seating.

Incorporating wire mesh pieces as the waste paper bin and desk organiser allows you to keep everything uncluttered and organised but without taking up too much visual space, as they don’t interrupt your eyeline as mich as a solid object would (similar deal to using lucite pieces of furniture).  And the oversize mirror again bounces light around this far end of the studio.

Incorporating built in bookshelves to the hallway adds valuable storage space (although I think I would have put cabinet doors over the front to stop it looking cluttered and bitty), and an eeny weeny kitchenette in a sky-lit niche maintains the miniature theme.


I’m feeling pretty inspired right now, I must say!  All our belongings finally arrive from Cayman tomorrow, and I have a feeling I might need to start employing some of these tricks to get everything to actually fit inside the apartment – watch this space…


  1. kylacovert says:

    I’ve often thought that the best spaces are the smaller ones, because it FORCES you to be creative & maximize space. That first apartment is so gorgeous, it makes me want to live in a smaller space!

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