Penthouses and luxury apartments have a special status in Hong Kong where the scarcity of land defines so much of where and how people live. Homes in Southern District or on The Peak are known as exclusive domains, and some have lawns and private lifts. But what truly makes a penthouse stand apart is the interior design and quality of the fixtures and fittings, and property buyers are willing to pay for the right look and feel. Andre Fu, designer of interior design firm AFSO Design, said the main attraction of penthouses was the marriage of the urban landscape with the exclusiveness normally found only in houses. The matchmaker for this marriage is interior design. 'The interiors of penthouses should posses a strong sense of place more commonly found in houses,' Mr Fu said. 'The key is to create calm but contemporary space that connects the inside with the outside.' One example is the 73rd floor penthouse at the Grand Promenade in Sai Wan Ho. The 3,000 sqft penthouse has views stretching from Tsim Sha Tsui and Lei Yue Mun across to the Eastern side of Hong Kong Island and then to Central. Anita Tang Fung-yan, deputy general manager of the sales department at Henderson Land Development, was one of the creative minds behind the interior of the penthouse. 'The view naturally becomes the centre of attention,' Ms Tang said. Because of this, she wanted to keep interior features to a minimum and employed mirrors to reflect the view into various parts of the home. 'The mirrors make you feel like you are being embraced by the sea and the sky,' Ms Tang said. The magnificent sea view plays a role even in the bathroom and highlights the unique attraction of penthouses. Ms Tang wanted glass ceilings and huge windows in one of the bathrooms so that the residents could enjoy the environment and sea view in privacy while bathing. Chandeliers and paintings adorn every room to give a consistent palatial atmosphere. The walls in the living room are marble, while those in the bedrooms are leather-like wallpaper to create a warmer and more intimate style. 'I wanted to keep the interior simple, but every [fitting] used must be of the highest quality,' she said. The lack of a lawn in penthouses is countered by the use of extensive and private outdoor terraces. These are designed as rooftop gardens and as entertainment venues for barbecues or parties. Some penthouses have infinity pools, often facing the sea, to give swimmers a breathtaking illusion that the pool extends all the way to the sea. The rooftop at Grand Promenade is a multifunction entertainment area complete with a fully equipped bar and jacuzzi, and is the perfect place for parties, according to Ms Tang. 'When you have a penthouse like this you really enjoy showing it to people,' she said. 'When you look down from the roof you feel like the world is at your feet.' The sea dominates the style and mood of the Grand Promenade, and everything was designed to be open and expansive, with the magnificent view being the focus. The penthouses at Royal Green in Sheung Shui have green views and presented a different challenge for Ms Tang. 'The view from the penthouses at Royal Green is mostly of trees and it is not as high as Grand Promenade, so I tried to join the view of the outside to the inside by putting plants inside the flat.' Because the Royal Green is not as high by Hong Kong standards, some windows look into other flats. To minimise intrusion and restore a sense of exclusiveness, Ms Tang made the decor more elaborate. Lighting and connecting spaces together became the central theme of the penthouses. 'I put many gold-coloured items in the flats,' she said. 'I designed lights to make them a focal point of the flats.' There are other ways in which the light is emphasised in Royal Green. 'We have created cantilevered staircases that project from the structural wall. They free up the space below and are a better visual connection to the living space,' Ms Tang said. 'Small voids were also cut into the upper levels to enable a better connection between the floors.' Having designed so many penthouses, Ms Tang naturally prefers them to houses, but there is another reason. 'Penthouses won't have insects and small animals running around,' she said.