The entrance to Yat Tan's 2,800 sq ft Mid-Levels triplex penthouse is on Rednaxela Terrace, a curious street name purported to have come about after a sign painter accidentally wrote 'Alexander' in reverse. Such quirkiness can also be found in Tan's home, which frequently breaks design conventions. The living room, for instance, is on the top floor and the grand kitchen and dining area are on the lowest level, where one enters the flat.
'It's unusual but I wouldn't have it any other way,' says Tan. 'I wanted my home to be a place where people could come and hang out. Having the living room so far away means I have my own sanctuary. It's a private space only a select few get to see.'
Investment banker Tan bought the apartment in November 2010 and commissioned Chinc's Workshop to refurbish it. The renovation took four months, during which time the interior and furniture design company transformed the flat into a relaxing place in which the Australian could entertain, with the heart of the home - the kitchen and dining area - opening onto a balcony.
One side of the building affords a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour. To complement the lights of the skyline, Chinc's Workshop installed LED lighting beneath the kitchen work-tops. 'You'd normally find this kind of design in a commercial setting,' says chief designer Cyrus Cheng. 'The client wanted it to feel a little like a wine bar and in this size of space that really works.'
To create a generous balcony, the exterior wall was moved back, inside the apartment. 'Most people would think that reducing the space inside the home is crazy,' says Cheng. 'But we knew the balcony would really make this work.'
Full-height glass patio doors help blur the distinction between inside and out, making the most of the views and creating the illusion of space.
Also going against the grain, Chinc's Workshop built a facade to block all the windows on the south-facing wall of the lowest floor. Behind this new, high-gloss internal wall is an area large enough to house a bathroom and maid's quarters. It also houses the kitchen's built-in cooking appliances and storage space.
On the second floor, the master bedroom is another zen den for Tan. Sensitive to noise, he requested that this room be made soundproof. Chinc's Workshop installed double-glazed windows and clad the wall behind the bed in sound-absorbent panelling.
Although the bedroom has an en suite, the primary bathroom is located along the hall. Designed to resemble a mini spa, it features a custom-built bath finished in Roman-style tiling and a built-in television. The ceiling has a skylight, affording natural illumination during the day. At night, LED lighting allows Tan to flood the room with any colour he wishes, adding extra luxury to what is already a pretty glitzy bathroom.
In fact, the entire apartment is a high-end showcase of dramatic design. Dark tones and industrial finishes, however, keep the aesthetic decidedly masculine. In fact, the upstairs living room is every man's dream, kitted out with an enormous television and an oversized couch. Being three floors away from any neighbours also means the stereo speakers can get a workout. 'It's exactly what I wanted,' says Tan. 'I've got a place to hang out with friends and somewhere I can escape to. The only thing missing is a little driving range on the roof of the living room. If I could get access up there, I'd put up a net to practise my swing.'
1 Dining room
The dining table (HK$14,000) was designed and built by Chinc's Workshop (2006 Oceanic Industrial Centre, 2 Lee Lok Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 2812) and can be extended to seat eight people. The chairs (HK$2,400 each) came from The Hamptons (27/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2553 2888). The lights (HK$28,000) were sourced from Dentro (19 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 3741 1351) and the vase is by Chillichilly and cost HK$150 from chillichilly.com
2 Living area
The rug, complete with tyre print, is a hint at homeowner Yat Tan's love of fast cars. It was custom made for HK$12,700 by Yarns Wool Carpets (26/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2525 2338). The sofa and ottoman were designed and built by Chinc's Workshop for HK$30,000. The cushions are by Jim Thompson (about HK$600 each) and were picked up from Altfield Interiors (9 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2524 4867). The kangaroo was a gift. The television stand was built by Chinc's Workshop for HK$20,000.
The flooring is dark-stained oak hardwood that cost HK$50 per square foot and was sourced by the contractor, Wing Art (tel: 6346 8821). A structural beam on the ceiling meant an undersized door had to be custom made by the contractor. The chair is from Tan's previous apartment. The wooden blind cost HK$1,500 from Fabricsmith Sofa & Drape Couture (182 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2790 6490).
The worktop is made from zirconium stone quartz (HK$1,600 per square foot) supplied by Silestone (24/F, 302 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2111 5858). The colour-changing LED lights cost HK$650 per square metre from PLC Lighting (210 Lockhart Road, tel: 2519 6275). The electric appliances all came from Siemens (13 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2802 8860). The stainless-steel bar stools (HK$7,000 each) came from OVO Studio (100 Cyberport, tel: 2529 6060). The Gooseneck tap cost HK$3,000 from Franke (28/F, 3 Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2289 5902).
This illuminated mirror was made by Chinc's Workshop. The lights (HK$650 a metre, from PLC Lighting) are the same kind of LED strips found in the kitchen.
The outdoor space is accessed through sliding doors (HK$32,000), which were sourced and installed by the contractor. The stools are by Maxdesign and cost HK$7,000 each at OVO Studio. The bar table (HK$600) is by Keter and was sourced through Amazon.com.
Glass mosaic tiles in the bath (HK$250 a square foot) and Travertino Basalto tiles by Imola Ceramica (HK$60 a square foot) were from A La Mode (113 Wan Chai Road, tel: 2576 6332). The television (HK$6,250) is a waterproof set by Evervue (20 Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, tel: 2542 1900). The sink (HK$2,500) came from Galaxy Bathroom Collection (283 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2802 3008) and the tap (HK$6,500), by Gessi, from colour.living (333 Lockhart Road, tel: 2510 2666). The black spotlights cost HK$500 for each unit at Modern Lighting (206 Lockhart Road, tel: 2893 6768).
The super-king-size bed (HK$9,000) and bedside cabinets (HK$3,000 each) were designed and built by Chinc's Workshop. The upholstered headboard is made from sound-absorbing panels wrapped in black crushed velvet. The panelling upholstery cost HK$30 a square foot at Fabricsmith Sofa & Drape Couture. On either side of the bed hang Droog milk bottle lamps (HK$1,500 each) from Dentro.
Tried + tested
Write on Chinc's Workshop (2006 Oceanic Industrial Centre, 2 Lee Lok Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 2812) created this bedside table-cum-writing desk, which is fitted over a ledge, ready to be pulled out at a moment's notice.
Styling David Roden