There’s more to this 1,100 sq ft flat in Ap Lei Chau than meets the eye. While it has the clean lines and muted colours typical of minimalist design, there is something interesting to see wherever you look: hidden shelving, a bespoke light fitting, a tiny window seat. Its arresting simplicity appears effortless, but it is the result of careful planning and considered design. And for that, newlywed owners Hillary and Andrew Cee can thank interior designer Leung Chi Ling, of Millwork Interiors.
“We’ve known each other for years,” Hillary says of Leung. “She was part of a team that renovated my parents’ place about 10 years ago. Since then she has done two more places for my parents and now this one for us. She’s like the family designer.”
Because the flat is in a relatively new, high-specification luxury development, Leung limited the renovation work to the living space and master bedroom, leaving the kitchen, with its stainless-steel splashback, and two marble-clad bathrooms intact. She went to town elsewhere, however, carving a glass-walled study out of the living area and focusing the room around a central floor-to-ceiling storage cupboard, clad in pale-wood panelling.
“They are a young couple so I wanted to give them plenty of storage and room for the family to grow,” Leung says.
Right now, with Hillary frequently working from home on her master’s degree in fine arts, the study is essential. But in future, it could be easily converted to a second bedroom by installing blinds or curtains for privacy.
“They wanted the glass study. I insisted on adding a window [that opens between the study and living area]. It makes the space less closed off, and let’s them communicate more easily,” Leung says. “Also, the glass walls mean the living area still has all the light from the office window.”
It’s not the only piece of future-proofing in the home. Both the central wood cupboard and the corner of the study have rounded edges – “They’re softer and child-friendly” – and Leung designed a dressing area in the master suite that can double as a desk space, should the office be repurposed. She even added two floating shelves, tucked neatly out of sight in an alcove above the dressing table, for storing files.
“We have so much storage,” Hillary says, “and most of it is empty.”
As well as the large wooden cupboard – fitted with electrical sockets for appliances, shelving for glasses and even a wine fridge – the longest wall in the living area is lined with low-slung drawers. A large white wall cabinet houses the television while a long floating shelf, above the drawers, appears to defy gravity. Its slim profile is deceptive, however: the shelf has a bevelled edge with a wider section against the wall, to hide the internal fixings.
“It’s really strong,” Leung says of the shelf. “The contractor sent a picture of himself sitting on it.”
In the master suite, Leung refocused the room around the bed, which she placed slap bang in the middle of the space, facing floor-to-ceiling windows with a stunning view of Aberdeen harbour and the Jumbo floating restaurant.
“It was the only place for it to go,” she says. “We lined two walls with wardrobes – one set in glass with a black steel frame and one in white. I wanted them to be different; simple but with a variation, so it wasn’t too plain. There’s always something interesting to see.”
The details make sure of that. The white wardrobes, for example, have horizontal black metal handles set at different heights. The headboard has round-cornered wings and is lined with beautiful striped velvet fabric, which also lines a small seat tucked into a corner of the window. The star of the room, however, is the large black-metal and brass light fitting that hangs over the headboard.
“I approached a manufacturer that specialises in hotel lighting to make one for me,” Leung says. “I wanted a large decoration to distract from the bathroom door behind the bed. It had to be eye-catching.”
Corridor The round-cornered wooden cupboard is at the heart of the flat, and Leung Chi Ling, of Millwork Interiors continued the panelling into the corridor. The purple rug in the study was bought in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Living room Arlo the Labradoodle makes himself at home on a HK$70,000 Nils sofa from Ligne Roset. “The sofa is the world’s most expensive dog bed,” jokes the flat’s owner, Hillary Cee. Also from Ligne Roset were the Alburni coffee tables (HK$17,900 for the pair).
The sheer curtains and scatter cushions were made by Wallpaper Plus. The leather dinosaur was a wedding present. The Beni Ourain rug was bought in Marrakesh. “We sent a picture of it to Chi Ling, who thought it would be too big. So we had a piece cut off and we use it in the bedroom,” Hillary says.
Study Leung designed the desk, wall cupboard and day bed, with integral storage under the mattress. The glass wall was the flatowners’ idea, but Leung added the internal window for easier communication. The Ranarp desk lamp (HK$369) was from Ikea and the Cees have had the chair for a few years.
Dining area “We went shopping with Chi Ling and bought pretty much everything in one shop, Ligne Roset,” Hillary says. This includes the Ettoriano dining chairs (HK$6,700 each) and Madrague leather armchair (HK$22,000). The table was designed by Leung and made by her contractor, Golden Honest Decoration (tel: 2189 7509), as were the pale-wood drawers, floating shelf and white wall cupboard.
The large artwork, by South Korean artist Do Ho Suh, was acquired at Art Basel Hong Kong and the small dark picture was bought from usa.thenightsky.com. The blue Vibia North pendant lamp – one of the few colourful items in the flat – was HK$16,500 from The Forth Furniture.
Bedroom The bed, curved headboard with integral cupboard and wardrobes were custom made by Golden Honest Decoration. The light fitting was made by Ricardo Lighting, which specialises in hotel lighting.
Bedroom detail The fabric on the headboard is part of the Astratto range by Black Edition from Wallpaper Plus. The dressing table and wardrobes were custom made by Golden Honest Decoration. The M stool in zebrano wood (HK$4,000) was from Manks and the brass Divar wall lamp (HK$4,500), by Anour, from House for Goodies.
Guest bathroom The marble-clad bathroom was installed by the developer.
Tried + tested
Right angles One end of the wall-mounted cupboard in the living room has two angled sections, hiding open shelves. Invisible from the sofa – from where the angled panels look like small cupboard doors – the objects on the shelves greet visitors as they enter the flat. The hidden shelving was designed by Leung Chi Ling and constructed by Golden Honest Decoration.