When a family from the Big Apple discovered a sprawling apartment that could have come straight out of Manhattan, they knew they had found their ideal match. Love at first sight is rare, but when a Hong Kong family with New York roots chanced upon a 2,800- square-foot flat in a 1940s Mid-Levels building, they had that eureka moment. 'I had been looking for a long time and the minute I walked in I said, 'This is it,'' says Stephanie. The property had many desirable qualities, including having only one flat on each floor, open and protected views from three sides, and separate function rooms - an exceptional feature for a Hong Kong apartment. The owners interviewed many designers in preparation for the renovation. First sightings proved fortuitous once again. 'I knew I'd found the right design team when I showed Jason [Yung] and Caroline [Ma] a photo of the kind of flat I wanted and it was their work,' says Stephanie. With a mood book put together by Stephanie and the family's preference for a contemporary home as a starting point, Jason Caroline Design (tel: 2517 7510) started work. 'The layout of the property seemed more like a New York apartment so we wanted it to have a Manhattan feel,' says Ma. 'We didn't have to make any structural changes - just some layout adjustments.' Drawing on a blend of materials, including different forms of glass, earthy colours and diverse textures, the team fashioned a home that is sleek, tactile and cosy. Entry is through a private foyer that opens into the living room. The TV room with adjoining guest bathroom, to the right of the living room, is hidden by a bookcase and sliding-door system. On the other side, a flexible accordion partition (see Tried & Tested) can be used to separate the living room from the dining room, which is adjacent to the kitchen and maid's room. The family quarters extend from a corridor off the dining room. The dark Nogal-wood flooring in the living area, which segues into 60cm x 60cm slate tiling in the dining room, followed by white bleached ash wood in the family quarters, is a colour-coded guide to the flat's distinct areas. The replacement of a concrete wall with acid-frosted glass turned the kitchen into a 'light box' and brightened up the corridor leading to the family bedrooms. The son's blue and white suite was created by replacing a shared wall from an adjoining bedroom with a sliding door that, when closed, affords privacy when there are guests. The glass motif is continued with the use of acid-frosted mirrors on the wardrobes and the glass-enclosed showers found in each of the four bathrooms. The master suite, richly appointed in terracotta and brown tones and sumptuous materials, was rearranged to accommodate an office, walk-in wardrobe, bathroom and bedroom. An avid reader, Stephanie needed ample shelving for her books and to hold her movie-buff husband's DVDs. Jason Caroline Design built storage units with flame-finished granite tops that also act as a seat in front of the large window. The rich and earthy furnishings, which are comfortable and striking in their simplicity of line and shape, add to the overall character of the home. 'I love this place,' says Stephanie. 'I feel like this is my space, my home.' Love at first sight, it seems, can endure. 1 Muted light bathes the main bathroom, which has a separate power shower and tub. The Dornbracht countertop, made of Corian with dark bronze accents, are from BSC (53 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2295 6881). The bath tub ($22,560) and toilet ($3,880) are from Sunny Pro (193 Lockhart Road, tel: 2156 0388). The Kohler twin sinks ($3,500 each) are from Arnhold (6/F, Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, North Point, tel: 2807 9400). 2 Creative use of different types of glass creates a cool and smooth backdrop in line with the aesthetic of the flat. The lounge chair is an old family favourite, reupholstered to match the tones of the bedroom. The wall-mounted lamp ($8,500) is from Zodiac (52 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2832 9987). 3 The bright corridor from the family quarters opens into the muted elegance of the open dining room, where the gilt picture frame provides a contrast to the rich wood hues of most of the hard furnishings. The customised Amarcord sideboard is available from Magazzini (Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2521 3282). The bar was custom made by Jason Caroline Design and the stools were bought several years ago in New York. 4 Flexible transparent partitioning, designed by Jason Caroline Design, defines the gracious dining room and gives way to a spacious living room, which is made to seem larger by a series of picture windows overlooking Central. The custom-designed accordion screen is made of fabric glass framed in Wenge wood and steel. The designers doubled up on the vertical Pipe 9 chandelier ($13,500 a set) from Visual Lane (Flat A, 357 Lockhart Road, tel: 2882 2082), to fit the extra-long dining table, by Philippe Hurel, which is paired with Cassidy chairs (about $15,000 each) by John Hutton. The table and chairs are available at Magazzini. The Japanese cabinet is an old possession. 5 The Noguchi coffee table ($4,250, from Frontier, 11/F, Luk Kwok Centre, 72 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2865 0377) is an eye-catching piece that continues the glass theme. The organic squiggles of the Matahari rug ($100,000, from Fort Street Studio, Room 1416, Harbour Industrial Centre, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2814 7343; by appointment only) provide a playful echo of the Noguchi table. The round Metropolitan floor lamp ($15,290) is from Flos (50 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2801 7007). 6 The custom-designed cabinets in the living room are an airy showcase for the family's Tang dynasty treasures. They also divide the living room from the TV room. The Apta sofa (price upon request) and Max Alto side table are from Le Cadre (Ruttonjee Centre, tel: 2526 1068). The shelves in the TV room were placed at eye level to accent the smaller figurines on display. 7 Leather-fronted wardrobes provide warmth and texture in the master bedroom and complement its earth tones. The shelves, headboard and bedside tables were custom designed by Jason Caroline Design. tried & tested screen test The layout of the flat, especially the distinct-purpose rooms, was the apartment's major selling point. To increase the feeling of clear-cut boundaries, Jason Caroline Design created a flexible accordion partition between the dining and living rooms. 'Fabric glass', created by Fabricnation (93 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 9132 9136; prices vary), incorporates sheer material within glass. Framed in rich-hued wood, the glass provides a semi-opaque screen that lets in the light while closing off the two areas. In one easy pull, the dishes from a dinner party can be out of sight and out of mind.