The conundrum that this client brought to Glory Tam, founder of interior
design and architecture firm Mister Glory, was a common one.
She wanted her home to accommodate her various belongings and needs, from her collections of designer furniture and books to her desire for a separate washer and dryer, and to offer plenty of storage. The problem? Her home is only 300 square feet.
Aside from the spatial issues, the flat is a catch indeed. A walk-up in a tong lau in Wan Chai, the home is within walking distance to the client’s office and close to the district’s bevy of shopping, dining and entertainment offerings. At the same time, it’s sequestered in a calm, traffic-free street that makes for added privacy and quietude.
In order to meet the clients’ requests, Tam made sure to consider the property in its entirety rather than as a flat blueprint. “To fully utilise a space, we shouldn’t think only of the layout plan, but of the space in three dimensions,” he explained. “It’s also our little trick to overlap space.” The flat originally featured two tiny bedrooms, but Tam knocked down the walls to make room for a generous living and dining area with an open kitchen. Instead of a bedroom, Tam opted for a loft-style bed with a 170cm-tall walk-in wardrobe underneath. A staggered staircase leads up to the bed, concealing more storage and functionality—including a litter box for the client’s pet cat. A television and entertainment system are installed on the wall under the loft.
Then there’s the aforementioned collection of designer furniture, which includes pieces such as armchairs, coffee tables, a six-person dining table from Aluminium, and accessories like ceramics, artworks, and sculptural lighting pieces. Except for the clients’ loose furniture—most of which was sourced from Europe—the majority of furnishings are built-in units that were custom-made to fit the space. “The use and allocation of the space had to be carefully planned,” shared Tam. “In some ways, doing up a small flat is much more complicated than doing up a bigger one, since you need to make good use of every inch.”
Tam even went as far to design the custom-made pieces to fit the size of the clients’ possessions. He measured the depth of her books in order to create the shelving unit running the width of the sitting area, for instance, and the thickness of her mattress when creating the loft.
When it came to the colour scheme, Tam didn’t balk at the usage of bright shades. “Previously, the trend was minimalism,” he said. “The use of one or two colours to paint the space was law. But nowadays more colour combinations are being used, and we’re more than happy to mix and match more often.” A vivid artwork by Australian artist Janine Daddo sits above the living area, while yellow cushions add a splash of colour to the grey and brown armchairs. Tam used colour to delineate certain areas too. The entrance corridor features a blue wall and walnut-veneered cabinet; the sleeping area’s wall and ceiling mirrors the same blue shade too. In the kitchen, meanwhile, geometric green tiles emblazon the wall above the black counter. Black detailing—found in the rail around the bed and along the stairs, in the window frames and door leading to the balcony, and blinds—pulls everything together.
“Our colour palette was chosen before the renovation,” Tam said. “We used an indigo colour scheme as we wanted to achieve a pale blue-green colour tone to bring out a feeling that’s a mix of raw and modernist.”