This Hong Kong duplex is full of secrets. Cupboards “float” and corridors conceal. Hidden doorways lead to … where? The little magic tricks that architect Edward Lau Tak-tai employed in his renovation of the five-year-old, 2,000 sq ft (186 square metres) residence in Yuen Long, in the New Territories, completed in February, were in part a response to inherent constraints. “I would’ve liked to have removed every wall,” says Lau, founder of ED Design. “Most were alterable, but some were structural, so I had to work around them.” From a dingy, cramped 3-bedroom flat to a light-filled, open 1-bedroom home The household comprises a retired couple and their adult son. The family had moved to Yuen Long, in the New Territories, because it is midway between the son’s Hong Kong and Shenzhen offices, while his parents were attracted to the district’s greenery and quiet environs. The original floor plan had five bedrooms spread over two levels. The new owners had no need for so much accommodation, but they are a family that loves to entertain, so wanted bigger social spaces. How 2 Hong Kong flats became 1, with Zen vibes and versatile spaces In the revamped layout, the ground floor is given over to a formal dining room with seating for 10, and a vast living room, where family and guests can enjoy conversation or karaoke. The wall between these two rooms is structural, so Lau turned it into a feature, narrowing its width for a more connected aesthetic. Painted white, with a large artwork hung and spotlights in place, the old wall has a gallery effect facing the dining room, and holds a large-screen television on the living side. At one end, the glow of a flickering faux-flame electric fireplace adds a further cosy layer to the well-thought-out lighting scheme. Behind one of the sofas, another structural wall was left intact. Open at both ends, it provides a handy hiding place for gym equipment and a massage chair that can be easily accessed when needed, and disappear afterwards. Hong Kong Mid-Levels flat goes from dark and dreary to bright and beautiful Because the son wanted contemporary decor, both he and Lau favoured an open kitchen integrated into the living space. Although the parents were concerned about cooking odours, they eventually agreed. Its galley-style design assembles the work benches, twin hobs, twin ovens, refrigerator and wine fridge along one wall, while opposite, a bar-height island faces the living area. This multifunctional island morphs from breakfast bar to coffee bench to wine bar, depending on the time of day, forming a natural hub that draws people together. For symmetry, a hidden door blends in with the kitchen cabinetry. It leads to back-of-house functional areas: a laundry room, storage area and helper’s room, as well as to the guest toilet. A Hong Kong home’s ‘Japandi’ style makes for an escape from the city Three bedrooms, all on the first floor, are accessed via a staircase Lau kept as minimal as possible. Bereft of any covering bar grey floor paint, and with a simple black metal handrail, its aesthetic is consistent with the black, white and grey colour palette seen throughout, including the woodgrain-look ceramic tiled flooring chosen for the lower level. Beside the staircase, a custom shoe cabinet “floats” above the floor at the height of the first stair tread, a design technique Lau employed to connect the two floors visually. Framed by concealed LED lighting, this cabinet becomes another mood-enhancing feature in the evening. Each of the two main bedrooms has an en suite bathroom, built-in wardrobes, and space for a reading chair. Repeating the design conjuring seen on the lower floor, the son’s bathroom is accessed by another hidden door. A sauna in this Hong Kong home takes Scandi-style living to the max From the start of this project, the family left most of the design decisions to their architect, including the furniture selection. It works, they agree. The bedrooms display an appropriate generational vibe – the parents’ room slightly grand; the son’s room cool and chic – and the en suites provide all with privacy. The family also loves the monochromatic minimalism as a backdrop to their art collection and the statement furniture. While meeting all the diverse needs of the occupants, the home also functions as “a great party house” – just as the clients requested. Living room and kitchen A bar-height island subtly delineates the living area from the galley kitchen. The wooden side table was from OVO (ovo.com.hk) and the black side table from Ikea (ikea.com.hk). The low white-painted coffee table is a bespoke design by ED Design (ed-design.co). The free-form furniture – backless sofas with movable cushioned backrests and the blue Togo chair – all came from Ligne Roset (ligne-roset.com). Living room detail Looking from the living room towards the dining room, the Togo chair rests on herringbone-patterned, woodgrain-look floor tiles bought from Hop Yick Trading (Space A, 12/F, Wing Cheung Industrial Building, 58 Kwai Cheong Road, Kwai Chung, tel: 3568 1653). The floating shoe cabinet on the left was designed by Edward Lau Tak-tai, of ED Design, and built by Alfa Group (alfa-group.com.hk). The low wooden side table in the dining area came from OVO. Living area detail Kept as minimal as possible, the concrete staircase is painted in grey floor paint with a simple, black powder-coated steel handrail. The dark ceramic candleholder came from OVO. Dining area The 10-seater dining table and chairs, the focal point of many happy social gatherings, are a bespoke set made by Alfa Group. The artwork on the wall, from the owners’ private collection, is Crybaby, by Hong Kong artist JL. The rod-like downlights were designed by ED Design and made by Impression Lighting. In the doorway is a floor lamp from Ikea. Kitchen The cabinetry, in white woodgrain laminate topped by grey granite benchtops, was made by Imperial Marble (ime.com.hk). Illuminating the island is a lamp designed by ED Design and manufactured by Impression Lighting (impression-lighting.com). The black Magis bar stool came from Homeless (homeless.hk). Son’s room A black iron-framed, ribbed-glass panel gives an air of privacy to the son’s room, which is one of three bedrooms – including one for guests – on the first floor. Along with his queen-sized bed and upholstered bedhead, the bedside table and built-in wardrobes were all custom made by Alfa Group. The low hanging bedside pendant lamp was custom made by Impression Lighting. Tried + tested Wanting to provide a luxury experience for the family’s many visitors, architect Edward Lau gave special treatment to the guest washroom. The white ceramic washbasin, by Claybrook (claybrookinteriors.com), has a granite panel behind and a mirror at the side. The unusual black, powder-coated tap, resembling a suspended hosepipe, was custom made by ED Design.