There’s no better evidence of design work done well than an apartment that has been transformed from an awkward, dreary space into an elegant, livable home. Such was the case with this Mid-levels flat, which had low ceilings, an odd, split-level layout and pokey corners that reduced the usable space. Having leased the flat for years, the owners now wanted to live in it, and so they tasked Interiors By Di’zai’n with turning it into a family home.
To achieve this, Lee Hsu and Shamim Din, the brains behind Interiors By Di’zai’n, completely reworked the home’s layout, partly on the basis of feng shui considerations. “The master bedroom used to be downstairs [next to the living room], but the owners had to move it upstairs because of feng shui,” says Lee, the firm’s chief designer.
Now, the son’s room and a study – for him and his sister – sit next to the living room. Upstairs is the master bedroom and the daughter’s room. Other layout changes include the little gallery that looks over the dining area. In the original format, there was no balconette here – only a bedroom wall that rose flush to the ceiling. “The homeowner said it was so hard to change the light bulbs,” says Lee. “They had to erect scaffolding twice a year just to change the lights. But if you don’t put lights here, it ends up being a very dark space.”
To resolve this Lee and Shamim created a gallery space, placing photos here that are significant to the family. A concealed door leads from the master bedroom to the balcony.
They also re-energised an awkward nook in the living area. The space sits in the curve of the staircase from the dining area, and previously there had been little the owners could do with it. Now, however, it serves as a cosy reading area, complete with Eames lounge chair and ottoman, and a cabinet covered in a décollage of comics. This piece used to sit in Lee and Shamim’s office, but the homeowner loved it, and the designers also needed to make space for a sculpture they had bought. The cabinet now looks right at home in its new position.
Other than layout changes, the designers also made considerable decor changes. Initially, the flat had been your typical Hong Kong apartment: white walls and old, glossy teak parquet floors. The new space is an essay in sophisticated shades of grey. Grasscloth in a silvery grey adorns many of the walls; there’s an oyster-grey Minotti sofa and, in the master bedroom, beautiful wall decor from Fromental in slate grey. The floors are also grey – in the lobby and the dining area, they’re made of a grey tile from Italy; one that has a brownish tone, “to make the space a bit warmer,” explains Lee. The result is certainly chic, and it’s a far cry from the dull white box that subsisted here before Lee and Shamim worked their magic.
Photography: Interiors By Di’zai’n
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