Kevin and Linda Cheung know the grass on the other side isn’t always greener.

Having lived near Kowloon Station for 18 years, in 2015 they decided to sell their apartment and look further afield. They knew they didn’t want to move to Hong Kong Island because most of their family lived in Kowloon. They also needed easy access to Hong Kong International Airport because they both work in the aviation industry. Those criteria aside, they kept an open mind and viewed apartments in many areas, but ended up going back to where they started.

“I couldn’t find anywhere that suited us better than the area in which we already lived,” says Kevin Cheung. “However, since I’d bought my first apartment, the whole neighbourhood had been substantially redeveloped. Previously, there had really been nothing apart from this building and now it is the shortest tower in the area. When we were looking to buy a second time, we had a lot more choice.”

Modern meets classic in spacious Hong Kong apartment

The 1,600 sq ft apartment they even­tually settled on needed a complete over­haul. The previous owner had kept all the original fixtures and the space was dated. Cheung remedied this with a tried-and-tested solution, by contacting designer Clifton Leung Hin-che, of Clifton Leung Design Workshop, who had renovated his former home.

Leung gutted the couple’s new apart­ment and changed its layout, opening it up and maximising the useable space.

“The apartment originally had a lot of doors and a corridor at the back of the living area, which meant there was hardly any room for a sofa,” Leung says. “We took them all out. I also combined two of the three original bedrooms to create one master bedroom, with a small office and en-suite bathroom.”

The other bedroom went to the couple’s 20-year-old son, Josh, who studies architec­ture at the University of Hong Kong. His bed­room, study and bathroom are on the opposite side of the living area to his parents’ room, giving both parties privacy.

Two flats in Kowloon Tong turned into a modern duplex for a family of four

Although in the same style as the rest of the home, the finishing touches to Josh’s room, such as an exposed concrete ceiling in a walk-in wardrobe and black trimming on wooden cabinetry, have a younger, slightly more modern feel. His quarters are accessed via a sleek aluminium door devoid of all detail, including a doorknob. When closed and viewed from the lounge, it looks more like a feature panel in the wall than a door and offers not the slightest clue that there are other rooms behind it.

“The apartment is a little bit like a university hall,” laughs Leung. “Different people occupy different corners, each with their own private space, and they can meet in the communal living and dining areas when they choose to.”

The aluminium door and Leung’s signa­ture porthole in the kitchen door were two elements that the designer had incorpo­rated into the couple’s previous apartment. The family liked them so much they deci­ded to replicate them in their new home. Ditto the decor.

The aim was to create a calm and relax­ing family ambience, so Leung kept the colours simple, using a light-toned palette of beige, cream and white and an abun­dance of natural wood. This allows the couple to keep the look clean and calm or jazz it up as and when they like with coloured art and accessories.

How Hong Kong walk-up flat became a hi-tech rooftop retreat

Leung is also skilled in space organi­sation – another reason Cheung went back to him for the renovation. As well as elegant floor-to-ceiling cabinetry in the kitchen and built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms, he designed an L-shaped desk in Josh’s room. This capitalises on what would normally be wasted space created by the bay window.

The desk’s design also makes the most of the stunning sea views, with which the whole apartment is blessed.

“Every window has a view, to which there are several layers – the imme­diate urban landscape, the shipping lanes seen between the apartment blocks, the bridge and the mountains – which makes it all the more interesting,” Leung says.

The renovation took about four months and the family has been enjoying the new home for eight months.

“Clifton’s designs don’t date,” Cheung says. “He is an expert in making a space feel roomy and peaceful in an understated, timeless way. It’s what I like most about our apartment.”

Living room The built-in cabinetry, which cost HK$28,900, was designed and built by Clifton Leung Design Workshop (CLDW). The Cor sofa (HK$50,000) was from Leicht and the side table with shelving (about HK$1,000) from Bals Tokyo. The rug was HK$1,000 from Francfranc. The daybed sofa was HK$8,000 from Aluminium. The coffee table was purchased years ago.

Kitchen The kitchen (HK$228,000) and door (HK$10,000) were designed and built by CLDW.

Dining room The pendant lamp cost HK$3,000 from Philips. Shipped from Italy were the dining table (HK$25,934) from Bontempi and the Bi Series dining chairs (HK$778 each) from Infiniti.

Josh’s study The desk and the shelving above (HK$19,700 in total) and the cabinet (HK$33,000) were all designed and made by CLDW. The office chair was HK$3,000 from Posh. The desk lamp was HK$1,500 from Koncept, in the United State

Master bedroom CLDW made the headboard (HK$14,600) but the bed base came from the Cheungs’ previous apartment. At the foot of the bed is a Swinging Sticks sculpture (HK$4,600) from Homeless. The cotton curtains (HK$46,400) were made by Wai Kee.

En-suite bathroom The twin sinks were HK$1,550 each from Eurobath Collection (277 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2802 3008). The cabinetry (HK$18,900) and the mirror (HK$6,800) were both designed and made by CLDW.

Josh’s bedroomThe bed (HK$16,500) was designed and made by CLDW. The reading light cost HK$4,300 from Flos. The shelving (HK$8,400) came from Nonuform, in Sweden

Flight of fancy The lightweight Aero trolley offers versatile storage and is a conversation piece in its own right – giving a nod to Kevin Cheung’s profession as a pilot. Made by a leading manufacturer that serves more than 250 airlines worldwide, the trolley features adjustable trays and drawers, which are ideal for storing anything from kitchen utensils to wine bottles. It can be moved easily from room to room and is both compact and durable. Designer Clifton Leung, who recognised the trolleys’ potential early and imports them, uses them in home and office settings. The units cost HK$19,800 each (plus HK$480 for each aluminium drawer and HK$150-HK$280 for plastic trays and drawers) and are available from Clifton Leung Design Workshop.