Let´s face it. Most of us live in flats that have, maybe, 400 square feet of usable space. Guaranteed there are odd corners, jutting walls and misplaced doorways, and unless you own your home there´s nothing you can do about it. And there´s only so much wall space you can use too. Nonetheless there are decorating options and real furniture out there that fit in that precise, 66-centimetre hole. Japanese retailers like Franc Franc and Muji offer plenty of compact options — in Muji´s case in a range of beige to beige to beige. Hong Kong also has a long customising tradition if you care to wait four to six weeks. See. Choices.
With small homes in mind eco-retailer TREE launched a line home furnishings — sofas, dining sets and storage — made with tight spaces as a design feature. As usual, TREE´s products are eco-friendly and made from either reclaimed or recycled teak or FSC certified wood, so that lovely choice of brown, brown or brown at least has individual character in each piece.
Starting in the living room, the flip out sofa beds ($12,950 to $19,950) are blessedly free of springs and levers that result in slipped disks in the back. The sofa bed, 219 centimetres (queen size) pulled out, can be customised with a variety of machine washable fabrics. There´s also the Swagger, a contemporary design model with a stainless steel base, which converts to a single bed for those surprise guests. It also comes in a variety of colours and fabrics. Finally the Graduate is an L-shaped loveseat or full sofa, complete with ottoman, convertible to left- or right-side lounger.
If you´re lucky enough to have a dining space, then there are some tables to fit too ($6,950 to $16,450). The new Slick extendable dining table can hold two extra bodies in each of its three models (six or eight people) and makes for a great buffet table for entertaining even more people. The Scandinavian inspired Vintage line now features square and round teak or walnut options as small as 90 centimetres. And if you decide to create a dining space regardless of circumstances, the 70-centimetre Kubus is guaranteed to fit into the tightest of spots. Perfect for quick breakfasts with the iPad and intimate dinners alike.
Rounding out TREE´s small packages are some items for storing your good things. Be it books, socks, china, work documents, passports or other unmentionables, storage is the bane of most Hongkongers´ existence. Building code often simply doesn´t allow for a glorious full wall unit that holds it all. The Retro-fusion line ($3,950 to $9,950) combines teak and white metal for television stands, coffee tables with multiple shelves and drawers, probably for tucking away the multiple remote control devices. There is also a range of chests in the one-metre neighbourhood ($12,450 to $13,950), because tightie-whities should always be hidden, but the pièce de résistance are the Qubus, Play Module and Out of the Box series. The plain boxy Qubus (in six sizes starting at 30 centimetres, from $1,950) is designed to be mixed and matched, stacked and tucked to create custom shelving. Play units (starting at $2,750) are open-front shelves, flip doors and drawers that can be stacked or plopped on top of other furniture or slid under beds. Play is available in teak, oak and walnut for maximum colour mixing. Finally Out of the Box (starting at $1,250) not only takes you back to university days (milk crate bookcases!) but is also the ultimate in custom designed open concept storage. Available in either teak or TREE´s signature recycled boat woods, the seven boxes come in assorted sizes for maximum flexibility. Need to get around that random light switch? This is your shelving.