After years of living in a rented flat, Kay Mok and John Lau were excited to have a space they could call their own: a 660 sq ft apartment with a sea view in Tseung Kwan O. When the 30-something couple, both doctors, called up Cindy Chan Sin-yu, of Pure AW’s, “They already had an idea of what they wanted,” says the designer.

The flat originally had three bedrooms but the previous owner combined two of them to create more spacious rooms. Mok and Lau used that to their advantage, converting the second bedroom into a shared office. Chan designed a large built-in desk so the couple can sit side by side as they work. She also installed a wide sliding door to help the space feel less cloistered.

How a loft-inspired Hong Kong flat went from cookie-cutter to ‘homey’

Guests can sleep on a fold-out Murphy bed hidden inside a storage unit in the office.

“We used to work separately, in our own studies, but now we can work together,” says Mok.

The pair spend much of the evening in the office.

“We are studying for some professional exams, but when we’re done with that we usually play games.”

We wanted a Scandinavian style – very comfortable, very natural
Kerry Mok

Across the hallway from the office, the couple removed a wall separating two bathrooms.

“We don’t plan to have kids, so we wanted a bigger space instead of two toilets,” says Lau.

They scrapped the two bathtubs and built a single stand-up shower. They also installed his-and-her basins – “so we don’t have to fight over it in the morning”, says Mok.

In the bedroom, a large platform conceals cupboards and drawers. Chan says the couple wanted to make use of the deep bay window ledge, so the platform has been extended to the window, giving the bedroom the illusion of having more floor space. Chan also built floor-to-ceiling wardrobes.

A small, smart Hong Kong apartment packed with personality

A structural wall prevented them from opening up the kitchen. Instead, Chan installed a glass door so that it feels open.

Lau says his only specific request for the flat was to have a surround-sound system in the living room, with speakers mounted on the ceiling above the sofa. That’s also the location of the living room’s air conditioner, so Chan designed a false beam that neatly hides both the air-con unit and the speakers.

That kind of minimalism was the goal all along, as was an interior that would endure the test of time.

“We wanted a Scandinavian style – very comfortable, very natural,” says Mok.

Stark contrast: a striking black-and-white Hong Kong home

Chan kept the apartment’s palette light, with a white and grey base offset by birch-toned furniture, floors and cabinets. In the living room, a wood-veneer wall panel contains a hidden door leading to the office, bathroom and bedroom.

Dimmable LEDs were installed through­out the flat so Mok and Lau could suit the ambience to their mood. The couple say they have never felt more comfortable.

“They can finally call it home,” says Chan.


Living room The sofa cost HK$18,000 at Nature Evolution, while the embroidered grey cushions (HK$480 and HK$520) were from White Contemporary Homewares. The grey square obi cushion was HK$1,800 from Lala Curio. The Normann Copenhagen ottoman cost HK$2,138 at Spacio. The rug (HK$1,260) was from House for Goodies. Pure AW’s Designers created the television console (HK$28,000) and wall-mounted cabinet (HK$25,600).

Corridor To make the office feel more open and spacious, Pure AW’s put in an extra-wide sliding door (HK$15,000).

Kitchen The countertops and cabinets (HK$100,000 in total) came from Einzi. The appliances were also from Einzi, including the Hitachi fridge (HK$6,000), Miele oven (HK$55,000), Siemens stove (HK$5,980) and TGB stove hood (HK$4,800).

Dining area The dining table (HK$9,000) and pendant lamp (HK$3,000) came from Muuto. The Vitra chairs cost HK$3,500 each. Pure AW’s designed and built the cabinet (HK$36,000), the mirror (HK$5,900) and the wall panel with a hidden door (HK$32,000).

Office The Carl Hansen chairs (HK$6,000 each) were from Spacio, and the rug (HK$9,500) was from Bed & Bath. Pure AW’s designed and built the desk (HK$26,250), the shelves above (HK$4,000) and the storage unit, which contains a Murphy bed (HK$74,400).

Bedroom Pure AW’s made the large platform storage unit (HK$50,150), headboard (HK$8,000) and wardrobe (HK$87,500). The lamp on the left cost HK$1,400 from Seed Design. The bed runner (HK$800) came from Heather and March. The rectangular cushions were HK$349 each from Indigo Living.

Bathroom Pure AW’s create the extra-long mirror cabinet (HK$12,500), console (HK$31,500) and wall cabinets (HK$25,000). The basins were HK$4,310 each from Toto and the Hansgrohe mixers were HK$3,010 each.

TRIED + TESTED

Low and behold Building a platform with a hydraulic hatch created plenty of storage, but it also posed the challenge of finding a nightstand that wouldn’t tower over the bed. Designer Cindy Chan found this bedside table for HK$695 at Petit Bazaar and the Mia lamp for HK$5,900 from Artemide, both of which were perfect fits.