ZARA WONG IS NOT particularly diminutive, but standing in her living-room with its seven-metre high ceiling, she appears almost Lilliputian. The home she shares with her husband John, a mainland businessman, and their young son and daughter, is perhaps as close to loft living as Hong Kong allows. Light, space and industrial materials are the key elements of a true loft, and here, light and space are in abundance. The two-storey, floor-to-ceiling windows are so expansive that roller-shutters had to be installed on the exterior for use during high winds. And an uncluttered 3,100 square feet surely qualifies as spacious. The only loft-style elements absent are the warehouse fixtures and industrial-wasteland setting of so many lofts in big cities around the world, for this sleek Repulse Bay apartment looks out over a sprawling vista of sea and sky. Zara, a housewife, benefited from her friendship with designer/architect couple Hannah Lee and Clarence Chiang of Team HC (tel: 2581 2011). 'Our previous home was quite ordinary and Clarence would come over and suggest ways to make it look nicer,' she recalls. 'Sometimes he would frown and tell us to throw things away. So when we bought this place, it was obvious Hannah and Clarence should design it ... although we had to throw away 90 per cent of our stuff.' Rather than industrial undertones, Lee chose a warm ambience suited to family life. Huge, cherry-stained, solid rosewood screens compete in height with the windows opposite. Lee says: 'They enhance the space, accentuating the height, adding warmth and giving an otherwise drab wall some interest.' The Wongs told Lee and Chiang of their basic needs (including large closets and a doll display area for their daughter's room), gave them a budget and Team HC did the rest. The result is an unfussy space peppered with their design signatures. 'The opening and closing of doors is a waste of space,' says Lee, 'and doesn't look nice'. Therefore, doors throughout this home slide on exposed tracks that run the length of the walls. Every wall has been painted matt white and is void of skirting along the wooden floors. The original configuration featured a separate dining area, but Lee and Chiang knocked down the wall between it and the living-room to create a more useful space. Adjacent is a TV den, but with a sliding 2.4-metre door the area transforms into a cigar room for John. 'We don't do much entertaining,' says Zara, 'but as a family we stay home more often. And with the cigar room in the house, my husband doesn't have to hang out at hotels to smoke any more.' Lee denies designing for friends is stressful. 'We do a lot of designing for our friends,' he says. 'It is much easier, and brainstorming sessions are always more productive.' 'And no more frowning from Clarence,' Zara says. 1. Motorised light-proof PVC blinds were installed in the living area because of the high windows. They cost $2,000 to $3,000 for each pane through Sunlike Blind (Golden Industrial Building, 16-26 Kwai Tak Street, Kwai Chung, tel: 2485 0630). For the expansive floors, wide planks of solid walnut flooring were used throughout then home to avoid untidy gaps. Team HC used 123mm-wide planks at $40 a square foot (plus $60 a sq ft for installation), available through Catchi Flooring & Timber (tel: 2391 8218). The cotton mix-upholstered Pollock sofa is by Minotti ( www.minotti.it , available at Sol Y Luna, 16/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2814 0203); the oak nest of tables ($11,371) is by Jean-Michel Frank at Ecart International in Paris (tel: 33 1 4278 7911); the sweeping stainless-steel and glass Dios floor lamp ($20,000) is by Florian Schulz at Magazzini Vivace ( www.florian-schulz.de ; Unit 902-3, 9/F Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2814 1663). 2. The den-cum-cigar room is furnished with leather-upholstered 1919 smoking chairs complete with ashtrays on the armrests ($31,000 each), by Poltrona Frau at Designer Workshop ( www.poltronafrau.it ; 1/F, 5 Staunton Street, Central, tel: 2868 9311). 3. An alcove with sliding cherry-stained solid rosewood doors was created in the living area to hide the plasma TV and hi-fi speakers when not in use. Allegro Audio (Eubank Plaza, 9 Chiu Lung Street, Central, tel: 2526 9939) ensures that the jumble of audio-visual wires are well hidden. 4. Non-slip flamed black granite was chosen for the floor and walls of the master bathroom ($19 a sq ft from Harbour Building Material Supplies Company, 14/F 1 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, tel: 2262 6000). The twin ceramic Pollux basins by HighTech ( www.hightech.ag , $3,784 each) and chrome fittings by Vola ( www.vola.com , $6,000 a set) are available from Portfolio Group (59 Elgin Street, Central, tel: 2868 0765), while in the reflection, the brushed stainless-steel mirror and Carrera marble vanity table were designed by Team HC. 5. Zara Wong walks through the living area, with its backdrop of walls clad in cherry-stained, solid rosewood slatted screens, designed by Team HC and made by its contractor on the mainland. 6. Team HC designed the stainless-steel countertops and white Formica cabinets ($2,800 to $3,900 from East Asia Products, Shop B2, G/F Kam Koon Building, 308-312 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2877 6772). The designers installed a Miele extractor for which they recommend as the best for wok-use. Expect to pay about $15,000 for a mid-range extractor ( www.miele.com ; 111 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 1018). 7. A Bauhaus ceiling light by Woka ( www.woka.com ; $9,400 at Le Cadre Gallery, G/F Ruttonjee House, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2526 1068) lights the oak veneer Mousi Ovale table and beech and leather Caffe chairs by Promemoria ( www.promemoria.com ; from NuConcepts, G/F Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2525 2121). The 1925 nickel table lamp ($7,200) is by Felix Aublet for Ecart International ( www.tribu-design.com ). Tried and tested: double the fun Creating dual-function rooms means fewer rooms but more space. John Wong wanted somewhere to smoke cigars, but didn't want to allocate one room for his pastime. The Wongs had rosewood doors installed in the family den, creating an occasional smoking room and preventing fumes spreading through the home. Team HC says the smoothest tracks in town are by Swiss firm Hawas, available from Hong Kong Hardware Supplier at $1,900 for 2.5 metres (285 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2511 7661). A good air-filtering system was necessary to stop the walls staining and the smell penetrating the furnishings. They have a Sharp FU-888SV-G Air Purifier that removes smoke and pollen and refreshes the air ( www.sharp.com.hk ; $2,970 from branches of Fortress, tel: 2555 5788; www.fortress.com.hk ).