If the room above is not the hardest working 200 sq ft in Hong Kong, it is certainly a contender. Once two rooms – a study and a child’s bedroom in a 1,750 sq ft Pok Fu Lam flat – this multifunctional space now packs in two double beds, two full-sized desks, a child’s table and chairs, a two-seater sofa, play space, a whiteboard, gym equipment, art supplies, filing cabinets, a printer, HEPA air filter, and all the toys, clothes and treasures a little girl could want. And with a sleek, clean aesthetic. It’s quite a party trick. The study/guest room/child’s bedroom/playroom is the brainchild of Bruce Harwood, of BHI Design Studio. It is not the first time he has worked on the space. Ten years ago, he renovated the entire flat for luxury travel specialist Shy Perez-Sala and her husband, Jay Sala, a management consultant, just after they had acquired the property. Harwood opened up the apartment, moving the entrance and redesigning the kitchen to enlarge the dining area, installing a larger en suite bathroom and creating a study and guest room divided by sliding doors. Why designing his own home was an architect’s biggest challenge Design details included hidden storage and cabling throughout the flat to keep the space looking clean and uncluttered, and a flexible gallery hanging system for Jay’s stunning blown-up safari photographs. “We’ve changed the paint colour on one wall in the living room to complement a new painting from the Affordable Art Fair – it didn’t pop against the neutral walls and furnishings – and painted a wall in the dining room, but that’s about it,” says Jay. The big change since the 2010 renovation has been the arrival of the couple’s daughter, Kiera, now seven. She was the catalyst for calling Harwood back, in February, to take a fresh look at the study and her bedroom. “Kiera is the main reason we created the multitasking rooms in the first place,” Shy says. “This way we won’t have to ask her to leave her bedroom and bunk with us parents to accommodate our guests.” Making the renovation even more timely, the pandemic meant the entire family was working from home. The demand for extra play space for Kiera – as well as a solution for a guest room – suddenly seemed more urgent. “Jay told me what he wanted to fit into the room and I worked through the permutations,” Harwood says. “The Murphy beds were the saving grace.” The two Murphy beds were the key to unlocking the space. They fold up into nooks between the walls of floor-to-ceiling cupboards in each room, freeing up floor space for Jay’s swing-out desk in the study/guest room and for a sofa and table and chairs in Kiera’s room. In place of the old sliding doors between the two spaces is a more easily manoeuvred curtain with a sound- and light-absorbing inner layer that allows Jay to carry on working after Kiera has gone to sleep. Why a Hong Kong couple downsized to 1,450 sq ft flat Harwood sourced the Murphy bed mechanisms from Italy (“We couldn’t get what we wanted in China – they only came attached to a bed,” he says), allowing his contractor to custom make the beds to fit seamlessly between the wardrobes. A damper feature means they glide gently up and down – an important safety measure in a child’s room. When Kiera’s bed is folded up every day, it reveals a two-seater sofa cleverly fastened to the underside. “Getting the cushions right on the sofa took some time – we only had illustrations to work from so we had a few goes at that,” Harwood says. The pandemic added its own unique set of problems. “It was a bit difficult because the borders were closed – we had [the built-in elements] made in China, and the bed mechanism came from Italy – so that delayed us a bit,” he says. As well as the rooms’ moving parts – fold-up beds, swing-out desk, sliding curtain, a pull-down hanging rail in Kiera’s wardrobe, and “magic corner” cupboard mechanisms, usually associated with kitchens but here holding Jay’s gym equipment and Kiera’s art supplies – the lighting is a sight to behold. Fittingly for a child’s room, the multicoloured, app-operated Philips HUE lighting system was fitted for fun. “We had it installed throughout most of the flat,” Jay says. “At one point, the entire place was lit up in purple – it’s Kiera’s favourite colour.” And when she gets bored with lilac, she can choose from a menu of mood settings: Tropical Twilight, Spring Blossoms and, appropriately for a family that has been on safari about 20 times, Savannah Sunset. Kiera’s room, study and guest room This 200 sq ft space is divided in two by a sound-and-light-absorbing curtain (HK$16,270/US$2,100 from Ying Ho Curtain ). Both spaces are fitted with a Murphy bed. In Kiera’s room, the bed and folding sofa mechanisms were sourced by BHI Design (HK$38,190, including installation of sofa). The custom-made desk under the window has an LG acrylic top (HK$13,800 by BHI Design) and wrapping around the walls are wardrobes and cupboards (HK$77,000 by BHI Design). The children’s table and chairs were HK$1,780 from Decor8 and the rug was picked up on a trip to Cape Town, in South Africa. Father and daughter share the glass whiteboard between the two rooms; he writes business plans at the top and she draws fairies at the bottom. It is fastened to a cupboard (HK$23,800 by BHI Design) that holds a paper shredder and air filter. Jay Sala’s desk (HK$27,880 by BHI Design) is made from the same LG acrylic as Kiera’s but has a pivoting mechanism and legs on wheels that allow it to swing out or be pushed back on top of the windowsill when guests visit and the Murphy bed is lowered. The bed, by BHI Design, cost HK$28,100. The rest of the cabinetry in the office – including built-in filing cabinets, a pull-out printer tray and charger cupboard – was HK$67,000 from BHI Design. The large photo of zebras and wildebeest was taken in the Serengeti by Jay and framed by O-Live Decor . The Aeron office chairs were bought years ago from Frontier Workspace Solutions . Balcony The couple updated their decade-old balcony table (from Patio Mart , as were the chairs) with a new glass top from Decor8. The metal Fu dogs were a gift from the flat’s previous owner and the tiles came from Hop Hing Lung Material (235 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2511 3013) years ago. The balcony is Jay’s favourite workout space, discreetly kitted out with a pull-up bar and a TRX fitting (not seen) to allow him to exercise with a view. Living room The dark feature wall in the living room was designed to complement the large abstract painting, by Nguyen Lam, the couple bought at the Affordable Art Fair from ArtBlue Studio, Singapore . The smaller painting is Mental Impression , by Jack Penny, from Sin Sin Fine Art . “Snorky”, the metal elephant on the coffee table, was made from scrap parts by Filipino artist Ram Mallari . The antique sideboard was bought years ago in Shanghai; on top, the blue glass owl was mouth-blown by Finnish artist Marja Hepo-aho . Bought years ago were the sofa, chaise longue, ottoman and curved floor lamp from Artura Ficus and the rug from Tai Ping Carpets . The Indian scatter cushions, other floor lamp and ceiling fan were all from shops now closed. The couple bought the Gabonese guardian, between the sofa and chaise, on a trip to South Africa. Dining room The mirror, dining table and chairs were all bought years ago from Artura Ficus. The Kai O lamp, made from coconut shell, was by Filipino furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue from Ovo . On an Artura Ficus pedestal, the carved Asahi glass artwork, Ningning 04-3, by Ramon Orlina, came from Jo-Liza Arts & Antiques , in Manila, and the glass screen behind it was a gift. The hand-knotted silk rug on the wall was picked up last year on a trip to Shiraz, in Iran, a new destination for Shy Perez-Sala’s company, SPS Travel . Kitchen Renovated in 2010, the usually open-plan kitchen can be closed off from the dining room by sliding doors when the family have visitors. The cabinetry, worktops and sink all came from Palladio Kitchen , the bar stools were from Kai Ngai Furniture (354 Lockhart Road, tel: 2573 1196) and the pendant lamps were from Element Lighting Design . Main bedroom The walnut bed and bedside tables came from Artura Ficus in 2010. The table lamps and shades (HK$249.90 for a set) were from Ikea . The photograph of a lioness stalking a zebra was taken by Jay at Ngorongoro Crater, in Tanzania, and framed by O-Live Decor. Tried + tested Off the rails In the en suite bathroom, a lack of wall space for a heated towel rail saw it being fitted to the glass shower enclosure. The wire was hidden behind a discreet magnetic metal strip attached to the edge of the glass panel, rendering it all but invisible apart from a few centimetres at the bottom of the rail. The Natural 12-bar towel rail (HK$3,286) was from Shenzhen’s Bathroom Butler . The shower doors (HK$13,700 for the set) with hidden cabling were designed by BHI Design. The Bellini shower set and toilet were installed in 2010 as were the wall and floor tiles from Hop Hing Lung Material.