A lengthy deliberation over the complete renovation of a 2,000 sq ft (186 square metre) apartment on the top floor of a three-storey 1950s walk-up building in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong, presented an exciting opportunity for architect and interior designer Liz Lau Win-wa, of design studio LAUD. “It is unusual to discuss so many details of a build – most clients don’t want to know much beyond the colour palette and general style,” she says. “But there was a lot of discussion, as our client is an artist and meticulous. She was extremely focused on the craftsmanship involved. One of her first questions was, ‘How straight can we make the walls?’” The answer: pretty darn straight. But it meant taking the responsibility away from the actual walls of the building. All internal walls and ceilings were lined with floating panels of strengthened plywood to ensure absolute 90-degree angles. An advantage was stronger and more durable walls for hanging the client’s substantial art collection. “One of the problems was that they didn’t have enough wall space to display their art so we had to create more and make it cohesive so that it would be easy to change the works around as collectors often like to. But at the same time, they wanted their space to look like a home, not a gallery,” says Lau, referring to her clients, a couple, who live in the flat with their son. Other than more wall space and a clean, crisp interior, the couple had a fairly short brief: they wanted to reorganise and refresh the interior, which had not been renovated in more than a decade. Though the previous layout afforded two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which they kept, removing a store room opened up the foyer. By installing sliding doors between the living room and original enclosed kitchen, a second area was opened. An industrial unit becomes an art-filled, eye-catching studio “We were lucky to be able to work with so much space, especially as they don’t have that much stuff,” says Lau. “We didn’t have to find space for 50,000 pairs of shoes. “But, actually, this project was probably one of our most challenging because it was all about simplicity and detail. When it’s like that, everything has to be perfect because you can’t camouflage anything.” The perfectly square walls have perfectly straight edges, as all corners were reinforced with L-shaped aluminium trim. White marble skirting ensures a crisp finish to the perfectly level flooring, not an easy feat when the floor tiles were of irregular thicknesses. “There was a lot of on-site testing and I have to give credit to our contractor for the really high standard of work,” says Lau, adding that the eight-month project was completed in August 2020. “And when the pandemic hit, they were so careful in their safety practices, too.” Warm woods are layered around the crisp white walls, with Japanese-inspired touches such as a built-in cabinet and bar area by the dining table. Vertical oak slats in the sliding doors allow a view of the cabinet’s contents but are backed with glass to guard against dust. The oak is continued into the living area, with a built-in entertainment console and a wall of floating shelves in the foyer. In the main bedroom, which includes a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom, walnut flooring adds another layer of natural warmth, while the adjoining study features a magnet board wall covered with a thin but durable oak veneer. In the six years since LAUD was launched, clients have all come through word-of-mouth recommendations and many have become friends, says Lau. “I think a project’s success has a lot to do with the compatibility between the client and the designer. In our case, we have a strong suit in doing details but we made a definite decision that we wouldn’t do the same thing over and over again and become known for a certain style. “We don’t do any crazy bling-bling projects. I like to say we are good at backdrops. We don’t want our designs to yell because it’s good to leave room for the space to evolve.” Living room The sofa was from B&B Italia (bebitalia.com). The dining table was from Rimadesio (rimadesio.it) and the chairs were from Porada (porada.it). The light fixture above the dining table was from Garnier & Linker (garnieretlinker.com). The trimless recessed ceiling lights came from Wever & Ducré (weverducre.com). Decorative shelving at the far end is partially obscured by Japanese screen-inspired oak slat and glass doors, custom designed by LAUD (laud.hk) and built by the main contractor, Chong Ngai Design & Decoration (chongngaidesign.com). Foyer The large wall of floating oak shelves was designed by LAUD and installed by Chong Ngai Design & Decoration. The Florim (florim.com) floor tiles were supplied by Pacific Casa (pacificbuilding.com.hk). Guest bathroom The large charcoal wall tiles, from Florim and supplied by Pacific Casa, create a simple backdrop to the wall-mounted cabinet, which features a Duravit basin (duravit.com) and an Axor tap (axor-design.com). The mirror was from Agape Design (agapedesign.it) while the wall hooks were sourced by the owner. Study The built-in desk was custom designed by LAUD and built by Chong Ngai Design & Decoration. The chair, designed by Patricia Urquiola, came from B&B Italia. The walnut flooring, which features irregular bevelling for a natural finish, was from Italian manufacturer Bassano Parquet (bassanoparquet.com) and supplied by Karlian International (karlianintl.com). Main bedroom The main bedroom features bespoke furniture and pocket doors to a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom, all designed by LAUD and fitted by Chong Ngai Design & Decoration. The vintage Danish chair was sourced by the client. The walnut flooring came from Bassano Parquet and was supplied by Karlian International. Kitchen The kitchen was fitted by Kitench (kitench.com). The island, which features a Hansgrohe mixer (hansgrohe.com), is lit with a wide-brimmed pendant light from Foscarini (foscarini.com). The bar chairs were from Menu (menuspace.com). Son’s room Contrasting with the walnut flooring in the main bedroom suite, the second bedroom features an oak floor, which was from Bassano Parquet and was supplied by Karlian International. The shelving system was from Vitsoe (vitsoe.com). The small chair was bought years ago. Tried & Tested Blind spots To give her clients the clean, sharp windows they wanted, interior designer Liz Lau, of LAUD studio, worked with contractor Chong Ngai Design & Decoration and window specialists Hang Yue Aluminium Steel Engineering (390 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2572 8088) to replace the existing windows and carve out recesses to accommodate minimalist roller blinds from Kvadrat (kvadrat.dk). With the blinds being installed only after the rest of the renovation had been completed, precision was vital – and challenging. Creating the fully integrated look Lau envisaged required multiple experiments with spray paints to coordinate the metal finishes of both the window frames and blind fittings. “Like the rest of the space it looks very simple but actually it took a lot of time to get right,” says Lau. The Mendori table lamp was from Artemide (artemide.com), the side tables from Flexform (flexform.it) and the lounge chair and stool from Porada.