Hide and sleek
What do you do when a lifetime collection of books, DVDs and clothes threatens to take over your flat? You could sell some of it, dump some of it or call in the storage experts, as Albert and Teresa Tsang did when trying to bring some order to their Discovery Bay home.
Alain Wong, from interior design firm Comodo, thought of every storage possibility for the 2,000 sq ft apartment, which is made up of two units linked by an internal staircase. Where most people would hang art or mirrors, Wong installed built-in storage. Plus there's more storage space under the beds and the staircase.
'When the Tsangs first bought the flat, which was built about 30 years ago, it was in very bad condition,' Wong says. 'The apartments had been connected with a metal spiral staircase that was impossibly narrow.'
Wong replaced it with a wider L-shaped oak staircase.
Upstairs, in the master bedroom, Wong demolished a wall and installed a walk-in wardrobe and a row of floor-to-ceiling wardrobes, and built bookshelves that line the walls of what became two studies. He then built a bed on a platform, providing space underneath for books and off-season clothes.
'It was my daughter Janice's idea to place the books around the base of the bed,' Teresa says. The concept was also used in Janice's bedroom. 'The books are mainly my husband's. He loves to read and cannot bear to part with any of them,' Teresa says.
Albert's study features a desk designed for calligraphy while his wife's space accommo-dates a piano. Downstairs is a third study.
Another area where the family spends a lot of time is the rooftop. Two retractable canopies allow the open space to be used whatever the weather. 'I visit my plants on the roof every day, and we use the area for afternoon tea and barbecues with friends,' Teresa says.
She is also very happy with the colour scheme of the flat. 'In the beginning I thought I would like the whole flat white, but changed my mind when Alain introduced a few earthy tones, which we've used throughout the flat. I like the contrast with the white,' she says.
Occasional splashes of colour add zing. 'I wanted blue in the main bedroom, but never would have thought of this blue if he hadn't suggested it.'
Downstairs, purpose-built shelves for the family's DVD collection line one wall of the living room, while the dining area also features storage space for shoes and paperwork.
Wong says: 'Before we did anything to the flat, we had to plan for the air conditioning and lighting systems.'
He installed each air-conditioning unit behind a casing that runs the length of each wall, giving the appearance of a ducted system. Spotlights were installed to highlight the decor and various pieces of furniture while lamps were added for feature lighting.
A sliding grey-tinted glass door leads to the kitchen, allowing light to pour in.
Wong enhanced privacy for the two downstairs bedrooms, study and two bathrooms by installing a door separating them from the more public spaces.
'We are quite family oriented and this flat is a very important family place,' Teresa says. 'We don't have extravagant, showy things. We wanted something comfortable and relaxed, which I think we've achieved.'
The platform supporting and surrounding the bed in the master bedroom cost HK$39,600 and the bookshelves were HK$13,200. Both were designed and built by Comodo Interior Design (15/F, 10 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2808 0991). The curtains cost HK$5,200 from Take Art (10/F, Weswick Commercial Building, 147 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2332 5792). The Artemide swing-arm lamps cost HK$2,600 each from Artemide (1/F, Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2523 0333). The air-conditioning casing, designed by Comodo, cost HK$8,800.
The shelving in the downstairs study cost HK$16,000 and was designed by Comodo, which also designed the built-in desk (HK$15,000). The Eames chair is avail- able from Aluminium (various locations; www.aluminium-furniture.com) for HK$4,221.
3 Living room
White is softened by earthy colours in the bright living room. Comodo designed the television cabinet for HK$8,400, the coffee table for HK$3,800, the DVD shelves for HK$19,800 and the door (including the oak wood panel) for HK$12,000. The sofa (HK$17,000) came from Giormani (MegaBox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay, tel: 3194 6370), the stools cost HK$1,200 each from TREE (28/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2870 1582), the pouffe (HK$3,500) came from Indigo (HomeSquare, Sha Tin, tel: 2634 1618) and the rug was HK$200 from Ikea (various locations; www.ikea.com.hk). The floor tiles were HK$46 a square foot from Hop Hing Lung Material (235 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2511 3013).
The table (HK$2,900) and chairs (HK$700 each) came from Alberobello (2/F, 8B On Kui Street, On Lok Tsuen, Fan Ling, tel: 2657 1616).
The kitchen cabinets, designed by Comodo, cost HK$29,500 to build, not including the benchtop, which was HK$16,800 from Corian (5/F, Trade Square, 681 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Cheung Sha Wan, tel: 2435 4427). The Grohe tap (HK$4,500) came from Luen Hing Hong Building Materials (304 Lockhart Road, tel: 2392 3129).
The bathroom cabinetry, designed by Comodo, cost HK$17,500. The Roca basin cost HK$1,900 from Luen Hing Hong Building Materials, which also supplied the tap (HK$1,600), toilet (HK$3,320) and shower set (HK$3,000).
7 Staircase The white panelled mirrored screen at the base of the stairs cost HK$14,400 and was designed by Comodo.
8 Dining room
The dining area features a ceiling light bought for HK$2,100 from Future Lighting Collection (11/F, Chung Kiu Godown Building, 63 Lei Muk Road, Kwai Chung, tel: 3104 0638). Comodo built the hanging storage on the left for HK$16,000. The table (HK$6,000) and chairs (HK$800 each) came from Casa Vogue (122 Queen's Road East, tel: 2529 4841). The candlesticks cost from HK$189 to HK$259 each from Indigo.
Tried + tested
Light the way
A sensor light comes on when the front door opens - handy for arriving home at night and as a security feature. The door was designed by Comodo and cost HK$8,600.
Styling David Roden