When Jen McCombie, head of marketing at Hong Kong furniture store Indigo Living, did up her 685-square-foot Kennedy Town apartment, it was an exercise in unlearning everything she thought she knew about designing smaller homes. While searching for a family home for herself and five-year-old son, she was drawn to Kennedy Town for its convenient proximity to her work and her son’s school, as well as parks, restaurants, and her gym. Settling on a property was a more difficult matter, as she required a space that would accommodate two bathrooms as well as two generously sized bedrooms. She eventually decided on an apartment just outside the centre of the neighbourhood.

“The view is beautiful,” she said. “Because I’m on a hill, it overlooks Kennedy Town. That’s one of the reasons I bought this apartment. I walked in and seeing that view, I could just picture myself living here. It’s very peaceful, calm, and has a very positive feeling to it.” Though the property had the potential to accommodate all of McCombie’s needs, for it to become the cosy family home that she envisioned, it had to be completely redone.

She decided to do away with one of the flat’s three bedrooms in order to grant more space to the living and dining area; with two dogs and three cats, as well as her penchant for entertaining, a roomy living and dining area was more of a priority than a spare bedroom. She also extended and opened up the kitchen in order to fit an oven, a dishwasher, and allow for more counter space. Dowdy and awkwardly positioned built-in cabinets in the master bedroom were removed so that the bed could be positioned to take in the view that McCombie found so stunning. Finally, the windows, flooring, and bathrooms were all redone, too.

While the renovations were underway—a process that took only four months— McCombie turned to Indigo Living’s design service for the interior design, explaining her requirements to designer Sean Lim. Storage was key, as was creating a bedroom for her son that he could grow into. She also wanted the space to balance practicality and comfort with modernity and elegance.

“I was thinking of making everything white, since it’s a small space,” shared McCombie, but Lim encouraged her not to shy away from colour. He proposed a palette comprised of cool tones with the occasional dark hue or silver accent. Fixtures and built-in units are white, but blue and teal walls add personality without making the space look cramped. Lim also selected sheer white curtains in the public areas that let in plenty of light. The master bathroom, meanwhile, is a moody affair with dark walls, Italian tiles, and a stylish pendant light.

“I learnt that just because you have a small space doesn’t mean that everything in it has to be small,” said McCombie. “You can have a couple of key larger pieces and work around them.” As a working single mum with a packed schedule, McCombie wanted her home to be a place where she could relax, selecting a large and comfortable bed and couch. (All her furniture, aside from various accessories and personal mementos, comes from Indigo Living’s line; the store’s design service offers a variety of packages, some incorporating only Indigo Living furniture, while others include recommendations for outside sources.) At the same time, Lim made sure to maximise the available space, placing seating or storage at the bay windows and even including a concealable vanity in the wardrobe in the master bedroom. Meanwhile, accent pieces like the black round crystal chandelier and silver Harlow bedside table in the master bedroom add the touch of elegance McCombie craved.

“There’s definitely an appreciation of beautiful things here,” said McCombie. “It really changes the mood; it’s not just a house, it’s a home.”