LACK OF OUTSIDE SPACE is a blight of life in Hong Kong. But if you're living in the heart of the city and yearn for a garden, why not bring the outdoors inside? British-born sports marketer Tom Hall and his Filipina flight attendant wife, Chai, have done just that with their 972-square-foot SoHo apartment. Hall, who has lived in the 35-year-old building for the past eight years, inherited some innovative design ideas from its former owners. 'When I bought it, it was a series of rooms comprising a shop, garden and apartment,' he explains. He reconfigured the space, turning what was the shop into the living room; retaining the garden space with its vaulted glass ceiling and adding an oversized bathtub; and turning the apartment area into a dining room and kitchen. Today, the interior comprises a series of distinctive spaces that flow into one another. The living room receives no natural light so is more of a night-time entertaining area. The 'garden' benefits from lots of light from the glass ceiling so is used not only for bathing, but also reading and relaxing. And the dining room has a tropical air, with views through a large glass picture window onto the garden/bathroom. A centrepiece is the white brick moongate, which leads from the living-room into the garden/bathroom. 'The moongate was designed by a French guy before I got here,' Hall admits. Moongates (so named because of their circular shape) have their roots in classical Chinese architecture. Often used in traditional gardens, the trend for employing them in contemporary interiors is on the rise, owing to aesthetic and practical reasons: their shape is pleasing to the eye and, used in place of doors, they are effective room dividers and space savers. In the Halls' home, the moongate frames the garden/bathroom vista and allows daylight to flow into the dark living-room. Hall says the reason for placing the bath in the centre of the living space was also practical: the 'garden' was the only place big enough to accommodate the bath. Hall, a keen rugby player standing 1.9 metres tall, needed a large tub in which to collapse after matches. 'When I was trying out baths it was the only one I could fit into. I think it was designed as a romantic bath for two but for me it was perfect,' he says with a laugh. The same self-confessed 'haphazard design approach' came into play in the living-room. Most of the wooden furniture was sourced from trips to Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, but the focal point of the room is two comfortable Flexform chaise longues, which face a flat-screen TV. 'When I come home from the office I want to relax, so the chairs were bought with the purpose of being able to watch TV,' he says. This common-sense approach, and his wife's decorative influence, have resulted in a rich, warm interior that mixes sturdy wooden furniture with modern designer pieces. Tried and tested: the indoor oasis The Halls were lucky enough to inherit a conservatory-like room and turned it into a garden spa area. Although this was done originally for practical reasons (it was the only space large enough for an oversized bath), it ties in with current design trends that emphasise the bathroom's restorative qualities. Tom Hall chose a ceralyte Baignoire Confidence bath for two ($36,222) with a Diplomate shower and taps ($5,972), all by JCD at My Collections (Shop 112, Ruttonjee Centre, Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2521 6121). Tall plants have been arranged around the bath (bought from Alfa House Company, Lucky Building, 39 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2541 6286; and Flower Market Road, Prince Edward). The exposed white brick walls and overhead aluminium ceiling fan, from Allen Engineering (14 Merlin Street, North Point, tel: 2887 6638), add to the outdoor ambience. 1. A pair of cotton-upholstered Flexform chaise longues from Le Cadre Gallery ( www.flexform.it ; G/F Ruttonjee House, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2526 1068) dominates the living area, where white-washed exposed brickwork gives a loft feeling. The teak Pasaraya Primitive framed mirror ($3,150), Siam mango wood and silk table lamps ($980 each) and Coude floor lamp with rice paper shade ($2,250) are all from Tequila Kola (1/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2877 3295; www.tequilakola.com ). Chai Hall reclines on a fake fur and PVC Funk beanbag chair ($960) by Slack at Bean Bag City (Unit A1, 9/F Evergreen Industrial Mansion, 12 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, tel: 8109 6955; www.slackbeanbags.com ). 2. The bathroom-cum-indoor garden is situated between the living-room and dining room and reached by a distinctive exposed brick moongate (see Tried and Tested). 3. Meetsi the cat curls up in the master bedroom. The silk cushions were picked up in Cambodia, while the cotton Paprika bedlinen (queen-size duvet cover, $895; flat sheet, $595; pillowcases, $295 a pair) is from Tequila Kola. 4. An oversized glass picture window replaced doors between the dining room and bathroom/garden to give a cleaner look and allow much-needed light to filter through. The bevel-edged, glass-topped Reale dining table with a cherry wood base is by Carlo Mollino for Zanotta ( www.zanotta.it ) and the polypropylene and aluminium alloy Silver chairs are by Vico Magistretti for DePadova ( www.depadova.it ). All are available at Le Cadre Gallery. The Qing-dynasty elm cabinet is from Zitan Oriental Antiques (Unit H+J, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2523 7584), while the tableware was sourced from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney. 5. A timber door frame with carved lintel leads from the living-room to the master bedroom, furnished with items sourced across Asia, including an old-style brass standing fan from Chatuchak Market in Bangkok (open from 7am to 6pm at weekends on Phahonyothin Road. Mo Chit Skytrain station).