For one Mid-Levels resident, turning an old flat into a bright modern apartment was all a question of space exploration. Out with the old and in with the new may be the adage that guides some house hunters, but for Wei Jing-tao it was the old he desired. 'Because older buildings are all beam and column construction, I knew I could tear down whatever walls I wanted and be more creative in an older space,' says Wei. So when he came across a 1960s Mid-Levels flat with three outlooks and a floor plan that needed an overhaul, Wei knew his quest was over. The 1,250-square-foot apartment was purchased from the original owners who had made only minor renovations over the years. The space was initially laid out as a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, with an L-shaped living/dining room, a small kitchen and a maid's room, plus a balcony that had been walled off. Wei, who wanted an open, loft-like environment, converted the flat into a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a large kitchen/dining area and a comfortable square living room, reclaiming the balcony in the process. Needless to say, many walls were sacrificed for his vision, which is a monument to form, function and flexibility. The home, which is entered via a stainless-steel door into the kitchen, has a clean, paired-down ambience with elements of minimalism tempered by carefully designed furniture, scrupulously collected decorative pieces and a mixture of muted materials and textures. Slate tiling in the kitchen gives way to wenge-wood flooring in the dining area, which is dominated on one side by a wall of thick, individually cut limestone rectangles. The limestone blocks, mounted at different angles, create a rippled effect that softens the hard material. Flush to the base of the limestone wall is a series of 'roll boys', caster-wheeled benches that provide storage space and can be positioned around a table for dinner-party seating (see Tried & Tested). The glass concertina doors opening onto the balcony, which has a gorgeous view over the harbour, complete the room. The square living room, to the right of the dining area, is highlighted by a taupe wall, the only spot of colour in the flat. This area can be partitioned in half by sliding out an ingeniously hidden pocket door to provide guest quarters when required. To the right of the living room, Wei replaced a bedroom wall with a sheet of glass that can be curtained off for privacy and darkness. A pan-Asian aesthetic is evident in the mixture of items, including lanterns, baskets and statues, sourced from China, Bali and Japan. Subtle recognitions of fung shui and Wei's Hong Kong origins - including a large plant positioned by the entrance to divert energy away from the balcony doors opposite it - are organically integrated into the flat. The soft furnishings, designed by Wei and custom made, offer relaxed resting spots. 'This place was a labour of love,' says Wei. 'I love that this space is my own.' 1 The sense of space in the dining area is heightened by the wide harbour view. The statues, made of Chinese coins, were discovered in Ubud, Bali. The custom-made roll boys on the left are useful for display and storage. The large metal amphora ($99) was a bargain at a Tequila Kola sale. The assorted throw pillows were sourced from Banana Republic in the United States and G.O.D. (48 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2805 1876; www.god.com.hk ). 2 The rippled limestone wall provides a backdrop for the custom-made couch ($14,900 from Truepenny Trading, tel: 8104 2392). Wei Jing-tao fashioned a coffee table from two rattan cubes ($200 each from Shambala, 2/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 2997) and a tray ($400 from Tequila Kola, 1/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2877 3295; www.tequilakola.com ). 3 Replacing the bedroom wall with glass increases the impression of space in the living room. The taupe wall provides a warm contrast to the frostier tones elsewhere in the flat. The custom-designed shelving elegantly conceals the wires of the electronic equipment. The white leather swivel chair ($1,200) is from Truepenny Trading. The floor lamp ($350) and rug ($800) are from Ikea (310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 3125 0888; www.ikea.com.hk ). 4 The dark wood bed ($11,000) from Tequila Kola blends in with the wenge-wood floor. The bedside tables were an impulse purchase in Macau. A curtain (complete with blackout material) can be drawn across the glass wall for privacy. 5 The 60cm x 60cm granite slabs in the kitchen were also used on the balcony. The balcony chairs ($4,500 each) are from Banyan Tree (now Indigo, 6/F, Horizon Plaza, tel: 2555 0540). The table is from a Japanese market. 6 The granite and stainless-steel kitchen features a custom-made island that rolls to wherever it is required and provides ample storage space. The stools ($900 each) are from Truepenny Trading. The light fixture ($4,880) is from Zodiac (32 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2832 9987). 7 The metallic palette of the kitchen is repeated in the bathroom, which has a glass-walled shower area and high-pressure power shower. The sink ($2,590) is from H2O (332 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2834 1661.) Truepenny charged $2,800 for cutting, polishing and delivering the honed-finish Italian granite countertop. tried & tested rock 'n' roll 'I wanted to create a feature wall,' says Wei Jing-tao, 'and because this room is a dining room as well as my personal gallery space, I wanted it to look outstanding.' Wei and his contractor (Lee Ding-po, tel: 9437 1271) randomly mounted rectangular limestone slabs (available from Truepenny Trading, tel: 8104 2392) to create a subtly, geometrically rippled architectural feature that provides a neutral backdrop for Wei's black-and-white photos. On top of the wall is a light trough that emits a warm orange glow. The roll boys lining the wall were custom designed and made of stainless steel and stained wood veneer. 'They are very functional,' says Wei of his creation. 'I can roll them away and make the room bigger if need be and use them instead of chairs.'