Excited to create their first home together, newlyweds Genevieve Lam Siu-kei and Angues Chan Tak-hung approached designer JJ Acuna, of JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio, to remodel their 1,100 sq ft, two-bedroom flat in a modern high-rise in Mid-Levels. A co-founder of Butler, the city’s first luxury concierge service for the home, Chan says he has always appreciated top-end finishes and the tiny details that combine to create exceptional experiences. For Lam, the year-long renovation turned a passion for interior design into a career path: she enrolled in a full-time course at the Insight School of Interior Design soon after the project’s completion in June. “Working with JJ during this process turned into a great masterclass that made me realise I have a deep interest in this field,” she says. “I really fell in love with it.” The couple knew their renovation wish list was on the greedy side. They wanted to change the two-bedroom flat into a one-bedroom layout with a luxurious en suite, an open kitchen and entertaining space with dining for six. They also asked for a study, a separate guest bathroom and oodles of storage. How hotel stays inspired the interiors of this Hong Kong home After extended discussions resulting in 14 versions of the floor plan, Acuna managed to find room for everything, flipping the layout so the entertaining space extended into what was the master bedroom, making the most of the room’s magnificent 33rd-floor views. “It’s not just about the aesthetics,” Chan says. “The most important thing for us was the user experience – to borrow a term from the hospitality industry – how you walk in, how you use all the areas on a daily basis. So we did end up making a lot of really small changes that made a difference.” A striking feature is the series of rattan screen doors that close off the kitchen and study from the main living and dining area. Simply framed with walnut, these modern shoji-style room dividers let light through but, being backed with glass, also provide a practical barrier against noise and cooking fumes. With the screens pulled back, the public area of the flat becomes a sizeable entertaining space. “If you’re going to invest in a designer, you’ve got to make sure they can maximise the value of the space,” says Acuna. “Otherwise, they’ve failed.” Faced with the challenge of fitting in a table and six chairs, Acuna came up with a curved built-in booth, a space-saving feature of restaurant design that actually seats eight. “The word ‘comfortable’ does not do justice to how it feels to sit in that area,” Chan says. “It’s unbelievable.” Why a couple asked a commercial designer to make over their home While space planning and functionality were key, Acuna credits Lam for the flat’s warm and vibrant personality. “In terms of colour, tone and materiality, Genevieve has a strong aesthetic and, luckily for us, excellent taste,” he says. Bespoke features such as a textured kintsugi wall and handcrafted light fittings in blush pinks and brass add playful touches to a backdrop of natural wood and stone. The furnishings have been carefully sourced from vintage stores and suppliers of one-off handicrafts, many purchased in Paris, France. “It’s ultimately our aim to offer a truly bespoke service. Hopefully the finished project is akin to a tailor-made dress or a handmade shoe: it’s made for that client and no one else can wear it as well,” Acuna says. “We’ve certainly had our input on the composition, the form and maybe the detailing but in terms of the colour tone, the accessories and the overall aesthetic, it’s all Genevieve. “In terms of the accessories, she actually pushed us to be a little more stylish. Instead of us having to lead the client, it was great in this case to have the client lead us.” Dining area The built-in banquette seating and chairs were custom designed by JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio ; price on application. The chevron oak flooring was HK$145 (US$19) per square foot from Wonderfloor . Dining area detail Elegant wall panelling, installed by Sankon Interiors for about HK$5,000 per square metre, provides a refined finish to the restaurant-style dining area. Dining area The travertine-topped dining table with bespoke leather legs was a custom product made by Roche Bobois . The pendant light (US$7,000) came from Ladies and Gentlemen Studio . Genevieve Lam initially envisaged a thriving herb garden behind the banquette but this proved difficult to maintain and gave rise to a population of fruit flies. So she changed tack and installed a bonsai tree (from BonArt ) for a calming touch of green. Living area The white sofa (HK$22,000), custom designed by JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio with Sankon Interiors, and a rattan chair (HK$15,000) from A Touch of Design, provide neutral seating over a rich purple rug (HK$55,000) from House of Taiping . The rope seat stool (£120/US$160) came from Zara Home . The set of concrete pendant lights in shades of blush pink was created by Texas-based multidisciplinary designer Brandon Mike . The round wall lights were from Allied Maker and cost US$565 each. The acrylic coffee table was picked up in Wan Chai. Artworks on the console behind the sofa include a spray paint-and-pencil piece by British artist Rhys Coren from Grimm Gallery and a black-and-white collage by Filipino artist Jel Suarez . Study The screened-off study nook is lit by a pendant light (US$1,200) from Allied Maker . The 1940s desk (HK$12,000) came from A Touch of Design . The framed Diamond Sutra on the desk was bought in Tibet. On the top shelf is a Kaws sculpture purchased from Marcel Katz Art Gallery , in Miami. Kitchen The kitchen cabinetry and counter (HK$300,000 in total) were custom designed by JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio and installed by Patata Kitchen . The walls and floor are laid with sheets of marble (1,500mm x 3,000mm) that were HK$60,000 each from Top Star. The wall light, by Menu, cost HK$4,290 from House for Goodies . Rattan screens The kitchen and study nook are separated from the living and dining area by walnut and rattan screens lined with glass, all custom-designed and fitted with Sankon Interiors for HK$105,000. Bedroom The built-in bed and surrounding units (bedside tables and bench included) were all custom designed with Sankon Interiors for HK$47,000. The wall behind was created by Concrete LCDA , with panels (900mm x 2,060mm) that cost HK$10,000 each. The pendant bedside light cost A$2,000 (HK$11,325) from Nightworks Studio . The artwork is by Brooklyn-based contemporary artist José Parlá and was purchased via the Hong Kong branch of the Gagosian gallery. En suite bathroom The en suite’s central feature is the Kohler bathtub (HK$38,500 from Arnhold ). The wall tiles were by Florina Ceramics and cost HK$119 each from Top Star . The basin and counter have been carved out of a red-flame marble, made bespoke and fitted by Stone Wealth for HK$25,000. The brass sconce (US$7,200) came from Allied Maker and the vertical brass towel warmers (HK$23,000 for the pair) came from CEADesign . Tried + tested Striking gold Genevieve Lam and Angues Chan wanted to make a feature of a “raw” aspect of their renovation, so designer JJ Acuna enlisted muralist and plastering specialist Elsa Jean de Dieu to work on an exposed concrete column in their living room. Using decorative gold leaf and paints, Jean de Dieu used a Japanese kintsugi (gold joinery) effect to enhance cracks and abrasions in the original concrete, giving the work a geothermal quality.