A flat in the heart of the city with plenty of outdoor space is often an impossible dream in high-density Hong Kong. But occasionally, higgledy-piggledy rooftop layouts can be finessed into gardens – or even a mini-golf course. Kim Wang Wai-kum, director of KWA Architects, was called on to reconfigure such a space when his golfing-enthusiast clients, whose main residence is in the New Territories, bought two adjacent flats on the first floor of a 20-storey, 1980s mixed-use block in Sai Ying Pun, with a plan to knock them through into an 890 sq ft, one-bedroom pied-à-terre. Both flats opened onto an unusually large outdoor area, which has been combined into a 2,880 sq ft dog-legged terrace. “Because it used to be two flats, there are two wings to the space and it was obvious to me that the wing with the terrace on two of its sides should be the living area. After that, it was straightforward,” says Wang of the new layout, which was completed last September after nearly 11 months of weather-interrupted work. Having gutted the interior of the flats, Wang replaced the two terrace-facing walls of the new living area with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors to maximise the outlook. Rounding out the rest of the original space is a dining area and a new open kitchen, which connects the two wings of the flat. The slightly smaller flat now houses the main entrance, the bedroom and en-suite bathroom, as well as a guest toilet and a much expanded domestic helper’s quarters, with its own entrance and outdoor area. “I felt that having a helper’s area separated from the rest of the flat would give everyone more privacy,” says Wang, who installed extra-deep awnings over the terrace, with privacy as well as shade in mind. “We’re in the middle of the city surrounded by all these tall buildings but the awnings screen everything off – the people in the flats above can’t see in and we can’t see them. It offers a bit of sound-proofing and it’s so private, there are no curtains in the whole flat – there’s no need for them,” he says. Sheltered by the awnings, the outsize terrace functions as the main room of the flat, with breakfast served at one side of the living area; reading, relaxing and entertaining take place at the other. By the bedroom, another table functions as an outdoor office. And there is still room for a four-hole mini-golf course. The artificial grass of the greens creates a lush but low-maintenance backdrop to the decked areas, flanked on all sides by tall bamboo and other potted plants brought from the owners’ main residence. While used by them occasionally to practise their short game, the putting greens come into their own when entertaining dinner guests. After a round of sundowners, the festive atmosphere is enhanced by an extensive system of decorative lighting in and around the greenery, ensuring uninterrupted play. A Hong Kong couple’s second home in the city, ideal for entertaining “My clients love being outdoors, surrounded by green – that’s why they live in the New Territories. But they tell me that this terrace is even better than their garden in the country in one important way,” says Wang. “It’s in the city, so there are no mosquitoes. The ones in the New Territories are really huge.” Inside, the flat has been furnished in a simple contemporary style to complement the sleek white and muted greys of the fitted cabinetry. One space-saving detail is the use of an unframed full-height mirror as the door to the guest toilet. When the door is closed, the mirror reflects the length of the flat from the entrance, giving the impression of an even larger space. Vibrant art, vintage rugs and family heirlooms add the final touches to this cosy and comfortable bolt-hole in the city. It is an urban retreat that could give any country pile a run for its money. Back garden Synthetic wooden decking tiles (HK$369/US$48 for nine pieces from Ikea ) and a wide variety of potted plants, many grown from seed by the owners, add a rustic touch to the non-golfing areas of the terrace. The breakfast table and chairs, also from Ikea, cost HK$2,170 in total. Golf course The artificial grass course was designed by the owners and installed by Shenzhen Onegreen Golf Technology . Living area The sofa was HK$9,800 from Sofa Sale while the Eames lounger and rug have been with the owners for many years. The marble-topped coffee table (HK$15,800) came from Nook Living and the floor lamp (HK$5,000) was from BoConcept . A bluetooth Doggy Radio, by Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara, sits on a cutlery chest, which was picked up a long time ago in the London Silver Vaults , a shopping arcade in the British capital specialising in antique silver. Garden sitting area The modular seating (HK$16,585) came from Everything Under The Sun . The white armchairs came from the couple’s main residence. The coffee table (HK$200) was from Ikea. Dining area The dining table (HK$28,850) and chairs (HK$2,450 each) were from Nook Living. The Burmese silver bowl containing an orchid was bought years ago from Altfield . The rug was also purchased a long time ago, from a shop on Hollywood Road that has since closed. Outdoor dining area The dining table and folding bistro chairs cost HK$18,150 in total from Everything Under The Sun. Main bathroom The walls of the en-suite bathroom are tiled with dark marble supplied by Global Link International for HK$80 per square foot. The Kohler basin cost HK$5,775 from Arnhold with a Toto tap (HK$3,500) from VSC Building Products . Kitchen The open kitchen connects the two wings of the flat and was designed by Kim Wang of KWA Architects (tel: 2881 1448; firstname.lastname@example.org ) with entertaining in mind. The passage to the right leads to the entrance as well as to the bedroom and guest bathroom. Bedroom The ceramic oak-effect floor tiles in the bedroom and the rest of the flat were supplied by Global Link International for HK$65 per square foot. The painting above the bed, Night Bird , is by 20th century Hong Kong artist Luis Chan Fook-sin . The bed and bedside tables were made in Shenzhen and the lamps (HK$180 each) were from Ikea. Dining area detail A dramatic red oil painting by Beijing-born artist Bob Yan, purchased years ago from Yan Gallery , provides the main focal point of the dining area. A number of treasured family heirlooms are showcased in the built-in wood laminate cabinet to the right. Tried + tested Picture perfect Faced with an ugly exterior wall constantly dripping with water from the building’s many air-conditioning units, Wang installed a billboard for instant coverage. The peaceful Icelandic scene, shot by a friend of the owners, was blown up and printed onto an all-weather vinyl canvas by Ancaa Advertising Agency for HK$13,000, creating a clean and calming backdrop for alfresco dining.