When interior design studio JAAK was commissioned to do up this apartment in Tseung Kwan O, the firm’s designers were presented with a small, 550-square-feet space and a fairly open-ended brief. The couple desired a complete makeover of the home; in particular, they wished to enlarge the room of their two primary-school-aged daughters and to have more efficient storage. But aside from that JAAK had free rein.

“Their requirements were mostly practical: a space which would allow them the freedom to interact with each other and work when needed,” said JAAK’s design director Calvin Cheng. “The father, who drove the project, is an engineer.” The clients were initially attracted by the property as it was part of a brand new residential development when they first moved in, and decided to hire JAAK after encountering the studio’s work online. JAAK, a studio whose philosophy rejects the typical conception of “luxury” as extravagant and showy, choosing instead to focus on comfortable and dynamic designs that befit modern 21st century living, was well-positioned to tackle the project.

JAAK spent six months transforming the flat into a calming, minimal space filled with warm earth tones, plenty of greenery and the occasional metallic accent. Furnishings in shades of grey and brown are set against white walls and a light wooden floor, with accent elements such as the kitchen shelving, shower curtain rail and lighting details. There’s a sense of geometry, too, found in the pink artworks gracing the walls of the dining area and in the curved bathtub contrasting with the white squire tiles.

“We wanted to create a comfortable, cosy home in a simple and harmonious way,” explained Cheng. “So, we opted for warm and yellowish white as the main colour tones and added a hint of walnut and copper to enrich the space.” To ensure that cosiness was a focal point, JAAK avoided over decorating, instead opting to keep the home subtle and balanced. A neutral palette meant that the design wouldn’t overwhelm the compact space, either.

Aside from being low on space, the home presented another difficulty in the form of limited natural light, as all the windows were placed along one single wall. Not to be deterred, JAAK came up with an ingenious solution. “We avoided blocking the windows but enlarged both the bedrooms and the living area to allow more light into the living area, as it’s the most important space of the home,” explained Cheng.

The original layout featured three rooms—a master bedroom, a second bedroom, and a study—and an enclosed kitchen. JAAK did away with the study to grant more space to the children’s bedroom and the living area, allowing the clients to place a piano and bookshelves behind the sofa. The children’s bedroom also expanded slightly into what was originally space occupied by the adjoining master bedroom. The kitchen was opened up, being sectioned off from the dining area by a shoe cabinet and dryer instead of walls. The master bathroom was expanded too.

To expand the family’s storage space, JAAK utilised full-height built-in storage units. Much of the rest of the furniture was selected to offset these units’ rectangular shapes. “We decided to use round or soft furniture such as the spherical pendant light from Menu, round dining table from Ziinlife and round custom-made walnut stool and mirror,” said Cheng. The result is a serene abode where the family can gather, relax, and enjoy their surroundings without the visual noise of clutter.