It is impossible to imagine this light-filled, 1,800 sq ft apartment in Mid-Levels once being so dark and dingy that a host of house-hunters crossed it off their lists. Even when Jennifer Edwards first saw the then three-bedroom property and felt she’d stumbled on a rare gem, it took multiple visits to convince herself and her husband, Mark, they weren’t crazy to purchase it. “It wasn’t easy to see the apartment’s potential; it was in an awful condition,” says Mark, who hails from Britain. “There were false ceilings, the windows had been replaced to the property’s detriment and it was very rundown. Other people were scared off by the state it was in but that’s what made it so exciting for us.” When Jennifer found husband-and-wife team Vince Lim Chin-hwa and Elaine Manzi Lu, of design studio Lim + Lu , via Instagram, they clicked immediately. The award-winning architects were excited to work on an experimental project; their clients were happy the young, open-minded professionals preferred a collaborative design process rather than imposing their own style. Before the renovation began, Lim asked the Buildings Department for the flat’s original plans, which revealed ceilings more than three metres high and the potential for taking down a lot of internal walls. Without first deciding which rooms should go where, he immediately removed the false ceilings and, to see the effect of the natural light on the apartment, enlarged many existing windows and reintroduced others that the previous owners had covered over. “Now that the windows and balcony [off the living area] are open, the lines are blurred between indoors and out, and it feels like one continuous space,” Lim says. The Edwards decided to furnish the flat with their existing pieces so Lim + Lu used the various items as inspiration and built their design around them. They introduced a neutral palette throughout and, because the apartment is level with the tree line, chose materials such as natural wood and rattan that would complement the abundant greenery outside. Tactile textures – such as the interplay of matt and shiny tiles in the main bathroom – add another dimension and bring the rooms to life. “Hong Kong can be such a busy, noisy place that you can often get sensory overload,” says Jennifer. “Pre-Covid-19, we used to travel at least 10 days per month for work so coming back to a quiet home was very important to me. We wanted to achieve a warm and tranquil retreat feel, without the coldness of a hotel.” The now two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, with helper’s quarters, also displays Japanese aesthetics; Japanese-American Jennifer first met Mark in Tokyo. Walls are panelled in elegant wooden slats while one of the bathrooms, a modern take on a traditional onsen, features a deep soaking tub and a shower, both clad in acid-washed granite tiles. “Incorporating cultural references into the home has made it special and unique to the family,” says Lim. “However, Jennifer’s impeccable styling, the things she has added, has elevated the design and made it their own.” A blended family, with two daughters who visit at weekends, the couple wanted comfortable, open-planned living spaces as well as nooks for individual members. Although the girls’ bedroom is a single space to foster a sense of togetherness, it features a partial wood-frame divider to offer them privacy. Each girl has her own bed, set of shelves, individual lights and sockets, all united by the liberal use of sage green, which also prevents the space from appearing too stark. “The girls love visiting Japan so their room was a bit of a play on the capsule-hotel idea,” says Jennifer. While the pandemic has scuppered the family’s travel schedule, the flat’s meticulously considered design has turned out well for them. A bright office with a large desk that has space for two means working from home is a pleasure. The inclusion of nature and tranquil vibe of the design make everyone feel as though they are on holiday. “The apartment has such a calming, lush feel – a welcome escape from Hong Kong’s concrete jungle,” says Lim. Living area The contemporary classic living area features a leather sofa and ottomans from the 241 Privè Collection by Philippe Starck for Cassina and a luxurious rug from Kymo . The Trio round coffee table and side table were both by Neri & Hu for De La Espada and the lantern-style lamp was bought in Tokyo from Living Motif . The black powder-coated metal and oak veneer Stock High Shelving unit came from Novel Cabinet Makers and the Goofboard surf balance boards were from Ebb & Flo Balance . The CH25 low armchair and the balcony furniture were all by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son and bought from Nest . The large teardrop-shape House Doctor vase came from Ellermann Flower Boutique and the multicoloured Santiago pouffe was by Missoni Home from Amara . The rattan-fronted cupboards were designed and made by Vince Lim and Elaine Lu, of design studio Lim + Lu . Study Integrating a home office into the living area, Lim + Lu created a tranquil space in which Mark and Jennifer Edwards could work. The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman were by Ray and Charles Eames for Herman Miller . The marble-topped Trio side table was by Neri & Hu for De La Espada and the AJ Lamp on it, by Louis Poulsen, was from Lane Crawford . The Long John Pendant 5 brass ceiling lights came from Rubn . Study detail With the Edwards both working from home during the pandemic, a spacious desk area has proved a godsend. Lim + Lu sandblasted the marble to remove some shine and designed and made the slatted wood panelling and the shelving. The Duet chairs were by Neri & Hu for De La Espada and the brass-finish desk lamp, part of Urbancraft’s Yuan collection, came from Lane Crawford. Girls’ bedroom The beds, partition and shelving in the capsule-style second bedroom were designed and made by Lim + Lu to ensure both girls had their own private spaces. Girls’ bathroom The bathroom is clad in acid-washed granite tiles from Fei Concept (177 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2153 3288), including the Japanese-style bathtub, which was designed and made by Lim + Lu. The Japanese wooden accessories were from Living Motif. Main bathroom The mirror and sink unit were designed by Lim + Lu. The contrasting matt and shiny tiles, by 41zero42 , came from Fei Concept and the Walker wall lamp, by Menu, was from House for Goodies . Kitchen and dining area The artwork, by Joshua Yeldham , was the starting point for the design of the kitchen and dining area. A Bolle pendant light by Giopato & Coombes, from Archetypal , hovers above the Saarinen dining table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll and Duet chairs by Neri & Hu for De La Espada. Kitchen consultants Euro Cucina designed the kitchen. The Skultuna vase on the island came from Ellermann Flower Boutique. Main bedroom The window frames with brass fittings and the rattan wardrobes were designed and made by Lim + Lu. The Fenice bed by Bernhardt & Vella was from Natuzzi Hong Kong and the Ava wall sconce was by Robert True Ogden for Lostine . The rug came from Linie Design . Main bedroom detail Rattan allows air to circulate through the wardrobes, designed by Lim + Lu, and helps to achieve the summer resort feel the couple wanted to create. Because their clients usually travel for work, they wanted a dedicated space (to the right of this photo) for packing and unpacking rather than putting suitcases on the floor or bed. The Moebe mirror on the wall came from House for Goodies. TRIED + TESTED NICHE AND EASY Lim + Lu incorporated a stylish niche into built-in shoe cupboards in the entrance. Featuring a Bomma Umbra pendant lamp by Nature Evolution , it provides light on entering the home and somewhere to put keys and phones.